Hirobumi Ito

Hirobumi Ito

First (and 5th, 7th and 10th) Prime Minister of Japan
Date of Birth: 16.10.1841
Country: Japan

  1. Biography of Hirobumi Ito
  2. Early life and Education
  3. Political Career
  4. Constitutional Reforms
  5. Prime Minister and International Relations
  6. Assassination and Legacy

Biography of Hirobumi Ito

Early life and Education

Hirobumi Ito was born on October 16, 1841, in the capital of the Hagi domain, which was under the feudal control of the Choshu domain in present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. His father, Hayashi Juzo, was a peasant who was adopted by the Ito family and given the status of a samurai. Hirobumi Ito received his education at the Seka Sondzaku School, where he was taught by Yoshida Shoin.

Hirobumi Ito

Political Career

In his youth, Ito was a supporter of the Sonno Joi movement, which aimed to respect the emperor and expel foreigners. He studied in England from 1861 to 1863 and later studied in America, where he became convinced of the need for Western-style modernization in Japan. He played an active role in the Meiji Restoration, which aimed to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate, and in 1867, he was promoted to the rank of goyatoi and officially became a samurai. In 1868, Ito became an advisor to the government and the ruler of the Hyogo Prefecture. He played a leading role in the modernization and internationalization of Japan.

Constitutional Reforms

In 1873, Ito prevented a war with Korea and worked towards the establishment of constitutional government in Japan. He played a key role in the creation of the first Japanese constitution, which was adopted in 1889 and heavily influenced by the Prussian constitution. Ito founded the Constitutional Imperial Party and became one of the influential Genro, a group of lifelong advisors to the emperor.

Prime Minister and International Relations

Ito served as Prime Minister of Japan four times, from 1885 to 1888, from 1892 to 1896, in 1898, and from 1900 to 1901. He played a role in Japan's participation in the First Sino-Japanese War and signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895. He also signed a treaty with Britain in 1894, which ended extraterritoriality for British subjects in Japan. Ito's policies focused on strengthening Japanese influence in Korea.

Assassination and Legacy

In 1905, Ito signed a treaty that made Korea a Japanese protectorate, and he became the first Resident-General of Korea. In 1907, he was awarded the title of Prince. However, his policies faced opposition, and he resigned as Resident-General in 1909. On October 26, 1909, Ito was assassinated in Harbin, China, by a Korean nationalist. His death led to increased Japanese control over Korea. Ito is buried in Tokyo, at the Ito family cemetery in the Shinagawa district.