|Born||22 Sep 1878|
|Died||20 Oct 1967|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseShigeru Yoshida was born in Kanda Surugadai, Tokyo, Japan. His father was arrested for anti-government activities, and he was adopted by businessman Kenzo Yoshida in Aug 1881. In 1889, Kenzo Yoshida passed away, and much of his wealth were given to Shigeru Yoshida. He graduated from elementary school in 1889, secondary school in Apr 1894, and Gakushuin school in Aug 1901. He continued to study law and diplomacy at the graduate school in Gakushuin; during his studies there, the department was closed, and he transferred to the Tokyo Imperial University in Sep 1904. He graduated with a law degree from the Tokyo Imperial University in Jul 1906, and passed the test for diplomatic service in Sep of the same year. His first assignment was the Japanese embassy in Tianjin, China in Nov 1906, followed by Fentian (now Shenyang; also known as Mukden), China in Feb 1907. In Dec 1909, he was assigned to Italy. In Aug 1912, he was assigned to Andong, Japanese Korea. In Aug 1916, he was assigned to the Japanese embassy in the United States. In Feb 1918, he was assigned to Jinan, China. In 1919, he was a member of the Japanese legation at the Paris Peace Conference. In 1920, he was named the First Secretary of the Japanese embassy in Britain. In Mar 1922, he returned to China, serving in Tianjin until Oct 1925, and then in Fengtian until 1928. In Mar 1928, he was assigned to Sweden. In Jul of the same year, he was named the Deputy Foreign Minister. In Dec 1930, he became the Japanese ambassador to Italy. In Apr 1936, he became the ambassador to Britain. During the 1930s, he supported the increasing Japanese influence in China as well as the independence of northeastern China (also known as Manchuria) and Mongolia as means to weaken the Republic of China. He retired in 1938. Although he was a hawk with Chinese matters, he strongly advocated against a war against the United Kingdom and the United States. Just prior to the outbreak of the Pacific War, he aligned himself with Prince Fumimaro Konoe and attempted to de-escalate the situation, but to no success. He held no official positions during WW2. In late Apr 1945, he was arrested by the military due to his association with Konoe, but he would be released in Jun.
ww2dbaseDue to Yoshida's understanding of western culture and his anti-war stance in 1941, he was appointed the Foreign Minister, Demobilization Minister, and then the 45th Prime Minister of Japan by the US occupation authorities. Concurrently, he was made a member of the House of Peers of the Diet of Japan in Dec 1945; he would remain as a member of the House of Peers until it was disbanded in 1947. It was during his first term as prime minister that he gained the nickname "Churchill of Japan", for that he was often seen with cigars reminiscent of Winston Churchill. In the years immediately after the war, he also became a friend and close colleague of his superior Douglas MacArthur. In Oct 1948, he returned to the post once again as the 48th Prime Minister, this time under the new Japanese constitution, and he would retain this position through three further terms. During his rule, he rebuilt the infrastructure and industry which were devastated during the war and loosened government control on entertainment and culture. In 1951, he signed the Treaty of San Francisco, which officially marked Japan's defeat in WW2. He stepped down from his prime minister position in 1954 after a unfavorable outcome in a vote of no confidence. He retired from the Diet in 1963. In 1964, he was dispatched as Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda's special envoy to the Republic of China to meet with Chiang Kaishek. Later in the same year, he attended MacArthur's state funeral in the United States. He was rushed to a hospital in Oiso, Kanagawa, Japan in Aug 1967, where he would remain until his death in Oct 1967. On the day before his death, he reportedly murmured "I want to see Mount Fuji", and his family helped him sit up to allow him to look at the mountain out of his westward-facing window; these were reported to be his final words. His private funeral service was held at the Tokyo Roman Catholic Cathedral, and he was given a state funeral at the Nippon Budokan martial arts arena.
ww2dbaseYoshida's grandson Taro Aso served as the 92nd Prime Minister of Japan between 2008 and 2009.
Last Major Revision: Apr 2013
Shigeru Yoshida Timeline
|22 Sep 1878||Shigeru Yoshida was born in Kanda Surugadai, Tokyo, Japan.|
|17 Sep 1945||Shigeru Yoshida was named the Foreign Minister of Japan.|
|19 Dec 1945||Shigeru Yoshida was made a member of the House of Peers of the Japanese Diet.|
|22 May 1946||Shigeru Yoshida became the 45th Prime Minister and the Demobilization Minister of Japan.|
|15 Jun 1946||Shigeru Yoshida stepped down as the Demobilization Minister.|
|20 Dec 1946||Radical ethnic Koreans attacked Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan; Yoshida escaped harm.|
|30 Jan 1947||Shigeru Yoshida was made the Minister of Agriculture.|
|15 Feb 1947||Shigeru Yoshida stepped down as the Minister of Agriculture.|
|24 May 1947||Shigeru Yoshida stepped down as the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Japan.|
|15 Oct 1948||Shigeru Yoshida became the 48th Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Japan.|
|16 Feb 1949||Shigeru Yoshida became the 49th Prime Minister of Japan.|
|30 Apr 1952||Shigeru Yoshida stepped down as the Foreign Minister.|
|30 Oct 1952||Shigeru Yoshida became the 50th Prime Minister of Japan.|
|21 May 1953||Shigeru Yoshida became the 51st Prime Minister of Japan.|
|10 Dec 1954||Shigeru Yoshida stepped down as the Prime Minister of Japan after a unfavorable outcome in a vote of no confidence.|
|23 Oct 1963||Shigeru Yoshida retired from the Japanese Diet.|
|29 Apr 1964||Shigeru Yoshida was awarded Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum.|
|20 Oct 1967||Shigeru Yoshida passed away in Oiso, Kanagawa, Japan and was posthumously awarded Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum.|
|31 Oct 1967||Shigeru Yoshida was given a state funeral.|
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Winston Churchill, 1935
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