Kuroda Kiyotaka

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Kuroda Kiyotaka
黒田 清隆
Kiyotaka Kuroda formal.jpg
6th President of the Privy Council
In office
17 March 1894 25 August 1900
Monarch Meiji
Preceded by Yamagata Aritomo
Succeeded by Saionji Kinmochi
2nd Prime Minister of Japan
In office
31 August 1896 18 September 1896
Preceded by Itō Hirobumi
Succeeded by Matsukata Masayoshi
In office
30 April 1888 25 October 1889
Preceded by Itō Hirobumi
Succeeded by Sanjō Sanetomi (Acting)
Personal details
Born(1840-11-09)9 November 1840
Kagoshima, Satsuma Domain
(now Kagoshima, Japan)
Died23 August 1900(1900-08-23) (aged 59)
Tokyo, Japan
Cause of death Intracerebral hemorrhage
Political party Independent
Signature KurodaK kao.png

Count Kuroda Kiyotaka(黒田 清隆, November 9, 1840 – August 23, 1900), also known as Kuroda Ryōsuke(黒田 了介), was a Japanese politician of the Meiji era. [1] He was the second Prime Minister of Japan from April 30, 1888, to October 25, 1889.

Count (Male), or Countess (Female), is a historical title of nobility in certain European countries, varying in relative status, generally of middling rank in the hierarchy of nobility. The etymologically related English term, "county" denoted the land owned by a count. Equivalents of the rank of count exist or have existed in the nobility structures of some non-European countries, such as hakushaku during the Japanese Imperial era.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Prime Minister of Japan Head of government of Japan

The Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government of Japan. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the National Diet and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office. He is the chairman of the Cabinet and appoints and dismisses the other Ministers of State. The literal translation of the Japanese name for the office is Minister for the Comprehensive Administration of the Cabinet.



As a Satsuma samurai

Kuroda was born to a samurai -class family serving the Shimazu daimyō of Kagoshima, Satsuma Domain, in Kyūshū.

Samurai Military nobility of pre-industrial Japan

Samurai (侍) were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan.

Shimazu clan noble family

The Shimazu clan were the daimyō of the Satsuma han, which spread over Satsuma, Ōsumi and Hyūga provinces in Japan.

<i>Daimyō</i> powerful territorial lord in pre-modern Japan

The daimyō were powerful Japanese feudal lords who, until their decline in the early Meiji period, ruled most of Japan from their vast, hereditary land holdings. In the term, dai (大) means "large", and myō stands for myōden(名田), meaning private land.

In 1862, Kuroda was involved in the Namamugi incident, in which Satsuma retainers killed a British national who refused to bow down to the daimyo's procession. This led to the Anglo-Satsuma War in 1863, in which Kuroda played an active role. Immediately after the war, he went to Edo where he studied gunnery.

Edo Former city in Musashi, Japan

Edo, also romanized as Jedo, Yedo or Yeddo, is the former name of Tokyo. It was the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1868. During this period, it grew to become one of the largest cities in the world and home to an urban culture centered on the notion of a "floating world".

Returning to Satsuma, Kuroda became an active member of the Satsuma-Chōshū joint effort to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate. Later, as a military leader in the Boshin War, he became famous for sparing the life of Enomoto Takeaki, who had stood against Kuroda's army at the Battle of Hakodate.

Satchō Alliance

The Satsuma-Chōshū Alliance, or Satchō Alliance was a military alliance between the feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū formed in 1866 to combine their efforts to restore Imperial rule and overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan.

Tokugawa shogunate Last feudal Japanese military government which existed between 1600 and 1868

The Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa Bakufu (徳川幕府) and the Edo Bakufu (江戸幕府), was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867. The head of government was the shōgun, and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan. The Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period. This time is also called the Tokugawa period or pre-modern.

Boshin War civil war in Japan, fought from 1868 to 1869 between forces of the ruling Tokugawa shogunate and those seeking to return political power to the Imperial Court

The Boshin War, also known as the Japanese Revolution, was a civil war fought in Japan between the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate and supporters of the Imperial Court from 27 January 1868 to 27 June 1869.

Political and Diplomatic Career

Kuroda as a young man Kuroda Kiyotaka2.jpg
Kuroda as a young man

Under the new Meiji government, Kuroda became a pioneer-diplomat to Karafuto, claimed by both Japan and the Russian Empire in 1870. Terrified of Russia's push eastward, Kuroda returned to Tokyo and advocated quick development and settlement of Japan's northern frontier. In 1871 he traveled to Europe and the United States for five months, and upon returning to Japan in 1872, he was put in charge of colonization efforts in Hokkaidō.

Sakhalin large Russian island in the North Pacific Ocean

Sakhalin is Russia's largest island, lying in the North Pacific Ocean between 45°50' and 54°24' N. It is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast. Sakhalin, which is about one third the size of Honshu, is just off the east coast of Russia, and just north of Japan. The island's population was 497,973 as of the 2010 census, made up of mostly ethnic Russians and a smaller Korean community. The indigenous peoples of the island are the Ainu, Oroks and Nivkhs.

Russian Empire former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

In 1874, Kuroda was named director of the Hokkaidō Colonization Office, and organized a colonist-militia scheme to settle the island with unemployed ex-samurai and retired soldiers who would serve as both farmers and as a local militia. He was also promoted to lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army. Kuroda invited agricultural experts from overseas countries with a similar climate to visit Hokkaidō, and to provide advice on what crops and production methods might be successful.

Lieutenant general, lieutenant-general and similar is a three-star military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages, where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a captain general.

Imperial Japanese Army Official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan, from 1868 to 1945

The Imperial Japanese Army was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.

Kuroda was dispatched as an envoy to Korea in 1875, and negotiated the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876. In 1877, he was sent as part of the force to suppress the Satsuma Rebellion. In 1878, he became de facto leader of Satsuma Domain following the assassination of Ōkubo Toshimichi.

Shortly before he left office in Hokkaidō, Kuroda became the central figure in the Hokkaidō Colonization Office Scandal of 1881. As part of the government's privatization program, Kuroda attempted to sell the assets of the Hokkaidō Colonization Office to a trading consortium created by some of his former Satsuma colleagues for a nominal price. When the terms of the sale were leaked to the press, the resultant public outrage caused the sale to fall through. Also in 1881, Kuroda's wife died of a lung disease, but on rumors that Kuroda had killed her in a drunken rage, the body was exhumed and examined. Kuroda was cleared of charges, but rumors of his problems with alcohol abuse persisted.

The embassy of Kuroda Kiyotaka, in Pusan, on its way to Ganghwa Island (Jiang Hua Dao ), Korea, January 16, 1876. There were 2 warships ( Nisshin, Moshun and 3 troop transports of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and one liner for the embassy led by Kuroda. KanfadoKantai.jpg
The embassy of Kuroda Kiyotaka, in Pusan, on its way to Ganghwa Island (江華島), Korea, January 16, 1876. There were 2 warships ( Nisshin, Moshun and 3 troop transports of the Imperial Japanese Navy, and one liner for the embassy led by Kuroda.
Kuroda Kiyotaka signed the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1876, opening Korea to Japanese trade, in 1876 GanghwaTreaty.jpg
Kuroda Kiyotaka signed the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1876, opening Korea to Japanese trade, in 1876

In 1887, Kuroda was appointed to the cabinet post of Minister of Agriculture and Commerce.

Prime minister

Kuroda Kiyotaka became the 2nd Prime Minister of Japan, after Itō Hirobumi in 1888. During his term, he oversaw the promulgation of the Meiji Constitution. However, the vexing issue of Japan's inability to secure revision of the unequal treaties created considerable controversy. After drafts of proposed revisions drawn up his foreign minister Ōkuma Shigenobu became public in 1889, Kuroda was forced to resign.

Later life

Kuroda served as Minister of Communications in 1892 under the 2nd Ito Cabinet. In 1895 he became a genrō , and chairman of the Privy Council. Kuroda died of a brain hemorrhage in 1900 and Enomoto Takeaki presided over his funeral ceremonies. His grave is at the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.


From the corresponding Japanese Wikipedia article

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  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Kuroda Kiyotaka" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 578 , p. 578, at Google Books.

Further reading

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Kiyotaka Kuroda at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by
Hijikata Hisamoto
Minister of Agriculture and Commerce
Succeeded by
Inoue Kaoru
Preceded by
Itō Hirobumi
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Sanjō Sanetomi
Preceded by
Gotō Shōjirō
Minister of Communications
Succeeded by
Watanabe Kunitake
Preceded by
Yamagata Aritomo
Chairman of the Privy Council
Succeeded by
Saionji Kinmochi
Preceded by
Itō Hirobumi
Prime Minister of Japan

Succeeded by
Matsukata Masayoshi