Terauchi Masatake

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Terauchi Masatake
寺内 正毅
Masatake Terauchi 2.jpg
9th Prime Minister of Japan
In office
9 October 1916 29 September 1918
Monarch Taishō
Preceded by Ōkuma
Succeeded by Hara Takashi
Governor General of Korea
In office
1 October 1910 9 October 1916
Monarch Meiji
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Gensui Count Hasegawa
7th Minister of War of the Japanese Empire
In office
March 27, 1902 August 30, 1911
Monarch Meiji
Preceded by Kodama Gentarō
Succeeded by Ishimoto Shinroku
Personal details
Born(1852-02-05)5 February 1852
Yamaguchi, Chōshū Domain (Japan)
Died3 November 1919(1919-11-03) (aged 67)
Tokyo, Japan
Political party Independent
Spouse(s)Terauchi Taki (1862–1920)
Children Gensui Count Terauchi Hisaichi
Awards Order of the Rising Sun (1st class)
Order of the Golden Kite (1st Class)
Order of the Bath (Honorary Knight Grand Cross)
Signature TerauchiM kao.png
Military service
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Branch/service Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service1871–1910
Rank Gensui (Marshal)
Battles/wars Boshin War
Satsuma Rebellion
First Sino-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War

Gensui Count Terauchi Masatake(寺内 正毅), GCB (5 February 1852 – 3 November 1919), was a Japanese military officer, proconsul and politician. [1] He was a Gensui (or Marshal) in the Imperial Japanese Army and the 9th Prime Minister of Japan from 9 October 1916 to 29 September 1918.

<i>Gensui</i> (Imperial Japanese Army) rank in Imperial Japanese army

Marshal-army general was the highest title in the pre-war Imperial Japanese military.

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.

Order of the Bath series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.


Early period

Terauchi Masatake was born in Chōshū Domain (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture) as the son of a samurai .

Chōshū Domain Japanese historical estate in Nagato and Suō province

The Chōshū Domain was a feudal domain of Japan during the Edo period (1603–1867). It occupied the whole of modern-day Yamaguchi Prefecture. The capital city was Hagi. The name Chōshū was shorthand for Nagato Province. The domain played a major role in the Late Tokugawa shogunate. It is also known as the Hagi Domain.

Yamaguchi Prefecture Prefecture of Japan

Yamaguchi Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan in the Chūgoku region of the main island of Honshu. The capital is the city of Yamaguchi, in the center of the prefecture. The largest city, however, is Shimonoseki.

Samurai military nobility of pre-industrial Japan

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

As a young soldier, he fought in the Boshin War against the Tokugawa shogunate, and later was commissioned second lieutenant in the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army. He was injured and lost his right hand during the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, but his physical disability did not prove to be an impediment to his future military and political career.

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, sometimes known as the Japanese Revolution, was a 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.

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.

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.

Military career

In 1882, after being sent to France for military study as military attaché, Terauchi was appointed to several important military posts. He was the first Inspector General of Military Education in 1898 and made that post one of the three most powerful in the Imperial Army. He was appointed as Minister of the Army in 1901, during the first Katsura administration. The Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) occurred during his term as War Minister. After the war, he was ennobled with the title of danshaku (baron), and in 1911, his title was raised to that of hakushaku (count).

Military attaché military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission

A military attaché is a military expert who is attached to a diplomatic mission. This post is normally filled by a high-ranking military officer who retains the commission while serving in an embassy. Opportunities sometimes arise for service in the field with military forces of another state.

The Inspectorate General of Military Training was responsible for all non-military aviation training of the Imperial Japanese Army. It was headed by an Inspector general who was responsible for overseeing technical and tactical training, and who reported directly to the Emperor of Japan via the Imperial General Headquarters rather than to the Army Minister or the Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office. The position of Inspector-General of Military Training was thus the third most powerful position within the Japanese Army.

Katsura Tarō Japanese general and politician

Prince Katsura Tarō was a Japanese general in the Imperial Japanese Army, politician and the longest serving Prime Minister of Japan, having served three terms.

Korean Resident-General

General Viscount Terauchi (as he then was) was appointed as the third and last Japanese Resident-General of Korea on the assassination of Prince Itō in Harbin by An Jung-geun. As Resident-General, he executed the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty in 1910, and thus became the first Japanese Governor-General of Korea.

A viscount or viscountess is a title used in certain European countries for a noble of varying status. In many countries a viscount, and its historical equivalents, was a non-hereditary, administrative or judicial position, and did not develop into an hereditary title until much later. In the case of French viscounts, it is customary to leave the title untranslated as vicomte[vi.kɔ̃t] and vicomtesse.

Japanese Resident-General of Korea position

When Korea was a protectorate of the Empire of Japan, Japan was represented by the Resident-General.

A prince is a male ruler ranked below a king and above a duke or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. Prince is also a title of nobility, often hereditary, in some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess. The English word derives, via the French word prince, from the Latin noun princeps, from primus (first) and capio, meaning "the chief, most distinguished, ruler, prince".

The annexation of Korea by Japan and subsequent policies introduced by the new government was highly unpopular with large segments of the Korean population, and Terauchi employed military force to maintain control. General Terauchi used the deep historical and cultural ties between Korea and Japan as justification for the eventual goal of complete assimilation of Korea into the Japanese mainstream. To this end, thousands of schools were built across Korea. Although this contributed greatly to an increase in literacy and the educational standard, the curriculum was centered on Japanese language and history, with the intent of assimilation of the populace into loyal subjects of the Japanese Empire.

Other of Terauchi's policies also had noble goals but unforeseen consequences. For example, land reform was desperately needed in Korea. The Korean land ownership system was a complex system of absentee landlords, partial owner-tenants, and cultivators with traditional but without legal proof of ownership. Terauchi's new Land Survey Bureau conducted cadastral surveys that reestablished ownership by basis of written proof (deeds, titles, and similar documents). Ownership was denied to those who could not provide such written documentation (mostly lower class and partial owners, who had only traditional verbal "cultivator rights"). Although the plan succeeded in reforming land ownership/taxation structures, it added tremendously to the bitter and hostile environment of the time by enabling a huge amount of Korean land to be seized by the government and sold to Japanese developers. He was created a Count in the Kazoku in 1911.

Isabel Anderson, who visited Korea and met Count Terauchi in 1912, wrote as follows: [2]

The Japanese Governor-General, Count Terauchi, is a very strong and able man, and under his administration many improvements have been made in Korea. This has not always been done without friction between the natives and their conquerors, it must be confessed, but the results are certainly astonishing. The government has been reorganized, courts have been established, the laws have been revised, trade conditions have been improved and commerce has increased. Agriculture has been encouraged by the opening of experiment stations, railroads have been constructed from the interior to the sea-coast, and harbours have been dredged and lighthouses erected. Japanese expenditures in Korea have amounted to twelve million dollars yearly.

Isabel Anderson, The Spell of Japan, 1914

Political career

In 1916, Count Terauchi became the 9th person to serve as Prime Minister of Japan. During the same year, he received his promotion to the largely ceremonial rank of Gensui (or Marshal). His cabinet consisted solely of career bureaucrats as he distrusted career civilian politicians. During part of his administration he simultaneously also held the post of Foreign Minister and Finance Minister.

During his tenure, Count Terauchi pursued an aggressive foreign policy. He oversaw the Nishihara Loans (made to support the Chinese warlord Duan Qirui in exchange for confirmation of Japanese claims to parts of Shandong Province and increased rights in Manchuria) and the Lansing–Ishii Agreement (recognizing Japan's special rights in China). Terauchi upheld Japan's obligations to the United Kingdom under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in World War I, dispatching ships from the Imperial Japanese Navy to the South Pacific, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean, and seizing control of German colonies in Tsingtao and the Pacific Ocean. After the war, Japan joined the Allies in the Siberian Intervention (whereby Japan sent troops into Siberia in support of White Russian forces against the Bolshevik Red Army in the Russian Revolution).

In September 1918, Terauchi resigned his office, due to the rice riots that had spread throughout Japan due to inflation; he died the following year.

His decorations included the Order of the Rising Sun (1st class) and Order of the Golden Kite (1st Class).

The billiken doll, which was a Kewpie-like fad toy invented in 1908 and was very popular in Japan, lent its name to the Terauchi administration, partly due to the doll's uncanny resemblance to Count Terauchi's bald head.


Terauchi's eldest son, Gensui Count Terauchi Hisaichi, was the commander of the Imperial Japanese Army's Southern Expeditionary Army Group during World War II. The 2nd Count Terauchi was also a Gensui (or Marshal) like his father.


From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia


Japanese decorations

Foreign decorations


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Terauchi Masatake" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 964 , p. 964, at Google Books.
  2. Isabel Anderson, "The Spell of Japan", Boston, 1914, p.15.
  3. "No. 27913". The London Gazette . 15 May 1906. p. 3323.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Hayashi Tadasu
Minister of Foreign Affairs
July 1908 – August 1908
Succeeded by
Komura Jutarō
Preceded by
Sone Arasuke
Resident General of Korea
May 1910 – October 1910
Succeeded by
as Governor General of Korea
Preceded by
as Resident General of Korea
Governor General of Korea
October 1910 – October 1916
Succeeded by
Hasegawa Yoshimichi
Preceded by
Ōkuma Shigenobu
Prime Minister of Japan
October 1916 – September 1918
Succeeded by
Hara Takashi
Preceded by
Ishii Kikujirō
Minister of Foreign Affairs
October 1916 – November 1916
Succeeded by
Motono Ichirō
Preceded by
Taketomi Tomitoshi
Finance Minister
October 1916 – December 1916
Succeeded by
Kazue Shōda
Preceded by
Kodama Gentarō
War Minister
March 1902 – August 1911
Succeeded by
Ishimoto Shinroku
Military offices
Preceded by
Inspector-General of Military Training
January 1898 – April 1900
Succeeded by
Nozu Michitsura
Preceded by
Nozu Michitsura
Inspector-General of Military Training
January 1904 – May 1905
Succeeded by
Nishii Hiroshi