Yoshida Shigeru

Shigeru Yoshida
吉田 茂
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
15 October 1948 – 10 December 1954
Monarch Shōwa
Governor Douglas MacArthur
Matthew Ridgway
Preceded by Hitoshi Ashida
Succeeded by Ichirō Hatoyama
In office
22 May 1946 – 24 May 1947
Monarch Shōwa
Governor Douglas MacArthur
Preceded by Kijūrō Shidehara
Succeeded by Tetsu Katayama
Personal details
Born (1878-09-22)22 September 1878
Yokosuka, Japan
Died 20 October 1967(1967-10-20) (aged 89)
Tokyo, Japan
Political party Liberal Democratic Party (1955–1967)
Other political
Liberal Party (1945–1950)
Democratic Liberal Party (1950–1955)
Spouse(s) Yukiko Yoshida
Children Ken'ichi Yoshida
Kazuko Yoshida
Alma mater Tokyo Imperial University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Shigeru Yoshida (吉田 茂 Yoshida Shigeru?), KCVO (22 September 1878 – 20 October 1967) was a Japanese diplomat and politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 1946 to 1947 and from 1948 to 1954.

Early life

Yoshida was born in Yokosuka near Tokyo and educated at Tokyo Imperial University. He entered Japan's diplomatic corps in 1906 just after Japan's victory against Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. He was Japan's ambassador to Italy and the United Kingdom during the 1930s and finally retired from his last appointment as ambassador to London in 1938. Throughout the 1930s and before the war ended in the 1940s, Yoshida continued to participate in Japan's imperialist movement. After several months' imprisonment in 1945, he became one of Japan's key postwar leaders.

Prime ministership

Yoshida became the 45th prime minister on 22 May 1946. His pro-American and pro-British ideals and his knowledge of Western societies, gained through education and political work abroad are what made him the perfect candidate in the eyes of the postwar Allied occupation. He is de facto the last prime minister of the Empire of Japan, before it was abolished following the signing of the constitution.

After being replaced with Tetsu Katayama on 24 May 1947, he returned to the post as the 48th prime minister on 15 October 1948.


Yoshida's policies, emphasizing Japan's economic recovery and a reliance on United States military protection at the expense of independence in foreign affairs, became known as the Yoshida Doctrine and shaped Japanese foreign policy during the Cold War era and beyond.[1]

Under Yoshida's leadership, Japan began to rebuild its lost industrial infrastructure and placed a premium on unrestrained economic growth. Many of these concepts still impact Japan's political and economic policies. However, since the 1970s environmental movement, the bursting of Japan's economic bubble, and the end of the Cold War, Japan has been struggling to redefine its national goals. His administration openly encouraged a "3-S" policy—sports, screen, and sex, a change from the strict pre-war censorship of materials labeled obscene or immoral.

He was retained in three succeeding elections (49th: 16 February 1949; 50th: 30 October 1952; and 51st: 21 May 1953). Power slipped away as he was ousted on 10 December 1954, when he was replaced by Ichirō Hatoyama.

Yoshida retired from the Diet of Japan in 1963.

Later years

In 1967, Yoshida was baptized on his deathbed after hiding his Catholicism throughout most of his life. His funeral was held in St. Mary's Cathedral, Tokyo.

Yoshida's grandchildren are Princess Tomohito of Mikasa and Tarō Asō, a Japanese politician who served as the 92nd Prime Minister of Japan from 2008 to 2009.


From the corresponding article in the Japanese World Heritage Encyclopedia

  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (29 April 1940)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (29 April 1964)
  • Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (20 October 1967; posthumous)

Selected works

Yoshida's published writings encompass 159 works in 307 publications in 6 languages; His work can be found in the collections of 5,754 libraries worldwide (as of 5 June 2001).[2]

The most widely held works by Yoshida include:

  • The Yoshida Memoirs: the Story of Japan in Crisis; 15 editions published between 1957 and 1983 in English and Japanese and held by 875 libraries worldwide.[2]
  • Japan's Decisive Century, 1867–1967; 1 edition published in 1967 in English and held by 650 libraries worldwide.[2]
  • Yoshida Shigeru: Last Meiji Man; 2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 286 libraries worldwide.[2]
  • 日本を決定した百年; 7 editions published between 1967 and 2006 in 3 languages and held by 46 libraries worldwide.[2]
  • 大磯隨想; 5 editions published between 1962 and 1991 in Japanese and held by 34 libraries worldwide.[2]
  • 吉田茂書翰; 2 editions published in 1994 in Japanese and held by 31 libraries worldwide.[2]
  • 世界と日本; 3 editions published between 1963 and 1992 in Japanese and held by 26 libraries worldwide.[2]
  • Japan im Wiederaufstieg; die Yoshida Memoiren (German); 1 edition published in 1963 in German and held by 9 libraries worldwide.[2]



  • Rodan, Garry, Hewison, Kevin and Robison, Richard. (1997). The Political Economy of South-East Asia: An Introduction. Melbourne: OCLC 464661946
  • McGrew, Anthony and Christopher Book. (1998) Asia-Pacific in the New World Order. London: OCLC 60184921
  • Shigeru Yoshida and Hiroshi Nara. (2007). Shigeru: Last Meiji Man. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. 13-OCLC 238440967

Further reading

  • Dower, John W. Empire and Aftermath: Yoshida Shigeru and the Japanese Experience, 1878–1954.
  • Edström, Bert. Yoshida Shigeru and the Foundation of Japan's Postwar Foreign Policy.
  • Finn, Richard B. Winners in peace: MacArthur, Yoshida, and Postwar Japan.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Mamoru Shigemitsu
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Hitoshi Ashida
Preceded by
Kijūrō Shidehara
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Tetsu Katayama
Preceded by
Hitoshi Ashida
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Mamoru Shigemitsu
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Ichirō Hatoyama

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