Kimmochi Saionji

Kimmochi Saionji

Kimmochi Saionji was born in Japan in 1849. A member of the aristocracy he held liberal views. After spending ten years living in France he developed pro-democratic opinions and advocated stronger links with Europe.

Saionji served in several cabinets and was president of the privy council (1900-03). He became president of the Seiyukai Party and was prime minister in 1906-98 and 1911-12. After retiring from politics in 1914 he became the principal tutor to Emperor Hirohito.

In 1919 he headed the Japanese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. Saionji was unpopular with Japanese nationalists and he escaped assassination in the military coup in February 1936. As an elder statesman he promoted the career of Fumimaro Kondoye and helped him become prime minister in 1937.

Kimmochi Saionji died in 1940.

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