Itō, Hirobumi


Itō, Hirobumi
(1841–1909)
   The preeminent Japanese statesman of the Meiji period, Hirobumi Itō served as prime minister on four occasions (1885–1888, 1892–1896, 1898, 1900–1901). While studying in Europe as a young man, Itō became convinced of the need for Japan to abandon its insularity and modernize. Returning to Japan, Itō was instrumental in establishing the political institutions of the Meiji Restoration. From 1883 to 1889, he supervised the drafting of Japan’s first constitution. In 1885, he created a modern civil service, established a cabinet and became the first prime minister of the Japanese empire. Itō supported the Sino-Japanese War and negotiated the Treaty of Shimonoseki, but subsequently failed to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Russia.
   In 1906, he was appointed resident-general in Korea. In 1909, Itō was assassinated by a Korean nationalist while visiting Manchuria, and the military used the pretext of his death to annex Korea to the empire.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Beasley, W. G. The Meiji Restoration. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1972;
    Nish, Ian. Japanese Foreign Policy, 1869–1942: Kasumigaseki to Miyakezaka. London: Routledge, 1977.
   ADRIAN U-JIN ANG

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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  • Ito, Hirobumi — (1841 1909)    A leading statesman of the Meiji period and close confidante of the Meiji emperor. He was born and initially served as a soldier in the fief of Choshu, southern Kyushu, the domain which provided most of the new Meiji government… …   A Popular Dictionary of Shinto

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