Yoshida Kiyonari (吉田清成)

Kiyonari YOSHIDA (March 21, 1845 - August 3, 1891) was a feudal retainer of Satsuma Domain during the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate. He was a bureaucrat during the Meiji period. His original name was Minoji. His common name was Taro. While studying abroad, he changed name and identified as Momosuke NAGAI.

Biography and Personal Profile

In 1865, YOSHIDA studied in England and the United States of America as an overseas student of the Satsuma Domain, first on navigation, and later politics and economics. In 1870, after returning, he joined the Ministry of Finance and served as the head of land tax and Okura no shofu (Junior Assistant Minister of the Ministry of the Finance). In 1872, he was sent to England and the United States of America for the floatation of government bonds, and two years later, he was assigned as minister plenipotentiary for the U.S. while he was still staying there. Yoshida is famous by the Treaty of YOSHIDA-EVARTS which was concluded in 1878.

He briefly returned to Japan in 1879, in order to receive former U. S. President Ulysses Grant during his visit to Japan. In 1882, he was appointed as Gaimu-taifu (a post of Foreign Ministry), and worked under Gaimukyo (chief of Foreign Ministry) Kaoru INOUE on the revision of treaties. In 1886, he was transferred to Noshomu-taifu (a post of Agricultural Ministry) and became the first vice minister.

In 1887, he was conferred as viscount, appointed as Genroin gikan (councilor of Chamber of Senate), and became a privy councilor next year. However, being struck by disease, he died at the age of 47.

YOSHIDA left a large volume of letters, diaries and other memos, totaling some 2,700 items, which are kept at the Kyoto University, titled 'Kiyonari YOSHIDA Archives.'