Ito Miyoji (伊東巳代治)

Miyoji ITO, who lived from May 29, 1857 to February 19, 1934, was a bureaucrat and statesman during the Meiji, Taisho and Show periods. He was a court of Jyunii-Kun Itto (Junior Second Rank, First order of merit). He was from Nagasaki Prefecture.

From early on in life, he pursued his studies in the English language. After working as a translator in Hyogo Prefecture, he went to Tokyo in 1871, enjoyed favor with Hirobumi ITO, and served in the Ministry of Works in the Meiji government.

In 1882, he took part in the investigations on the European constitutions, and after he came back, he was involved in making drafts of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan as secretary to ITO, along with Kowashi INOUE and Kentaro KANEKO. He was assigned, on Imperial orders, as secretary to the prime minister in 1889 and as member of Kizokuin (the House of Peers) in 1890; he also served in important posts including head secretary of the Second Ito Cabinet and head secretary of the Privy Council in 1892, and the Minister of Agriculture and Commerce in 1898 as he was active in political operations.

In 1891, he took over Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun (present Mainichi Shinbun) which was having management difficulties, and of which he became the third president while still being in politics; and he argued in defense of the government on the Japanese political and diplomatic fronts from the Sino-Japanese War through the Russo-Japanese war. He served 13 years as president until he sold the company to Takaaki KATO in 1904.

After the Sino-Japanese War, he also gained favor with Aritomo YAMAGATA and became greatly influential when he became councilor for the Privy Council in 1899. Although he took part in preparations for the 1900 formation of ITO's Rikken Seiyukai, he did not join the party; while he stayed outside the party, he often appeared in the political scene by way of his political connections, and proclaimed himself to be 'guardian of the Constitution' as he got involved in various maneuvers for the bureaucratic power; and he remained a powerful figure in the Privy Council and continued to be influential in the political world until the early Showa era.

In 1917, he became an interim investigation commissioner on foreign affairs and he was involved in the decision of important foreign policy, then he always insisted the aggressive one. Since he was critical of the Cabinet of the Kenseikai and Rikken Minseito, along with minister of foreign affairs Kijuro SHIDEHARA, which took a cooperative diplomatic stance, he rejected an emergency imperial bail-out bill for the Bank of Taiwan and forced the First Wakatsuki Cabinet to resign in 1927; and he acted against the Osachi Hamaguchi Cabinet in the 1930 conclusion of the London Naval Conference.

He also served as president of the Council on the Imperial House System of the Imperial House and was granted the title of viscount in 1907; and he was advanced to count in 1922. He was a cousin on his mother's side of the Emperor Meiji.

Literary Works

Diary and Record of Miyoji ITO, Mikan Suiso Nikki: seven volumes in total, formerly possessed by the Political History Compilation Committee (Book Information: ISBN 4-89714-752-2)