Sasaki Takayuki (佐々木高行)

Takayuki SASAKI (November 26, 1830-March 2, 1910) was a samurai of the Tosa Domain, a official in the Meiji government, and also a representative of political conservatives. He was one of three counts of Tosa Province (the others being Taisuke ITAGAKI and Shojiro GOTO). His childhood name was Mannosuke, and he was commonly known as Sanshiro. He was also a marquis.

Career

SASAKI was born in Setomura, Agawa District, Tosa Province (current day Aichi City, Aichi Prefecture) in 1830, the second son of the feudal samurai Takajun SASAKI. He studied under Masazumi KAMOCHI and fraternized with fellow pupil Zuizan TAKECHI under the sonno joi (revere the emperor, expel the barbarians) doctrine. He was a close adviser to domain lord Yodo YAMAUCHI, helping to administer the domain, and in 1867 went to Kyoto to discuss a petition for the restoration of imperial rule with Shojiro GOTO and Ryoma SAKAMOTO.

He worked for the Meiji Government as a sangi (councillor), an officer in the Ministry of Justice, and an aide in the Imperial Household Department, and in 1871 travelled to the West as a member of the Iwakura Mission. Following this, SASAKI, along with Tateki TANI and Nagazane MOTODA, spearheaded the 'Direct Imperial Rule Movement' in and around the Imperial Court and Chamber of Elders, called the 'Chusei Party' (sitting politically midway between the those advocating the Meiji oligarchy and those pushing for freedom and peoples' rights) for taking action to remove the authority of important government men such as Hirobumi ITO and embracing Emperor Meiji. Due to a political reshuffle following the 1881 Political Crisis, SASAKI was assigned the post of Minister for Public Works.

He was elevated to the title of hakushaku (count) in 1884 because of his achievements since the Restoration, and in the following year, with the commencement of the cabinet system, left the cabinet to work as an imperial court councillor and later privy councillor where he educated the Emperor Taisho, Imperial Princess Masako and Imperial Princess Fusako. In 1890, following an unsuccessful bid by SASAKI, Tomozane YOSHII and Takatomi SENGE to revive the Jingiin (Institute of Divinities), SASAKI worked with Shigeki NISHIMURA to promote piety, reverence for the emperor, and patriotism. In 1896, heeding strong requests, he became the second director of the Koten Kokyusho, a Shinto research and educational institute that been suffering a management crisis, putting great effort into its reorganization. In 1909 he became a marquis, and in 1910 died of illness. His grave is in Aoyama Cemetery.