Matsukata, Masayoshi

Matsukata, Masayoshi

(mäsī`ōshē mätso͞o`kä'tä), 1835–1924, Japanese statesman. A Satsuma clansman and a genrogenro
[ Jap.,=elder statesmen], a group that exercised collective leadership in Japan from the end of the Meiji period until c.1932. After the Meiji restoration (1868), Westernizers from the former Choshu and Satsuma domains came to power, abolishing feudalism and modernizing
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, he was a leading figure in the modernization of Japan. As finance minister (1881–91) his programs stimulated economic activity, increased exports, and laid the basis for armament expansion. As prime minister (1891–92) he dissolved the diet and used the police in the subsequent election, which he nonetheless lost. He became prime minister again (1896–97) and was keeper of the privy seal (1917–22).
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