Hara, Takashi

Hara, Takashi (Kei)

(täkä`shē hä`rä), 1856–1921, Japanese statesman, prime minister (1918–21). As secretary-general and later president (1914), Hara established the SeiyukaiSeiyukai
, Japanese political party, founded in 1900. It was derived, via the Kenseito (see Minseito) from the Jiyuto, organized by Taisuke Itagaki in 1881. Under the astute political leadership of Takashi Hara, it was the most powerful party in Japan from 1900 to 1921.
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 as the first powerful majority party by compromise with the oligarchs (see 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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), distribution of patronage posts to cooperative bureaucrats, exploitation of public works legislation, and lavish use of election money. He was the first prime minister to form a party cabinet in accordance with principles of parliamentary government. He encouraged the extension of suffrage but suppressed labor organization. His administration was notable for the expedition to Siberia, the independence movement in Korea, Japanese participation in the Paris Peace Conference, labor unrest, and naval armament. He was assassinated by a fanatic.


See T. Najita, Hara Kei in the Politics of Compromise, 1905–1915 (1967).

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