Born Feb. 16, 1838, in Saga; died Jan. 10, 1922, in Tokyo. Japanese statesman. By origin a samurai of the Saga principality.
After the Revolution of 1867–68, Okuma held important posts in the departments of industry and finance of the Restoration government. From 1873 to 1881 he headed the department of finance. He was closely associated with the Mitsubishi company, which later became one of the largest Japanese business concerns. In 1882, Okuma founded the bourgeois Kaishinto (Progressive Party). He was a member of the right-wing liberal constitutional movement until 1888.
In 1882, Okuma founded the Tokyo Special School (Tokyo Semmon Gakko), which in 1903 became Waseda University. He was rector of the university from 1907 to 1914. In 1888–89 and 1896–97, Okuma served as foreign minister. In 1898 he was prime minister and foreign minister; from 1914 to 1916 he served as prime minister. Japan entered World War I (August 1914) under Okuma’s second government. Okuma helped draft the excessive Twenty-one Demands made on China (1915).
REFERENCESOcherki novoi istorii Iaponii. Moscow, 1958. (See name index.)
Iddittie Junesay. The Life of Marquis Shigenobu Okuma. Tokyo, 1956.