Born Oct. 23, 1849, in Kyoto; died Nov. 24, 1940, in Okitsu. Japanese political figure.
A member of the court nobility by birth, Saionji participated in the incomplete bourgeois revolution of 1867–68. He was a councillor in the postrevolutionary government. From 1885 to 1888 he was envoy to Austria-Hungary, and from 1888 to 1891, envoy to Germany. From 1900 to 1903 he was head of the Privy Council. He was a leader of the Seiyukai. Saionji was prime minister from 1901 to 1902, from 1906 to 1908, and from 1911 to 1912. From 1912 he was a genro. He led Japan’s delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919–20. As genro, Saionji played an important role in the formation of many of Japan’s governments.