Prince was a Japanese statesman,
Resident-General of Korea,
four time Prime Minister of
Japan (the 1st, 5th, 7th and 10th) and genrō. Itō was assassinated by An Jung-geun, a Korean nationalist who was
against the Annexation of Korea by the Japanese Empire.
son-in-law, having married his second daughter, Ikuko.
Itō was born as the son of Hayashi Juzo. He was originally named
Hayashi Risuke. His father Hayashi Juzo was the adopted son
of Mizui Buhei who was an adopted son of Itō Yaemon's family, a
lower class samurai from Hagi, Chōshū domain
Mizui Buhei was renamed to Itō Naoemon.
Mizui Juzo took the name Itō Juzo, and Hayashi Risuke was renamed
to Itō Shunsuke(Itō Hirobumi). He was a student of Yoshida Shoin
at the Shoka Sonjuku
and later joined the
movement (“to revere
the Emperor and expel the barbarians”), together with Kido Takayoshi
. Itō was chosen to be
one of the Chōshū Five who
studied at University College London in 1863, and the experience in Great Britain convinced him of the necessity of Japan adopting
Itō returned to Japan with fellow student Inoue Kaoru to attempt to warn the Chōshū clan
against going to war with the foreign powers (the Bombardment of Shimonoseki) over
the right of passage through the Straits of Shimonoseki.
At that time, he met Ernest Satow
for the first time, later a
Meiji Restoration, Itō was
appointed governor of Hyōgo Prefecture, junior councilor for Foreign Affairs, and sent to
States in 1870 to study Western currency systems.
Returning to Japan in 1871, he established Japan's taxation system.
Later that year, he was sent on the Iwakura Mission
around the world as
vice-envoy extraordinary, during which he won the confidence of
In 1873, Itō was made a full councilor, Minister of Public Works,
and in 1875 chairman of the first Assembly of Prefectural
Governors. After Okubo's assassination, he took over the post of
and secured a
central position in the Meiji
. In 1881 he urged Okuma
to resign, leaving himself in unchallenged
Itō went to Europe
in 1882 to study the
constitutions of those countries, spending nearly 18 months away
from Japan. While working on a constitution for Japan, he also
wrote the first Imperial
and established the Japanese peerage
) in 1884.
he negotiated the Convention of
Tianjin with Li Hongzhang,
normalizing Japan's diplomatic relations with Qing Dynasty China.
As Prime Minister
Also in 1885, based on European ideas, Itō established a cabinet system
of government, replacing the
as the decision-making
state organization, and on December 22, 1885, he became the first
prime minister of
On April 30, 1888, Itō resigned as prime minister, but headed the
new Privy Council
power behind-the-scenes. In 1889, he also became the first
. The Meiji Constitution
was promulgated in
He remained a powerful force while Kuroda Kiyotaka
and Yamagata Aritomo
, his political nemesis,
were prime ministers.
During Itō’s second term as prime minister (August 8, 1892 – August
31, 1896), he supported the First Sino-Japanese War
negotiated the Treaty of
in March 1895 with his ailing foreign minister
. In the Anglo-Japanese
Treaty of Commerce and Navigation
of 1894, he succeeded in
removing some of the onerous unequal
clauses that had plagued Japanese foreign relations
since the start of the Meiji period.
During Itō’s third term as prime minister (January 12 – June 30,
1898), he encountered problems with party
. Both the Jiyuto
opposed his proposed
new land taxes, and in retaliation, Itō dissolved the Diet
and called for new elections. As a
result, both parties merged into the Kenseito,
won a majority of the seats, and
forced Itō to resign. This lesson taught Itō the need for a
pro-government political party
he organized the Rikken
in 1900. Itō's womanizing was a popular theme in
editorial cartoons and in parodies by contemporary comedians, and
was used by his political enemies in their campaign against
Itō returned to office as prime minister for a fourth term from
October 19, 1900, to May 10, 1901, this time facing political
opposition from the House of Peers
Weary of political back-stabbing, he resigned in 1901, but remained
as head of the Privy Council as the premiership alternated between
and Katsura Taro
. Itō received an honorary doctorate from
University around this
during his terms as Prime Minister that he invited Professor
George Trumbull Ladd of
University to serve as
a diplomatic adviser to promote mutual understanding between Japan
and the United States.
It was because of his series of
lectures he delivered in Japan revolutionizing its educational
methods, that he was the first foreigner to receive the Second
Class honor (conferred by the Meiji
in 1907) and the Third Class honor (conferred by The
Meiji Emperor in 1899) Orders
of the Rising Sun
. He later wrote an interesting book on his
personal experiences in Korea and with Resident-General Ito. When
he died, half his ashes were buried in a Tokyo Temple and a
monument was erected to him.
As Resident-General of Korea
In November 1905, following the Russo-Japanese War
, the Korean government
signed the Eulsa Treaty
, making Korea a
. After the Eulsa
Treaty had been signed, Itō became the first Resident-General of Korea
December 21, 1905. He urged Emperor Gojong
abdicate in 1907 in favor of his son Emperor Sunjong
pushed through the Japan-Korea Annexation
Treaty of 1907
, giving Japan control over Korean internal
affairs. However, Ito's position was nuanced. He was firmly
Korea falling into the hand of China and Russia,
which would cause a grave threat to Japan's national security.
However, he was actually against
the annexation, instead
advocating that Korea remain a protectorate
. When the
cabinet eventually voted to annex Korea, he insisted and obtained a
delay, hoping that the decision of annexation could be reversed in
the future. His political nemesis, the politically influential
Imperial Japanese Army, led by Yamagata Aritomo, whose main faction
was advocating annexation forced Itō to resign on June 14, 1909.
His assassination is believed to have accelerated the path to the
Itō proclaimed that if East Asia would not co-operate together like
brothers, all would be absorbed into Western countries. Gojong and
the Joseon government believing in these claims, agreed to help the
Japanese military. However, the opinion of Joseon soon turned
against Japan as many of Japanese actions were considered to be too
brutal and barbaric including confiscation of lands and drafting
civilians for forced labor, even executing those that resisted.
Ironically his killer An Jung-geun strongly believed in a union of
the three great countries in East Asia, China, Korea, and Japan in
order to counter and fight off the "White Peril", being the
European countries engaged in colonialism, restoring peace to East
arrived at the Harbin train
station on October 26, 1909 for a meeting with a Russian
representative in Manchuria.
he arrived and proceeded to meet the Russian, An Jung-geun
, a Korean nationalist
and independence activist
six shots at him. Three of those shots hit Itō in the chest and he
died shortly thereafter.
According to Sunjong
, Gojong said on October 28, 1909 that Itō
Hirobumi made great efforts to develop civilization. He was the
cornerstone of East Asian peace. He also invoked Korea–Japan
relations with his whole heart, taking a broad view of the world.
He educated the crown prince well when he was the governor of
Korea. However, it should be noted that Gojong
sillok and Sujong sillok are regarded as "unreliable
documents" by Korean academics, given that the two sillok
are not designated as National Treasures of South
Korea and UNESCO's World Heritage unlike other sillok
due to Japanese influence exerted on them.
These last 2
documents are regarded as a falsification of history.
A portrait of Itō Hirobumi was on the 1,000 yen
note of Japan from 1963 until a
new series was issued in 1984. His former house is preserved as a
museum near the Shoin Jinja, in Hagi city, Yamaguchi prefecture.
However, the actual structure was Itō’s second home, formerly
located in Shinagawa
The publishing company Hakubunkan
named after Itō, based on an alternate pronunciation of his
∴Hayasi AwajinokamiMichioki ┃ ┣━━━━┳━━━━┳━━━━━━━━━┳━━━━━┳━━━━━┳━━━━┳━━━━━┓ ┃ ┃ ┃Hayasi Magoemon ┃ ┃ ┃ ┃ ┃Michimoto Michiyo Michisige Michiyoshi Michisada Michikata Michinaga Michisue ┃ ┃ ┃Hayasi Magosaburō Nobukatsu ┃ ┃ ┃Hayasi Magoemon Nobuyoshi ┃ ┏━━━━━━━━━╋━━━━━┳━━━━┓ ┃Hayasi Magoemon ┃ ┃ ┃Nobuaki Sakuzaemon Sojyurō Matazaemon ┃ ┃ ┃ ┃ ┃Hayasi Hanroku ┃Nobuhisa Genzō ┃ ┃ ┣━━━━━┓ ┃ ┃ ┃ ┃Sōzaemon Heijihyōe Yoichiemon ┃ ┃ ┏━━━━━┻━━━┓ ┏━━━┫ ┃Hayasi Hanroku ┃ ┃ ┃Rihachirō Riemon Masuzō Sukezaemon ┃adopted son of Hayasi Rihachirō ┏━━┳━━━━━━━━━━━━┫ ┃Itō ┃Hayasi Shinbei's wife ┃Morita Naoyoshi's wife Jyuzō woman woman ┃ ┃ ┃Itō Hirobumi ┃ ┏━━━━╋━━━━━┳━━━━┳━━━┓ ┃Itō ┃Kida ┃Itō ┃ ┃Hirokuni Humiyoshi Shinichi woman woman ┃ ┣━━━━┳━━━━━┳━━━━━━┳━━━┳━━━━━┳━━━━┳━━━━┳━━━━━┳━━━━┳━━━━━┳━━━┳━━━┓ ┃Itō ┃Shimizu ┃Itō ┃Itō ┃Itō ┃Itō ┃Itō ┃Itō ┃Itō ┃Itō ┃ ┃ ┃Hirotada Hiroharu Hiromichi Hiroya Hirotada Hiroomi Hironori Hirotsune Hirotaka Hirohide woman woman woman ┃ ┣━━━━┳━━━┳━━┳━━━┳━━┓ ┃Itō ┃ ┃ ┃ ┃ ┃Hiromasa woman woman woman woman woman ┃ ┣━━━━┓ ┃Itō ┃Tomoaki woman
∴Itō Yaemon ┃Itō Naoemon (Mizui Buhei)Yaemon's adopted son ┃Itō Jyuzō (Hayashi Jyuzo)Naoemon's adopted son ┃Itō Hirobumi (Hayashi Risuke)
- Hamada Kengi (1936). Prince Ito. Tokyo: Sanseido
- Johnston, John T.M. (1917). World patriots. New York:
World Patriots Co.
- Kusunoki Sei'ichirō (1991). Nihon shi omoshiro suiri: Nazo
no satsujin jiken wo oe. Tokyo: Futami bunko.
- Ladd, George T. (1908). In Korea with Marquis Ito
- Nakamura Kaju (1910). Prince Ito, the man and the
statesman, a brief history of his life. New York:
Japanese-American commercial weekly and Anraku Pub. Co.
- Palmer, Frederick (1910). Marquis Ito: the great man of