Yukio Ozaki (尾崎 行雄 Ozaki
Yukio) December 24 1858–October 6 1954) was a liberal Japanese politician, born in modern-day Sagamihara,
Yukio Ozaki in 1917.
Ozaki served in the House of
Representatives of the Japanese Diet for 63 years, from
Career of public service
Ozaki began his career as a student at Keio Gijuku, before becoming
chief editor of the Niigata
Newspaper) at the age of 20. At 22 he returned to Tokyo and was
given an appointment at the Bureau of Statistics. He was elected to
the Tokyo Prefectural Assembly in 1885, before being expelled from
Tokyo in 1887 for 3 years.
Ozaki was elected to the First Parliament as a member of the House
of Representatives from Mie prefecture; and he was re-elected 25 times.
these years, he was named to a number of cabinet posts. In 1898 he
was Minister of Education 1898, a position which he had to resign
due to a speech which conservative elements in the Diet considered
to have promoted republicanism
resignation did not end the crisis, which culminated with the fall
of PM Ōkuma Shigenobu
split in the then-ruling Kenseitō
Party. Later on, in 1914, he was Minister of Justice. He is
nicknamed "the god of constitutionalism" (kensei no kami) and "the
father of parliamentary government".
He married teacher and folklore author Yei Theodora Ozaki
, who was not related
to him despite sharing the same surname as her maiden name. For
many years, her letters were frequently delivered by mistake to
him, and his to her. In 1904, after the death of his first wife,
the two met and married. Among the couple's three daughters is
, who became Japan's first
simultaneous English/Japanese translator. This daughter claims to
represent her father's legacy because, as she explains it, she is
only following in her father's footsteps as president of Japan's
Association for Aid and
(AAR Japan), one of the network of co-laureate
organizations honored with the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize
Ozaki was opposed to militarism
; and was
sometimes confined by the authorities for expressing unpopular
views. He could also applaud those whose beliefs differed from his
own. For example, in 1921, would-be assassins rushed into his house
while he hid in the garden with his daughter, Yukika. The father of
one of these dangerous young men later approached Ozaki to
apologize in person for the actions of his son. Ozaki immediately
responded by with a 32-syllable tanka
poem, which he
handed to the surprised man:
- ::If it was patriotism that drove the young man,
- ::My would-be assassin deserves honor for it.
As the second elected Mayor of Tokyo after its administration was
separated from the surround prefecture, he found himself in an
arduous and sometimes disagreeable job—but his determination to
make the city better produced noticeable results. Initial
infrastructure projects which demanded his attention were
wide-ranging: improving water supply and sewage, developing street
surfacing, expanding streetcar service, and overseeing gas company
mergers. His mayoral position also provided the more ambiguous
range opportunities which attended entertaining foreign dignitaries
like US Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan
Field Marshal Lord Kitchener
The City of Tokyo presented cherry tree saplings to the City of
Washington, D.C. in 1912. The annual display of cherry blossoms on trees to be found in the
Park surrounding the Tidal
Basin in the US capital city are the results of Ozaki's
persistence in furthering this project during a time when he was
mayor of Tokyo.
These flowering trees were the genesis of
the continuing National
Cherry Blossom Festival
in Washington, D.C. and in other states
Ozaki's pen name was Ozaki Gakudo
until he reliquished it
in 1946 in exchange for "So-tsuō"
(meaning "grand old man
of ninety"), simply because he had attained the age of ninety.
Starting in 1996, a yearly Gakudo Award has been "presented to
individuals or organizations active in issues including the
promotion of democracy, disarmament and human rights".
- Order of the Rising
- Fifty years as Member of the Diet.
- Honorary Member of the Diet.
- Honorary Citizen of Tokyo.
- Special Resolution of the United States Senate.
- Ozaki, Yukio. (2001). The Autobiography of Ozaki Yukio: The
Struggle for Constitutional Government in Japan pp. 1-6.
- Yukio Ozaki Foundation homepage, English
- Ozaki, Autobiography, pp. xiv.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, pp. 177-184.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, pp. 285-294.
- National Diet Library, Portraits of Modern Japanese
- Ozaki, Autobiography, pp. 245-246.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 386; ...AAR President Yukika Sohma
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 342.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 224-237.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 244-245.
- Constable, Pamela. "Nurturing a Legacy of Fleeting
Blossoms and Enduring Bonds", Washington Post, April
8, 2007. p. A-1.
- Ozaki, pp. 231-233.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 277.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 420.
- Inter Press Service Japan (IPSJ) wins
Gakudō Award (2006)
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 393.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 392.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 437.
- Ozaki, Autobiography, p. 435.