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Makino Nobuaki

Makino Nobuaki
牧野 伸顕
Makino Nobuaki
Born (1861-11-24)November 24, 1861
Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
Died January 25, 1949(1949-01-25) (aged 87)
Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japan
Occupation Politician, Cabinet Minister, Diplomat
In this Japanese name, the family name is Makino.

Count Makino Nobuaki (牧野 伸顕?, November 24, 1861 – January 25, 1949) was a Japanese statesman, active from the Meiji period through the Pacific War.


Born to a samurai family in Kagoshima, Satsuma domain (present day Kagoshima Prefecture), Makino was the second son of Ōkubo Toshimichi, but adopted into the Makino family at a very early age.

In 1871, at the age of 11, he accompanied Ōkubo on the Iwakura Mission to the United States as a student, and briefly attended school in Philadelphia. After he returned to Japan, he attended Tokyo Imperial University, but left without graduating to enter the Foreign Ministry. Assigned to the Japanese London Embassy, he made the acquaintance of Itō Hirobumi.

After serving as governors of Fukui Prefecture (1891–1892), Ibaraki Prefecture (1892–1893), Ambassador to the Austria-Hungary Empire and Ambassador to Italy, he served as Minister of Education under the 1st Saionji Cabinet, and as Minister of Agriculture and Commerce under the 2nd Saionji Cabinet. He was also appointed to serve on the Privy Council. Under the 1st Yamagata Cabinet, he was appointed Foreign Minister. Makino aligned his policies closely with Itō Hirobumi and later, with Saionji Kinmochi, and was considered one of the early leaders of the Liberalism movement in Japan. He was appointed to be Japan's ambassador plenipotentiary to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, ending World War I. Makino and his delegation put forth a racial equality proposal at the conference which did not pass.

In 1907, Makino elevated in rank to danshaku (baron) under the kazoku peerage system.[1] In 1913, Makino became Minister of Foreign Affairs.[1] On September 20, 1920, he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers. In February 1921, he became Imperial Household Minister and elevated in rank to shishaku (viscount). Behind the scenes, he strove to improve Anglo-Japanese and Japanese-American relations, and he shared Saionji Kinmochi's efforts to shield the Emperor from direct involvement in political affairs. In 1925, he was appointed Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan. He relinquished the post in 1935, and was elevated in title to hakushaku (count). Although he relinquished his positions, his relations with Emperor Shōwa remained good, and he still had much power and influence behind the scenes. This made him a target for the militarists, and he narrowly escaped assassination at his villa in Yugawara during the February 26 Incident in 1936. He continued to be an advisor and exert a moderating influence on the Emperor until the start of World War II.

Makino was also first president of the Nihon Ki-in Go Society, and a fervent player of the game of go.

After the war, his reputation as an "old liberalist" gave him high credibility, and the politician Hatoyama Ichirō attempted to recruit him to the Liberal Party as its chairman. However, Makino declined for reasons of health and age. He died in 1949, and his grave is at the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.

Noted post-war Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru was Makino's son-in-law, and the former Prime Minister, Asō Tarō, is Makino's great-grandson. In addition, Ijuin Hikokichi, former foreign minister, was brother-in-law of Makino.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 牧野伸顕関係文書(書翰の部) National Diet Library
  2. Hui-Min Lo (1 June 1978). The Correspondence of G. E. Morrison 1912-1920. CUP Archive. p. 873. ISBN 978-0-521-21561-9. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 


  • Agawa, Hiroyuki. The Reluctant Admiral: Yamamoto and the Imperial Navy. Kodansha International (2000). ISBN 4-7700-2539-4
  • Beasley, W.G. Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-822168-1
  • Makino, Nobuaki. Makino Nobuaki nikki. Chuo Koronsha (1990). ISBN 4-12-001977-2 (Japanese)
Political offices
Preceded by
Saionji Kinmochi
Minister of Education
Mar 1906 - Jul 1908
Succeeded by
Komatsubara Eitarō
Preceded by
Ōura Kanetake
Minister of Agriculture & Commerce
Aug 1911 - Dec 1912
Succeeded by
Nakashōji Ren
Preceded by
Haseba Sumitaka
Minister of Education (interim)
Nov 1912 - Dec 1912
Succeeded by
Shibata Kamon
Preceded by
Katō Takaaki
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Feb 1913 - Apr 1914
Succeeded by
Katō Takaaki
Preceded by
Nakamura Yujiro
Imperial Household Minister
Feb 1921 - Mar 1925
Succeeded by
Ichiki Kitokuro
Preceded by
Hamao Arata
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
Mar 1925 - Feb 1935
Succeeded by
Saitō Makoto