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  • New Books from Japan #4: "Hara Takashi: Pioneer of Japanese Party Politics"

New Books from Japan #4: "Hara Takashi: Pioneer of Japanese Party Politics"

  • October 31, 2023
  • 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
  • Zoom

Wednesday, November 1, 2023 | 9:00-10:30 AM Japan Standard Time
Tuesday, October 31, 2023 | 8:00-9:30 PM ET | 5:00-6:30 PM PT

New Books from Japan #4

原敬 -「平民宰相」の虚像と実像

Hara Takashi: Pioneer of Japanese Party Politics 

Presenter: 清水唯一朗 (Shimizu Yuichiro, Keio University)

Discussant: Paul Dunscomb (University of Alaska-Anchorage)

As the first "commoner" prime minister, Hara Takashi led the first full-fledged political party cabinet. Born in the Morioka domain, which had been defeated in the Boshin War, Hara studied hard and worked as a newspaper reporter before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and rising to the rank of Vice Minister. Thereafter, he joined Ito Hirobumi's Seiyukai party and became a party politician. Amidst the Taisho Political Crisis and the 1918 Rice Riots, he served as a cabinet minister, and then as party leader, implementing reforms that sometimes antagonized and sometimes compromised with the various factions based on pre-Meiji feudal domains. After becoming the first elected politician to become prime minister of Japan, he was assassinated in the midst of attempting to bring about far-sighted reforms. Although Hara has sometimes been described as autocratic and dictatorial, this book examines his original intentions and argues that Hara was a realist politician who was willing to forge difficult compromises with his political opponents in order to achieve his aims.


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