Makino Nobuaki

Count Makino Nobuaki (牧野 伸顕, November 24, 1861 – January 25, 1949) was a Japanese politician and imperial court official. As Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan, Makino served as Emperor Hirohito’s Chief counselor on the monarch’s position in Japanese society and policymaking. Even after his retirement in 1935, he remained a close advisor to Hirihito through the end of World War II. He also played a key role in the militarization of Japanese society through his extensive patronage of ultranationalist groups fanatically devoted to protecting the national kokutai against foreign influences.

Makino Nobuaki
牧野 伸顕
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan
In office
30 March 1925  26 February 1935
Preceded byHamao Arata
Succeeded bySaitō Makoto
Foreign Minister of the Japanese Empire
In office
February 1913  April 1914
Preceded byKatō Takaaki
Succeeded byKatō Takaaki
Personal details
Born(1861-11-24)November 24, 1861
Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan
DiedJanuary 25, 1949(1949-01-25) (aged 87)
Tokyo, Japan
ParentsŌkubo Toshimichi
Hayasaki Masako
OccupationPolitician, cabinet minister, diplomat

Early life and education

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 age 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.


Makino entered the Foreign Ministry. Assigned to the Japanese London Embassy, he made the acquaintance of Itō Hirobumi.

After serving as governor of Fukui Prefecture (1891–1892) and Ibaraki Prefecture (1892–1893), Ambassador to the Austro-Hungarian 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 one of Japan's ambassador plenipotentiaries to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, headed by the former Prime Minister Saionji. Makino was de facto chief while Saionji's role was symbolic. 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 the 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.

Later life and death

Makino was also the 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 Ichirō Hatoyama 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.

Personal life

Noted post-war Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida was Makino's son-in-law. One of his grandchildren Ken'ichi Yoshida was a literary scholar. The former Prime Minister, Tarō Asō, is Makino's great-grandson. His great-granddaughter, Nobuko Asō, married Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a first cousin of Emperor Akihito. In addition, Ijūin Hikokichi, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was the brother-in-law of Makino.[2]



  1. 牧野伸顕関係文書(書翰の部) Archived 2010-03-24 at the Wayback Machine 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.
  3. Royal Decree of 1925/-Mémorial du centenaire de l'Ordre de Léopold. 1832-1932. Bruxelles, J. Rozez, 1933.


  • 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. Chūō Kōronsha (1990). ISBN 4-12-001977-2 (Japanese)
Political offices
Preceded by
Saionji Kinmochi
Minister of Education
March 1906 – July 1908
Succeeded by
Komatsubara Eitarō
Preceded by
Ōura Kanetake
Minister of Agriculture & Commerce
August 1911 – December 1912
Succeeded by
Nakashōji Ren
Preceded by
Haseba Sumitaka
Minister of Education (interim)
November – December 1912
Succeeded by
Shibata Kamon
Preceded by
Katō Takaaki
Minister of Foreign Affairs
February 1913 – April 1914
Succeeded by
Katō Takaaki
Preceded by
Nakamura Yūjirō
Imperial Household Minister
February 1921 – March 1925
Succeeded by
Ichiki Kitokurō
Preceded by
Hamao Arata
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
March 1925 – February 1935
Succeeded by
Saitō Makoto
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.