Sone Arasuke

Viscount Sone Arasuke (曾禰 荒助, February 20, 1849 September 13, 1910) was a Japanese politician, diplomat, cabinet minister, and second Japanese Resident-General of Korea.


Sone Arasuke
曾禰 荒助
Viscount Sone Arasuke
Born(1849-02-20)February 20, 1849
DiedSeptember 13, 1910(1910-09-13) (aged 61)
OccupationPolitician, Diplomat, Cabinet Minister
Known forJapanese Resident-General of Korea


Sone was born in Nagato Province in Chōshū Domain (present-day Yamaguchi prefecture, his adopted father was a samurai from Hagi. He fought on the imperial side in the Boshin War.

After the Meiji Restoration, Sone was sent to France for studies, and on his return to Japan served in the War Ministry. Later, he served as director of the Cabinet Gazette Bureau, Secretary of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau and other posts, in 1890 he became the first Chief Secretary of the House of Representatives of the first session of the Diet of Japan.

Sone was elected to the House of Representatives in the 1892 Japanese general election, and served as Vice-Speaker of the House in the same year. In 1893, he became Japanese ambassador to France and negotiated the revision of the unequal treaties between France and Japan.

He served successively in a number of cabinet posts: Minister of Justice in the third Itō administration, Agriculture and Commerce Minister in the second Yamagata administration, Finance Minister in the first Katsura administration and other posts.

During the Russo-Japanese War with the help of Takahashi Korekiyo and others, he secured the foreign loans necessary to finance the expenses of the war.[1] In 1900, Emperor Meiji nominated him to the House of Peers. In 1902, he was made a baron (danshaku) under the kazoku peerage system. He became a Privy Councillor in 1906, and elevated in status to viscount (shishaku) the following year.

Sone was appointed as Vice Resident-General of the Japanese administration in Korea in 1907, and Resident-General of Korea in 1909, replacing Itō Hirobumi. One of his major actions in Korea was to install a peninsula-wide telephone network, linking government offices, police stations and military installations throughout Korea.[2] Sone was opposed to the Japanese annexation of Korea, but was forced to resign from his post in May 1910 due to illness and died a few months later.[3]


  • Beasley, W.G. Japanese Imperialism 1894-1945. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-822168-1
  • Duus, Peter. The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910 (Twentieth-Century Japan - the Emergence of a World Power. University of California Press (1998). ISBN 0-520-21361-0.
  • Keane, Donald. Emperor Of Japan: Meiji And His World, 1852-1912. Columbia University Press (2005). ISBN 0-231-12341-8
  • Kowner, Rotem (2006). Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-4927-5.
  • Sims, Richard. French Policy Towards the Bakufu and Meiji Japan 1854-1894. RoutledgeCurzon (1998). ISBN 1-873410-61-1


  1. Kowner, Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War, p. 357.
  2. Yang, Daqing (2010). Technology of Empire: Telecommunications and Japanese Expansion in Asia. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674010914. page 45
  3. Lister, A Hotta (2006). The Japan-British Exhibition of 1910: Gateway to the Island Empire of the East. Routledge. ISBN 0-8108-4927-5. page 80
Political offices
Preceded by
Kiyoura Keigo
Minister of Justice
January 1898 – June 1900
Succeeded by
Ōhigashi Gitetsu
Preceded by
Ōishi Masami
Minister of Agriculture & Commerce
November 1898 – October 1900
Succeeded by
Hayashi Yūzō
Preceded by
Saionji Kinmochi
Minister of Finance
June 1901 – January 1906
Succeeded by
Sakatani Yoshiō
Preceded by
Katō Takaaki
Minister of Foreign Affairs (Interim)
June – September 1901
Succeeded by
Komura Jutarō
Preceded by
Yoshikawa Akimasa
Minister of Communications (Interim)
July – September 1903
Succeeded by
Ōura Kanetake
Government offices
Preceded by
Itō Hirobumi
Japanese Resident-General of Korea
June 1909 – May 1910
Succeeded by
Masatake Terauchi
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