Shigeru Yoshida

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Shigeru Yoshida
Japanese name
Kanji 吉田 茂

Shigeru Yoshida (1878-1967), Japanese statesman who played a major role as prime minister in the years after World War II in rebuilding Japan and cooperating with the American Occupation. He led Japan to adopt the “Yoshida Doctrine”, based on three tenets: economic growth as the primary national objective, no involvement in international political-strategic issues, and the provision of military bases to the United States. The Yoshida Doctrine proved immensely successful.


Yoshida was born in Tokyo on Sept. 22, 1878. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1906 and became a career diplomat. During the next 30 years he saw service in Tientsin, Mukden, London, Rome, Antung, Washington, Tsinan, and Stockholm, as well as in the foreign office in Tokyo. He was ambassador to Sweden from 1930 to 1932 and to Britain from 1936 to 1939. He lived in retirement during World War II but afterwards became foreign minister in the cabinet of Premier Shidehara.

In May 1946 he succeeded the latter as premier, serving until May 1947. Yoshida was returned to office in October 1948 and, as head of the conservative pro-Western Liberal Party, remained in office until Dec. 7, 1954, when he resigned over a threatened vote of no confidence. He visited the United States in 1951 to sign the Japanese peace treaty and again in 1954 to negotiate economic aid. In 1954 he began the policy of Japan's recognition of Communist rule in China, while maintaining ties with Taiwan.

See also

Further reading

  • Allinson, Gary D. Japan's Postwar History. (2nd ed 2004). 208 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Cohen, Theodore. Remaking Japan: The American Occupation as New Deal. (1987). 526 pp.
  • Dower, John W. Empire and Aftermath: Yoshida Shigeru and the Japanese Experience, 1878-1954 (1988), the major scholarly study excerpt and text search
  • Dower, John W. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. (1999). 688 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Finn, Richard B. Winners in Peace: MacArthur, Yoshida, and Postwar Japan. (1992). 413 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Harvey, Robert. American Shogun: General MacArthur, Emperor Hirohito, and the Drama of Modern Japan. (2006). 480 pp.
  • Hewes Jr., Laurence I. Japan -- Land and Men: An Account of the Japanese Land Reform Program, 1945-51 154 pgs. (1955) online edition
  • Koseki, Shoichi. The Birth of Japan's Postwar Constitution. (1997). 257 pp online edition
  • Moore, Ray A. and Robinson, Donald L. Partners for Democracy: Crafting the New Japanese State under MacArthur. (2002). 409 pp.
  • Schaller, Michael. The American Occupation of Japan: The Origins of the Cold War in Asia (1987) excerpt and text searcj
  • Ward, Robert E. and Yoshikazu, Sakamoto. Democratizing Japan: The Allied Occupation. (1987). 456 pp.

Primary sources

  • Yoshida, Shigeru. The Yoshida Memoirs: The Story of Japan in Crisis 1961, on Occupation, 1945–51 online edition