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Gensui Count Terauchi Masatake
寺内 正毅
9th Prime Minister of Japan

In office
9 October 1916 – 29 September 1918
Monarch Taishō
Preceded by The Marquis Ōkuma
Succeeded by Hara Takashi
Governor General of Korea

In office
1 October 1910 – 9 October 1916
Monarch Meiji
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Gensui Count Hasegawa
Resident General of Korea

In office
30 May 1910 – 1 October 1910
Monarch Meiji
Preceded by Viscount Sone
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born (1852-02-05)5 February 1852
Hagi, Chōshū Domain (Japan)
Died 3 November 1919(1919-11-03) (aged 67)
Tokyo, Japan
Political party Independent
Children Gensui Count Terauchi Hisaichi
Military service
Allegiance Empire of Japan
Service/branch Imperial Japanese Army
Years of service 1871–1910
Rank Gensui (Marshal)
Battles/wars Boshin War
Satsuma Rebellion
First Sino-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
Awards Order of the Rising Sun (1st class)
Order of the Golden Kite (1st Class)
Order of the Bath (Honorary Knight Grand Cross)

Gensui Count Terauchi Masatake (寺内 正毅?), GCB (5 February 1852 – 3 November 1919), was a Japanese military officer, proconsul and politician.[1] He was a Gensui (or Marshal) in the Imperial Japanese Army and the 9th Prime Minister of Japan from 9 October 1916 to 29 September 1918.

Early period

Terauchi Masatake was born in Chōshū Domain (present-day Yamaguchi prefecture) as the son of a samurai of the Hagi clan.

As a young soldier, he fought in the Boshin War against the Tokugawa shogunate, and later was commissioned second lieutenant in the fledging Imperial Japanese Army. He was injured and lost his right hand during the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, but his physical disability did not prove to be an impediment to his future military and political career.

Military career

In 1882, after being sent to France for military study as military attaché, Terauchi was appointed to several important military posts. He was the first Inspector General of Military Education in 1898 and made that post one of the three most powerful in the Imperial Army. He was appointed as Minister of the Army in 1901, during the first Katsura administration. The Japanese victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) occurred during his term as War Minister. After the war, he was ennobled with the title of danshaku (baron), and in 1911, his title was raised to that of hakushaku (count).

Korean Resident-General

General Viscount Terauchi (as he then was) was appointed as the third and last Japanese Resident-General of Korea on the assassination of Prince Itō in Harbin by An Jung-geun. As Resident-General, he executed the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty in 1910, and thus became the first Japanese Governor-General of Korea. The annexation of Korea by Japan and subsequent policies introduced by the new government was highly unpopular with large segments of the Korean population, and Terauchi employed military force to maintain control. General Terauchi used the deep historical and cultural ties between Korea and Japan as justification for the eventual goal of complete assimilation of Korea into the Japanese mainstream. To this end, thousands of schools were built across Korea. Although this contributed greatly to an increase in literacy and the educational standard, the curriculum was centered on Japanese language and history, with the intent of assimilation of the populace into loyal subjects of the Japanese Empire.

Other of Terauchi's policies also had noble goals but evil consequences. For example, land reform was desperately needed in Korea. The Korean land ownership system was a complex system of absentee landlords, partial owner-tenants, and cultivators with traditional but without legal proof of ownership. Terauchi's new Land Survey Bureau conducted cadastral surveys that reestablished ownership by basis of written proof (deeds, titles, and similar documents). Ownership was denied to those who could not provide such written documentation (mostly lower class and partial owners, who had only traditional verbal "cultivator rights"). Although the plan succeeded in reforming land ownership/taxation structures, it added tremendously to the bitter and hostile environment of the time by enabling a huge amount of Korean land to be seized by the government and sold to Japanese developers. He was created a Count in the Kazoku in 1911.

Isabel Anderson, who visited Korea and met Count Terauchi in 1912, wrote as follows:[2]

The Japanese Governor-General, Count Terauchi, is a very strong and able man, and under his administration many improvements have been made in Korea. This has not always been done without friction between the natives and their conquerors, it must be confessed, but the results are certainly astonishing. The government has been reorganized, courts have been established, the laws have been revised, trade conditions have been improved and commerce has increased. Agriculture has been encouraged by the opening of experiment stations, railroads have been constructed from the interior to the sea-coast, and harbours have been dredged and lighthouses erected. Japanese expenditures in Korea have amounted to twelve million dollars yearly.

— Isabel Anderson, The Spell of Japan, 1914

Political career

In 1916, Count Terauchi became the 9th person to serve as Prime Minister of Japan. During the same year, he received his promotion to the largely ceremonial rank of Gensui (or Marshal). His cabinet consisted solely of career bureaucrats as he distrusted career civilian politicians. During part of his administration he simultaneously also held the post of Foreign Minister and Finance Minister.

During his tenure, Count Terauchi pursued an aggressive foreign policy. He oversaw the Nishihara Loans (made to support the Chinese warlord Duan Qirui in exchange for confirmation of Japanese claims to parts of Shandong Province and increased rights in Manchuria) and the Lansing-Ishii Agreement (recognizing Japan's special rights in China). Terauchi upheld Japan's obligations to the United Kingdom under the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in World War I, dispatching ships from the Imperial Japanese Navy to the $3, Indian Ocean and Mediterranean, and seizing control of German colonies in Tsingtao and the Pacific Ocean. After the war, Japan joined the Allies in the Siberian Intervention (whereby Japan sent troops into Siberia in support of White Russian forces against the Bolshevik Red Army in the Russian Revolution).

In September 1918, Terauchi resigned his office, due to the rice riots that had spread throughout Japan due to postwar inflation; he died the following year.

His decorations included the Order of the Rising Sun (1st class) and Order of the Golden Kite (1st Class).

The billiken doll, which was a Kewpie-like fad toy invented in 1908 and was very popular in Japan, lent its name to the Terauchi administration, partly due to the doll’s uncanny resemblance to Count Terauchi's bald head.


Terauchi's eldest son, Gensui Count Terauchi Hisaichi, was the commander of the Imperial Japanese Army's Southern Expeditionary Army Group during World War II. The 2nd Count Terauchi was also a Gensui (or Marshal) like his father.


From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia


  1. Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Terauchi Masatake" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 964, p. 964, at Google Books.
  2. Isabel Anderson, "The Spell of Japan", Boston, 1914, p.15.
  3. London Gazette, 15 May 1906


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Hayashi Tadasu
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Jul 1908 - Aug 1908
Succeeded by
Komura Jutarō
Preceded by
Sone Arasuke
Resident General of Korea
May 1910 - Oct 1910
Succeeded by
as Governor General of Korea
Preceded by
as Resident General of Korea
Governor General of Korea
Oct 1910 – Oct 1916
Succeeded by
Hasegawa Yoshimichi
Preceded by
Ōkuma Shigenobu
Prime Minister of Japan
Oct 1916 – Sept 1918
Succeeded by
Hara Takashi
Preceded by
Ishii Kikujirō
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Oct 1916 - Nov 1916
Succeeded by
Motono Ichirō
Preceded by
Taketomi Tomitoshi
Finance Minister
Oct 1916 - Dec 1916
Succeeded by
Kazue Shoda
Preceded by
Kodama Gentarō
War Minister
Mar 1902 - Aug 1911
Succeeded by
Ishimoto Shinroku
Military offices
Preceded by
Inspector-General of Military Training
Jan 1898 – Apr 1900
Succeeded by
Nozu Michitsura
Preceded by
Nozu Michitsura
Inspector-General of Military Training
Jan 1904 – May 1905
Succeeded by
Nishii Hiroshi

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