- 公益財団法人 史学会
- 史学雑誌 (ISSN:00182478)
- vol.122, no.2, pp.147-184, 2013
This article investigates the characteristic features of the political career of Matsukata Masayoshi at the end of the Taisho Era, in order to clarify his role in the process of reorganizing the institution of Genro 元老 (Chamber of Elder Statesmen) after the death of Yamagata Aritomo. In contrast to the research attention given his activities as an expert in fiscal affairs during the Meiji Era, Matsukata's career during the Taisho Era has been little studied, and the evaluation of him as a politician has so far been quite unfavorable, depicting a senescent figure bereft of political influence. This is one reason why the actual political leadership style of Matsukata is virtually unknown. This article is an attempt to clarify Matsukata's strong commitment to integrating the Satsuma (Matsukata and his fellow politicians from Kagoshima Prefecture) and the Choshu (Yamagata and his fellow politicians and soldiers from Yamaguchi Prefecture) and to show how important a commitment it was. The author begins at a time several years after Matsukata's appointment as Inner Minister of State (Naidaijin 内大臣), showing that indeed he held no political influence to the extent of being unable to freely appoint his ministerial subordinates. However, in dealing with problems involving the Imperial Court, Matsukata won the firm trust of the empress, which began a process by which he strengthened his political leadership after the fall of Yamagata. Finally, the author turns to Matsukata's political leadership after his retirement from the post of Naidaijin, showing the fear that fellow Genro Saionji Kinmochi held towards him, attempting to respectfully distance himself and pointing to Matsukata's continuing supervision of the Kenseikai Party even into his twilight years. The author concludes that the period in question should be rightfully called the "Dual Genro Regime" under the leadership of both Matsukata and Saionji.