Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Yoshida Shigeru

(1878-1967). Diplomat and prime minister. A diplomat until 1939, he emerged after World War II to become the most famous politician of postwar Japan, serving as prime minister for a total of 86 months between May 1946 and December 1954. Yoshida's administrations witnessed Japan's transition from foreign control to restoration of sovereignty (formally attained in April 1952), and from "reform" to "reconstruction." Popularly known as the Yoshida era, this latter period was marked by the hegemony of big business, bureaucracy, and conservative party politics and witnessed the forging of Japan's tight military and economic alliance with the United States. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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