Okubo Toshimichi – 1830-1878

Rekishi Nippon

Satsuma samurai and Meiji politician

Ōkubo Toshimichi was a Japanese statesman and one of the Satsuma samurai who supported the Meiji Restoration. He is commonly regarded as one of the main founders of modern Japan.

Ōkubo was born in Kagoshima, Satsuma Province (present-day Kagoshima Prefecture), to Ōkubo Juemon, a low-ranking retainer of Satsuma daimyō Shimazu Nariakira. He studied at the same local school with Saigō Takamori, who was three years his senior. In 1846, he was given the position of aide to the domain’s archivist. When his mentor Nariakira died, Ōkubo joined the plot to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate.

In 1866, he met with Saigō Takamori and Chōshū domain’s Kido Takayoshi to form the secret Satcho Alliance to overthrow the bakufu. Later, Ōkubo, Saigō and Kido formed a provisional government and Ōkubo was appointed the first minister of Home Affairs. As Finance Minister, Ōkubo enacted a Land Tax Reform Haitōrei…

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