Ōura Kanetake

Ōura Kanetake (大浦 兼武, June 15, 1850 – September 30, 1918) was a politician and bureaucrat in late Meiji and early Taishō period Empire of Japan. In 1907, he was raised to the rank and title of danshaku (baron) under the kazoku peerage system.[1]

Ōura Kanetake
Baron K. Oura LCCN2014699567.jpg
Ōura Kanetake in 1915
Born(1850-06-15)June 15, 1850
DiedSeptember 30, 1918(1918-09-30) (aged 68)
Occupationpolitician, cabinet minister
Known for"Ōura scandal"

Early lifeEdit

Baron Oura of Japan. Source: Library of Congress

The Ōura family was hereditary retainers to a branch of the Shimazu clan of Satsuma Domain. As a Satsuma samurai, Ōura Kanetaka participated in the Boshin War and the suppression of the Ōuetsu Reppan Dōmei during the Meiji Restoration. Under the new Meiji government, he joined the fledgling Japanese police force, working his way up through the ranks until he became Assistant Police Inspector of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. In this capacity, he was field commander of the police forces sent to assist the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army in suppressing his fellow Satsuma countrymen in the Satsuma Rebellion.

Political careerEdit

After serving as appointed governor of Shimane Prefecture (1893–1895), Yamaguchi Prefecture (1895–1896), Kumamoto Prefecture (1896–1898) and Miyazaki Prefecture (1898), Ōura was appointed Superintendent General of the Police, and was given a seat in the House of Peers of the Diet of Japan. One of his proposals while in charge of the police was to relocate impoverished residents of central Osaka to a new planned town in the outskirts, on the theory that poverty was the cause of disease and crime. The plan failed due to strong local opposition. [2] In 1903, under the 1st Katsura administration, Ōura became Minister of Communications. He then served as Minister of Agriculture and Commerce under the 2nd Katsura cabinet and was also chairman of the Japanese committee organizing the Japan–British Exhibition.[3] He subsequently served as Home Minister under the 3rd Katsura cabinet and as both Minister of Agriculture and Trade and Home Minister under the 2nd Ōkuma administration.

Ōura scandalEdit

In December 1914, while in the Ōkuma administration, Ōura was accused of perpetrating voting fraud in the Diet by bribing minor political party and undecided members to influence passage of a military spending bill introduced by Ōkuma to fund two new infantry divisions for the Imperial Japanese Army. A long-time associate of Katsura, Ōura was one of the founding members and leaders of the Rikken Dōshikai political party, and used his position as Home Minister to influence the 1915 General Election in favor the party. Both issues resulted in an upsurge in public criticism from the press and opposition parties, leading to his resignation from the Cabinet in 1915. [4] This incident came to be known as the Ōura scandal.

The word "peace" and the signature of the calligrapher, Ōura Kanetake, 1910

Later lifeEdit

In his final years, Ōura served as chairman of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai.

Ōura died in 1918 at the age of 68.


  1. ^ "Nobility, Peerage and Ranks in Ancient and Meiji-Japan," p. 24.
  2. ^ McCormick, Noah (2002). Japan's Outcaste Abolition: The Struggle for National Inclusion and the Making of the Modern State. Routledge. ISBN 1136283676. page 124
  3. ^ Mochizuki, Kotaro. (1910) Japan To-day. A Souvenir of the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition held in London, 1910, pp. 23-25.
  4. ^ Scalapino, Robert A (1975). Democracy and the Party in Prewar Japan. University of California Press. ISBN 0520029143. page 206-207


  • Dickenson, Frederick R (2001). War and National Reinvention: Japan in the Great War, 1914-1919. Harvard University Asia Center. ISBN 0674005074.
  • Lebra-Chapman, Joyce. Okuma Shigenobu: statesman of Meiji Japan. Australian National University Press (1973). ISBN 0-7081-0400-2
  • Mitchell, Richard (1996). Political History Bribery in Japan. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824818199.
  • Mochizuki, Kotarō. (1910) Japan To-day. A Souvenir of the Anglo-Japanese Exhibition held in London, 1910. Tokyo: Liberal News Agency. OCLC 5327867
  • Oka Yoshitake, et al. Five Political Leaders of Modern Japan: Ito Hirobumi, Okuma Shigenobu, Hara Takashi, Inukai Tsuyoshi, and Saionji Kimmochi. University of Tokyo Press (1984). ISBN 0-86008-379-9
  • Sims, Richard (2001). Japanese Political History Since the Meiji Renovation 1868-2000. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-23915-7.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Communications
September 1903 – January 1906
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Agriculture & Commerce
July 1908 – August 1911
Succeeded by
Preceded by Home Minister
December 1912 – February 1913
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Agriculture & Commerce
April 1914 – January 1915
Succeeded by
Preceded by Home Minister
January 1915 – July 1915
Succeeded by