Terauchi Masatake

Gensui Count Terauchi Masatake(Japanese: 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 Prime Minister of Japan from 1916 to 1918.


Terauchi Masatake
寺内 正毅
Masatake Terauchi 2.jpg
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
9 October 1916 – 29 September 1918
Preceded byŌkuma Shigenobu
Succeeded byHara Takashi
Governor General of Korea
In office
1 October 1910 – 9 October 1916
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byGensui Count Hasegawa
7th Army Minister
In office
27 March 1902 – 30 August 1911
Prime Minister
Preceded byKodama Gentarō
Succeeded byIshimoto Shinroku
Personal details
Born(1852-02-05)5 February 1852
Yamaguchi, Chōshū Domain (Japan)
Died3 November 1919(1919-11-03) (aged 67)
Tokyo, Japan
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Terauchi Taki (1862–1920)
ChildrenHisaichi Terauchi
AwardsOrder of the Rising Sun (1st class)
Order of the Golden Kite (1st Class)
Order of the Bath (Honorary Knight Grand Cross)
Military service
AllegianceEmpire of Japan
Branch/serviceImperial Japanese Army
Years of service1871–1910
RankField Marshal (Gensui) 元帥徽章.svg
Battles/warsBoshin War
Satsuma Rebellion
First Sino-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War


Military careerEdit

Terauchi Masatake was born in Hirai Village, Suo Province (present-day Yamaguchi city, Yamaguchi Prefecture), and was the third son of Utada Masasuke, a samurai in the service of Chōshū Domain. He was later adopted by a relative on his mother's side of the family, Terauchi Kanuemon, and changed his family name to "Terauchi".

As a youth, he was a member of the Kiheitai militia from 1864, and fought in the Boshin War against the Tokugawa shogunate from 1867, most notably at the Battle of Hakodate. After the victory at Hakodate, he travelled to Kyoto, where he joined the Ministry of War and was drilled by French instructors in Western weaponry and tactics. He became a member of Emperor Meiji's personal guard in 1870 and travelled with the Emperor to Tokyo. He left military service in 1871 to pursue language studies, but was recalled with the formation the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army in 1871 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant after attending the Army's Toyama School. He was appointed to the staff of the new Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1873. he fought in the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877 and was injured and lost his right hand during the Battle of Tabaruzaka. His physical disability did not prove to be an impediment to his future military and political career.

In 1882, he was sent to France as aide-de-camp to Prince Kan'in Kotohito and was appointed a military attaché the following year. He remained in France for studies until 1886. On his return to Japan, he was appointed deputy secretary to the Minister of the Army. In 1887, he became commandant of the Army Academy. In 1891, he was chief of staff to the IJA 1st Division and in 1892 was Chief of the First Bureau (Operations) of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff.

With the start of the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894, Terauchi was appointed Secretary of Transportation and Communication for the Imperial General Headquarters, which made him responsible for all movement of troops and supplies during the war. In 1896, he was assigned command of the IJA 3rd Infantry Brigade. In 1898, he was promoted to become the first Inspector General of Military Training, which he made one of the three highest positions in the army. In 1900, he became Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, and went to China to personally oversee Japanese force during the Boxer Rebellion

Political careerEdit

Gensui Count Terauchi Masatake(left) with General Kodama Gentarō(right).

Terauchi was appointed as Minister of the Army in 1901, during the first Katsura administration. The Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) occurred during his term in office. After the Japanese victory in the war, he was ennobled with the title of danshaku (baron) in the kazoku peerage. He was also made a chairman of the South Manchurian Railway Company in 1906.In 1907, in recognition of the four wars he had served in, his peerage title was elevated to that of shishaku (viscount),

He continued in office as Army Minister under the first Saionji administration and the second Katsura administration from July 1908 to August 1911.

Korean Resident-GeneralEdit

Following the assassination of former Prime Minister Itō Hirobumi in Harbin by a Korean nationalist, Joong-Geun Ahn in October 1909, Terauchi was appointed to replace Sone Arasuke as the third and last Japanese Resident-General of Korea in May 1910. As Resident-General, he executed the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty in August of the same year, and he thus became the first Japanese Governor-General of Korea. In this position, he reported directly to the Emperor and as proconsul had wide-ranging powers ranging from legislative, administrative, and judicial to effect changes and reforms. 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 (who concurrently maintained his position as Army Minister) employed military force to maintain control. However, he preferred to use 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 Japanese 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 unforeseen 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.

In recognition of his work in Korea, his title was raised to that of hakushaku (count) 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

As Prime MinisterEdit

In June 1916, Terauchi he received his promotion to the largely ceremonial rank of Gensui (or Field Marshal). In October, he became Prime Minister, and concurrently held the cabinet posts of Foreign Minister and Finance Minister. His cabinet consisted solely of career bureaucrats as he distrusted career civilian politicians.

During his tenure, 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 South Pacific, 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 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, Count Terauchi Hisaichi, was the commander of the Imperial Japanese Army's Southern Expeditionary Army Group during World War II. The 2nd Count Terauchi also held the rank of Gensui (or Marshal) like his father. Terauchi's eldest daughter married Count Hideo Kodama, the son of General Kodama Gentaro.


From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia


Japanese decorationsEdit

Foreign decorations (partial list)Edit

Popular cultureEdit


  • Craig, Albert M. Chōshū in the Meiji Restoration. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1961. OCLC 482814571
  • Duus, Peter. The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895-1910 (Twentieth-Century Japan - the Emergence of a World Power. University of California Press (1998). ISBN 0-520-21361-0.
  • Dupuy, Trevor N. Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1992. ISBN 0-7858-0437-4
  • Jansen, Marius B. and Gilbert Rozman, eds. (1986). Japan in Transition: from Tokugawa to Meiji. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691054599; OCLC 12311985
  • ____________. (2000). The Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674003347; OCLC 44090600
  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
  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. ^ 『官報』第7272号「授爵敍任及辞令」September 23, 1907
  4. ^ 『官報』第8347号「授爵・叙任及辞令」April 22, 1911。
  5. ^ 『官報』第2828号「叙任及辞令」November 30, 1892
  6. ^ 『官報』第3644号「叙任及辞令」August 21, 1895
  7. ^ 『官報』第3644号「叙任及辞令」August 21, 1895
  8. ^ 『官報』第4754号「叙任及辞令」May 10, 1899
  9. ^ 『官報』第2612号「叙任及辞令」April 19, 1921
  10. ^ 『官報』第5487号「叙任及辞令」October 15, 1901
  11. ^ 『官報』号外「叙任及辞令」January 28, 1907
  12. ^ 『官報』号外「叙任及辞令」January 28, 1907
  13. ^ 『官報』第779号「叙任及辞令」February 9, 1886
  14. ^ 『官報』第2485号「叙任及辞令」October 9, 1891
  15. ^ 『官報』第4192号「叙任及辞令」June 24, 1897
  16. ^ 『官報』第4192号「叙任及辞令」June 24, 1891
  17. ^ 『官報』第4192号「叙任及辞令」June 24, 1891
  18. ^ "No. 27913". The London Gazette. 15 May 1906. p. 3323.
  19. ^ 『官報』第4192号「叙任及辞令」June 24, 1891

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Kodama Gentarō
War Minister
March 1902 – August 1911
Succeeded by
Ishimoto Shinroku
Preceded by
Hayashi Tadasu
Minister of Foreign Affairs
July 1908 – August 1908
Succeeded by
Komura Jutarō
Preceded by
Sone Arasuke
Resident General of Korea
May 1910 – October 1910
Succeeded by
as Governor General of Korea
Preceded by
as Resident General of Korea
Governor General of Korea
October 1910 – October 1916
Succeeded by
Hasegawa Yoshimichi
Preceded by
Ishii Kikujirō
Minister of Foreign Affairs
October 1916 – November 1916
Succeeded by
Motono Ichirō
Preceded by
Taketomi Tokitoshi
Finance Minister
October 1916 – December 1916
Succeeded by
Kazue Shōda
Preceded by
Ōkuma Shigenobu
Prime Minister of Japan
October 1916 – September 1918
Succeeded by
Hara Takashi
Military offices
Preceded by
Inspector-General of Military Training
January 1898 – April 1900
Succeeded by
Nozu Michitsura
Preceded by
Nozu Michitsura
Inspector-General of Military Training
January 1904 – May 1905
Succeeded by
Nishii Hiroshi