Prince Saionji

by Jonathan Clements

The Japanese delegation at the Paris Peace Conference did not have the Japanese prime or foreign ministers with them as they had only just been elected and had plenty to do back home. The delegation was instead led by Prince Saionji Kinmochi (1849-1940), the dashing ‘kingmaker’ of early 20th-century Japanese politics whose life spanned the arrival of Commodore Perry and his ‘black ships’, the Japanese civil war, the Meiji Restoration, the Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles, and the rise of Japanese militarism.

JONATHAN CLEMENTS studied Chinese and Japanese at the University of Leeds, and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Stirling. He has written biographies of many figures from Chinese history, including the First Emperor, Confucius, Empress Wu and Chairman Mao. He is also the author of the biography of the Chinese representative at the Paris Peace Conference, Wellington Koo, in this series. His books have been translated into many other languages, including Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Korean, Italian, Danish and Dutch.

 

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