20.10.

1967: Shigeru Yoshida: Japanese Roman Catholic Prime Minister

1967: Shigeru Yoshida: Japanese Roman Catholic Prime Minister
Photo Credit To http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/09/29/opinion/29iht-edazimi-image/29iht-edazimi-image-popup.jpg

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  • historical event:
  • Shigeru Yoshida, who died on this day, was the Prime Minister of Japan from 1946 to 1954. He was also the last prime minister in the history of the Japanese Empire, which was abolished in 1947. The funeral of Prime Minister Yoshida was held in the Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Tokyo.

This day in 1967 marked the death of Japanese Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, probably the most important politician in post-war Japan. Interestingly, he died a Roman Catholic. Shigeru Yoshida was the Prime Minister of Japan from 1946 to 1954. He was also the last prime minister in the history of the Japanese Empire, which was abolished in 1947, and then became the Prime Minister of the new Japanese state, which has endured to this day. Namely, until 1947 Japan was officially called Dai Nippon Teikoku (Greater Japanese Empire), but was then renamed Nippon-koku (the State of Japan). Of course, Japan still has an emperor today, but his power has been greatly reduced.

Shigeru Yoshida was born in Yokosuka near Tokyo. He was educated at the Tokyo Imperial University, and then became a diplomat. He served as the Japanese ambassador in Italy and the UK. When he was in London, he got acquainted with Western society to a greater degree than most other Japanese politicians. For this reason, he was an excellent candidate for a pro-Western Prime Minister in post-war Japan, which was then under Allied (mostly American) occupation.

Under Yoshida’s leadership, Japan focused its resources into rebuilding and expanding its economy, while keeping a very low profile in international politics.

Prime Minister Yoshida was christened as a Catholic near his death in 1967, but is rumored to have become a Catholic much earlier, in secret. His funeral was held in the Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Tokyo (that cathedral was built by famed Japanese architect Kenzō Tange, also an architect).

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