On May 21, 2018, my wife and I visited the former residence of Shigeru Yoshida in Oiso, Kanagawa prefecture, which is about 60 km south west of downtown Tokyo facing the Pacific Ocean. Taking this opportunity let me explain briefly who he was and what he did. He was short, wore glasses and oft-times seen with a cane and a cigar in hand. He has been described as both stubborn and arrogant though humorous who was determined to rebuild Japan and stood up to the occupying forces when necessary. But he was detested by his political opponents within and outside of the ruling party, simply because Yoshida did not show any respect for “old” political ways and means.
He was born to a rich family and became a career diplomat, serving several positions in China, before becoming in turn the deputy foreign minister, then the ambassador to Italy, followed by ambassador to the United Kingdom. He retired from diplomatic services just before the start of the war. When the war ended in 1945, he became foreign minister for a short period and then prime minister five times from 1948 to 1954. During his tenure, Yoshida elaborately set up a political inner group to which young and talented politicians, mostly ex-bureaucrats, were drawn. This inner group became the main stream of conservatives that kept power for decades.
Yoshida signing the Treaty of Peace with Japan in 1951 in San
Francisco, the USA, heralding the resurgence of Japan in the
international theater and ending the occupation of the allied forces