Count Got? Sh?jir?
|Died||August 4, 1897 (aged 59)|
Hakone, Kanagawa, Japan
|Occupation||Politician, Cabinet Minister|
Count Got? Sh?jir? ( , April 13, 1838 – August 4, 1897) was a Japanese samurai and politician during the Bakumatsu and early Meiji period of Japanese history. He was a leader of Freedom and People's Rights Movement (, jiy? minken und?) which would evolve into a political party.
Got? was born in Tosa Domain (present day K?chi Prefecture). Together with fellow Tosa samurai Sakamoto Ry?ma, he was attracted by the radical pro-Imperial Sonn? j?i movement. After being promoted, he essentially seized power within the Tosa Domain's politics and exerted influence on Tosa daimy? Yamauchi Toyoshige to call on sh?gun Tokugawa Yoshinobu to return power peacefully to the Emperor.
After the Meiji Restoration, Got? was appointed to a number of posts, including that of Governor of Osaka, and sangi (councillor), but later left the Meiji government in 1873 over disagreement with the government's policy of restraint toward Korea (i.e. the Seikanron debate) and, more generally, in opposition to the Ch?sh?-Satsuma domination of the new government. Jointly with Itagaki Taisuke, he submitted a memorandum calling for the establishment of a popularly elected parliament. In 1874, together with Itagaki Taisuke, and Et? Shinpei and Soejima Taneomi of Hizen Province, he formed the Aikoku K?t? (Public Party of Patriots), declaring, "We, the thirty millions of people in Japan are all equally endowed with certain definite rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring and possessing property, and obtaining a livelihood and pursuing happiness. These rights are by Nature bestowed upon all men, and, therefore, cannot be taken away by the power of any man." This anti-government stance appealed to the discontented remnants of the samurai class and the rural aristocracy (who resented centralized taxation) and peasants (who were discontented with high prices and low wages).
After the Osaka Conference of 1875, he returned briefly to the government, participating in the Genr?in. He also managed a coal mine in Ky?sh? (the Takashima Coal Mine), but finding it to be losing money, sold his interest to Iwasaki Yatar?.
In 1881, he returned to politics, assisting Itagaki Taisuke found the Jiy?to (Liberal Party) which developed the daid? danketsu (coalition) movement in 1887.
In 1889, Got? joined the Kuroda administration as Communications Minister, remaining in that post under the first Yamagata cabinet and first Matsukata cabinet. Under the new kazoku peerage system, he was elevated to hakushaku (count). In the second It? cabinet he became Agriculture and Commerce minister. He was implicated in a scandal involving futures trading, and was forced to retire. After a heart attack, he retired to his summer home in Hakone, Kanagawa, where he died in 1896. His grave is at the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.