Influential Postwar Prime Ministers

Proper Noun Trivia

*This series explains the meanings of proper names, including names of places, companies, people, brands and others.

*Length of period served shown in parentheses.

Name 吉田 茂
Romaji
Hiragana
YOSHIDA Shigeru
よしだ しげる
Kanji meaning lucky / rice field / grow thick
In addition to signing the “Treaty of Peace with Japan” with the victorious nations, he also signed the “Security Treaty between the United States and Japan” in San Francisco in 1951. (1946-1954)

 

Name 池田 勇人
Romaji
Hiragana
IKEDA Hayato
いけだ はやと
Kanji meaning pond / rice field / brave / person
He launched the double income plan, which aimed to double the gross national product in ten years. As a result, Japan was able to achieve high economic growth. However, commodity prices rose. (1960-1964)

 

Name 佐藤 栄作
Romaji
Hiragana
SATOU Eisaku
さとう えいさく
Kanji meaning assistant / wisteria / prosperity / make
He was the longest-serving post-war prime minister, and was able to get the USA to return the islands of Okinawa to Japan. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his declaration of the Three Non-nuclear Principles. (1964-1972)

 

Name 田中 角栄
Romaji
Hiragana
TANAKA Kakuei
たなか かくえい
Kanji meaning rice field / center (in) / angle (corner) / prosperity
He normalized relations with China, and launched the Plan for Remodeling the Japanese Archipelago. However, prices rose. He was arrested over the Lockheed scandal, but even later was influential as a “king maker.” (1972-1974)

 

Name 中曽根 康弘
Romaji
Hiragana
NAKASONE Yasuhiro
なかそね やすひろ
Kanji meaning center (in) / formerly / root / ease / vast
He made efforts towards financial reform by restructuring the administration. First he privatized the national railways, then he lobbied to reform the telecoms industry and the tobacco industry. (1982-1987)

 

Name 小泉 純一郎
Romaji
Hiragana
KOIZUMI Junichirou
こいずみ じゅんいちろう
Kanji meaning little / fountain / genuine / one (first) / son
He united conflicting factions in the LDP, and lobbied for structural reform, aiming to eliminate bad debt and reform government bureaucracy. On a visit to North Korea he negotiated the return of abducted Japanese. (2001-2006)

[From Hiragana Times article]

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