47 Facts About Fumimaro Konoe


Prince Fumimaro Konoe was a Japanese politician and prime minister.

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Fumimaro Konoe played a central role in transforming his country into a totalitarian state by passing the National Mobilization Law and founding the Imperial Rule Assistance Association.

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Fumimaro Konoe was born in Tokyo on 12 October 1891 to the prominent Konoe family, one of the main branches of the ancient Fujiwara clan.

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Fumimaro Konoe's mother died shortly after his birth; his father then married her younger sister.

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Fumimaro Konoe was misled into thinking she was his real mother, and found out the truth when he was 12 years old after his father's death.

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Fumimaro Konoe was not the only talented member of his family: his younger brother Hidemaro Konoye later became a symphony conductor and founded NHK Symphony Orchestra.

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At Kyoto Imperial University, Fumimaro Konoe studied socialism, translating Oscar Wilde's "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" into Japanese.

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Fumimaro Konoe attacked the League of Nations as an effort to institutionalize the status quo: colonial hegemony by the western powers.

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Saionji considered Fumimaro Konoe's writing reckless, but, after it became internationally read, Fumimaro Konoe was invited to dinner by Sun Yat-sen.

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Fumimaro Konoe took the rejection of the Racial Equality Clause very badly, seeing it as a humiliation of Japan.

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Fumimaro Konoe described China as a rival to Japan in international relations.

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Fumimaro Konoe believed the house of peers should stay neutral in factional party politics, lest a partisan-seeming peerage have their privileges restricted.

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Fumimaro Konoe therefore supported Takashi's seiyukai government, as did most of the kenkyukai.

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Fumimaro Konoe believed universal male suffrage was the best way to channel popular discontent and thereby reduce the chance of violent revolution.

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Fumimaro Konoe saw the peerage as a bulwark of stability committed to tranquillity, harmony, and the maintenance of the status quo.

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Fumimaro Konoe assumed the vice presidency of the house of peers in 1931.

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Fumimaro Konoe ascended to the presidency of the house of peers in 1933 and spent the next few years mediating between elite political factions, elite policy consensus, and national unity.

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Meanwhile, Fumimaro Konoe sent his eldest son Fumitaka to study in the US, at Princeton, wishing to prepare him for politics and make him an able proponent of Japan in America.

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Unlike most of his elite contemporaries, Fumimaro Konoe had not been educated abroad due to his father's poor finances.

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Fumimaro Konoe visited Fumitaka in 1934 and he was shocked by rising anti-Japanese sentiment.

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Fumimaro Konoe's views were thus a recapitulation of those he had expressed at Versailles almost 20 years earlier.

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Fumimaro Konoe retained the military and legal ministers from the previous cabinet upon assumption of the premiership, and refused to take ministers from the political parties, as he was not interested in resurrecting party government.

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In November 1937 Fumimaro Konoe instituted a new system of joint conference between the civil government and the military called liaison conferences.

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In January 1938, Fumimaro Konoe issued a statement where he declared that "Kuomintang aggression had not ceased despite its defeat, " that it was "subjecting its people to great misery, " and that Japan would no longer deal with Chang.

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When later asked for clarifications, Fumimaro Konoe said he meant more than just non-recognition of Chiang's regime but "rejected it" and would "eradicate it".

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Fumimaro Konoe believed that a new economic system geared toward exploitation of northern China's resources was the only way to stop this economic deterioration.

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Fumimaro Konoe resigned in January 1939, leaving the war that he had a large part in making to be finished by someone else, and was appointed chairman of the Privy Council.

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Fumimaro Konoe was awarded the 1st class of the Order of the Rising Sun in 1939.

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Fumimaro Konoe was recalled after Saionji — for the last time before his death later that year — again endorsed him.

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On 23 June, Fumimaro Konoe resigned his position as Chairman of the Privy Council, and on 16 July 1940, the Yonai cabinet resigned and Fumimaro Konoe was appointed Prime Minister.

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Fumimaro Konoe's government pressured political parties to dissolve into the IRAA, though he resisted calls to form a political party akin to Nazi party, believing it would revive the political strife of the 1920s.

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Fumimaro Konoe recommenced negotiations with the Dutch in January 1941 in an attempt to secure an alternate source of oil.

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In February 1941 Fumimaro Konoe chose Admiral Nomura as Japanese ambassador to the US Matsuoka and Stalin signed the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in Moscow on 13 April 1941, which made it clear that the Soviets would not help the Allies in the event of war with Japan.

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Fumimaro Konoe did not specifically mention Matsuoka, but it was implied that he would have to be removed, as the foreign minister was now advocating an immediate attack on the Soviet Union, and did so directly to the emperor.

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Fumimaro Konoe was forced to apologize to the emperor and assure him that Japan was not about to go to war with the Soviet Union.

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Fumimaro Konoe attacked Hull's statement, which had been aimed largely at him, and the next day he sent the response to Germany for approval.

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Fumimaro Konoe expressed how disturbed he was that Japan could not see that Hitler was bent on world domination.

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Fumimaro Konoe did not take aggressive action in implementing Roosevelt's offer, and could not restrain militarists, led by Hideki Tojo.

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Hotsumi Ozaki, who was a friend and advisor to Fumimaro Konoe, was a member of this same breakfast club; he was a member of Richard Sorge's soviet spy ring.

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Fumimaro Konoe asked Konoe to change the emphasis from war to negotiation; Konoe replied that would be politically impossible, and the emperor then asked why he had been kept in the dark about these military preparations.

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That same evening, Fumimaro Konoe arranged a dinner in secrecy with US ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew.

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Day after the imperial conference, Fumimaro Konoe arranged a meeting between Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni and army minister Tojo, which was an attempt to bring the war hawk in line with Fumimaro Konoe.

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Higashikuni told Tojo that since the emperor and Fumimaro Konoe favoured negotiation over war, the army minister should too, and that he should quit if he could not follow a policy of non-confrontation.

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Fumimaro Konoe began by saying that he had no confidence in the war they were about to wage and would not lead it, but neither Oikawa or Fumimaro Konoe was willing to take the lead in demanding that the army agree to taking the war option off the table.

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Fumimaro Konoe resigned on 16 October 1941, one day after having recommended Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni to the Emperor as his successor.

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Fumimaro Konoe played a role in the fall of the Tojo government in 1944.

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Fumimaro Konoe's grave is at the Konoe clan cemetery at the temple of Daitoku-ji in Kyoto.

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