Viscount Takahashi Korekiyo (高橋 是清?, 27 July 1854 – 26 February 1936) was a Japanese politician and the 20th Prime Minister of Japan from 13 November 1921 to 12 June 1922. He was known as an expert on finance during his political career, as he served as the Japanese Minister of Finance on five separate occasions before his assassination….
Takahashi was born in Edo… under the Tokugawa shogunate… the illegitimate son of a court painter in residence at Edo Castle, and adopted as the son of Takahashi Kakuji, a low-ranking ashigaru samurai…. He studied English language and American culture in a private school run by the missionary James Hepburn….
Arriving in England in 1866, he found employment as a manservant. In 1867, he moved from England to Oakland, California in the United States, and found employment as a menial laborer. After his return to Japan in 1868, Takahashi taught English conversation, and later became the first master of the Kyōritsu Gakkō high school in Tokyo, (currently Kaisei High School) and at the same time worked as a low-ranking governmental bureaucrat in the Ministry of Education…. He was appointed as the first chief of the Bureau of Patents…. At one point, he resigned his government positions and went to Peru to start an enterprise but failed.
Takahashi became an employee of the Bank of Japan in 1892, and his talents were soon recognized, as he rose to become vice-president in 1898. For his success in raising the foreign loans critical to the Japanese government during and after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, he was appointed to the House of Peers of the Diet of Japan in 1905…. Takahashi was Governor of the Bank of Japan from June 1, 1911 through February 20, 1913. In 1913, Takahashi was appointed as the Minister of Finance by Prime Minister Yamamoto Gonnohyōe… appointed to the same office by Prime Minister Hara Takashi in 1918…. After Hara was assassinated in 1921, Takahashi was appointed both Prime Minister and the Rikken Seiyūkai party president…. Takahashi's term lasted less than seven months, primarily due to his inability as an outsider to control the various factions within his own party, and his lack of his own power base within the party….
When Katō Takaaki became the prime minister and set up a coalition cabinet 1924, Takahashi accepted the post of Minister of Agriculture and Commerce… serve[d] as Finance Minister under the administrations of Tanaka Giichi (1927–1929), Inukai Tsuyoshi (1931–1932), Saitō Makoto (1932–1934) and Okada Keisuke (1934–1936). To bring Japan out of the Great Depression of 1929, he instituted dramatically expansionary monetary and fiscal policy, abandoning the gold standard in December 1931, and running deficits. Despite considerable success, his fiscal policies involving reduction of military expenditures created many enemies within the military, and he was among those assassinated by rebelling military officers in the February 26 Incident of 1936.
His grave is at the Tama Reien Cemetery in Fuchū, Tokyo