Famous Japanese Political Leaders

Find out more about the greatest Japanese Political Leaders, including Shinzō Abe, Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Inejiro Asanuma and Uesugi Kenshin.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Japanese Political Leaders

 1 
Shinzō Abe
(Former Prime Minister of Japan)

Shinzō Abe
8
Birthdate: September 21, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tokyo

Shinzō Abe is a Japanese politician who became the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Japan after serving as prime minister of Japan from 2006 to 2007 and then from 2012 to 2020. Aged 52 at the time of assuming office as the prime minister, Abe is also the youngest Japanese post-war prime minister.

 2 
Toyotomi Hideyoshi
(Japanese Samurai)

Toyotomi Hideyoshi
4
Birthdate: March 17, 1537
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Died: September 18, 1598

Japanese samurai and daimyō Toyotomi Hideyoshi of the Sengoku period, also known as the second Great Unifier of Japan, became the Chancellor of the Realm (Daijō-daijin) and Imperial Regent (kampaku). He constructed the Osaka Castle, banned slavery, and established the Tokugawa class system and the Council of Five Elders.

 3 
Antonio Inoki
(Retired wrestler who founded New Japan Pro-Wrestling)

Antonio Inoki
4
Birthdate: November 20, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Yokohama, Japan

Once a reputed Japanese martial artist and wrestler, Antonio Inoki grew up in Brazil, where he won several contests of shot put, discus, and javelin. At 17, he went to the Japanese Wrestling Association and was mentored by Rikidōzan. He later established the New Japan Pro Wrestling.

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Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi
4
Birthdate: November 16, 1894
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
Died: July 27, 1972

Son of an Austro-Hungarian diplomat father and a Japanese mother, Richard Nikolaus Graf Coudenhove-Kalergi, also known as Aoyama Eijiro in Japan, grew up to be a skilled politician and established the Pan-European Union. He was the first to receive the Charlemagne Prize and also had citizenships of Czechoslovakia and France.

 5 
Yoshihide Suga
(Prime Minister of Japan)

Yoshihide Suga
9
Birthdate: December 6, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ogachi District, Akita, Japan
Yoshihide Suga, prime minister of Japan since September 2020, has also served as the longest-serving chief cabinet secretary of his country, under former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, and as the Japanese minister for internal affairs and communications. The son of strawberry farmer parents, Suga is also a qualified lawyer. 

 6 

Takeda Shingen
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1521
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kofu
Died: May 13, 1573

Takeda Shingen was an influential daimyo, or feudal lord of the Takeda clan, in Japan, apart from being an able military leader. Also known as the Tiger of Kai, he had long military conflicts with Uesugi and other leaders. His life inspired legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha.

 7 
Date Masamune
(Regional Ruler of Japan’s Azuchi–Momoyama Period Through Early Edo Period)

Date Masamune
4
Birthdate: September 5, 1567
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Yonezawa, Yamagata, Japan
Died: June 27, 1636
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 8 
Emperor Komei
(Emperor)

Emperor Komei
3
Birthdate: July 22, 1831
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kyoto
Died: January 30, 1867

The 121st tennō, or emperor, of Japan, Emperor Kōmei, had a tumultuous reign, which witnessed Japan being pushed to open to the Western world. He was the last Japanese emperor with multiple nengō, or era names. He was known for imposing an order of killing and persecuting foreign traders and officials.

 9 

Uesugi Kenshin
3
Birthdate: February 18, 1530
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Echigo Province
Died: April 19, 1578

Uesugi Kenshin was one of the most influential 16th-century Japanese military figures and a daimyō of the Sengoku period. His military prowess earned him the nickname Dragon of Echigo. Born Nagao Torachiyo, he changed his name after defeated leader Uesugi Norimasa took refuge in his home and adopted him.

 10 
Itō Hirobumi
(Politician, Diplomat)

Itō Hirobumi
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1841
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Yamaguchi Prefecture
Died: October 26, 1909

One of the most significant figures behind the modernization of Japan, Itō Hirobumi had led his country as its first prime minister and was also a genrō. Born to an adopted son of a samurai family, he contributed to the Meiji Restoration and the formation of the Japanese constitution.

 11 
Fumimaro Konoe
(Politician)

Fumimaro Konoe
3
Birthdate: October 12, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chiyoda-ku
Died: December 16, 1945

Born into the aristocratic Konoe family of Japan, Fumimaro Konoe grew up to become the Japanese prime minister. He led his nation during the second Sino-Japanese War and resigned just before World War II. Suspected of war crimes by the U.S., he eventually committed suicide by consuming potassium cyanide.

Minamoto no Yoritomo
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1147
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Owari Province
Died: February 9, 1199

Minamoto no Yoritomo is remembered founded the shogunate, a system of feudal lordship, which reigned over Japan for over 7 centuries. Part of the prestigious Kawachi Genji family, Yorimoto was hard-hearted enough to kill his relatives for gaining power. He also led the uprising known as the Gempei War.

 13 
Junichiro Koizumi
(Politician)

Junichiro Koizumi
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan

Born into a family of politicians, Junichiro Koizumi had been the prime minister of his country and a Liberal-Democratic Party leader. The London School of Economics alumnus became hugely popular among the masses for his reforms, such as inclusion of more women in the cabinet and speaking against nuclear weapons.

 14 
Taro Aso
(Politician)

Taro Aso
3
Birthdate: September 20, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iizuka, Fukuoka, Japan

The current Japanese deputy prime minister and finance minister Taro Aso has also previously led the country as its prime minister. The Stanford alumnus is known for making controversial and racist statements. He also gained the nickname His Excellency Rozen for his love for the manga series Rozen Maiden.

 15 
Nobusuke Kishi
(Politician)

Nobusuke Kishi
3
Birthdate: November 13, 1896
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Tabuse, Empire of Japan
Died: August 7, 1987

Beginning his career as a civil servant, Nobusuke Kishi entered politics as a vice minister of the Manchukuo government and later served in the Cabinet of Tōjō Hideki. Imprisoned for three years by the Allied Occupation authorities after the war, he eventually became the Prime Minister of Japan. As Prime Minister of Japan, he signed a new U.S.-Japan security treaty.

 16 

Patsy Takemoto Mink
3
Birthdate: December 6, 1927
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paia, Hawaii
Died: September 28, 2002

Born to Japanese immigrants in Hawaii, lawyer and Democratic Party member Patsy Takemoto Mink became the first Asian-American woman and the second Hawaiian woman to be part of the U.S. Congress. She has fought for women’s and civil rights and has opposed the American participation in the Vietnam War.

 17 
Akie Abe
(Shinzō Abe's wife)

Akie Abe
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tokyo

Akie Abe is the wife of former Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe. The daughter of a confectionery magnate, Akie has previously worked for Dentsu Inc. She has also been a DJ, using the pseudonym Akky. She once partnered with Michelle Obama to promote classroom education for girls worldwide.

 18 
Yasuhiro Nakasone
(Prime Minister of Japan (1982-87))

Yasuhiro Nakasone
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1918
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Takasaki, Gunma, Japan
Died: November 29, 2019

Yasuhiro Nakasone was a Japanese politician. He served as the president of the Liberal Democratic Party and prime minister of Japan from 1982 to 1987. For over five decades Nakasone served as a member of the House of Representatives. He is remembered for his work which helped reinvigorate Japanese nationalism, which plays a major role in the success of Japan.

 19 
Taishi Shōtoku
(Regent and Politician)

Taishi Shōtoku
3
Birthdate: February 7, 0574
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Yamato, Japan
Died: April 8, 0622

Apart from being a regent of Japan, Taishi Shōtoku, or Prince Umayado, had also enriched Japanese literature, chronicling the history of the country. He introduced the Seventeen-article constitution and also promoted Buddhism and Confucianism. He improved Japan’s diplomatic and cultural ties with China, by resuming sending envoys to the country.

 20 
Yoshihiko Noda
(Politician)

Yoshihiko Noda
3
Birthdate: May 20, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Funabashi

Born to a paratrooper, Democratic Party leader and former Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda grew up amid abject poverty and was not related to the political elite of Japan. He eventually grew unpopular for his decision to reopen the nuclear plants that had been shut down after the Fukushima disaster.

 21 
Fumio Kishida
(Diplomat, Politician)

Fumio Kishida
2
Birthdate: July 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Shibuya-ku

Born into a family of politicians from Hiroshima, Fumio Kishida graduated in law and then stepped into politics. The Liberal Democratic Party member has been the minister of foreign affairs and is the current representative from Hiroshima 1st district. He is also associated with the nationalist group Nippon Kaigi.

 22 
Satoru Sayama
(Wrestler)

Satoru Sayama
3
Birthdate: November 27, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi, Japan

Nicknamed Tiger Mask, Japanese MMA fighter and wrestler Satoru Sayama has also fought under the name Sammy Lee. Known as the Bruce Lee of wrestling, he has been the only person to hold both the WWF and the NWA world junior heavyweight titles simultaneously. He also founded the combat sport Shooto.

 23 
Naoto Kan
(Former Prime Minister of Japan)

Naoto Kan
3
Birthdate: October 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan

Born to a factory manager, Naoto Kan was not related to the Japanese political elite. He grew up to form his own patent company and later became Japan’s prime minister. As the country’s health minister earlier, he had admitted the government’s fault in distributing HIV-tainted blood to patients of hemophilia. 

 24 
Shigeru Yoshida
(Former Prime Minister)

Shigeru Yoshida
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1878
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Died: October 20, 1967

Shigeru Yoshida had been the prime minister of Japan in the face of Allied occupation after World War II. Born to an entrepreneur and a geisha, he had later been adopted by a friend of his father’s. He is best known for the Yoshida Doctrine, which ushered in economic prosperity.

 25 
Yukio Hatoyama
(Politician, Engineer)

Yukio Hatoyama
3
Birthdate: February 11, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bunkyō, Tokyo

Born into a family of Japanese politicians that has been compared to the Kennedy family of the U.S., Yukio Hatoyama has served as Japan’s prime minister and as the Democratic Party president. An engineer, who later obtained a PhD from Stanford, he has also taught at a few universities earlier.

 26 
Tokugawa Hidetada
(Politician)

Tokugawa Hidetada
3
Birthdate: May 2, 1579
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamamatsu
Died: March 14, 1632

Tokugawa Hidetada was the second shōgun of the Tokugawa dynasty. Named to the shogunate by his father Tokugawa Ieyasu because of his even temper, he not only consolidated his family’s rule, but also banned Christianity and Christian literature in Japan, executing many missionaries and converts. To protect Japan from foreign influence, he also took steps to ban foreign trade.

 27 
Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni
(Politician, Military personnel)

Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1887
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kyoto
Died: January 20, 1990

 28 
Genda Minoru
(Aviator)

Genda Minoru
3
Birthdate: August 16, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hiroshima, Japan
Died: August 15, 1989

Born in Hiroshima, Genda Minoru grew up to be one of the most influential naval officers of Japan. He was chosen by Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto for strategizing and drafting the plan to attack the Pearl Harbor, which resulted in the U.S.’s entry into World War II, the following day.

 29 
Kantarō Suzuki
(Political leader)

Kantarō Suzuki
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1868
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kuze, Izumi, Japan
Died: April 17, 1948

Kantarō Suzuki was the last leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association and the last premier of Japan at the time of World War II, following which he surrendered to the Allied powers. He had previously gained accolades for his role in the Russo-Japanese War and the First Sino-Japanese War.

 30 

Emperor Suizei
3
Birthdate: 0632 BC
Died: 0549 BC

Son of Emperor Jimmu, Emperor Suizei is largely regarded as the second legendary Japanese emperor, and many historians debate his existence. He killed his half-brother, Tagishimimi, who had plotted his murder, to become the emperor. He later married his aunt and had a son with her.

 31 
Yukio Ozaki
(Politician)

Yukio Ozaki
3
Birthdate: December 24, 1858
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Matano, Kanagawa, Japan
Died: October 6, 1954

Considered the Father of Parliamentary Politics in Japan, Yukio Ozaki was a revered member of the House of Representatives, who served as Education Minister, Minister of Justice and also as the Mayor of Tokyo. Today, he is best remembered for his struggles to establish universal manhood suffrage and a governmental system responsible to the majority party in the Diet.

 32 
Yoshiro Mori
(Prime Minister of Japan (2000-2001))

Yoshiro Mori
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nomi, Ishikawa, Japan
Tokyo Olympics head Yoshiro Mori shocked everyone with his sexist remark stating women members of the Japanese Olympic Committee talk too much. While the comment led to his resignation from the committee, he wasn’t liked for his inappropriate comments he made back when he was the prime minister either.

 33 
Kuniaki Koiso
(Politician, Military personnel)

Kuniaki Koiso
3
Birthdate: March 22, 1880
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Utsunomiya
Died: November 3, 1950

Kuniaki Koiso had served as Japan’s prime minister during the final stages of World War II but died in prison after being convicted of war crimes. Born into a family of samurai descendants, he grew up to become an army general. He had also been the governor general of Korea.

 34 
Yasuo Fukuda
(Politician, Economist)

Yasuo Fukuda
3
Birthdate: July 16, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Takasaki

Born to former Prime Minister Takeo Fukudu, Yasuo Fukuda worked at a petroleum company before entering political arena as his father’s political secretary. Later he served as chief cabinet secretary to two more prime ministers before being elected to the position himself. He pledged to improve Japan’s relationship with China and North Korea; but resigned out of frustration a year later.

 35 
Kakuei Tanaka
(Politician)

Kakuei Tanaka
3
Birthdate: May 4, 1918
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nishiyama, Japan
Died: December 16, 1993

Born to a poor cattle dealer, Kakuei Tanaka started his own construction firm after quitting school at 15. After gaining immense wealth as a businessman, he stepped into politics and rose through the ranks to become the prime minister of Japan. He eventually resigned amid a bribery scandal.

 36 
Morihiro Hosokawa
(Politician)

Morihiro Hosokawa
3
Birthdate: January 14, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Founder of the Nihon Shintō, or the Japan New Party, Morihiro Hosokawa was born into a political family and was a descendant of the Japanese royalty, the Kumamoto-Hosokawa clan. A qualified lawyer, he had also worked as a journalist before stepping into politics. He later resigned amid bribery charges.

 37 
Hōjō Tokimune
(Politician)

Hōjō Tokimune
5
Birthdate: June 5, 1251
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Japan
Died: April 20, 1284

Hōjō Tokimune served as the regent to the shogun of Japan during the Kamakura shogunate. He is remembered for his resilience in the fight against the Mongol invaders of Kublai Khan, which ended in a typhoon killing thousands of invaders. He also promoted Zen Buddhism in Japan.

 38 
Inejiro Asanuma
(Politician)

Inejiro Asanuma
2
Birthdate: December 27, 1898
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tokyo
Died: October 12, 1960

Japanese Socialist Party leader Inejiro Asanuma was singlehandedly raised by his father after his mother’s death at childbirth. He was against the U.S. and strongly supported the Chinese Communist Party. A 17-year-old nationalist stabbed him to death, using a samurai sword, during a televised on-stage event.

 39 
Eisaku Satō
(Politician)

Eisaku Satō
3
Birthdate: March 27, 1901
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tabuse, Yamaguchi, Japan
Died: June 3, 1975

Nobel Peace Prize-winning Japanese prime minister Eisaku Satō is remembered for his stance against nuclear weapons, which led Japan to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. While he improved trade with China, he was also criticized for letting the U.S. army stay in Okinawa even after its return to Japan.

 40 

Honda Tadakatsu
3
Birthdate: March 17, 1548
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Okazaki
Died: December 3, 1610

Considered as one the Four Heavenly Kings of the Tokugawa, Honda Tadakatsu was an important samurai general of the Sengoku and a veteran of over one hundred battles. Known for his loyalty to Tokugawa Ieyasu, he was later rewarded with the fief of Otaki and the domain of Kuwana. Also known as Honda Heihachirō, he never suffered any major wound.  

 41 
Shintaro Ishihara
(Politician)

Shintaro Ishihara
2
Birthdate: September 30, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Suma-ku, Kobe, Japan

Apart from serving as the governor of Tokyo, Japanese right-wing politician Shintaro Ishihara has also been an accomplished writer. He wrote the Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Season of the Sun when he was still in school and later contributed to various plays and screenplays, too.

 42 
Ii Naomasa
(officer)

Ii Naomasa
3
Birthdate: March 4, 1560
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tōtōmi Province
Died: March 24, 1602

Orphaned at the age of three, Ii Naomasa was initially groomed by his foster mother, Ii Naotora, a daimyō of the Sengoku period. He was later sent to Tokugawa Ieyasu, under whom he began his career, rising swiftly through ranks to become Hyōbu-dayū. Considered one of the Four Heavenly Kings of the Tokugawa, he was also a favorite of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

 43 
Imagawa Yoshimoto
(samurai, daimyo)

Imagawa Yoshimoto
2
Birthdate: 1519 AD
Birthplace: Shizuoka
Died: June 12, 1560

A descendant of the noble Imagawa clan, Imagawa Yoshimoto was a prominent daimyo, or feudal lord, of the Sengoku period. It is believed he lived a kingly life, and was carried around in a palanquin. He was killed by his enemies while celebrating an early success in the Battle of Okehazama.

 44 
Sugawara Michizane
(Scholar and statesman)

Sugawara Michizane
2
Birthdate: August 1, 0845
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Died: March 26, 0903

A court scholar, Sugawara Michizane had held various significant posts, such as the governor of Sanuki and the minister of the right. He redefined Chinese literature, particularly Kanshi poetry, but was later exiled to an island for suspected treason. He is revered as the deity of learning and literature, Tenman-Tenjin.

 45 

Tokugawa Iemochi
2
Birthdate: July 17, 1846
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Minato-ku
Died: August 29, 1866

 46 

Mamoru Shigemitsu
2
Birthdate: July 29, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bungo-ono, Ōita Prefecture, Japan
Died: January 26, 1957

Mamoru Shigemitsu had been the foreign minister and the deputy prime minister of Japan and an ambassador to several countries. He ratified Japan’s surrender to the Allies after World War II, following which he was convicted of war crimes. Hereceived a 7-year sentence but was paroled after 4 years.

 47 
Enomoto Takeaki
(One of the Founders of the Imperial Japanese Navy)

Enomoto Takeaki
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1836
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edo, Japan
Died: October 26, 1908

 48 
Kōki Hirota
(Politician)

Kōki Hirota
2
Birthdate: February 14, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chuo Ward, Fukuoka, Japan
Died: December 23, 1948

Son of a stonemason, Kōki Hirota grew up to graduate in law. Stepping into politics, he eventually became the prime minister of Japan. He had previously been an ambassador to Russia, too. He resigned amid army pressure and was executed by hanging for war crimes during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

 49 
Genki Sudo
(Politician)

Genki Sudo
0
Birthdate: March 8, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Koto City, Tokyo, Japan

Genki Sudo is a Japanese MMA fighter, singer, dancer, and politician. Known for his unorthodox fighting style and elaborate ring entrances, Sudo was a kickboxer before focusing on his career in the Japanese entertainment industry. He then became a member of a prominent political party in Japan in 2019. Sudo is currently serving as a Member of House of Councillors.

 50 
Sōsuke Uno
(Politician, Diplomat)

Sōsuke Uno
3
Birthdate: August 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moriyama
Died: May 19, 1998

Son of a brewer from Moriyama, Sōsuke Uno was a martial arts champion in school. He later served the Japanese army in World War II, before stepping into politics and eventually becoming the prime minister of Japan. He resigned in the wake of a scandal involving a geisha.