Saionji Kinmochi was an aristocrat, a scholar and a progressive liberal politician who twice occupied the highest political office in the nation and who, during three decades, as adviser to three Emperors, coordinated and directed Japanese politics. His long life encompassed the emergence of the modern Japanese state, the establishment of the constitution, the integration of Japan into the inter-war, international community and the creation, and subsequent erosion of the democratic process. The story of his twilight years chronicles the conflicts between the goals of liberalism and internationalism which dominated Japanese politics in the 1920s and the right-wing militarism which held sway in the years leading to the Pacific War.

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