Famous People in Japan

Hosokawa Morihiro

Date of Birth 14 January 1938
Place of Birth Kumamoto

Hosokawa Morihiro, who was the 35th Prime Minister from August 9, 1993 to April 28, 1994, was the president of Nihon-Shinto (now included in Shinshinto; The New Frontier Party.)

He is the eldest son of Hosokawa Moritada who acts as adviser to the Eisei Library. One of his grandfathers, Konoe Fumimaro, was also a Prime minister, and the other was a historian of art. For many generations, his ancestors were samurais who had a large domain and lot of vassals in Kumamoto-han (The Kumamoto Clan.) He is the 18th head of the House of Hosokawa, so people in Kumamoto prefecture call him "Waka-tono (a young load)" and trust him. He graduated from Sophia University's Faculty of Law in 1963. Once he became a newspaperman of the Asahi and worked for eight years, however, later he quit his job and ran for the House of Councilors in 1971 and 1977. He was elected both elections in succession. He also ran for the election of the vice-president of the Liberal Democratic Party and Energy Taisaku Tokubetsu Iincho (Special Committee on Energy Problems) of the House of Councilors in 1977.

He stood for the election of Kumamoto-municipal assembly and became a member of Kumamoto prefectural assembly in 1983. He had acted energetically for Kumamoto for eight years. He went to America and appeared TV in Japan very often to get publicity of 'Hinokuni Kumamoto (Kumamoto, Land of Sun.)" He also put forward a campaign "Nihon-ichi Zukuri (trying to be number one of all of the prefectures in Japan.)"

He made a new party "Nihon-shinto" and was elected to a councilor in May 1992. In July 1993, he won the election of the House of Representatives from Kumamoto prefecture, and won 35 seats in the election. In August 1994, he became the Prime Minister and led the Hosokawa Administrations which was composed of seven parties and one faction. It was a landmark that single Liberal Democratic Party Government which had been the largest party in the National Diet for 38 years.

Because public support plays an important role, Prime Minister Hosokawa Morihiro have emphasized public relations activities. In the television age, a major part of public image is formulated by appearance and eloquence on the air, at least, for his of political reform. According to T. Shinoda, "From the beginning of his term, he publicly declared achievement of political reform to introduce a single-seat electoral system, and the public strongly supported him. Hosokawa received an unprecedented 70 percent of public support. Even with this enormous popularity, it was not easy for Hosokawa to pass the political reform bills, which were controversial within the political community. The leftist faction of the Japan Socialist Party effectively killed the political reform bills by voting against them in the upper house, thereby breaking the agreement reached among the party leaders in the coalition government. Prime Minister Hosokawa publicly restated his willingness to sacrifice his post for political reform, and he called for a meeting with LDP President Yohei Kohno. Although many LDP members opposed the political reform, they did not want to be blamed for blocking bills that were popular with the public. An agreement was reached, and it enabled the Hosokawa coalition government to enact the political reform bills.In 1998, suddenly he resigned as a politician. He said the time had come he should retire.

He is also famous as a writer and published two popular books "Jieitai (the Japanese Self-Defense Forces)" and "Jenshin-suru Noumin (Progressive Farmers.)"

Hosokawa and his wife Kayoko have a son and two daughters. His hobbies include skiing, tennis, golf, and reading.


Reported by: Nishioka Rika
Data verified by: Hiromi Kitanaka
Date of Report: October 1996
Updated by: Naomi Satou, May 1998

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