Higashikuze Michitomi (東久世通禧)

Michitomi HIGASHIKUZE (January 1, 1834 - January 4, 1912), was a court noble in the end of Edo Period and a politician in the Meiji Period.

In January 1, 1834, he was born in Kyoto as the child of Michinaru HIGASHIKUZE. The Higashikuze family was a branch of the Koga family, Murakami Genji (Minamoto clan) line. He played an important role as a young and active court noble, advocating Sonno Joi (19th century slogan advocating reverence for the Emperor and the expulsion of foreigners) in the Imperial Court at the end of Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). However, when the power of the Imperial Court was transferred from the supporters of Sonno Joi to the supporters of Kobu Gattai (integration of the imperial court and the shogunate), owing to the Coup of August 18 that took place in 1863, he escaped to the Choshu Domain by ship protected by the army of Choshu Domain together with Sanetomi SANJO, Suetomo SANJO, Nobuyoshi SAWA, Motoosa MIBU, Takauta SHIJO, and Yorinori NISHIKINOKOJI.
This escape is commonly known as 'the exile of the Seven Nobles from Kyoto.'
He was then transferred from Choshu to Dazaifu (local government office in Kyushu region).

After the Meiji Restoration, he achieved a resurgence, and consecutively held important positions such as the ministerial governor of foreign affairs, governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, chief of Hokkaido Development Commissioner, and the Grand Chamberlain. In 1871, he accompanied the Iwakura Mission lead by the plenipotentiary delegate Tomomi IWAKURA, and enriched his experience.
In 1882, he was appointed the Vice President of Genroin (Chamber of Elders)
When the Peerage Law was enforced, he was conferred the title of count in 1884. The Higashikuze family was originally endowed with the rank equivalent to viscount, however, the family was raised to count for the distinguished service that Michitomi rendered. In the joshaku (conferring a peerage), only a limited number of court nobles, such as Tomomi IWAKURA and Sanetomi SANJO were given a special treatment for their merit.
He held the following important posts:
In 1888, Privy Councilor. In 1890, Deputy Chairman of the House of Peers. In 1892, Vice President of the Privy Council.

[Original Japanese]