Kono Togama (河野敏鎌)

Togama KONO (November 29, 1844 – April 20, 1895) was a Japanese politician in the early Meiji Period. He was a viscount.

In November, 1844, he was born in the town of Kochi-jo Castle in Tosa Province, as the eldest son of Michiyoshi KONO, who was a vassal of the Yamanouchi family. His childhood name was Masuya.

In April, 1858, he traveled to study in Edo, and became a disciple of Sokken YASUI. In 1861, he went back to Tosa Province, and entered Tosa kinnoto (loyalist clique of Tosa) of Zuizan TAKECHI. He formed friendship with Ryoma SAKAMOTO and so on. In 1862, he took part in Gojuningumi (a group to guard Toyoshige YAMAUCHI) and worked for the affairs of the state between Kyoto and Edo. In 1863, the opinion of Tosa Domain had changed to Sabaku-ha (supporters of the Shogun), and this made him imprisoned. Since then, he was said to have spent 6 years in prison, endured harsh tortures and protected his comrades. Then he was sentenced to life in prison.

After the Meiji Restoration, he was discharged and released from the prison. He went to Osaka under the guidance of Shojiro GOTO, who was also from Tosa Domain. Goto introduced him to Shinpei ETO, and he enjoyed his favor. In April, 1869, he became a supernumerary government official at Taishokyoku (organization of the Meiji Government which dealt with proposals from civilians). After that, he became Daisanji (second to a governor) of Hiroshima prefecture. Then he became a senior secretary at administration of justice, and also a chief prosecutor. In Saga War in 1874, he followed Toshimichi OKUBO, and went to Kyushu to suppress the war. In the trial, he did tough interrogation to his former boss, Shinpei ETO, and brought him to the death penalty without giving enough chance for him to defense himself. It's said that Eto was very furious about this. In 1875, he became a councilor of the Genroin (the Chamber of Elders), and in 1878, he became a deputy chairman of Genroin. In 1880, he assumed the position as a Minister of Education. He became an advocate of the amendment of Kyoikurei (the 1879 Education Order). In 1881, he assumed the position as the first Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, as the establishment of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. But due to so-called 'Meiji juyonen no seihen' (the failed Meiji-14 coup of 1881) in October, he went into opposition, with Shigenobu OKUMA and so on.

In 1882, he formed the Constitutional Progressive Party with Shigenobu OKUMA and others. He became the Deputy Prime Minister. By the influence of the dissolution of the Liberal Party, he insisted to dissolve the Constitutional Progressive Party, but he met with the opposition and he left the party with OKUMA. In 1888, he became a privy councilor, and involved in the deliberation of the Constitution. In 1891, he served as Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Justice, and Minister of Agriculture and Commerce in the First Masayoshi MATSUKATA Cabinet, and Minister of Education in the Second Hirobumi ITO Cabinet. In 1893, he was given the title of viscount for his distinguished services and was raised to nobleman.

On April 30, 1895, he died. He was 52 years old. He sleeps in Aoyama cemetery in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

[Original Japanese]