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Access Type

Open Access

Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Toyama Mitsuru, Saigo Takamori, Saiga Hiroyoshi, Dai Saigo Ikun, Kokuryukai, Genyosha


The objective of this thesis is to reveal that, despite the nigh-messianic image Tōyama Mitsuru (1855-1944) had among rightists and militarists for his staunch expansionist beliefs during the Taishō period (1912-1926), he was a rather inconsequential, boorish figure who had little impact on Japan’s political or economic spheres. Like Saigō Takamori (1828-1877), Tōyama also wished to see Japan colonize East Asia and gain military strength comparable to any Western nation; it was this type of thinking that Tōyama would promulgate in order to gain popularity and influence, and many of his contemporaries would thus view him as a disciple of Saigō’s teachings. However, it is my belief that Saigō and Tōyama differed greatly in terms of character and respectability, as Saigō gained influence through steadfast devotion to his superiors and teaching others of maintaining moral integrity, whereas Tōyama opted to use violence as a means of expressing his own opinions. The difference between the two men will become more apparent as I carefully analyze and interpret ten key points in Dai Saigō Ikun (“The Great Saigō’s Dying Instructions”), which best exemplify the opinions and thoughts of both Saigō Takamori and Tōyama Mitsuru, as Saigō’s Ikun and Tōyama’s subsequent criticisms were seen by many to perfectly represent the core ideologies of what both men believed in. Comparisons will be made from the intonations of both the points and their accompanying criticisms, and it will become evident that Tōyama’s personality differed considerably from Saigō’s in terms of directness and reservation (or lack thereof). I will examine the backgrounds of both men as well as that of Saiga Hiroyoshi (1891-1947), who contributed as publisher of the Dai Saigō Ikun and was himself a follower of Saigō’s beliefs. By examining his words and analyzing the conduct he displayed throughout his life, my thesis will disprove the illusion of Tōyama Mitsuru’s philanthropy and will show that, despite the abundance of books published that portray him as a selfless hero and how popular he became among right-wing advocates, he was an unsophisticated individual whose crude behavior served only to fuel the propaganda of Japanese militarism through justifying Japan’s colonization efforts into East Asia, which ultimately proved to be his sole goal in life.

First Advisor

Amanda C Seaman

Second Advisor

Stephen M. Forrest