Statesman. Born in Saga, the son of a samurai of the Saga Clan. He was an active royalist supporting the sonno joi (revere the emperor and expel the barbarians) doctrine. After the Meiji Restoration, after serving as foreign case judge, etc., he became a sangi (councillor) in 1870. In 1873, he became Chief Secretary of Ministry of Finance and then okurakyo(Finance Minister). After the "conquer Korea debate", he assisted Toshimichi Okubo in financial management. He was expelled from the government in Political Crisis of 1881. In 1882, he organized the Rikken Kaishin-to (Constitutional Reform Party) and founded the the Tokyo Senmon Gakko (later the Waseda University). Serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the first Ito and Kuroda cabinets, he was involved in the revision of treaties. He also served concurrently as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Agriculture and Commerce in the second Matsukata cabinet. In 1898, he organized the Kensei-to party and became Prime Minister. In 1907 he retired from politics, but returned later and became Prime Minister again in 1914.