Diplomat, statesman. Born in Aichi, the son of a samurai of the Nagoya Clan. He graduated first on the list from the Law Department of the University of Tokyo, and entered Mitsubishi Corporation. In 1886 he married a daughter of Yataro Iwasaki. Later, he entered government service and held the posts of director of the Banking Bureau in Ministry of Finance, and minister to Great Britain. In 1900, he became the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the fourth Ito cabinet. In 1902 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives. Thereafter, he successively held posts as president of the Tokyo Nichinichi Shimbun newspaper company, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the first Saionji cabinet, ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Minister of Foreign Affairs in the third Katsura and second Okuma cabinets. In 1915 he was selected as a member of the House of Peers by Imperial command. He became president of the Kenseikai (Constitutional Association) in the following year. In 1924 he assumed the office of Prime Minister for Goken Sanpa Naikaku (the pro-constitution three-sect cabinet). In the following year, he had the Universal Manhood Suffrage Law and Peace Preservation Law enacted and concluded the Soviet-Japanese Basic Convention.