Nobuaki Makino

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Count Nobuaki Makino (1862-1949), a member of Japan's Satsuma Clan, was a principal adviser to Emperor Hirohito, accompanying the young Prince Hirohito on his European tour in 1921, and then serving as Lord Privy Seal, generally considered the most important Palace official, from 1925 to 1935.

Early life

Makino spent eight years, as a boy, studying in the United States, an unhappy time from which he learned excellent English. He was the son of the general who had led Emperor Meiji's troops against the Satsuma Revolt of 1877.[1]

Between 1917 and 1919, he was secretary of Emperor Taisho's Advisory Council on Foreign Policy, especially focused on the Siberian Intervention.

He was Japan's working-level delegate to the Versailles Peace Conference, Prince Saionji being the formal representative, and Japanese Ambassador to the League of Nations.

Makino opposed the Strike-North Faction.

Palace leadership

Hirohito, according to Bix, was guided by seven key officials: the Lord Privy Seal, Grand Chamberlain, Imperial Household Minister, Chief Aide-de-Camp, and three staff secretaries. When Grand Chamberlain Chinda died in 1929, Makino replaced him with retired Admiral Kantaro Suzuki. Makino's key rule for Court involvement in a political problem was that the cabinets accepted the Emperor as supervisor, but shielded him from credit or blame.

the matter should never implicate or cause harm to the emperor[2]

Following the May 15 incident, he advised Hirohito to end party government.


  1. David Bergamini (1971), Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, Morrow, p. 315
  2. Herbert P. Bix (2001), Hirohito and the making of modern Japan, Harper Perennial, ISBN 978-0060931308, pp. 172-173, 180