Kuroda Kiyotaka was the 2nd Prime Minister of Japan, and before that, director of the Hokkaido Development Bureau.
A samurai of Satsuma han, he played a role in arranging the Satsuma-Chôshû Alliance of the Bakumatsu period. During the Boshin War, he then served as part of the military staff of the Hokuriku Pacification Supervisory Division (北陸鎮撫総監府), and fought in the Battle of Hakodate.
As director of the Hokkaido Development Bureau, Kuroda invited Horace Capron and William Clark to serve as development advisors, and also established the Sapporo Agricultural School. After a period as Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, Kuroda succeeded Itô Hirobumi to become the second Prime Minister of the Empire of Japan; he would serve in that position for only about a year and a half, but during his brief administration, Kuroda would preside over the Promulgation of the Meiji Constitution.
Kuroda was parodied in the Marumaru chinbun by being represented in political cartoons as a black octopus (kuroi tako, a pun on his name); the publication played a significant role in spreading rumors or allegations that he had killed his wife in a drunken fit, and that he was corrupt as a politician, accepting bribes from corporations to cheaply sell them government land in Hokkaido.
|Prime Minister of Japan
- Peter Duus, "The Marumaru Chinbun and the Origins of the Japanese Political Cartoon," International Journal of Comic Art 1 (1999), 49.
- Plaques at historical sites in Kagoshima City.