Shintaro Ishihara facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Ishihara in 2009 at governor's office
|Governor of Tokyo|
23 April 1999 – 31 October 2012
|Preceded by||Yukio Aoshima|
|Succeeded by||Naoki Inose|
|Minister of Transport|
6 November 1987 – 27 November 1988
|Prime Minister||Noboru Takeshita|
|Preceded by||Ryūtarō Hashimoto|
|Succeeded by||Shinji Satō|
|Director General of the Environment Agency|
24 December 1976 – 28 November 1977
|Prime Minister||Takeo Fukuda|
|Preceded by||Shigesada Marumo|
|Succeeded by||Hisanari Yamada|
|Member of the House of Councillors
for National Block
8 July 1968 – 25 November 1972
|Member of the House of Representatives
for Tokyo 2nd district
10 December 1972 – 18 March 1975
10 December 1976 – 14 April 1995
|Member of the House of Representatives
for Tokyo PR Block
11 December 2012 – 21 November 2014
|Preceded by||Ichirō Kamoshita|
|Succeeded by||Akihisa Nagashima|
30 September 1932|
Suma-ku, Kobe, Japan
|Died||1 February 2022
Ōta, Tokyo, Japan
|Cause of death||Pancreatic cancer|
|Political party||Liberal Democratic (1968–1973, 1976–1995)
Independent (1973–1976, 1995–2012)
Japan Restoration (2012–2014)
Future Generations (2014–2015)
|Alma mater||Hitotsubashi University|
Shintaro Ishihara (石原 慎太郎, Ishihara Shintarō, 30 September 1932 – 1 February 2022) was a Japanese politician and writer who was Governor of Tokyo from 1999 to 2012. Being the former leader of the radical right Japan Restoration Party, he was one of the most prominent ultranationalists in modern Japanese politics. An ultranationalist, he was infamous for his misogynistic comments, racist remarks, xenophobic views and hatred of Chinese and Koreans, including using the antiquated pejorative term "sangokujin".
Also a critic of relations between Japan and the United States, his arts career included a prize-winning novel, best-sellers, and work also in theater, film, and journalism. His 1989 book, The Japan That Can Say No, co-authored with Sony chairman Akio Morita (released in 1991 in English), called on the authors' countrymen to stand up to the United States.
After an early career as a writer and film director, Ishihara served in the House of Councillors from 1968 to 1972, in the House of Representatives from 1972 to 1995, and as Governor of Tokyo from 1999 to 2012. He resigned from the governorship to briefly co-lead the Sunrise Party, then joined the Japan Restoration Party and returned to the House of Representatives in the 2012 general election. He unsuccessfully sought re-election in the general election of November 2014, and officially left politics the following month.
- Early life and artistic career
- Political career
- Political views
- Personal life
- Illness and death
- Books written by Ishihara
- Film career
- See also
Early life and artistic career
Shintaro Ishihara was born in Suma-ku, Kobe. His father Kiyoshi was an employee, later a general manager, of a shipping company. Shintaro grew up in Zushi, Kanagawa. In 1952, he entered Hitotsubashi University, and he graduated in 1956. Just two months before graduation, Ishihara won the Akutagawa Prize (Japan's most prestigious literary prize) for the novel Season of the Sun. His brother Yujiro played a supporting role in the movie adaptation of the novel (for which Shintaro wrote the screenplay). Ishihara had dabbled in directing a couple of films starring his brother.
In the early 1960s, he concentrated on writing, including plays, novels, and a musical version of Treasure Island. One of his later novels, Lost Country (1982), speculated about Japan under the control of the Soviet Union. He also ran a theatre company, and found time to visit the North Pole, race his yacht The Contessa and cross South America on a motorcycle. He wrote a memoir of his journey, Nanbei Odan Ichiman Kiro.
From 1966 to 1967, he covered the Vietnam War at the request of Yomiuri Shimbun, and the experience influenced his decision to enter politics. He also was mentored by the influential author and political "fixer" Tsûsai Sugawara.
In 1968, Ishihara ran as a candidate on the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) national slate for the House of Councillors. He placed first on the LDP list with an unprecedented 3 million votes. After four years in the upper house, Ishihara ran for the House of Representatives representing the second district of Tokyo, and again won election.
In 1973, he joined with thirty other LDP lawmakers in the anti-communist Seirankai or "Blue Storm Group"; the group gained notoriety for sealing a pledge of unity in their own blood.
Ishihara ran for Governor of Tokyo in 1975 but lost to the popular Socialist incumbent Ryokichi Minobe. Minobe was 71 at the time, and Ishihara criticized him as being "too old".
Ishihara returned to the House of Representatives afterward, and worked his way up the party's internal ladder, serving as Director-General of the Environment Agency under Takeo Fukuda (1976) and Minister of Transport under Noboru Takeshita (1989). During the 1980s, Ishihara was a highly visible and popular LDP figure, but was unable to win enough internal support to form a true faction and move up the national political ladder. In 1983 his campaign manager put up stickers throughout Tokyo stating that Ishihara's political opponent was an immigrant from North Korea. Ishihara denied that this was discrimination, saying that the public had a right to know.
In 1989, shortly after losing a highly contested race for the party presidency, Ishihara came to the attention of the West through his book The Japan That Can Say No, co-authored with Sony chairman Akio Morita. The book called on his fellow countrymen to stand up to the United States.
Governor of Tokyo
In the 1999 Tokyo gubernatorial election, he ran on an independent platform and was elected as Governor of Tokyo. Among Ishihara's moves as governor, he:
- Cut metropolitan spending projects, including plans for a new Toei Subway line, and proposed the sale or leasing out of many metropolitan facilities.
- Imposed a new tax on banks' gross profits (rather than net profits).
- Imposed a new hotel tax based on occupancy.
- Imposed restrictions on the operation of diesel-powered vehicles, following a highly publicized event where he held up a bottle of diesel soot before cameras and reporters.
- Imposed cap and trade energy tax.
- Proposed opening casinos in the Odaiba district.
- Declared in 2005 that Tokyo would bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which discouraged a bid by Fukuoka. Tokyo's bid lost to that of Rio de Janeiro.
- Set up the ShinGinko Tokyo bank to lend to SMEs (small medium enterprises) in Tokyo. This bank has lost approximately 1 billion dollars worth of taxpayers' money through inadequate customer risk assessments.
- Served as Chairman of Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
He won re-election in 2003 with 70.2% of the vote, and re-election in 2007 with 50.52% of the vote. In the 2011 gubernatorial election, his share of the vote dipped to 43.4% against challenges by comedian Hideo Higashikokubaru and entrepreneur Miki Watanabe.
On 25 October 2012, Ishihara announced he would resign as Governor of Tokyo to form a new political party in preparation for upcoming national elections. Following his announcement, the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly approved his resignation on 31 October 2012, officially ending his tenure as Governor of Tokyo for 4,941 days, the second-longest term after Shunichi Suzuki.
Ishihara's new national party was expected to be formed with members of the right-wing Sunrise Party of Japan, which he had helped to set up in 2010. When announced by co-leaders Ishihara and SPJ chief Takeo Hiranuma on 13 November 2012, Sunrise Party incorporated all five members of SPJ. SP would look to form a coalition with other small parties including Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's Japan Restoration Party (Nippon Ishin no Kai).
In November 2012, Ishihara and his co-leader Hiranuma said that the Sunrise Party would pursue "establishment of an independent Constitution, beefing up of Japan's defense capabilities, and fundamental reform of fiscal management and tax systems to make them more transparent". The future of nuclear power and the upcoming consumption tax hike were issues it would have to address with potential coalition partners.
Sunrise Party merger with the Japan Restoration Party
Only four days after the Sunrise Party was launched, on 17 November 2012, Ishihara and Tōru Hashimoto, leader of the Japan Restoration Party (JRP), decided to merge their parties, with Ishihara becoming the head of the JRP. Your Party would not join the party, nor would Genzei Nippon, as the latter party's anti-consumption tax increase policy did not match the JRP's pro-consumption tax policy.
Reporting on a poll in early December 2012, Asahi Shimbun characterized the merger with Japan Restoration Party as the latter having "swallowed up" Sunrise. The poll, in advance of the 16 December Lower House elections, also said the association with SP could hurt JRP's chances of forming a ruling coalition even though JRP was showing strength relative to the ruling DPJ.
Party for Future Generations
In the December 2014 general elections he was a candidate for the Party for Future Generations, an extreme right-wing party, but was defeated. Following this, he retired from politics.
Ishihara is generally described as having been one of Japan's most prominent extreme right-wing politicians. He was called "Japan's Le Pen" on a program broadcast on Australia's ABC. He was affiliated with the openly ultranationalist organization Nippon Kaigi.
Ishihara was a long-term friend of the prominent Aquino family in the Philippines. He is credited with being been the first person to inform future President Corazon Aquino about the assassination of her husband Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. on 21 August 1983.
Ishihara was often critical of Japan's foreign policy as being non-assertive. Regarding Japan's relationship with the U.S., he stated that "The country I dislike most in terms of U.S.–Japan ties is Japan, because it's a country that can't assert itself." As part of the criticism, Ishihara published a book co-authored with the then Prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, titled "No" to ieru Ajia – tai Oubei e no hōsaku in 1994.
Ishihara was deeply interested in the North Korean abduction issue, and called for economic sanctions against North Korea. Following Ishihara's campaign to bid Tokyo for the 2016 Summer Olympics, he eased his criticism of the PRC government. He accepted an invitation to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and was selected as a torch-bearer for the Japan leg of the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay.
Views on foreigners in Japan
On 9 April 2000, in a speech before a Self-Defense Forces group, Ishihara said crimes were repeatedly committed by illegally entered people, using the pejorative term sangokujin, and foreigners. He also speculated that in the event a natural disaster struck the Tokyo area, they would be likely to cause civil disorder. His comment invoked calls for his resignation, demands for an apology and fears among residents of Korean descent in Japan, as well as being criticised by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
On 20 February 2006, Ishihara also said: "Roppongi is now virtually a foreign neighborhood. Africans—I don't mean African-Americans—who don't speak English are there doing who knows what. This is leading to new forms of crime such as car theft. We should be letting in people who are intelligent."
On 17 April 2010, Ishihara said "many veteran lawmakers in the ruling-coalition parties are naturalized or the offspring of people naturalized in Japan".
Proposal to buy the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands
On 15 April 2012, Ishihara made a speech in Washington, D.C., publicly stating his desire for Tokyo to purchase the Senkaku Islands, called the Diaoyu Islands by mainland China, on behalf of Japan in an attempt to end the territorial dispute between China and Japan, causing uproars in Chinese society and increasing tension between the governments of China and Japan. The government of Japan bought the islands in an effort to preempt the provocative bid, although the Chinese side viewed the purchase as an effort by Japan to bring the islands under Japanese sovereignty.
Ishihara was married to Noriko Ishihara and had four sons. Members of the House of Representatives Nobuteru Ishihara and Hirotaka Ishihara are his eldest and third sons; actor and weatherman Yoshizumi Ishihara is his second son. His youngest son, Nobuhiro Ishihara, is a painter. Actor Yujiro Ishihara was his younger brother.
In April 2011, Ishihawa has also Fukushima survivor amidst 11 March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan.
Illness and death
In January 2022, Ishihawa has diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died at his home in Tokyo on 1 February 2022, at the age of 89.
Books written by Ishihara
- Taiyō no kisetsu (太陽の季節), Season of the Sun, Winner of the Akutagawa Prize, 1956
- Kurutta kajitsu (狂った果実), Crazed Fruit, 1956
- Kanzen Na Yuugi (完全な遊戯), The Perfect Game, 1956
- Umi no chizu (海の地図), Map of the Sea, 1958
- Seinen no ki (青年の樹), Tree of the Youth, 1959
- Gesshoku (月蝕), Lunar Eclipse, 1959
- Nanbei ōdan ichi man kiro (南米横断1万キロ), 10 Thousand Kilometers Motoring across South America
- Seishun to wa nanda (青春とはなんだ), What does Youth Mean?, 1965
- Ōinaru umi e (大いなる海へ), To the Great Sea, 1965
- Kaeranu umi (還らぬ海), Unretreating Sea, 1966
- Suparuta kyōiku (スパルタ教育), Spartan education, 1969
- Kaseki no mori (化石の森), Petrified Forest, Minister of Education Prize, 1970
- Shintarō no seiji chousho (慎太郎の政治調書), Shintaro's Political Record, 1970
- Shintarō no daini seiji chousho (慎太郎の第二政治調書), Shintaro's Second Political Record, 1971
- Shin Wakan rōeishū (新和漢朗詠集), New Wakan rōeishū (Collection of Japanese and Chinese poems), 1973
- Yabanjin no daigaku (野蛮人の大学), University of Barbarians, 1977
- Boukoku -Nihon no totsuzenshi (亡国 -日本の突然死), The Ruin of a Nation - Japan's Sudden Death, 1982
- 'Nō' to ieru Nihon (「NO」と言える日本), The Japan That Can Say No (in collaboration with Akio Morita), 1989
- Soredemo 'Nō' to ieru Nihon. Nichibeikan no konponmondai (それでも「NO」と言える日本 ―日米間の根本問題―), The Japan That Still Can Say No - Principal problem of the Japan–US relations (in collaboration with Shōichi Watanabe and Kazuhisa Ogawa), 1990
- Waga jinsei no toki no toki (わが人生の時の時), The Sublime Moment of my Life, 1990
- Danko 'No' to ieru Nihon (断固「NO」と言える日本), The Japan That Can Strongly Say No (in collaboration with Jun Etō), 1991
- Mishima Yukio no nisshoku (三島由紀夫の日蝕), The Eclipse of Yukio Mishima, 1991
- 'No' to ieru Asia (「NO」と言えるアジア)，The Asia That Can Say NO (in collaboration with Mahathir Mohamad), 1994
- Kaze ni tsuite no kioku (風についての記憶), My Memory about the Wind, 1994
- Otōto (弟), Younger brother, Mainichi Publishing Culture Award Special Award, 1996
- 'Chichi' nakushite kuni tatazu ("父"なくして国立たず), No Country can Stand without "Father", 1997
- Sensen fukoku 'Nō' to ieru Nihon keizai -Amerika no kin'yū dorei kara no kaihō- (宣戦布告「NO」と言える日本経済 ―アメリカの金融奴隷からの解放―), Declaration of War, Economy of Japan That Can Say No - Liberation from America's financial slavery, 1998
- Hokekyō o ikiru(法華経を生きる), To Live the Lotus Sutra, 1998
- Seisan (聖餐), Eucharist, 1999
- Kokka naru gen'ei (国家なる幻影), An Illusion called Nation, 1999
- Amerika shinkō wo suteyo 2001 nen kara no nihon senryaku (「アメリカ信仰」を捨てよ ―2001年からの日本戦略), Stop worshipping America - Japan strategy from 2001, 2000
- Boku wa kekkon shinai (僕は結婚しない), I Won't Marry, 2001
- Ima 'Tamashii' no kyōiku (いま「魂」の教育), Now, 'Spirit' Education, 2001
- Ei'en nare, nihon -moto sōri to tochiji no katariai (永遠なれ、日本 -元総理と都知事の語り合い), Japan Forever – A Talk between Ex-Premier and Tokyo governor (in collaboration with Yasuhiro Nakasone), 2001
- Oite koso jinsei (老いてこそ人生), To get Old is the Life, 2002
- Hi no shima (火の島), Island of Fire, 2008
- Watashi no suki na nihonjin (私の好きな日本人), My Favorite Japanese People, 2008
- Saisei(再生), Recovery, 2010
- Shin Darakuron -Gayoku to tenbatsu (新・堕落論-我欲と天罰),New "On Decadance" - Greed and Divine Punishment, 2011
- Robert Ringer: Winning Through Intimidation, 1978
Translations in English
- The Japan That Can Say No (in collaboration with Akio Morita), Simon & Schuster, 1991, ISBN: 0-671-72686-2. Touchstone Books, 1992, ISBN: 0-671-75853-5. Cassette version ISBN: 0-671-73571-3. Disk version, 1993, ISBN: 1-882690-23-0.
- Akutagawa Prize (1956)
- Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun (2015)
In Spanish: Shintarō Ishihara para niños
- Ethnic issues in Japan
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