Many Japanese rose to political greatness during the turbulent history of modern Japan from the collapse of the Tokugawa regime in 1867 to the recovery of independence in 1952. Such men as Itō, Yamagata, Ōkuma, Konoe, Tōjō, and Yoshida (to name only a few of the more important figures) have occupied in turn the center of the political stage and exerted great influence, for good or ill, on the course of recent Japanese political history.

Throughout the entire period from Meiji to MacArthur Japan, however, one solitary figure stood by the proscenium arch, occasionally entering into the action of the play, but more often serving as a persistent critic of both actors and audience. This stern and durable individual was Ozaki Yukio (1858-1954), whose death at the age of ninety-five removed the oldest veteran of the Japanese Diet, and closed the career of a man who might well be called the political conscience of modern Japan.

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