Takeo Miki

Takeo Miki
Takeo Miki
三木 武夫
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
9 December 1974 – 24 December 1976
Monarch Shōwa
Preceded by Kakuei Tanaka
Succeeded by Takeo Fukuda
Personal details
Born 17 March 1907(1907-03-17)
Awa, Japan
Died 4 November 1988(1988-11-04) (aged 81)
Political party Liberal Democratic Party
Alma mater Meiji University
University of Southern California

Takeo Miki (三木 武夫 Miki Takeo?, March 17, 1907  – November 4, 1988) was a Japanese politician and the 41st Prime Minister of Japan.


Background summary

Born in Awa, Tokushima, Miki graduated from Meiji University in Tokyo. He attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in law from the institution in 1966.[1]

Miki was elected to the Diet in 1937 and remained there until his death in 1988, during which he was elected a representative for 19 times over 51 years. He took over from Kakuei Tanaka as Prime Minister on December 9, 1974, following the latter's implication in the corruptions concerning real-estate and construction companies. Miki's attraction was particularly due his reputed political cleanness, and his weak power base from his small faction. In fact, he was not prepared to be prime minister at all, as was reflected when upon his election he murmured "a bolt from the blue".

After being elected, Miki attempted to reform the LDP, relentlessly investigating the Lockheed bribery scandals, which made him a large number of enemies within the party. A campaign literally called "Down with Miki" ("Miki oroshi") was started by influential faction leaders. Despite Miki's personal popularity with the public, the Lockheed scandal reflected poorly on the party, which lost its overall majority in the 1976 election to the Diet and had to make deals with minor parties to remain in power. Embarrassed by the result, Miki resigned and was succeeded on December 24, 1976, by Takeo Fukuda.


During his time in Seattle, Miki spent a period as a dishwasher at noted Japanese restaurant Maneki.

In Mao Zedong's final days, he took a great interest in Miki's political condition, as Miki was suffering a coup d'état from amongst his own party. Mao had never shown any interest in Miki before, or even mentioned him.

He held many other posts during his career in addition to being prime minister.

NFL player Takeo Spikes was named after Miki.[2]

Connection to Seattle

To commemorate the ties of Japan to America, and Seattle in particular, Miki gave 1,000 cherry trees to Seattle to commemorate the United States Bicentennial in 1976. This gift gave birth to the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival, still running annually.

Slang Term

In Hong Kong, the name "Takeo Miki" (三木武夫) is sometimes used to describe actors or actresses with wooden or no emotional expressions during movies or TV dramas. Some have said that the origin for the slang term stems from Miki's wooden expression during his appearance in news reports about him.


  1. ^ Japanese Minister of International Trade and Industry, Takeo Miki's visit to Los Angeles, California, September 29-30, 1966 and October 1 and 3, 1966, Japanese American National Museum, Accessed February 10, 2009.
  2. ^ Michael Silver, Face Lift, Sports Illustrated, November 26, 2001, Accessed October 7, 2011.

This article incorporates text from OpenHistory.

Political offices
Preceded by
Etsusaburō Shiina
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Kiichi Aichi
Preceded by
Kakuei Tanaka
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Takeo Fukuda

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