Monday, August 15 1921: Hikokichi Ijuin was appointed as the first director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Bureau.

1921 (Taisho 10) Monday, August 15 Hikokichi Ijuin was appointed as the first director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Bureau. In April 1920, the previous year, the predecessor organization was established under the name of the “Information Department” in a non-governmental or informal manner. Since it was an informal organization, there was no support from the government budget, but now it has become an information bureau as an official bureau by government organization. It is a specialized public relations department that disseminates Japan’s domestic situation to foreign countries. It was established because the importance of public relations was recognized at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. In the current Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Information Bureau is the Foreign Press Secretary.

When you think of information, you tend to think of intelligence, information gathering and analysis, but this department is the agency that is responsible for propaganda, public relations, and foreign propaganda. Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Intelligence Bureau has also been involved in some internal publicity and domestic propaganda activities, but these were only secondary. Rather, the Army focused on propaganda in this direction, that is, within Japan. In 1919, as an unofficial organization outside the government system, he started an informant, and the following year he changed his name to Newspaper Section. At that time, it was a time when the criticism of Japan against the Siberia expedition was increasing, so it was established as an organization to promote it.

Hikokichi Ijuin, who became the first director of the Intelligence Bureau, was a prominent diplomat from the Meiji to Taisho eras. He was born as the first son of Kichiji IJUIN, a feudal retainer of Satsuma Domain, in 1864 (Genji Yuan) and entered Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1890 (Meiji 23) immediately after graduating from Tokyo Imperial University Political Science Department. Kikujiro Ishii is my colleague. Hikokichi Ijuin’s wife, Yoshiko, is the eldest daughter of Toshimichi Okubo. Ijuin served as the Minister of Qing, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Italy, the Director-General of the Kwantung Leased Territory and the Minister of Foreign Affairs (the second cabinet of Gonbei YAMAMOTO). He died in 1924 (Taisho 13) at the age of 59.

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