chapter  3
15 Pages

THE AOKI PERIOD, 1896-1901

A confident diplomat, he had no easy passage as a politician. Aoki had been overseas for long periods and had no power base in Japan where he was dependent on his connections with Yamagata. His autobiography, which is an essential source for an understanding of his unusual personality, shows that he kept up a regular correspondence with Yamagata, even when he was

45 Chapter 3

abroad. Aoki was a bold, independent thinker and acquired a reputation for exceeding the authority of his office. In this way, he fell out with Inoue Kaoru, I to Hirobumi, Mutsu Munemitsu, Hayashi Tadasu and Saionji Kimmochi and finally strained his rela­ tions with his allies, Yamagata and Katsura.