On October 4, Kishida conducted his first press conference as prime minister.
July 29, 1957
Born in Tokyo
Kishida was born in Tokyo in the early years of Japan’s economic boom when the country was getting back on its feet after the war as the son of KISHIDA Fumitake, a government official at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (currently the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry). His grandfather, KISHIDA Masaki, was a successful department store proprietor who also served as a member of the House of Representatives.
Moves to New York
When his father was assigned to work in the United States, the family moved to New York. Kishida attended a local public elementary school from the first to third grades, where he was impressed by the liberal ambience of the U.S. and learned to respect diversity.
Kishida (top row, second from right) with classmates in Queens, New York.
After returning to Japan, Kishida attended public elementary and middle schools before going on to Kaisei Senior High School, a prestigious private academy. He was an enthusiastic member of the baseball team, an experience that taught him the importance of working together as a team. In 1978, he entered the School of Law at Waseda University. When his father ran for the House of Representatives for the first time the following year, Kishida helped him to campaign.
Kishida (center) played second base for his high school team.
Gains Work Experience at a Bank
After graduating, Kishida joined the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan (currently Shinsei Bank). He worked in foreign exchange in Tokyo and was subsequently transferred to the city of Takamatsu in Kagawa Prefecture where his clients included maritime shipping firms. He gained firsthand knowledge of the unfavorable economic reality there by watching small and medium-sized enterprises sometimes founder and fail due to cash-flow problems.
Joins the Political World
Helping his father’s campaign and working for a bank awakened in Kishida an urge to serve the people directly by protecting their lives and improving society as a whole. That set him on his way to politics. In 1993, after his father’s death, he ran for his father’s seat in a district in Hiroshima and won his first political battle. He valued political stumping as a way to speak directly to voters an approach that broadened his appeal and led to his winning the seat 10 times.
Kishida receives his parliamentary badge after being elected to the House of Representatives for the first time.
Receives First Cabinet Posting
Kishida joined the Cabinet for the first time as a Minister of State for Special Missions, a position in which he took on assignments in various fields including Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, Quality-of-Life Policy, and Science and Technology Policy. He became Minister for Consumer Affairs in 2008, a position from which he worked for the establishment of the Consumer Affairs Agency.
Kishida favors a hands-on approach and has visited many places throughout the country.
Appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs
In 2015, Kishida strove for the bilateral agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea regarding the issue of comfort women which was “resolved finally and irreversibly.” In 2016, he helped to actualize a visit to Hiroshima by President Barack Obama, the first ever such visit by a sitting U.S. president. Kishida served as Minister of Foreign Affairs consecutively for four years and seven months, making him the longest-serving foreign minister in postwar Japan
Kishida explains the symbolism of the Atomic Bomb Dome to U.S. President Obama.
Kishida visited New York in 2016 to attend a G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting as the chair.
October 4, 2021
Becomes Prime Minister
Upon winning the election for Liberal Democratic Party president, Kishida was appointed Prime Minister of Japan by an extraordinary session of the Diet. He vowed to lend a sincere ear to the voices of the Japanese people and to conduct politics in an attentive and broad-minded manner.
Kishida filled nearly 30 notebooks in 10 years with comments and appeals from the people of Japan.
His favorite food is Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake). He ate the dish on the day that he was elected to head the Liberal Democratic Party. “I’ll never forget how wonderful it tasted,” he says.