Matsukata, Masayoshi (mäsĪˈōshē mätsōˈkäˌtä) [key], 1835–1924, Japanese statesman. A Satsuma clansman and a genro, he was a leading figure in the modernization of Japan. As finance minister (1881–91) his programs stimulated economic activity, increased exports, and laid the basis for armament expansion. As prime minister (1891–92) he dissolved the diet and used the police in the subsequent election, which he nonetheless lost. He became prime minister again (1896–97) and was keeper of the privy seal (1917–22).