Okubo was one of the Satsuma samurai supporting the Meiji Restoration.
He went to the same local school as Saigo Takamori, but later became his rival at the Meiji government.
Okubo Toshimichi was part of the 1871-73 Iwakura Mission to Europe and America to learn about Western governments.
Returning from overseas, Okubo opposed Saigo's plan to invade Korea. In 1874, he became home minister and advocated a military expedition to Taiwan.
In 1874, one year after Saigo Takamori's failed Satsuma rebellion, he was assassinated presumably by a Satsuma samurai who saw him as a traitor (possibly for opposing Saigo).
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