Tokugawa Iesato ( August 24, 1863 – June 5, 1940) was the first head of the Tokugawa clan after the overthrow of the Tokugawa bakufu, and a figure in Japanese politics during the meiji,Taisho and early Showa period Japan.
Tokugawa Iesato was born to the Tayasu branch of the Tokugawa clan, under the name Kamenosuke, he became its 16th head, following the resignation of the last Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu His brothers were Tokugawa Satotaka and Tokugawa Takachiyo, who also held the Tayasu headship at different times. Iesato was also briefly the daimyo of the short-lived Shizuoka han, before the abolition of the han system in the early 1870s. Though he was Yoshinobu's adopted son, his guardian at the time was Matsudaira Naritami, the former lord of the Tsuyama domain.
In 1877, Iesato was sent to Great Britain for studies. He returned to Japan in 1882, and was given the title of kōshaku (prince) under the kazoku peerage system. He became a member of the House of Peers of the diet of Japan, from its creation in 1890, and served as President of the House of Peers from 1901-1933. When the administration of Prime minister Yamamoto Gonnohyoe was brought down by the Siemens scandal there was a strong movement to have Tokugawa Iesato nominated to be his successor. Following World War I, Iesato served on the Japanese delegation to the Washington Naval Conference. His support of the United States position on the 10:10:6 division of naval strength between the United States, Great Britain and Japan drew considerable wrath from the ultra-rightist movements and conservative factions within the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Iesato is remembered for having recovered the political fortunes and reputation of the Tokugawa family, holding many senior government positions before his retirement, including a tenure as 6th head of the Japanese Red Cross Society, head of the Japan-America Society, and President of the national organizing committee for the 1940 Olympics.
Iesato is quoted as once having said about his adoptive father: "Yoshinobu destroyed the Tokugawa house; I rebuilt it."
His grave is at the Tokugawa family cemetery at the temple of Kanei-ji in Ueno,Tokyo. He was succeeded by Tokugawa Iemasa,