Fumimaro Konoye was born in Japan, in October, 1891. He graduated from the Kyoto Imperial University in 1917. Konoye worked for the Kimmochi Saionju, the former Japanese prime minister and in 1919 he attended the Paris Peace Conference.
Konoye became a successful businessman but in June 1937 agreed to become Japan's prime minister. He formed a coalition government and attempted to reduce the influence of the military leaders who were demanding an expansionist foreign policy. However, his government only lasted for seven months and he was replaced by Kiichiro Hiranuma.
Konoye was recalled on 22nd July 1940. Along with his foreign minister, Yosuke Matsuoka, Konoye attempted to reach agreement with the United States. When this ended in failure, Konoye was replaced by General Hideki Tojo.
In 1944 Konoye began to argue that the Japanese government should begin negotiations to bring about the end to the Second World War. He also led a peace delegation to Moscow but Vyacheslav Molotov refused to see him.
Konoye served as vice president in Japan's post-war surrender government. Fumimaro Konoye committed suicide on 16th December 1945 after General Douglas MacArthur announced that he was to be tried for war crimes.