Kishi was adopted as a child by his uncle in a form of adoption similar to classical Roman adoption (see Roman Empire), where a childless or sonless couple adopts a boy or man as their heir. He was the birth brother of Sato Eisaku, who also became prime minister.
Kishi served in the Japanese government from 1920 as a civil servant, including 1936-39, when he was in the Manchukuo puppet government, 1939-40 as Japan's vice-minister for commerce and industry, and he was in the cabinet from 1941 to 1944, where he was in charge of economic mobilization for World War II. These activities led to his imprisonment as a war criminal after the war until 1948. In 1953 he was elected to the Japanese Diet's House of Representatives, and was prime minister from 1957 to 1960. His high-handed political tactics lost him many allies, and he was forced to resign in 1960, but he continued to serve in the House of Representatives for some years after that, including under his brother's premiership.
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