Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, who died at 101 on Nov. 29, will undoubtedly be remembered as a giant in Japan’s political history.

But before he became a political titan and Japan’s fifth-longest-serving postwar prime minister, Nakasone was on the fringes of the nation’s conservative establishment. In spite of being the leader of a minor faction in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Nakasone went on to overcome its internal politics and defeat his rivals.

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