Date of birth: Jan. 14, 1944
Electoral district: Lower House; Niigata No. 5 (sixth term)
As daughter of the late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, the new education minister was a well-known figure from a young age because she accompanied her father on overseas trips as acting first lady.
Soon after she was elected to the Lower House on the Liberal Democratic Party's ticket in 1993, Tanaka served as director general of the Science and Technology Agency under Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama.
She was appointed foreign minister in 2001 in Junichiro Koizumi's Cabinet, but her outspokenness coupled with her bluntness earned many enemies within the government and she was eventually forced to step down. She joined the DPJ in 2009 with her husband, Naoki Tanaka, who came under fire during his time as defense minister over a series of gaffes.