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The Pursuit of Power in Modern Japan 1825–1995$
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Chushichi Tsuzuki

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205890.001.0001

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The Meiji Constitution

The Meiji Constitution

Chapter:
(p.100) 5 The Meiji Constitution
Source:
The Pursuit of Power in Modern Japan 1825–1995
Author(s):

CHUSHICHI TSUZUKI

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205890.003.0006

A Japan-centred world vision lay behind the government's attempt to frame a constitution for itself. The year 1881 was a turning-point in Japanese politics, because the initiative in preparing a constitution was taken away from the Minken movement and was assumed by the government, equipped with the imperial decree of 12 October in which the emperor expressed his hopes for convening a national assembly in 1890. Ito Hirobumi was to be sent to Europe to study constitutions there. A counter-offensive by the hanbatsu government began, and emperor-centred nationalism, itself the cause of the Meiji Restoration, was to be reaffirmed and given a modern form in a constitution learned from Europe. This chapter also deals with constitutional foundations; Inoue Kaoru and the unequal treaties; the Constitution of the Empire of Japan; the rise of Meiji nationalism; Okuma, Mutsu, and Treaty revision; and the Civil Code of 1890. Efforts to compile a civil code began as early as 1870 and resulted in the adoption in 1890 of one modelled after French law and consisting of sections dealing with property rights, obligations, mortgages, and other related matters. The chapter then addresses the constitutional politics in practice.

Keywords:   Meiji Constitution, Japan, Japanese politics, Ito Hirobumi, Civil Code, Meiji nationalism, Inoue Kaoru, Treaty, constitutional politics

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