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"The 1889 Japanese Constitution was designed to pacify the opposition without deposing the ruling oligarchy." Discuss.

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13. "The 1889 Japanese Constitution was designed to pacify the opposition without deposing the ruling oligarchy." Discuss. A. To a little extent, the granting of the constitution was to conciliate opposing parties existing in Japan which agitated for representative government. This was because: (1) Ever since the split of the central government in 1873 (Korean Affair) Itagaki and his followers led a political agitation in favour of democratic institution to weaken the Satsuma-Choshu oligarchy. To conciliate the demands of the opposition: (a) Government established a Senate (Genro-in ) and a separate court of justice (Daishin-in) and a Council of Governors to meet the charge against the high centralization of power (The Osaka Compromise, 1875). (b) In 1878, another concession: establishment of provincial assemblies the first elected political body anywhere in the non-western world. (2) By 1880s, the opposition grew to become something much wider than more protest by Samurai of Tosa and Hizen. Resembled rather the Sonno Movement - the Jiyu Minken Undo - a growing popular demand for parliament. ...read more.


Plots to overthrow the government and assassination were discovered by police. Large number of patriots were arrested, imprisoned and executed. (3) Government was willing to give constitution, but was determined to make the decision itself and not to be forced by political agitators whom they considered irresponsible and inexperienced. Therefore constitution was given out of own initiative and plan, not out of the pressure from the opposition. The struggle between the political parties and the government leaders had not prevented the latter from carrying out their own plans for writing a constitution and introducing limited parliamentary government through which they could control. (4) Therefore, Okuma although had helped to force the government in 1881 to promise the establishment was to be in 1890. This represented the gradualist view of the ruling oligarchy (e.g. Ito), not the radical view of the opposition which wanted immediate or the earliest fulfillment. (5) The 2 political parties opposing the government (Jiyuto and Kaishinto) formed in 1881 were not united. ...read more.


All ministers were subject to his direct supervision and accountable to him. (4) The Privy Council created in 1886, a super-Cabinet organ was equipped with far-reaching powers and with a political influence to act at times as a barrier to parliamentary system. It was to be the highest advisory consulted, among other things, in all matters in connection with interpretation and revision of the constitution. Appointment to it were in practice confined to members of the imperial family, peers and cabinet ministers. It became its president. (5) The constitution was thus based on the feudal idea that the real power was exercised for the Emperor by his agents, the ruling oligarchy. On the surface, the constitution concentrated a great deal of power and authority in the hands of the Emperor. In practice it was his advisor who benefited from them. The Emperor did not actually take part in the administration. The oligarchs, through their position in the cabinet, the supreme commander, the privy council and the imperial household ministry, constituted the actual recipients of executive power. Therefore, true to say constitution did not depose power of the ruling oligarchy. ?? ?? ?? ?? 2 Subject: Meiji Japan 13 Subject: Meiji Japan 13 1 ...read more.

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