Blueprint for Governmental Reform


Iwakura Tomomi and Ōkubo Toshimichi were at the core of the Japanese government that was formed after the political upheaval of 1873, when the governing alliance of senior officials split over a proposed military expedition against Korea. Gotō Shōjirō, Itagaki Taisuke, and Kido Takayoshi were among the leaders of the losing faction, most of whom had favored the expedition. Relations between Ōkubo and Itagaki and Kido, who were no longer in government, were tense. Thanks to the intervention of Inoue Kaoru and Itō Hirobumi, elder statesmen who were concerned about the state of affairs, several discussions between the various parties were held in January and February of 1875, in what became known as the Osaka Conference. In preparation for the move to a constitutional government, it was agreed to set up a Genrōin (Chamber of Elders) and a council of provincial governors, to have a separate cabinet, ministries with cabinet ministers acting as assistants to the emperor, to entrust administrative affairs to each ministry, and to establish a supreme court. Presented here is a blueprint for governmental reform that was written by Kido in the course of the Osaka discussions.

Last updated: April 23, 2015