Draft Proposal of the “Rikken Seiyukai (Association of Friends of Constitutional Government) Bylaws”


Itō Hirobumi (1841−1909) had mulled over the formation of a new party in Japan, to be composed mainly of his supporters from among the government bureaucrats, with support from the urban commercial-industrial interests. At the same time, the Constitutional Party led by Hoshi Tōru, in collaboration with powerful figures from the clan-dominated government, were exploring ways to accede to power. Both those groups joined forces to form the Rikken Seiyūkai (Association of Friends of Constitutional Government) on September 15, 1900. It is said that more than 1,400 people participated in the inaugural ceremony, and a million people joined the association. This document is a draft copy of the Rikken Seiyūkai's bylaws. It is believed to have come from Itō Miyoji, who was involved in drawing it up. Itō Hirobumi labeled the group a kai (association) rather than a (party), as he wanted to get away from the image of a traditional political party. To attract a broader base of support, moreover, he tried to turn the organization's format into a kind of club, but this did not seem to have much effect.

Last updated: June 25, 2015