Proposal for a Japanese National Constitution


The 1875 Osaka Conference established the Genrōin (Chamber of Elders) as one of the steps toward introducing a constitutional form of government after the Meiji Restoration. The Genrōin researched different kinds of representative government in the West and studied translations of various Western constitutions made by the American Guido Verbeck and others. Presented here is Nihon kokken'an (Proposal for a Japanese national constitution), the first national constitution draft, which was drawn up by the Genrōin in October 1876. The Genrōin had received an imperial order to draft the constitution. Nothing is known about what happened to the draft after its creation, and it never ultimately saw the light of day. Second and third drafts subsequently were prepared, with the third draft finally being presented to Emperor Meiji. However, it was not adopted. This draft proposal is presumed to have been retained by Mutsu Munemitsu, who was the kanji (secretary) of the Genrōin at the time.

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1 book ; 29 x 21 centimeters


  1. “The Chamber of Elders’ Conception of a Constitution,” in Modern Japan in Archives: Political history from the Opening of the Country to Post-War, National Diet Library.

Last updated: May 31, 2016