Imperial Order to Dispatch Mission Head Plenipotentiary Itō to Europe to Study Constitutional Forms of Government


This document is the 1882 imperial order commanding Itō Hirobumi (1841–1909) to visit Europe to study the constitutional systems of various European countries. A separate document presents a concrete list of 31 different items to be studied, including each country's constitution, royal family, legislature, cabinet, judiciary, and system of local government. On March 14, 1882 (Meiji 15), Itō set sail from Yokohama. He spent 14 months in Europe, traveling around Prussia (Germany), Austria, Britain, Belgium, and other countries. In Prussia he was influenced by the lectures of such men as Rudolf von Gneist, the jurist and statesman; Albert Mosse, a lawyer who lived in Tokyo in the late 1880s; and Lorenz von Stein, an economist, sociologist, and expert on public administration. Itō had studied in Britain in the 1860s and was a deputy ambassador on the Iwakura mission, which traveled to the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and other European countries in 1871–73. He served four times as Japan’s prime minister, and supervised the drafting of Japan’s first constitution, which became law in 1890.

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2 books, 23.5 × 33.3 centimeters

Last updated: November 7, 2011