[2014] Andrea Soumbasis: Creation of the Charter Oath of Japan

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[2014] Andrea Soumbasis: Creation of the Charter Oath of Japan

Charter Oath of Japan

Creation of the

This is a video that talks about Emperor Meiji, the Charter Oath, and the effect it had on the people of Japan.-Only watch from 3:03-5:23

The Charter Oath was signed in April 1868. During the time period that the charter was signed, Japan was going through political, social and cultural changes. This could have been the result from opening up its borders, after isolation during the Edo period. The Western influence grew stronger, and Japan decided to put in place a new government system. As a result the Charter Oath was signed by Emperor Meiji, who played an important role in the creation of the charter. The Charter Oath helped develop Japan into a modern state. The charter was very successful and lasted until the next time period in Japan, which was the Taisho period.

The Charter Oath was formed because the new government wanted to outline its goals, gain support from the domains and to tell the samurai that they are nothing like the old Bakufu. The Charter Oath stated that policies would be formed when there was consensus between the daimyo in all of the domains. Several drafts were written before the charter reached its final form. The Charter Oath was presented by Emperor Meiji and members of the new government, as a new model in Japan known as the Unity of Rites and Rule. The first draft was written in January 1868, by Yuri Kimimasa. The Charter Oath was held in the Kyoto Imperial Palace, in the main hall. When the charter was presented, there were 400 officials, and the charter received 767 signatures. This charter was formed to keep the country of Japan united, and maintain its traditions.

Emperor Meiji, also known as Mutsuhito, was born in Kyoto, in 1852. He was declared prince in 1860, and was crowned the emperor in 1867, at the age of 14. Meiji played a major role in many historic events of Japan. First, he signed the Charter Oath in 1868. Then he continued to abolish the feudal system in 1871, create a new school system in 1872, adopt the cabinet system of government in 1885 and proclaimed the annexation of Korea to Japan in 1910. Emperor Meiji's reign lasted from 1867-1912. Unfortunately, he died in Tokyo in 1912. Meiji lived to see any great changes in Japan, from the isolated Edo era, all the way to the restoration into a powerful, modern country.

In the Charter Oath, there were five articles. These articles made a big impact on the people of Japan. The first article states, "Deliberative assemblies shall be widely established and all matters decided by public discussion." The next one states, "All classes, high and low, shall unite in vigorously carrying out the administration of the state." The third article states, "The common people, no less than the civil and military officials, shall be each allowed to pursue their own calling so that there shall be no dissent. The fourth articles states, "Evil customs of the past shall be ended and everything shall be based on the just laws of nature." The last article in the Charter Oath states that, "Knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundations of Imperial rule." These articles were very important, and were a big part in the modernization of Japan.


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