Meiji Constitution

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference


The constitution of the restored imperial Japanese state. Framed by Ito Hirobumi and modelled on the existing German form, the Meiji Constitution was gradually developed from 1884 with the institution of a European-style peerage (1884), a cabinet system (1885), and a privy council (1888), and formally completed in 1889. It involved a bicameral system with an elected lower house and an upper house of peers, but effective power rested with the executive as representatives of the emperor, in whom ultimate power still resided. Although political leaders always experienced difficulties in controlling the lower house (which by 1925 was elected through universal manhood suffrage), policy in the earlier period was usually dominated by a group of highly influential senior statesmen, including such men as Ito Hirobumi and Yamagata Aritomo, and later fell under military influence. The old constitution was finally replaced by a new Japanese Constitution, prepared under US supervision, on 3 May 1947.

Subjects: World History.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.