The light of legal culture opening and improvement in Japan (historical introspective)

Since the opening of the country in 1853, Japan, which has made the revision of the unequal treaty and the wealthy soldiers the supreme proposition, has been forced to develop a Western-style legal system at a rapid pace in order to achieve early modernization. Internationally, Japan was required to be incorporated into the order of international law in order to join the international community consisting of Western countries as soon as possible.  On the other hand, domestically, the Western-style legal system, which has been designed with an emphasis on preventing human rights violations by the state since the French Revolution, was significantly different from the legal framework of Japan until then, so the state A completely new legal system of domestic law was needed to limit the exercise of power and guarantee the rights of the people. From the materials of the history of Asian historical records, we can trace the process of establishing such a modern legal system in the process of modernization of Japan.

Development of domestic law-establishment of constitution

  • (1) Constitution of the Empire of Japan *
  • (2) Constitution of the Empire of Japan *
  • (3) Constitution of the Empire of Japan *
  • (4) Constitution of Japan *

First, as a representative of domestic law, there is the Constitution as the highest law that the state must obey. In Japan after the opening of the country, the “Meiji Constitution of Japan” was first promulgated in 1889. In (1), there is the signature of Emperor Meiji (written as “Mutsuji”) and seal (written as “Privy Seal of Japan”) when the Constitution of the Empire of Japan was promulgated, and the countersignature of each minister. People such as Hirobumi Ito, Shigenobu Okuma, Judo Saigo, and Iwao Oyama are also on the list.

The Western-style constitution states that the human rights of the people must be protected and that the state institution should be for that purpose, but the Meiji Constitution states that the emperor decides the state’s politics. The human rights of the people were supposed to have been given by the emperor ( (2) Preamble to the Constitution of the Emperor of Japan, Article 1).

  • (5) Constitution of Japan *

In addition, it may be said that the authority of the emperor and the nation was greater in the Meiji Constitution than in the Western-style constitution, in that both the parliament and the court were supposed to assist the emperor. (3) Articles 5, 55 and 57 of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan). The Constitution of the Empire of Japan will continue until the Constitution of Japan is newly enacted in the form of “Revision of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan” in 1946 after the end of the war. (4) is the beginning of the Emperor’s decree that promulgated the current Constitution of Japan. (5) is accompanied by the signature of Emperor Showa at the time of promulgation of the Constitution of Japan and the countersignatures of each minister under Shigeru Yoshida (Prime Minister).

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