EMPEROR MEIJI (明治天皇, Meiji-tennō, November 3, 1852 – July
30, 1912), or MEIJI THE GREAT (明治大帝, Meiji-taitei), was the
Emperor of Japan
At the time of Meiji's birth in 1852, Japan was an isolated,
pre-industrial , feudal country dominated by the Tokugawa shogunate
and the daimyo , who ruled over the country's more than 250
decentralized domains . By the time of his death in 1912, Japan had
undergone a political, social, and industrial revolution at home (See
In Japan, the reigning Emperor is always referred to as "The
Emperor"; since the modern era, a deceased Emperor is referred to by a
posthumous name , which is the name of the era coinciding with the
Emperor's reign. Having ruled during the
* 1 Background * 2 Boyhood * 3 Unrest and accession
* 4 Meiji era
* 4.1 Consolidation of power * 4.2 Political reform
* 5 Death * 6 Concubines and children * 7 Titles and styles
* 8 Honours
* 8.1 National honours * 8.2 Foreign honours
* 9 Timeline * 10 On film
* 11 References
* 11.1 Notes * 11.2 Bibliography
* 12 External links
In 1615, the first Tokugawa shogun,
Emperors almost never left their palace compound, or Gosho in
Soon after taking control in the early seventeenth century, shogunate
officials (known generically as bakufu) ended much Western trade with
Japan, and barred missionaries from the islands. In addition to the
substantial Chinese trade, only the Dutch continued trade with Japan,
maintaining a post on the island of
Prince Mutsuhito was born on November 3, 1852 in a small house on his
maternal grandfather's property at the north end of the Gosho. At the
time, a birth was believed to be polluting, so imperial princes were
not born in the Palace, but usually in a structure, often temporary,
near the pregnant woman's father's house. The boy's mother, Nakayama
Yoshiko , was a concubine (gon no tenji) to his father Emperor Kōmei
, and was the daughter of the acting major counselor, Nakayama
Tadayasu . The young prince was given the name Sachinomiya, or Prince
Sachi. Teenager Meiji Emperor with foreign representatives at
the end of the
The young prince was born at a time of change for Japan. This change
was symbolized dramatically when Commodore Matthew Perry and his
squadron of what the Japanese dubbed "the
Black Ships ", sailed into
the harbor at
Much of the emperor's boyhood is known only through later accounts,
which his biographer
UNREST AND ACCESSION
By the early 1860s, the shogunate was under several threats. Representatives of foreign powers sought to increase their influence in Japan. Many daimyo were increasingly dissatisfied with bakufu handling foreign affairs. Large numbers of young samurai , known as shishi or "men of high purpose", began to meet and speak against the shogunate. The shishi revered the Emperor Kōmei and favored direct violent action to cure societal ills. While they initially desired the death or expulsion of all foreigners, the shishi would later begin to advocate the modernization of the country. The bakufu enacted several measures to appease the various groups, and hoped to drive a wedge between the shishi and daimyo.
The prince's awareness of the political turmoil is uncertain. During this time, he studied waka poetry, first with his father, then with the court poets. As the prince continued his classical education in 1866, a new shogun took office: Tokugawa Yoshinobu , a reformer who desired to transform Japan into a Western-style state. Yoshinobu, who would prove to be the final shogun, met with resistance from among the bakufu, even as unrest and military actions continued. In mid-1866, a bakufu army set forth to punish rebels in southern Japan. The army was defeated.
The Emperor Kōmei had always enjoyed excellent health, and was only 36 years old in January 1867. In that month, however, he fell seriously ill. Though he appeared to make some recovery, he suddenly worsened and died on January 30. British diplomat Sir Ernest Satow wrote, "it is impossible to deny that disappearance from the political scene, leaving as his successor a boy of fifteen or sixteen , was most opportune".
The crown prince formally ascended to the throne on February 3, 1867, in a brief ceremony in Kyoto. The new Emperor continued his classical education, which did not include matters of politics. In the meantime, the shogun, Yoshinobu, struggled to maintain power. He repeatedly asked for the Emperor's confirmation of his actions, which he eventually received, but there is no indication that the young Emperor was himself involved in the decisions. The shishi and other rebels continued to shape their vision of the new Japan, and while they revered the Emperor, they had no thought of having him play an active part in the political process.
The political struggle reached its climax in late 1867. An agreement was reached by which Yoshinobu would maintain his title and some of his power, but the lawmaking power would be vested in a bicameral legislature based on the British model. However, the agreement fell apart and on November 9, 1867, Yoshinobu officially tendered his resignation to the Emperor, formally stepping down ten days later. The following month, the rebels marched on Kyoto, taking control of the Imperial Palace. On January 4, 1868, the Emperor ceremoniously read out a document before the court proclaiming the "restoration" of Imperial rule, and the following month, documents were sent to foreign powers:
Emperor of Japan
Yoshinobu resisted only briefly , but it was not until late 1869 that the final bakufu holdouts were finally defeated . In the ninth month of the following year, the era was changed to Meiji, or "enlightened rule", which was later used for the emperor's posthumous name. This marked the beginning of the custom of an era coinciding with an emperor's reign, and posthumously naming the emperor after the era during which he ruled.
Soon after his accession, the Emperor's officials presented Ichijō
Haruko to him as a possible bride. The future Empress was the daughter
of an Imperial official, and was three years older than the groom, who
would have to wait to wed until after his gembuku (manhood ceremony).
The two married on January 11, 1869. Known posthumously as Empress
Shōken , she was the first Imperial Consort to receive the title of
kōgō (literally, the Emperor's wife, translated as Empress Consort
), in several hundred years. Although she was the first Japanese
* Crown Prince Yoshihito (Haru-no-miya Yoshihito Shinnō), 3rd son, (August 31, 1879 – December 25, 1926) (see Emperor Taishō ). * Princess Masako (Tsune-no-miya Masako Naishinnō), 6th daughter, (September 30, 1888 – March 8, 1940) (see Princess Masako Takeda ). * Princess Fusako (Kane-no-miya Fusako Naishinnō), 7th daughter, (January 28, 1890 – August 11, 1974) (see Fusako Kitashirakawa ). * Princess Nobuko (Fumi-no-miya Nobuko Naishinnō), 8th daughter, (August 7, 1891 – November 3, 1933) (see Princess Nobuko Asaka ). * Princess Toshiko (Yasu-no-miya Toshiko Naishinnō), 9th daughter, (May 11, 1896 – March 5, 1978) (see Toshiko Higashikuni ).
CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
Despite the ouster of the bakufu, no effective central government had
been put in place by the rebels. On March 23, foreign envoys were
first permitted to visit
On September 19, 1868, the Emperor announced that the name of the
Soon after his coronation, the Emperor journeyed to
The successful revolutionaries organized themselves into a Council of State, and subsequently into a system where three main ministers led the government. This structure would last until the establishment of a prime minister, who would lead a cabinet in the western fashion, in 1885. Initially, not even the retention of the Emperor was certain; revolutionary leader Gotō Shōjirō later stated that some officials "were afraid the extremists might go further and abolish the Mikado".
Japan's new leaders sought to reform the patchwork system of domains
governed by the daimyo. In 1869, several of the daimyo who had
supported the revolution gave their lands to the Emperor and were
reappointed as governors, with considerable salaries. By the following
year, all other daimyo had followed suit. The Emperor in a formal
session of the Diet.
In 1871, the Emperor announced that domains were entirely abolished , as Japan was organized into 72 prefectures . The daimyo were compensated with annual salaries equal to ten percent of their former revenues (from which they did not now have to deduct the cost of governing), but were required to move to the new capital, Tokyo. Most retired from politics.
The new administration gradually abolished most privileges of the samurai, including their right to a stipend from the government. However, unlike the daimyo, many samurai suffered financially from this change. Most other class-based distinctions were abolished. Legalized discrimination against the burakumin ended. However, these classes continue to suffer discrimination in Japan to the present time.
Although a parliament was formed, it had no real power, and neither did the emperor. Power had passed from the Tokugawa into the hands of those Daimyo and other samurai who had led the Restoration. Japan was thus controlled by the Genro , an oligarchy , which comprised the most powerful men of the military, political, and economic spheres. The emperor, if nothing else, showed greater political longevity than his recent predecessors, as he was the first Japanese monarch to remain on the throne past the age of 50 since the abdication of Emperor Ōgimachi in 1586.
The Japanese take pride in the Meiji Restoration, as it and the accompanying industrialization allowed Japan to become the preeminent power in the Pacific and a major player in the world within a generation . Yet, Emperor Meiji's role in the Restoration remains debatable. He certainly did not control Japan, but how much influence he wielded is unknown. It is unlikely it will ever be clear whether he supported the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) or the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905). One of the few windows we have into the Emperor's own feelings is his poetry, which seems to indicate a pacifist streak, or at least a man who wished war could be avoided. He composed the following pacifist poem in waka form: よもの海 みなはらからと思ふ世に など波風のたちさわぐらむ Yomo no umi mina harakara to omofu yo ni nado namikaze no tachi sawaguramu The seas of the four directions— all are born of one womb: why, then, do the wind and waves rise in discord?
This poem was later recited by his grandson, Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito ), in an Imperial Conference in September 1941, indirectly showing his own anti-war sentiment.
Near the end of his life several anarchists, including Kotoku Shusui , were executed (1911) on charges of having conspired to murder the sovereign. This conspiracy was known as the High Treason Incident (1910).
Emperor Meiji, suffering from diabetes , nephritis , and
gastroenteritis , died of uremia . Although the official announcement
said he died at 00:42 on July 30, 1912, the actual death was at 22:40
on July 29. After the emperor's death in 1912, the Japanese Diet
passed a resolution to commemorate his role in the
CONCUBINES AND CHILDREN
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* Lady Mitsuko (1853 – 1873). Not much is known about Lady Mitsuko. However, she gave birth to the Emperor's first son. She died in childbirth. * Lady Natsuko (1856 – November 14, 1873). She gave birth to the Emperor's first daughter and also died in childbirth. * Yanagihara Naruko (June 26, 1859 – October 16, 1943). Mother of the Emperor Taishō . * Chigusa Kotoko (1855 – 1944). * Sono Sachiko (December 23, 1867 – July 7, 1947). Mother of Princess Masako , Princess Fusako , Princess Nobuko and Princess Toshiko .
IMAGE NAME BIRTH DEATH MOTHER MARRIAGE ISSUE
Wakamitsuteru-hiko no Mikoto 稚瑞照彦尊 (stillborn son) September 18, 1873 September 18, 1873 Lady Mitsuko 葉室光子
Wakatakayori-hime no Mikoto 稚高依姫尊 (stillborn daughter) November 13, 1873 November 13, 1873 Lady Natsuko 橋本夏子
Shigeko, Princess Ume 梅宮薫子内親王 January 25, 1875 June 8, 1876 Lady Naruko 柳原愛子
Yukihito, Prince Take 建宮敬仁親王 September 23, 1877 July 26, 1878 Lady Naruko 柳原愛子
Yoshihito, Prince Haru (
Emperor Taishō )
明宮嘉仁親王(大正天皇) August 31, 1879
December 25, 1926(1926-12-25) (aged 47)
May 25, 1900 Hirohito, Emperor Shōwa
Yasuhito, Prince Chichibu
Nobuhito, Prince Takamatsu
Takahito, Prince Mikasa
Akiko, Princess Shige 滋宮韶子内親王 August 3, 1881 September 6, 1883 Lady Kotoko 千種任子
Fumiko, Princess Masu 増宮章子内親王 January 26, 1883 September 8, 1883 Lady Kotoko 千種任子
Shizuko, Princess Hisa 久宮静子内親王 February 10, 1886 April 4, 1887 Lady Sachiko
Michihito, Prince Aki 昭宮猷仁親王 August 22, 1887 November 12, 1888 Lady Sachiko
Masako, Princess Tsune (
Princess Masako Takeda )
常宮昌子内親王 September 30, 1888
March 8, 1940(1940-03-08) (aged 51)
Tsunehisa, Prince Takeda
April 30, 1908
Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda
Princess Ayako Takeda
Fusako, Princess Kane ( Fusako Kitashirakawa ) 周宮房子内親王 January 28, 1890 August 11, 1974(1974-08-11) (aged 84) Lady Sachiko Naruhisa, Prince Kitashirakawa 北白川宮成久王 April 29, 1909 Prince Nagahisa Kitashirakawa Princess Mineko Kitashirakawa Princess Sawako Kitashirakawa Princess Taeko Kitashirakawa
Nobuko, Princess Fumi ( Princess Nobuko Asaka ) 富美宮允子内親王 August 7, 1891 November 3, 1933(1933-11-03) (aged 42) Lady Sachiko Yasuhiko, Prince Asaka 朝香宮鳩彦王 May 6, 1909 Princess Kikuko Asaka Princess Takahiko Asaka Prince Tadahito Asaka Princess Kiyoko Asaka
Teruhito, Prince Mitsu 満宮輝仁親王 November 30, 1893 August 17, 1894 Lady Sachiko
Toshiko, Princess Yasu (
Toshiko Higashikuni )
泰宮聡子内親王 May 11, 1896
March 5, 1978(1978-03-05) (aged 81)
Naruhiko, Prince Higashikuni
May 18, 1915 Prince
Takiko, Princess Sada 貞宮多喜子内親王 September 24, 1897 January 11, 1899 Lady Sachiko
TITLES AND STYLES
Styles of THE EMPEROR
REFERENCE STYLE His Imperial Majesty
SPOKEN STYLE Your Imperial Majesty
ALTERNATIVE STYLE Sir
* NOVEMBER 3, 1852 – NOVEMBER 11, 1860: His Imperial Highness The Prince Sachi * NOVEMBER 11, 1860 – FEBRUARY 3, 1867: His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince * FEBRUARY 3, 1867 – JULY 30, 1912: His Majesty The Emperor * POSTHUMOUS TITLE: His Majesty Emperor Meiji
The Meiji emperor receiving the
Order of the Garter
The Meiji era ushered in many far-reaching changes to the ancient feudal society of Japan. A timeline of major events might include:
* November 3, 1852:
* ^ A B
"The Funeral Ceremonies of Meiji Tenno" reprinted from the Japan
Advertiser Article 8—No Title], New York Times. October 13, 1912.
* ^ Jansen 1995 , p. vii.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , pp. 14–15.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 3.
* ^ A B Gordon 2009 , pp. 3–4.
* ^ A B C Gordon 2009 , p. 2.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , pp. 4–5.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , p. 19.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , p. 47.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 10.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 14.
* ^ A B Gordon 2009 , pp. 50–51.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 18.
* ^ Keene 2002 , pp. 39–41.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. xii.
* ^ Keene 2002 , pp. 51–52.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 46.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 48.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , pp. 53–55.
* ^ A B Gordon 2009 , pp. 55–56.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 73.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 78.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , pp. 57–58.
* ^ Keene 2002 , pp. 94–96.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 98.
* ^ Keene 2002 , pp. 102–104.
* ^ Takano, p. 256.
* ^ A B C Gordon 2009 , p. 59.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 121.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 117.
* ^ Keene 2002 , pp. 105–107.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 133.
* ^ Jansen 1995 , p. 195.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 143.
* ^ Keene 2002 , pp. 145–146.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 147.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 171.
* ^ Keene 2002 , pp. 157–159.
* ^ Keene 2002 , pp. 160–163.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , p. 68.
* ^ Keene 2002 , pp. 163–165.
* ^ Keene 2002 , p. 168.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , p. 64.
* ^ Jansen 1994 , p. 342.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , p. 63.
* ^ Gordon 2009 , p. 65.
* ^ A B C http://this-is-japan.com/en/blognews/item/215.html
"Historical Events Today: 1867 - Prince Mutsuhito, 14, becomes Emperor
Meiji of Japan (1867-1912).
* ^ Takashi, Fujitani (1998). Splendid monarchy: power and
pageantry in modern Japan. University of California Press. p. 145.
ISBN 978-0-520-21371-5 .
* ^ "広報 No.589 明治の終幕" (PDF) (in Japanese). Sannohe
town hall. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
* ^ "The Mikado\'s Garter," New York Times. July 28, 1906.
* ^ Considered by German Japanologist
Johannes Justus Rein and
described by Francis L. Hawks and Commodore Matthew Perry in their
1856 work, Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the
China Seas and Japan Performed in the Years 1852, 1853 and 1854 under
the Command of Commodore M.C. Perry,
* Gordon, Andrew (2003), A Modern History of Japan: from Tokugawa Times to the Present, Oxford University Press ISBN 0195110609 /ISBN 9780195110609 ; ISBN 0195110617 /ISBN 9780195110616 ; OCLC 49704795 * Jansen, Marius (1961), Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration, Princeton University Press OCLC 413111 * ____________ (1995), The Emergence of Meiji Japan, Cambridge University Press ISBN 0521482380 /ISBN 9780521482387 ; ISBN 0521484057 /ISBN 9780521484053 ; OCLC 31515308 * Keene, Donald (2002), Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, 1852–1912, Columbia University Press ISBN 023112340X /ISBN 9780231123402 ; OCLC 46731178 * Wilson, George M. (1992), Patriots and Redeemers: Motives in the Meiji Restoration, University of Chicago Press ISBN 0226900916 /ISBN 9780226900919 ; ISBN 0226900924 /ISBN 9780226900926 ; OCLC 23869701
Wikimedia Commons has media related to EMPEROR MEIJI .
* Meiji Shrine * Meiji Emperor * "Mutsu Hito". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911. * "Mutsuhito, Emperor of Japan". The New Student\'s Reference Work. 1914.
* v * t * e
* Italics mark imperial consort