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Administrative Transition from Han to Ken: The Example of Okayama

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2016

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The first decade of the Meiji era, 1868-77, was a period of bewildering experiment in political forms for the nation-state emerging in Japan. The administrative structure of the new central government underwent a kaleidoscopic series of forms ranging from the direct copy of an eighth-century Japanese pattern to a system modelled on the American doctrine of separation of powers. First in Kyoto and later in Tokyo, during the 1870's and 1880's, government departments rapidly divested themselves of ancient nomenclature derived from China and assumed the forms of European administration as the Japanese tried increasingly to demonstrate that they knew how to run a government in western fashion.

Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 1956

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1 This transition is treated by the author in Ch. xv, “Japanese Model of Europe,” in Paul Linebarger, Djang Chu, and Ardath W. Burks, Far Eastern Governments and Politics (New York, 1954). A chart on p. 351 represents the evolution of administrative structure from the sanshoku (Three Offices) of 1868, to the seitaisho of the same year, to the dajōkan (Council) of 1871, to the Privy Council and genrō-in (Senate) of 1875.

This paper is the result of research undertaken in the academic year 1952-53 at the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies at Okayama, Japan, made possible through support by the Social Science Research Council, the Rutgers Research Council, and the Center for Japanese Studies.

2 Nomura Kanetarō,a Ishin zengō [The Restoration?Before and After] (Tokyo, 1941), p. 20.

3 Ike, Nobutaka, The Beginnings of Political Democracy in Japan (Baltimore, 1950), p. 40, n. 16.Google Scholar

4 Hall, John W., Japanese History: A Guide to Japanese Reference and Research Materials (Ann Arbor, 1954), pp. 9495.Google Scholar

5 Yoshinaga, Irimajiri, Meiji ishinshi kenkyū no hatten [Development of the Study of the History of the Meiji Restoration] (Tokyo, 1949), pp. 72f.Google Scholar

6 Hirano Yoshitarō,c Burujoa minshushugi kakumei [The Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution] (Tokyo, 1948).

7 Cited in Irimajiri, p. 81.

8 Naramoto Tatsuya has described it with major attention to Mō;ri-han. Irimajiri is interested in Tosa-han. There is perhaps ample material on rural life in Chōshfū. For Kishūhan and the transition to Wakayama-ken, see Ishizuka Hiromichi, “Meiji shoki ni okeru Kishū-han hansei kaikaku no seijishiteki kōsatsu” [“A Study of the Political Reformation in Kishū-han During the Early Meiji Era”], Rekishigaku kenkyū, IV (Apr. 1955), 13-27. His preconceived approach is revealed in the subtitle of the article: “With Emphasis on ‘The Tendency Towards Absolutism.’ ”

9 Ishizuka, pp. 16-17, 27.

10 Hall, John W., “Materials for the Study of Local History in Japan: Pre-Meiji Records,” OP, III (1952), 114 Google Scholar.

11 Sekijima Hisao dealt with salient features of the transition in the years 1870-74, as covered by the official diary (yakugi nisshi) of Iida-chō (Iida-han, now Nagano-ken), in his article, “Ishin chokugo no chiho gyosei” [“Local Administration Immediately After the Restoration”], Shakai keizai shigaku, XV (1948), No. 2, 140-154. Such diaries are rare and none exists for Okayama. Instead, we do have the complete rireki ryakki, an outline history prepared by han scribes, covering the Edo and early Meiji periods. In addition, there is fortunately preserved in the Okayama University Library the rich Ikeda collection (Ikeda-ke Bunko), key parts of which were photostatted for deposit in the University of Michigan Library. Most valuable are the public notices of the han (and later ken) for the first five years of Meiji. Subsequent laws and regulations are published in Okayama-ken futatsu zensho. There is a wide range of documents dealing with administrative changes. These documents, in photostat, are referred to below as MiU, with roman numerals indicating volume, and arabic, the kan. In Okayama, the author was fortunate in having the cooperation of Mr. Hattan Kōhachi’, curator of the Ikeda library when it was still private. Okayama city and prefectural librarians, as well as professors of history at Okayama University, offered valuable help and advice.

12 Okayama Shiyakusho, Okayama-shi shi [History of Okayama City] (Okayama, 1937), IV, Ch. vi, 3(1).

13 Yoshioka Sampei, ed. Okayama-ken shi kōhon [Manuscript History of Okayama Prefecture] (Okayama, Okayama-ken Kyōdoshi Gakkai, 1938) (3 vols, mimeo.) I, 14-17.

14 [Bizen-han] Seijidō kisoku (Okayama, 1869), MiU LXXX-278; Hansei shorui (Okayama, 1868-71), MiU LXXXI-283; Okayama-shi shi; Watanabe Yasumichi, ed. Okayamaken seishi [Political History of Okayama Prefecture] (Okayama, 1941) (2 vols.) I, 121.

15 [Bizen-han] Seichō, Hisho-gakari, Tōhan furei [Public Notices of the Han] (Okayama, 1869-71), MiU CIX-369, r.10; Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 17.

16 [Bizen-han] Rokujisho, Shokuinrei [Staff Ordinances] (1869), MiU LXXX-279, 1-10; and Shokusei Taiseisho [Staff Ordinances] (1869), MiU LXXX-277; Tōhan furei, MiU CIX- 369, r. 13-14; Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 20.

17 [Bizen-han] Rokujisho, Naika shokuin (1869), MiU LXXX-279; Tōhan furei, MiU CIX-369, r.38; 370, r.70.

18 [Bizen-han] Rokujisho, Tosoku shokuinrei [Class and Staff Ordinances] (1870), MiU LXXX-279; Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 17.

19 [Bizen-han] Rokujisho, Okayama-han shokuinrei [Staff Ordinances of Okayama-han] (1870), MiU LXXX-280, n.2.

20 [Bizen-han] Rokujisho, Hansel kaikaku jōmoku (1870), MiU LXXX-280, 0.14.

21 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 50; Okayama-han shokuinrei (1870), MiU LXXX-280, n.13; [Bizen-han] Rokujisho, Kyūki (1870), MiU LXXX-280, 1.3; Hansei kaikaku jūmoku (1870), MiU LXXX-280, o.5; Tōhan furei, MiU CIX-369, r.2; CIX-372, t.24-25.

22 Tōhan furei, MiU CIX-370, r.63; 369, r.18-20; Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 26.

23 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 35, 50.

24 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 71-73, 76-77.

25 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 64; Tōhan furei, Mill CIX-372, t.22.

26 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 172-175; II, 195-196, 225-226.

27 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, III, 433, 473-475.

28 [Okayama-ken] Rokushisho, Onfurei [Public Notices] (1871-72), MiU CXI-376, m.30-34; Kibi Bunkai Kenkyūkai, Okayama-ken chi ki ji [Political Record of Okayama Prefecture] (Okayama, 1939-42) (11 vols, mimeo.), I, 109; V, 775.

29 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 415-416.

30 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, I, 453.

31 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, II, 276; III, 498.

32 Okayama-ken shi kōhon, III, 568, 576.

33 Scalapino, Robert A., Democracy and the Party Movement in Prewar Japan (Berkeley, 1953), p. 36; Ike, p. 189.Google Scholar