Sept 17/19 – Bunmei-kaika

Promulgation of the Constitution 1889

Promulgation of the Constitution 1889

Overwhelmingly the slogan that ruled the 1870-80s was: “Civilization and Enlightenment” (bunmei-kaika, 文明開化). But like the ideological reductionism of the Charter Oath, there was a tremendous amount of unresolved issues that could fit into this framework. As a result, though without the military violence of the Boshin War, the 1870-80s saw tremendous struggles–and some violence–over what form Civilization and Enlightenment would take. We will look at these debates and their contingent resolution in the Constitution of 1890.

Readings:

  1. Look at the essay and images on Civilization and Enlightenment
  2. Sources 30-42; Fukuzawa Yukichi, “On National Independence“; Kato Hiroyuki “A New Thesis on Human Rights“; Ueki Emori, three essays
  3. and if time, recommended: Sources 52-80.

Slides

Slides 2