Preamble of the Constitution
The Empire of Japan at its peak in 1942:
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The constitution of Japan was largely drafted by US lawyers in the occupation authority. This image is of a secret memo written by members of the authority on the subject of the new constitution.
The Naval Battle of Hakodate, May 1869; in the foreground, and of the Imperial Japanese Navy
The Preamble to the Constitution
The Empire of Japan at its peak in 1942:
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The Imperial Signature (upper right) and Seal
Prominent members of the Iwakura mission. Left to right: Kido Takayoshi, Yamaguchi Masuka, Iwakura Tomomi, Itō Hirobumi, Ōkubo Toshimichi
The Constitution of Japan signed by Emperor Showa and Ministers of State
Emperor Meiji, the 122nd emperor of Japan
Politics under the Post-war Constitution
Ōura Church, Nagasaki
Interior of the Japanese Parliament, showing the Prime Minister speaking addressing the House of Peers, 1915
Prince Aritomo Yamagata, who was twice Prime Minister of Japan. He was one of the main architects of the military and political foundations of early modern Japan.
Baron Masuda Tarokaja, a member of the House of Peers (Kazoku). His father, Baron Masuda Takashi, was responsible for transforming Mitsui into a zaibatsu.
The Tokyo Industrial Exhibition, 1907 (Mitsubishi pavilion and Exhibition halls)
Marunouchi District in 1920, looking towards the Imperial Palace
A 1-yen banknote, 1881
Thomas Blake Glover was a Scottish merchant in Bakumatsu and received Japan's second highest order from Emperor Meiji in recognition of his contributions to Japan's industrialization.
Prince Katsura Tarō, thrice Prime Minister and the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan. Katsura commanded the IJA 3rd Division under his mentor, Field Marshal Yamagata Aritomo, during the First Sino-Japanese War.
Map of the Japanese Empire in 1895. This map was issued shortly after the Japanese invasion of Taiwan and is consequently one of the first Japanese maps to include Taiwan as a possession of Imperial Japan.
Marquess Komura Jutaro, 1911. Komura became Minister for Foreign Affairs under the first Katsura administration, and signed the Boxer Protocol on behalf of Japan.
French illustration of a Japanese assault on entrenched Russian troops during the Russo-Japanese War
Japanese riflemen during the Russo-Japanese War
Count Tadasu Hayashi was the resident minister to the United Kingdom. While serving in London from 1900, he worked to successfully conclude the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and signed on behalf of the government of Japan on January 30, 1902.
Port Arthur viewed from the Top of Gold Hill, after its capitulation in 1905. From left are the wrecks of Russian pre-dreadnought battleships Peresvet, Poltava, Retvizan, Pobeda and the protected cruisers Pallada
Emperor Taishō, the 123rd emperor of Japan
Topographic map of the Empire of Japan in November, 1918
Native Micronesian constables of Truk Island, circa 1930. Truk became a possession of the Empire of Japan under a mandate from the League of Nations following Germany's defeat in World War I.
Commanding Officers and Chiefs of Staff of the Allied Military Mission to Siberia, Vladivostok during the Allied Intervention
Groundbreaking ceremony of Ginza Line, the oldest subway line in Asia, 1925. Front row, right to left: Rudolf Briske, Noritsugu Hayakawa, Furuichi Kōi, Ryutaro Nomura.
Count Itagaki Taisuke is credited as being the first Japanese party leader and an important force for liberalism in Meiji Japan.
Count Katō Komei, the 14th Prime Minister of Japan from June 11, 1924, until his death on January 28, 1926
Emperor Shōwa during an Army inspection on January 8, 1938
Tokyo Kaikan was requisitioned as the meeting place for members of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association (Taisei Yokusankai) in the early days.
Japanese Pan-Asian writer Shūmei Ōkawa
Rebel troops assembling at police headquarters during the February 26 Incident
A bank run during the Shōwa financial crisis, March 1927
National Diet Building, 1930
Political map of the Asia-Pacific region, 1939
Japanese troops entering Shenyang, Northeast China during the Mukden Incident, 1931
The Japanese occupation of Peiping (Beijing) in China, on August 13, 1937. Japanese troops are shown passing from Peiping into the Tartar City through Zhengyangmen, the main gate leading onward to the palaces in the Forbidden City.
IJN Special Naval Landing Forces armed with the Type 11 Light Machine Gun during the Battle of Shanghai, 1937
Signing ceremony for the Axis Powers Tripartite Pact
Founding ceremony of the Hakkō ichiu (All the world under one roof) monument in 1940
A map of the Japanese advance from 1937 to 1942
Victorious Japanese troops march through the city center of Singapore following the city's capture in February 1942 (Photo from the Imperial War Museum)
Imperial Japanese Army paratroopers are landing during the Battle of Palembang, February 13, 1942.
A model representing the attack by dive bombers from USS Yorktown (CV-5) and USS Enterprise (CV-6) on the Japanese aircraft carriers, and in the morning of June 4, 1942, during the Battle of Midway
Group of Type 2 Ka-Mi tanks on board of 2nd class transporter of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1944–1945
The rebuilt battlecruiser sank at her moorings in the naval base of Kure on July 24 during a series of bombings.
The Japanese archipelago and the Korean Peninsula in 1945 (National Geographic)
A drawing depicting a speech in the Imperial Japanese Diet on November 1, 1945, the end of the Second World War. In the foreground there are several Allied soldiers watching the proceedings from the back of the balcony.
From left to right: Marshal Admiral Heihachirō Tōgō (1848–1934), Field Marshal Oku Yasukata (1847–1930), Marshal Admiral Yoshika Inoue (1845–1929), Field Marshal Kageaki Kawamura (1850–1926), at the unveiling ceremony of bronze statue of Field Marshal Iwao Ōyama
Population density map of the Empire of Japan (1920).
Population density map of the Empire of Japan (1940).
War flag of the Imperial Japanese Army
Naval ensign of the Empire of Japan
Flag of the Japanese Emperor

The Empire of Japan, (大日本帝国) also known as the Japanese Empire or Imperial Japan, was a historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 until the enactment of the post-World War II 1947 constitution and subsequent formation of modern Japan.

- Empire of Japan

The Meiji Constitution was the fundamental law of the Empire of Japan, propagated during the reign of Emperor Meiji ((r.

- Constitution of Japan

5 related topics


Occupation of Japan

Map of Japan under Allied occupation
# Japanese archipelago, placed under the authority of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (de facto United States), effective 1945–1952 (Note: Part of Japanese territories were put under US' administration after 1952 in accordance with Article 3 of San Francisco Peace Treaty: Iwo Jima (till 1968) and Okinawa (till 1972), such arrangement was treaty based, not part of the Allied Occupation)
# Japanese Taiwan and the Spratly Islands, placed under the authority of China
# Karafuto Prefecture and the Kuril Islands, placed under the authority of the Soviet Union
# Japanese Korea south of the 38th parallel north, placed under the authority of the United States Army Military Government in Korea, granted independence in 1948 as South Korea
# Japanese Korea north of the 38th parallel north, placed under the authority of the Soviet Civil Administration, granted independence in 1948 as North Korea
# Kwantung Leased Territory, occupied by the Soviet Union 1945–1955, returned to China in 1955
# South Pacific Mandate, occupied by the United States 1945–1947, converted into the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1947
May 1946: The Indian Army 2nd Battalion 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles march through Kure, Hiroshima soon after their arrival in Japan.
Nihonbashi, Tokyo, in 1946
Gaetano Faillace's famous photo of Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito
The Japanese government releases members of the Japanese Communist Party on October 10, 1945.
Hideki Tōjō takes the stand at the Tokyo war crimes tribunal.
Joseph Dodge meets Finance Minister Hayato Ikeda in 1949
Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida signs the Treaty of San Francisco, which brought an end to the Allied Occupation of Japan.
Allied servicemen visit the Special Comfort Facility Association.

The Occupation of Japan (連合国占領下の日本) was a military occupation of Japan in the years immediately following Japan's defeat in World War II.

In 1947, a sweeping amendment to the Meiji Constitution was passed which effectively repealed it in its entirety and replaced it with a new, American-written constitution, and the emperor's theoretically vast powers, which for many centuries had been constrained only by conventions that had evolved over time, became strictly limited by law.


Island country in East Asia.

Island country in East Asia.

Legendary Emperor Jimmu (神武天皇)
Samurai warriors battling Mongols during the Mongol invasions of Japan, depicted in the
Emperor Meiji (明治天皇); 1852–1912
Japan's imperial ambitions ended on September 2, 1945, with the country's surrender to the Allies.
The Japanese archipelago
Mount Fuji in Spring, view from Arakurayama Sengen Park
Autumn maple leaves at Kongōbu-ji on Mount Kōya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The National Diet Building
Japan is a member of both the G7 and the G20.
JMSDF class destroyer
The Tokyo Stock Exchange
A rice paddy in Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture
A plug-in hybrid car manufactured by Toyota. Japan is the third-largest maker of motor vehicles in the world.
The Japanese Experiment Module (Kibō) at the International Space Station
Japan Airlines, the flag carrier of Japan
The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant
The Greater Tokyo Area is ranked as the most populous metropolitan area in the world.
The torii of Itsukushima Shinto Shrine near Hiroshima
Kanji and hiragana signs
Students celebrating after the announcement of the results of the entrance examinations to the University of Tokyo
12th-century illustrated handscroll of The Tale of Genji, a National Treasure
Noh performance at a Shinto shrine
Young ladies celebrate Coming of Age Day (成人の日) in Harajuku, Tokyo
A plate of nigiri-zushi
Sumo wrestlers form around the referee during the ring-entering ceremony

In the Meiji period, the Empire of Japan adopted a Western-modeled constitution and pursued a program of industrialization and modernization.

After suffering defeat in the Pacific War and two atomic bombings, Japan surrendered in 1945 and came under a seven-year Allied occupation, during which it adopted a new constitution and began a military alliance with the United States.

Preamble of the Constitution

Meiji Constitution

Preamble of the Constitution
Meiji Constitution promulgation by Toyohara Chikanobu
Itō Hirobumi and Emperor Meiji (Servet-i Fünun 25 October 1894 front page)
Schematic overview of the government structure under the Constitution
Memorial in Yokohama

The Constitution of the Empire of Japan (Kyūjitai: 大日本帝國憲法; Shinjitai: 大日本帝国憲法, romanized: Dai-Nippon Teikoku Kenpō), known informally as the Meiji Constitution (明治憲法, Meiji Kenpō), was the constitution of the Empire of Japan which was proclaimed on February 11, 1889, and remained in force between November 29, 1890 and May 2, 1947.

During the American Occupation of Japan the Meiji Constitution was replaced on November 3, 1946, becoming the "Postwar Constitution", which has been in force since May 3, 1947.

Emperor Meiji in a formal session of the House of Peers. Ukiyo-e woodblock print by Yōshū Chikanobu, 1890

House of Peers (Japan)

Emperor Meiji in a formal session of the House of Peers. Ukiyo-e woodblock print by Yōshū Chikanobu, 1890
The House of Peers in 1910

The House of Peers (貴族院) was the upper house of the Imperial Diet as mandated under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan (in effect from 11 February 1889 to 3 May 1947).

After World War II, under the current Constitution of Japan, in effect from 3 May 1947, the mostly unelected House of Peers was replaced by an elected House of Councillors.

Reconstruction of a Jōmon family from the Sannai-Maruyama Site.

History of Japan

The first human inhabitants of the Japanese archipelago have been traced to prehistoric times around 30,000 BCE.

The first human inhabitants of the Japanese archipelago have been traced to prehistoric times around 30,000 BCE.

Reconstruction of a Jōmon family from the Sannai-Maruyama Site.
A Yayoi period bronze bell (dōtaku) of the 3rd century CE
Daisenryō Kofun, Osaka
Territorial extent of Yamato court during the Kofun period
Buddhist temple of Horyu-ji is the oldest wooden structure in the world. It was commissioned by Prince Shotoku and represents the beginning of Buddhism in Japan.
The word Nihon written in kanji (horizontal placement of characters). The text means "Japan" in Japanese.
Prince Shōtoku was a semi-legendary regent of the Asuka period, and considered to be the first major sponsor of Buddhism in Japan.
The Daibutsu-den, within the complex of Tōdai-ji. This Buddhist temple was sponsored by the Imperial Court during the Nara period.
Miniature model of the ancient capital Heian-kyō
Later Three-Year War in the 11th century.
A handscroll painting dated c. 1130, illustrating a scene from the "Bamboo River" chapter of The Tale of Genji
Minamoto no Yoritomo was the founder of the Kamakura shogunate in 1192. This was the first military government in which the shogun with the samurai were the de facto rulers of Japan.
Portrait of Ashikaga Takauji who was the founder and first shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate
Kinkaku-ji was built in 1397 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
Map showing the territories of major daimyō families around 1570 CE
Japan (Iapam) and Korea, in the 1568 Portuguese map of the cartographer João Vaz Dourado.
The Black Ship Portuguese traders that came from Goa and Macau once a year.
Japan in 1582, showing territory conquered by Oda Nobunaga in gray
Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate.
Samurai could kill a commoner for the slightest insult and were widely feared by the Japanese population. Edo period, 1798.
Samurai of the Satsuma Domain during the Boshin War
Emperor Meiji, the 122nd Emperor of Japan
The Japanese Empire in 1939
Japanese experts inspect the scene of the 'railway sabotage' on South Manchurian Railway, leading to the Mukden Incident and the Japanese occupation of Manchuria.
Planes from the Japanese aircraft carrier Shōkaku preparing the attack on Pearl Harbor
The Empire of Japan at its peak in 1942:
Atomic cloud over Hiroshima, 1945
General Douglas MacArthur and Emperor of Japan, Hirohito, at their first meeting, September 1945
US Secretary of State Dean Acheson signing the Treaty of Peace with Japan, 8 September 1951
Shigeru Yoshida was one of the longest serving PMs in Japanese history (1946–1947 and 1948–1954).
Tokyo in 2010
Wreckage at a railway station destroyed during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Social structure of the Edo period
A vase from the early Jōmon period (11000–7000 BC)
Middle Jōmon vase (2000 BC)
Dogū figurine of the late Jōmon period (1000–400 BC)
Ancient drawing depicting a samurai battling forces of the Mongol Empire
Samurai Mitsui Sukenaga (right) defeating the Mongolian invasion army (left)
Shiraishi clan

The new national leadership of the following Meiji period transformed the isolated feudal island country into an empire that closely followed Western models and became a great power.

The Allies occupied Japan until 1952, during which a new constitution was enacted in 1947 that transformed Japan into a constitutional monarchy.