House of Peers (Japan)
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
|House of Peers
Prince Fumimaro Konoe addressing the House of Peers in 1936; note the imperial throne in the background
|Established||6 March 1871|
|Disbanded||22 May 1947|
|Succeeded by||House of Councillors|
403 (at peak, 1925)
|National Diet Building, Tokyo|
In 1869, under the new Meiji government, a Japanese peerage was created by an Imperial decree merging the former Court nobility (kuge) and former feudal lords (daimyo) into a single new aristocratic class called the kazoku.
A second imperial ordinance in 1884 grouped the kazoku into five ranks equivalent to the European prince (or duke), marquis, count, viscount, and baron. Although this grouping idea was taken from the European peerage, the Japanese titles were taken from Chinese and based on the ancient feudal system in China.
The House of Peers originally comprised:
- the Crown Prince from age of 18
- all imperial princes (shinnō) and lesser princes of the imperial blood (ō) over the age of twenty
- all princes and marquis over the age of 25 (raised to age 30 in 1925)
- 150 representatives elected from the ranks of counts, viscounts, and barons over the age of 25 (raised to age 30 in 1925), for seven-year terms
- 150 additional members nominated by the Emperor, in consultation with the Privy Council
- 66 elected representatives of the 6,000 highest taxpayers, for seven-year terms.
For the first session of the Imperial Diet (1889–1890), there were 145 hereditary members and 106 imperial appointees and high taxpayers, for a total of 251 members.
With the creation of new peers, additional seats for members of the former Korean aristocracy and four seats for representatives from The Japan Imperial Academy, membership peaked at 403 seats by 1925. In its 92nd and final session, the number of members was 373.
Presidents of the House of Peers 
|Name||Title||Dates as President||Sessions|
|1||Ito Hirobumi||Count (hakushaku)||24 October 1890 – 20 July 1891||1|
|2||Hachisuka Mochiaki||Marquis (kōshaku)||20 July 1891 – 3 October 1896||2–9|
|3||Konoe Atsumaro||Prince (kōshaku)||3 October 1896 – 4 December 1903||10–18|
|4||Tokugawa Iesato||Prince (kōshaku)||4 December 1903 – 9 June 1933||19–64|
|5||Fumimaro Konoe||Prince (kōshaku)||9 June 1933 – 17 June 1937||65–70|
|6||Matsudaira Yorinaga||Count (hakushaku)||17 June 1937 – 11 October 1944||71–85|
|7||Tokugawa Kuniyuki||Prince (kōshaku)||11 October 1944 – 19 June 1946||86–89|
|8||Tokugawa Iemasa||Prince (kōshaku)||19 June 1946 – 2 May 1947||90-92|