Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan

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The Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan (内大臣, Naidaijin) was an administrative post not of Cabinet rank in the government of the Empire of Japan, responsible for keeping the Privy Seal of Japan and State Seal of Japan. The modern office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal was identical with the old Naidaijin only in name and should not be confused.[1] The office was abolished in 1945 after the Second World War.

History[edit]

Meiji period[edit]

The modern office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal was formed in 1885, after the Meiji government established the Japanese cabinet; however, the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal was separate from the cabinet, and acted as a direct, personal advisor to the Emperor. He was also responsible for the administration of imperial documents such as rescripts and edicts. Petitions to the emperor and the court were also handled by the Lord Keeper's office, as well as the responses.

The Emperor meets with his Privy Council, which was created separately and three years after the office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal. Ukiyo-e woodblock print by Yōshū Chikanobu, 1888

When the Privy Council was created in 1888, the Privy Seal retained his independent advisory role. The term "privy" in Privy Council and Privy Seal identifies a direct relationship of special trust.

In 1907, the post was expanded to become the Office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal (内大臣府, Naidaijin-fu) with a chief secretary, three secretaries and six assistants in order to handle the increased workload with the passing of the genrō.

Shōwa period[edit]

After the start of Emperor Hirohito's reign in 1925, the office and position of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal became increasingly important, at the expense of the office of the Prime Minister. Political infighting within the Diet of Japan further boosted the power of the Lord Keeper. The holder of this position was able to strictly control who was allowed to have an audience with the emperor, as well as the flow of information.

The office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal was officially abolished on 24 November 1945,[2] and the position itself was abolished with the promulgation of the new constitution in November 1946. Thus, former Grand Chamberlain Fujita Hisanori was the last Lord Keeper.[3]

Today, the seals are kept in the care of the Chamberlain of Japan.

List of Lord Keepers of the Privy Seal[edit]

Portrait Name Term of office
Sanetomi Sanjo formal.jpg Sanjō Sanetomi
三条実美
22 December
1885
18 February
1891
Sanetsune Tokudaiji 01 (cropped).jpg Tokudaiji Sanetsune
徳大寺実則
21 February
1891
12 August
1912
11 KatsuraT.jpg Katsura Tarō
桂 太郎
21 August
1912
21 December
1912
Fushimi Sadanaru, c. 1910-15 (cropped).jpg Prince Fushimi Sadanaru
伏見宮貞愛親王
21 December
1912
13 January
1915
Iwao Oyama 2 (cropped).jpg Ōyama Iwao
大山巌
23 April
1915
10 December
1916
4 MatsukataM(cropped).jpg Matsukata Masayoshi
松方正義
2 May
1917
18 September
1922
Hirata Tosuke (cropped).jpg Hirata Tōsuke
平田東助
19 September
1922
30 May
1925
Arata Hamao, President of the Imperial University of Tokyo (cropped).jpg Hamao Arata
濱尾新
30 March
1925
30 March
1925
Nobuaki Makino in later years.jpg Makino Nobuaki
牧野伸顕
30 March
1925
26 February
1935
Makoto Saitō (cropped).jpg Saitō Makoto
斎藤実
26 February
1935
6 February
1936
ICHIKI Kitokuro.jpg Ichiki Kitokurō
一木喜徳郎
6 March
1936
6 March
1936
Kurahei Yuasa 01.jpg Yuasa Kurahei
湯浅倉平
6 March
1936
1 June
1940
Kōichi Kido cropped.jpg Kido Kōichi
木戸幸一
1 June
1940
24 November
1945
Hisanori Hujita.jpg Fujita Hisanori
藤田 尚徳
25 November
1945
2 November
1946

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.unterstein.net/or/docs/JapanPeers.pdf
  2. ^ http://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/etc/glossary.html National Diet Library | Office of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
  3. ^ John Dower, Embracing defeat, 1999, p.320

References[edit]

  • Takenobu, Yoshitaro. (1928). The Japan Yearbook; Complete Cyclopaedia of General Information and Statistics on Japan and Japanese Territories. Tokyo: The Japan Year Book Office. OCLC 145151778

External links[edit]