Emperor Meiji

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Black and white photo of emperor Meiji of Japan.jpg
Emperor of Japan
Reign3 February 1867 –
30 July 1912
Enthronement12 September 1868
(as Emperor of Japan)
Shō Tai
(as King of Ryukyu)
(as Emperor of Korea)
ShōgunTokugawa Yoshinobu (1866–1868)
Daijō-daijinSanjō Sanetomi (1871–1885)
Prime Ministerssee List of Prime Ministers of Japan#Prime Ministers during the Meiji period (1868–1912)
BornMutsuhito (睦仁)
(1852-11-03)3 November 1852
Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, Kyoto, Yamashiro Province, Japan
Died30 July 1912(1912-07-30) (aged 59)
Meiji Palace, Tokyo City, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
Burial13 September 1912
Fushimi Momoyama no Misasagi (伏見桃山陵), Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Masako Ichijō (m. 1869)
Among others...
Yoshihito, Emperor Taishō
Masako, Princess Takeda
Fusako, Princess Kitashirakawa
Nobuko, Princess Asaka
Toshiko, Princess Higashikuni
HouseImperial House of Japan
FatherEmperor Kōmei
MotherNakayama Yoshiko
SignatureMeiji's signature

Emperor Meiji[1] (明治天皇, Meiji-tennō, 3 November 1852 – 30 July 1912), or Meiji the Great (明治大帝, Meiji-taitei), was the 122nd Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order of succession, reigning from 3 February 1867 until his death on 30 July 1912. He presided over the Meiji period, a time of rapid change that witnessed the Empire of Japan rapidly transform from an isolationist feudal state to an industrialized world power.

At the time of Emperor Meiji's birth in 1852, Japan was an isolated, pre-industrial, feudal country dominated by the Tokugawa shogunate and the daimyōs, who ruled over the country's more than 250 decentralized domains. By the time of his death in 1912, Japan had undergone a political, social, and industrial revolution at home and emerged as one of the great powers on the world stage. The New York Times summed up this transformation at his funeral in 1912 with the words: "the contrast between that which preceded the funeral car and that which followed it was striking indeed. Before it went old Japan; after it came new Japan."[2]

Since the modern era, deceased Emperors of Japan have been given a posthumous name, which is the name of the era coinciding with the Emperor's time on the throne. Therefore, while publicly known in his lifetime merely as "The Emperor", the Japanese monarch historically known as "Emperor Meiji" obtained his current title in reference to the Meiji period which spanned nearly the entirety of his reign. His personal name, which is not used in any formal or official context, except for his signature, was Mutsuhito (睦仁).


Yoshiko Nakayama (mother of Emperor Meiji)

The Tokugawa shogunate had established itself in the early 17th century.[3] Under its rule, the shōgun governed Japan. About 180 lords, known as daimyōs, ruled autonomous realms under the shōgun, who occasionally called upon the daimyōs for gifts, but did not tax them. The shōgun controlled the daimyōs in other ways; only the shōgun could approve their marriages, and the shōgun could divest a daimyō of his lands.[4]

In 1605, the first Tokugawa shōgun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who had officially retired from his position, and his son Tokugawa Hidetada, the titular shōgun, issued a code of behavior for the nobility. Under it, the Emperor was required to devote his time to scholarship and the arts.[5] The Emperors under the shogunate appear to have closely adhered to this code, studying Confucian classics and devoting time to poetry and calligraphy.[6] They were only taught the rudiments of Japanese and Chinese history and geography.[6] The shōgun did not seek the consent or advice of the Emperor for his actions.[7]

Emperors almost never left their palace compound, or Gosho in Kyoto, except after an Emperor retired or to take shelter in a temple if the palace caught on fire.[8] Few Emperors lived long enough to retire; of the Meiji Emperor's five predecessors, only his grandfather lived into his forties, dying aged forty-six.[7] The Imperial Family suffered very high rates of infant mortality; all five of the Emperor's brothers and sisters died as infants, and only five of his own fifteen children reached adulthood.[7]

Soon after taking control in the early seventeenth century, shogunate officials (known generically as bakufu) ended much Western trade with Japan, and barred missionaries from the islands. In addition to the substantial Chinese trade, only the Dutch continued trade with Japan, maintaining a post on the island of Dejima by Nagasaki.[9] However, by the early 19th century, European and American vessels appeared in the waters around Japan with increasing frequency.[10]


Prince Mutsuhito was born on November 3, 1852 in a small house on his maternal grandfather's property at the north end of the Gosho. At the time, a birth was believed to be polluting, so imperial princes were not born in the Palace, but usually in a structure, often temporary, near the pregnant woman's father's house. The boy's mother, Nakayama Yoshiko, was a concubine (gon no tenji) to his father Emperor Kōmei, and was the daughter of the acting major counselor, Nakayama Tadayasu.[11] The young prince was given the name Sachinomiya, or Prince Sachi.[12]

The young prince was born at a time of change for Japan. This change was symbolised dramatically when Commodore Matthew Perry and his squadron of what the Japanese dubbed "the Black Ships", sailed into the harbour at Edo (known since 1868 as Tokyo) in July 1853. Perry sought to open Japan to trade, and warned the Japanese of military consequences if they did not agree.[13] During the crisis brought on by Perry's arrival, the shogunate took, for the first time in at least 250 years, the highly unusual step of consulting with the Imperial Court, and Emperor Kōmei's officials advised that they felt the Americans should be allowed to trade and asked that they be informed in advance of any steps to be taken upon Perry's return.[14] Feeling that it could not win a war, the Japanese government allowed trade and submitted to what it dubbed the "Unequal Treaties", giving up tariff authority and the right to try foreigners in its own courts.[13] The shogunate's willingness to consult with the Court was short-lived: in 1858, word of a treaty arrived with a letter stating that due to shortness of time, it had not been possible to consult. Emperor Kōmei was so incensed that he threatened to abdicate—though even this action would have required the consent of the shōgun.[15]

Much of the emperor's boyhood is known only through later accounts, which his biographer Donald Keene points out are often contradictory. One contemporary described Mutsuhito as healthy and strong, somewhat of a bully, and exceptionally talented at sumo. Another states that the prince was delicate and often ill. Some biographers state that he fainted when he first heard gunfire, while others deny this account.[16] On August 16, 1860, Sachinomiya was proclaimed prince of the blood and heir to the throne, and was formally adopted by his father's consort. Later that year on November 11, he was proclaimed as the crown prince and given an adult name, Mutsuhito.[17] The prince began his education at the age of seven.[18] He proved an indifferent student, and later in life wrote poems regretting that he had not applied himself more in writing practice.[19]

Unrest and accession[edit]

Emperor Meiji in his younger years

By the early 1860s, the shogunate was under several threats. Representatives of foreign powers sought to increase their influence in Japan. Many daimyōs were increasingly dissatisfied with bakufu handling foreign affairs. Large numbers of young samurai, known as shishi or "men of high purpose", began to meet and speak against the shogunate. The shishi revered the Emperor Kōmei and favoured direct violent action to cure societal ills. While they initially desired the death or expulsion of all foreigners, the shishi would later begin to advocate the modernisation of the country.[20] The bakufu enacted several measures to appease the various groups, and hoped to drive a wedge between the shishi and daimyōs.[21]

Kyoto was a major centre for the shishi, who had influence over the Emperor Kōmei. In 1863, they persuaded him to issue an "Order to expel barbarians". The Order placed the shogunate in a difficult position, since it knew it lacked the power to carry it out. Several attacks were made on foreigners or their ships, and foreign forces retaliated. Bakufu forces were able to drive most of the shishi out of Kyoto, and an attempt by them to return in 1864 was driven back. Nevertheless, unrest continued throughout Japan.[21]

The prince's awareness of the political turmoil is uncertain.[22] During this time, he studied waka poetry, first with his father, then with the court poets.[23] As the prince continued his classical education in 1866, a new shōgun took office: Tokugawa Yoshinobu, a reformer who desired to transform Japan into a Western-style state. Yoshinobu, who was the final shōgun, met with resistance from among the bakufu, even as unrest and military actions continued. In mid-1866, a bakufu army set forth to punish rebels in southern Japan. The army was defeated.[24]

The Emperor Kōmei had always enjoyed excellent health, and was only 36 years old in January 1867. In that month, however, he fell seriously ill. Though he appeared to make some recovery, he suddenly worsened and died on 30 January. British diplomat Sir Ernest Satow wrote, "it is impossible to deny that [the Emperor Kōmei's] disappearance from the political scene, leaving as his successor a boy of fifteen or sixteen [actually fourteen], was most opportune".[25]

The crown prince formally ascended to the throne on February 3, 1867, in a brief ceremony in Kyoto.[26] The new Emperor continued his classical education, which did not include matters of politics. In the meantime, the shōgun, Yoshinobu, struggled to maintain power. He repeatedly asked for the Emperor's confirmation of his actions, which he eventually received, but there is no indication that the young Emperor was himself involved in the decisions. The shishi and other rebels continued to shape their vision of the new Japan, and while they revered the Emperor, they had no thought of having him play an active part in the political process.[27]

The political struggle reached its climax in late 1867. An agreement was reached by which Yoshinobu would maintain his title and some of his power, but the lawmaking power would be vested in a bicameral legislature based on the British model. However, the agreement fell apart and on November 9, 1867, Yoshinobu officially tendered his resignation to the Emperor, formally stepping down ten days later.[28] The following month, the rebels marched on Kyoto, taking control of the Imperial Palace.[29] On January 4, 1868, the Emperor ceremoniously read out a document before the court proclaiming the "restoration" of Imperial rule,[30] and the following month, documents were sent to foreign powers:[29]

The Emperor of Japan announces to the sovereigns of all foreign countries and to their subjects that permission has been granted to the shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu to return the governing power in accordance with his own request. We shall henceforward exercise supreme authority in all the internal and external affairs of the country. Consequently, the title of Emperor must be substituted for that of Tycoon, in which the treaties have been made. Officers are being appointed by us to the conduct of foreign affairs. It is desirable that the representatives of the treaty powers recognize this announcement.

Yoshinobu resisted only briefly, but it was not until late 1869 that the final bakufu holdouts were finally defeated.[29] In the ninth month of the following year, the era was changed to Meiji, or "enlightened rule", which was later used for the emperor's posthumous name. This marked the beginning of the custom of an era coinciding with an emperor's reign, and posthumously naming the emperor after the era during which he ruled.

Soon after his accession, the Emperor's officials presented Ichijō Haruko to him as a possible bride. The future Empress was the daughter of an Imperial official, Lady Sukulito Sakayama, and was three years older than the groom, who would have to wait to wed until after his genpuku (manhood ceremony). The two married on January 11, 1869.[32] Known posthumously as Empress Shōken, she was the first Imperial Consort to receive the title of kōgō (literally, the Emperor's wife, translated as Empress Consort), in several hundred years. Although she was the first Japanese Empress Consort to play a public role, she bore no children. However, the Meiji Emperor had fifteen children by five official ladies-in-waiting. Only five of his children, a prince born to Lady Naruko (1855–1943), the daughter of Yanagiwara Mitsunaru, and four princesses born to Lady Sachiko (1867–1947), the eldest daughter of Count Sono Motosachi, lived to adulthood. They were:

  • Crown Prince Yoshihito (Haru-no-miya Yoshihito Shinnō), 3rd son, (August 31, 1879 – December 25, 1926) (see Emperor Taishō)
  • Princess Masako (Tsune-no-miya Masako Naishinnō), 6th daughter, (September 30, 1888 – March 8, 1940) (see Princess Masako Takeda)
  • Princess Fusako (Kane-no-miya Fusako Naishinnō), 7th daughter, (January 28, 1890 – August 11, 1974) (see Fusako Kitashirakawa)
  • Princess Nobuko (Fumi-no-miya Nobuko Naishinnō), 8th daughter, (August 7, 1891 – November 3, 1933) (see Princess Nobuko Asaka)
  • Princess Toshiko (Yasu-no-miya Toshiko Naishinnō), 9th daughter, (May 11, 1896 – March 5, 1978) (see Toshiko Higashikuni)

Meiji era[edit]

Consolidation of power[edit]

Sixteen-year-old emperor, traveling from Kyoto to Tokyo at the end of 1868

Despite the ouster of the bakufu, no effective central government had been put in place by the rebels. On March 23, foreign envoys were first permitted to visit Kyoto and pay formal calls on the Emperor.[33] On April 7, 1868, the Emperor was presented with the Charter Oath, a five-point statement of the nature of the new government, designed to win over those who had not yet committed themselves to the new regime. This document, which the Emperor then formally promulgated, abolished feudalism and proclaimed a modern democratic government for Japan. The Charter Oath would later be cited by Emperor Hirohito in the Humanity Declaration as support for the imposed changes in Japanese government following World War II.[34] In mid-May, he left the Imperial precincts in Kyoto for the first time since early childhood to take command of the forces pursuing the remnants of the bakufu armies. Traveling in slow stages, he took three days to travel from Kyoto to Osaka, through roads lined with crowds.[35] There was no conflict in Osaka; the new leaders wanted the Emperor to be more visible to his people and to foreign envoys. At the end of May, after two weeks in Osaka (in a much less formal atmosphere than in Kyoto), the Emperor returned to his home.[36] Shortly after his return, it was announced that the Emperor would begin to preside over all state business, reserving further literary study for his leisure time.[37] Only from 1871 did the Emperor's studies include materials on contemporary affairs.[38]

On September 19, 1868, the Emperor announced that the name of the city of Edo was being changed to Tokyo, or "eastern capital". He was formally crowned in Kyoto on October 15 (a ceremony which had been postponed from the previous year due to the unrest). Shortly before the coronation, he announced that the new era, or nengō, would be called Meiji or "enlightened rule". Heretofore the nengō had often been changed multiple times in an emperor's reign; from now on, it was announced, there would only be one nengō per reign.[39]

Soon after his coronation, the Emperor journeyed to Tokyo by road, visiting it for the first time. He arrived in late November, and began an extended stay by distributing sake among the population. The population of Tokyo was eager for an Imperial visit; it had been the site of the shōgun's court and the population feared that with the abolition of the shogunate, the city might fall into decline.[40] It would not be until 1889 that a final decision was made to move the capital to Tokyo.[41] While in Tokyo, the Emperor boarded a Japanese naval vessel for the first time, and the following day gave instructions for studies to see how Japan's navy could be strengthened.[42] Soon after his return to Kyoto, a rescript was issued in the Emperor's name (but most likely written by court officials). It indicated his intent to be involved in government affairs, and indeed he attended cabinet meetings and innumerable other government functions, though rarely speaking, almost until the day of his death.[43]

Political reform[edit]

Portrait of Emperor Meiji (c.1880)

The successful revolutionaries organized themselves into a Council of State, and subsequently into a system where three main ministers led the government. This structure would last until the establishment of a prime minister, who would lead a cabinet in the western fashion, in 1885.[44] Initially, not even the retention of the Emperor was certain; revolutionary leader Gotō Shōjirō later stated that some officials "were afraid the extremists might go further and abolish the Mikado".[45] Japan's new leaders sought to reform the patchwork system of domains governed by the daimyōs. In 1869, several of the daimyōs who had supported the revolution gave their lands to the Emperor and were reappointed as governors, with considerable salaries. By the following year, all other daimyōs had followed suit.

Emperor Meiji featured on the 1905 New-York Tribune cover as the "beloved ruler of a new world power".

In 1871, the Emperor announced that domains were entirely abolished, as Japan was organized into 72 prefectures. The daimyōs were compensated with annual salaries equal to ten percent of their former revenues (from which they did not now have to deduct the cost of governing), but were required to move to the new capital, Tokyo. Most retired from politics.[46]

The new administration gradually abolished most privileges of the samurai, including their right to a stipend from the government. However, unlike the daimyōs, many samurai suffered financially from this change. Most other class-based distinctions were abolished. Legalized discrimination against the burakumin ended. However, these classes continue to suffer discrimination in Japan to the present time.[47]

Although a parliament was formed, it had no real power, and neither did the emperor.[citation needed] Power had passed from the Tokugawa into the hands of those daimyōs and other samurai who had led the Restoration.[citation needed] Japan was thus controlled by the Genrō, an oligarchy which comprised the most powerful men of the military, political and economic spheres. The emperor, if nothing else, showed greater political longevity than his recent predecessors, as he was the first Japanese monarch to remain on the throne past the age of 50 since the abdication of Emperor Ōgimachi in 1586.

Chiefs of sixteen countries in a gathering envisage a desirable future world.

The Japanese take pride in the Meiji Restoration, as it and the accompanying industrialization allowed Japan to become the preeminent power in the Pacific and a major player in the world within a generation. Yet, Emperor Meiji's role in the Restoration, as well as the amount of personal authority and influence he wielded during his reign, remains debatable. He kept no diary, wrote almost no letter (unlike his father) and left "no more than three or four" photographs. The accounts of people who had met or were close to him usually contain little substantial information or are mutually contradictory.[48]

Some call him an autocrat.[49] Some believe that his role was merely symbolic, without real power[50] - even this symbolic role was shaped by others - and that he rarely interfered with what had been agreed upon in advance by the ruling politicians and officers.[51] Others contend that he was never a full dictator, but whether his personal power was "far closer to the absolutist end"[52] or that he was the key mediator in a collective leadership (and thus, Meiji, "whilst never a great leader in the Western sense, was indisputably of great importance in the workings of Japanese consensus politics")[53], or that he was in any case no mere cipher, but his actual influence varied depending on different stages of his reign and the lack of sources makes it nigh-impossible to actually penetrate the mysteries surrounding his role and personality.[54], is a matter of debate. R.Starr describes him as a highly individualistic and fortright person who was no puppet to any group in his government, and although progressive, not 'liberal' or 'democratic'.[55]

It is unlikely it will ever be clear whether he supported the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) or the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905).[according to whom?] One of the few windows we have into the Emperor's own feelings is his poetry, which seems to indicate a pacifist streak, or at least a man who wished war could be avoided.[according to whom?] He composed the following pacifist poem in waka form:

A portrait of Emperor Meiji in his older years from The Spell of Japan(1914) by Isabel Weld Perkins
Yomo no umi
mina harakara to
omofu yo ni
nado namikaze no
tachi sawaguramu[56]
The seas of the four directions—
all are born of one womb:
why, then, do the wind and waves rise in discord?[56]

This poem was later recited by his grandson, Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito), in an Imperial Conference in September 1941, indirectly showing his own anti-war sentiment.[according to whom?]

Near the end of his life several anarchists, including Shūsui Kōtoku, were executed (1911) on charges of having conspired to murder the sovereign. This conspiracy was known as the High Treason Incident (1910).[citation needed]


Emperor Meiji, suffering from diabetes, nephritis, and gastroenteritis, died of uremia. Although the official announcement said he died at 00:42 on July 30, 1912, the actual death was at 22:40 on July 29.[57][58] After the emperor's death in 1912, the Japanese Diet passed a resolution to commemorate his role in the Meiji Restoration. An iris garden in an area of Tokyo where Emperor Meiji and the Empress had been known to visit was chosen as the building's location for the Shinto shrine Meiji jingū. The shrine does not contain the Emperor's grave, which is at Fushimi-momoyama south of Kyoto.[citation needed]


Meiji had hereditary diseases that were the result of inbreeding. These genetic defects included but were not limited to Prognathism and Spinal deformation, which could also be found in his children.[59]

Concubines and children[edit]


Image Name Birth Death Father Issue
Hamuro Mitsuko (葉室光子) February 3, 1853 18 September 1873, died in childbirth Gon-Dainagon Hamuro Nagamasa First Prince: Wakamitsuteru-hiko no Mikoto
Hashimoto Natsuko (橋本夏子) March 19, 1856 November 14, 1873, died in childbirth Shōnagon Higashibojo Natsunaga, Dainagon Hashimoto Saneakira (Foster Father) First Princess: Wakatakayori-hime no Mikoto
Naruko Yanagiwara.jpg Yanagihara Naruko (柳原愛子) June 26, 1859 October 16, 1943 Gon-Chunagon Yanagihara Mitsunaru Second Princess: Imperial Princess Ume-no-Miya Shigeko

Second Prince: Imperial Prince Take-no-Miya Yukihito

Third Prince: Imperial Prince Haru-no-Miya Yoshihito, the future Emperor Taisho

Chigusa Kotoko (千種任子) 1855 1944 sakon'e gon no shōshō Chigusa Aritō Third Princess: Imperial Princess Shige-no-Miya Akiko

Fourth Princess: Imperial Princess Masu-no-Miya Fumiko

Sachiko Sono.jpg Sono Sachiko (園祥子) December 23, 1867 July 7, 1947 ukon'e no gon no chūjō Sono Motosachi Fifth Princess: Imperial Princess Hisa-no-Miya Shizuko

Fourth Prince: Imperial Prince Aki-no-Miya Michihito

Sixth Princess: Imperial Princess Tsune-no-miya Masako

Seventh Princess: Imperial Princess Kane-no-miya Fusako

Eighth Princess: Imperial Princess Fumi-no-miya Nobuko

Fifth Prince: Imperial Prince Mitsu-no-miya Teruhito

Ninth Princess: Imperial Princess Yasu-no-miya Toshiko

Tenth Princess: Imperial Princess Sada-no-miya Tokiko


Image Name Birth Death Mother Marriage Issue
Wakamitsuteru-hiko no Mikoto
稚瑞照彦尊 (stillborn son)
September 18, 1873 September 18, 1873 Lady Mitsuko
Wakatakayori-hime no Mikoto
稚高依姫尊 (stillborn daughter)
November 13, 1873 November 13, 1873 Lady Natsuko
Shigeko, Princess Ume
January 25, 1875 June 8, 1876 Lady Naruko
Yukihito, Prince Take
September 23, 1877 July 26, 1878
Emperor Taishō.jpg Imperial Prince Haru-no-miya Yoshihito, the future Emperor Taishō
August 31, 1879 December 25, 1926(1926-12-25) (aged 47) Empress Teimei
May 25, 1900
Hirohito, Emperor Shōwa
Yasuhito, Prince Chichibu
Nobuhito, Prince Takamatsu
Takahito, Prince Mikasa
Akiko, Princess Shige
August 3, 1881 September 6, 1883 Lady Kotoko
Fumiko, Princess Masu
January 26, 1883 September 8, 1883
Shizuko, Princess Hisa
February 10, 1886 April 4, 1887 Lady Sachiko
Michihito, Prince Aki
August 22, 1887 November 12, 1888
HIH Princess Takeda Masako 2.jpg Imperial Princess Tsune-no-miya Masako
September 30, 1888 March 8, 1940(1940-03-08) (aged 51) Imperial Prince Takeda-no-miya Tsunehisa
April 30, 1908
Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda
Princess Ayako Takeda
HIH Kitashirakawa Fusako.jpg Imperial Princess Kane-no-miya Fusako
January 28, 1890 August 11, 1974(1974-08-11) (aged 84) Imperial Prince Kitashirakawa-no-miya Naruhisa
April 29, 1909
Prince Nagahisa Kitashirakawa
Princess Mineko Kitashirakawa
Princess Sawako Kitashirakawa
Princess Taeko Kitashirakawa
HIH Asaka Nobuko.jpg Imperial Princess Fumi-no-miya Nobuko
August 7, 1891 November 3, 1933(1933-11-03) (aged 42) Imperial Prince Asaka-no-miya Yasuhiko
May 6, 1909
Princess Kikuko Asaka
Princess Takahiko Asaka
Prince Tadahito Asaka
Princess Kiyoko Asaka
Teruhito, Prince Mitsu
November 30, 1893 August 17, 1894
HIH Princess Higashikuni Toshiko.jpg Imperial Princess Yasu-no-miya Toshiko
May 11, 1896 March 5, 1978(1978-03-05) (aged 81) Imperial Prince Higashikuni-no-miya Naruhiko
May 18, 1915
Prince Morihiro Higashikuni
Prince Moromasa Higashikuni
Prince Akitsune Higashikuni
Prince Toshihiko Higashikuni
Takiko, Princess Sada
September 24, 1897 January 11, 1899

Titles and styles[edit]

Styles of
The Emperor
Imperial Seal of Japan.svg
Reference styleHis Imperial Majesty
Spoken styleYour Imperial Majesty
Alternative styleSir
  • November 3, 1852 – November 11, 1860: His Imperial Highness The Prince Sachi
  • November 11, 1860 – February 3, 1867: His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince
  • February 3, 1867 – July 30, 1912: His Imperial Majesty The Emperor
  • Posthumous title: His Imperial Majesty Emperor Meiji


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]




The Meiji era ushered in many far-reaching changes to the ancient feudal society of Japan. A timeline of major events might include:

In film[edit]

Stuido Still snap the 1957 Japanese film "Meiji Tenno to Nichiro Daisenso (Emperor Meiji and the Great Russo-Japanese War)"(Shintoho). Emperor Meiji of Kanjūrō Arashi.

Emperor Meiji is portrayed by Toshirō Mifune in the 1980 Japanese war drama film The Battle of Port Arthur (sometimes referred as 203 Kochi).[62] Directed by Toshio Masuda, the film depicted the Siege of Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War, and also starred Tatsuya Nakadai (as General Nogi Maresuke), and Tetsurō Tamba (as General Kodama Gentarō).

Emperor Meiji also appears in the 2003 film The Last Samurai, portrayed by Nakamura Shichinosuke II. In the film The Last Samurai the Emperor is represented as a weak, easy to handle man without hinting at the risk of coup d'etat, having the pressure of the rebel shogunates that had economic interests with the United States. The Emperor's determination is only shown at the end of the movie when he enforces his ideas by breaking the treaty with the Americans, after consolidating his power after the battle.



  1. ^ /ˈmˈ/
  2. ^ a b "The Funeral Ceremonies of Meiji Tenno", reprinted from the Japan Advertiser Article 8—No Title], New York Times. October 13, 1912.
  3. ^ Jansen 1995, p. vii.
  4. ^ Gordon 2009, pp. 14–15.
  5. ^ Keene 2002, p. 3.
  6. ^ a b Gordon 2009, pp. 3–4.
  7. ^ a b c Gordon 2009, p. 2.
  8. ^ Gordon 2009, pp. 4–5.
  9. ^ Gordon 2009, p. 19.
  10. ^ Gordon 2009, p. 47.
  11. ^ Keene 2002, p. 10.
  12. ^ Keene 2002, p. 14.
  13. ^ a b Gordon 2009, pp. 50–51.
  14. ^ Keene 2002, p. 18.
  15. ^ Keene 2002, pp. 39–41.
  16. ^ Keene 2002, p. xii.
  17. ^ Keene 2002, pp. 51–52.
  18. ^ Keene 2002, p. 46.
  19. ^ Keene 2002, p. 48.
  20. ^ Gordon 2009, pp. 53–55.
  21. ^ a b Gordon 2009, pp. 55–56.
  22. ^ Keene 2002, p. 73.
  23. ^ Keene 2002, p. 78.
  24. ^ Gordon 2009, pp. 57–58.
  25. ^ Keene 2002, pp. 94–96.
  26. ^ Keene 2002, p. 98.
  27. ^ Keene 2002, pp. 102–104.
  28. ^ Takano, p. 256.
  29. ^ a b c Gordon 2009, p. 59.
  30. ^ Keene 2002, p. 121.
  31. ^ Keene 2002, p. 117.
  32. ^ Keene 2002, pp. 105–107.
  33. ^ Keene 2002, p. 133.
  34. ^ Jansen 1995, p. 195.
  35. ^ Keene 2002, p. 143.
  36. ^ Keene 2002, pp. 145–146.
  37. ^ Keene 2002, p. 147.
  38. ^ Keene 2002, p. 171.
  39. ^ Keene 2002, pp. 157–159.
  40. ^ Keene 2002, pp. 160–163.
  41. ^ Gordon 2009, p. 68.
  42. ^ Keene 2002, pp. 163–165.
  43. ^ Keene 2002, p. 168.
  44. ^ Gordon 2009, p. 64.
  45. ^ Jansen 1994, p. 342.
  46. ^ Gordon 2009, p. 63.
  47. ^ Gordon 2009, p. 65.
  48. ^ Keene 2002, p. xi
  49. ^ Bix, Herbert P. (2001). Hirohito and the making of modern Japan (Book) (1st Perennial ed.). New York: Perennial. p. 29. ISBN 978-0060931308.
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  51. ^ Takahashi, Hiroshi (2008). "Akihito and the Problem of Succession". In Shillony, Ben-Ami. The Emperors of Modern Japan. BRILL. p. 2, 139. ISBN 9789004168220.
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  62. ^ The Battle of Port Arthur (203 Koshi) in the Internet Movie Database


External links[edit]

Emperor Meiji
Born: 3 November 1852 Died: 30 July 1912
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Kōmei
Emperor of Japan
February 3, 1867 – July 30, 1912
Succeeded by
Emperor Taishō