[I-House Press] The Meiji Constitution: The Japanese Experience of the West and the Shaping of the Modern State

The Meiji Constitution: The Japanese Experience of the West and the Shaping of the Modern State
By Takii Kazuhiro (Professor, University of Hyogo)

Translated by David Noble
2007 / 180 pages / paperback
ISBN 978-4-903452-04-3
Originally published in Japanese in 2003 by Kodansha as Bummeishi no Naka no Meiji Kempo.
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Kazuhiro Takii details the formulation of Japan’s Meiji Constitution. He looks beyond the legal codification of the document and shows how the constitution catalyzed the emergence of a modern nation-state. Takii brings a cross-cultural perspective to his analysis. He relates how key leaders of Meiji Japan had experienced the West through fact-finding missions and extended overseas travel and research, and he demonstrates how their international experience shaped the policies and character of the nation-state that they helped build.

Japan’s leaders had witnessed the piecemeal devouring of Qing-dynasty China by Western powers, and they were determined for Japan to avoid a similar fate. Takii describes how they proceeded by assimilating the elements of Western civilization that underpinned constitutional government.