the charter oath and meiji constitution of 1889
- Based on the Prussian/German Model
- Includes democratic elements such as the establishment of the Diet (Japan's parliament)
- Does guarantee rights to sections of the Japanese people
- BUT keeps the Emperor as above the constitution and is essentially conservative
Historiography: William Beasley on the ideas underpinning the constitution
"To the Meiji leaders, political dissent was seditious, because it weakened the state. In Ito's words, 'the onslaught of extremely democratic ideas' had to be resisted, because 'in a country such as ours, it was evident that it would be necessary to compensate for its smallness of size and population by a compact solidity of organization."
Task: Which broad interpretation does this point of view support and why?
Historiography: William Beasley on the constitution
"The Meiji constitution cannot be said to have promoted harmony. It also had restricted value as a charter of personal values. The rights of subjects, as stated in it, were in all cases described as 'within the limits of the law', or 'within limits not prejudicial to peace and order.'"
From W.G. Beasley 'The Rise of Modern Japan' pgs 76-80