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Political Protest And Penal Colonies

Narrating the Transformation of National Identity and Literature
  • Michele M. Mason
Chapter
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Abstract

In late 1890, just over two deacades after the shogunate had been driven out of power and Emperor Meiji enthroned, Japanese turned their attention to what promised to be a spectacular event, the opening of Japan’s imperial Diet. As decorations fluttered throughout Tokyo, residents learned from daily newspaper coverage that they could participate in the momentous occasion by attending the Diet inaugural concert or the imperial procession. One enthusiastic citizen declared, “Anybody with any claim to be Japanese must welcome this development with the utmost fervor and rejoicing.” 1 The inauguration of the Diet capped a series of landmark political changes, including the promulgation of the Japanese imperial constitution and the enactment of the Law of Election, which simultaneously established a constitutional government and affirmed the inviolable sovereignty of the Meiji emperor. Observed by both the Japanese populace and the international community, the festivities in the imperial capital christened Japan’s modern age and marked its civilized status in the world.

Keywords

Prison System Penal Labor Dangerous Element Compulsory Heterosexuality National Unification 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Andrew Fraser, R. H. P. Mason, and Phillip Mitchell, eds., Japan’s Early Parliaments, 1890–1905: Structure, Issues and Trends (London: Routledge, 1995 ), 1.Google Scholar
  2. 12.
    Roger W. Bowen, Rebellion and Democracy in Meiji Japan: A Study of Commoners in the Popular Rights Movement (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 287–288.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    Janet Hunter, Concise Dictionary of Modern Japanese History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984 ), 47.Google Scholar
  4. 54.
    John Pierre Mertz, Novel Japan: Spaces of Nationhood in Early Meiji Narrative, 1870–88 (Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2003), 255.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michele M. Mason 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele M. Mason

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