entries for Volume 2 encompass the Iwakura mission (Dec 1871-July
1873) where Kido spent much time abroad studying the various
foreign powers. Associate Ambassador Kido gathered information
on Western government and constitutions, and supervised Tanaka
Fujimaro and Yamada Akiyoshi, who prepared reports on Western
educational and military organizations respectively.
met a good number of personages who should be familiar to
western audiences: President Ulysses S. Grant (in the U.S.
-- keep in mind that Grant later visited Japan as an ex-President,
but after Kido had died), Prime Minister William E. Gladstone
in Great Britain, President Adolphe Thiers in France, Chancellor
Otto von Bismarck in Germany, and Prince Alexander Gorchakov
- the Russian Chancellor.)
picture that precedes the text for
Volume II is noted to have been taken in 1872 in London, and
was given by Mr. Kido Takahiko-- a great grandson of Kido-san,
for usage in the diaries.
events that unfold in Volume 2 include the implementation
of the Abolition of Domains and the Establishment of Prefectures,
Haihan Chiken -- proclaimed 29 August 1871.
23 December 1871, Kido left for the mission as the second-ranking
member of the Iwakura Embassy, returning 23 July 1873 to Yokohama.
Kido writes from his sickbed in October 1873 writing of the
Peace Party's victory in the great Cabinet Debate, and worked
as Imperial Councilor in early 1874 to contain dissidents
from the War Party who had left the government. There are
two other challenges mentioned in this volume -- the Tosa
Memorial in January 1874, a bid for parliamentary government
to displace the current oligarchy, and in February 1874, the
purpose was "unite the strength of the nation, and to
nurture men of talent" (22 August 1871). While this first
portion refers to the foreign powers, the second portion refers
to the rejection of status or section of origin as important
considerations in appointments to the new bureaucracy.
was resistant to pressures from his domain to recruit from
his home province and very concerned that the strong prefectural/provincial
governments would be a destablizing influence. Although he
was loyal to the Mori family (the Lord of Choshu), what ostensibly
helped him in his stance was the agreement by the Moris with
the reform. The reform would assert that a Japanese subject's
highest loyalty would be to the Emperor. "Mori Motonori,
the last Choshu Lord, is presented in the diary as a man with
egalitarian views, not only willing to give up his han, but
prepared to eliminate the distinction between kazoku,
or peers, and shizoku, or former samurai, and to
make both classes the equal of commoners. This diary entry
suggests that the Young Lord was prepared for a more democratic
society than Kido himself."
of the final preparations were handled cautiously, and the
Emperor's Guard received a promise from Satsuma, Choshu and
Tosa for 10,000 soldiers. Saigo Takamori, defying the interests
of the Satsuma Lord Shimazu, "asserted that he would
smash any opposition (to the Return of Registers) with his
summoned Lords were also promised a general financial settlement.
Their debts were absorbed into the central government, their
currency was exchangeable for the new government money, and
the governor's stipends were generous enough that many joined
the new 'plutocracy.'
amongst the most troublesome samurais were numbered Choshu.
Samurai who were reduced in their wages, of course, were not
pleased with the change in events, nor the tax of stipends
or change in funds.
Mission (to be continued)
was part of a diplomatic mission led by Iwakura Tomonoi sent
to gather information on Western government. He joined Iwakura,
Okubo Toshimichi, Ito Hirobumi, and Yamaguchi Hanzo as one
of the Associate Ambassadors of the mission. These men represented
half of the top leaders of the nation. They left Yokohama
on 23 December 1871, and Kido returned 23 July 1873. They
left on the Pacific Mail Steamship Line's America,
and journey to san Francisco , arriving 15 January 1872
of Unequal Treaties.
main objectve in the U.S. was the revision of the 1858 treaty
of friendship and commerce, on of the unequal treaties that
irked loyalists. Revision was possible as early as 1 July
1872 under the terms of the treaty.
Japanese had high hopes for renegotiating the treaty, but
after 7 months of intermittent talks and diplomatic issues/gaffes,
negotiations petered out. Kido at times was irritated with
the Americans, but also blamed Ito and Mori, who were viewed
by Kido as volatile and critical of his own customs. Kido
wrote "The great error was in engaging in negotiations
prematurely on their advice."
the Constitutional Foundations of the Meiji government
an observer, Kido perhaps had more success. Kido had been
tasked with studying government of the west. He was assisted
by Ga Noriyuki, and from 1872 until the remainder of his journey,
he studied the political systems of the United States., England,
France, Germany and Russia. The outcome was his memorial advocating
constitutional government for Japan in 1873.
the Charter Oath of 1868 served as a foundation, Kido expressed
concerns over various possible interpretations, and set out
to prepare a more precise constitution.
was assisted in his efforts by many other Western-based/educated
Japanese. His studies of the U.S. Constitution were assisted
by Hatakeyama Yoshinari, a Rutgers student, and Kume Kunitake.
foundations for national education reforms
his travels, Kido also paid attention to schools and colleges.
Tanaka Fujimaro, commissioner, investigated education under
Kido's supervision, and Tanaka's fifteen volume report later
served as the basis for Japan's new system of universal public
education. Kido's value of education was evident -- when he
later agreed to serve as Minister of Education in 1874, after
rejecting appointments as Minister of Finance, Justice, or
War. (Tanaka was Vice Minister of Education under Kido during
appreciated the need for educating the masses as a means of
assuring the future of the nation, and like his counterparts
at the Sonjuku was a proponent of a merit bureaucracy, in
which men of talent could be identified and prepared for service
in the government through a good system of education. His
inspection of the West included an inspection of the public
schools of San Francisco soon after his arrival. Ultimately,
Dr. David Murray of Rutgers College, became the chief foreign
adviser at the time of the creation of the Japanese system
of universal public education after 1873.
in this grand tour also visited a number of respected Western
universiities: Leyden in the Netherlands, where he was duly
impressed by the townspeople's willingness to choose a university
over a tax reduction in the 16th century, Howard University
-- the college for American Blacks in Washington, DC (25 March
1872); the government School for the Construction of Roads
and Bridges and the School of Mines in Paris (20 January 1873);and
the Mining School at Freiburg near Dresden (28 April 1873).
Tanaka Fujimaro was also instructed to note the details regarding
other institutions: reform schools, prisons, and insane asylums.
reform of the Japanese language was considered as another
potential part of modernization. Kido apparently discussed
the possibility of Japanese use of the roman alphabet (romanji)
with Dr. Bauduin in Holland (4 March 1873), to better prepare
Japanese students to read Western works. He himself undertook
the study of English-- acquiring a tutor (William E. Parson)
to accompany him on the rest of his tour. Kido did not become
fluent, but learned enough to use English words across his
study of Military establishments
duties also included overseeing the studies of military establishments
of America and Europe. Yamada Akiyoshi, a man of Choshu, undertook
this effort with Kido's supervision. Kido was invited to view
the militia in the U.S. and observe autumn maneuvers of the
English at Beacon Hill (27 August 1872). In the end, it was
the German militia which provided the model for the Japanese
Army. German advisers had helped Turkey "come back from
near extinction," as the Turkish Minister to the U.S.
informed the Japanese in May 1872. (Kido met Helmuth von Motke
in Berlin, the man who advised the Turkish on their military
technology was also demonstrated to the Japanese during this
trip. In addition to seeing demonstrations of artillery, Kido
went up in a military observation balloon in Boston, and dined
on the British H.M.S. Minotaur (Aug 1872).
key observation Kido noted, was that military authorities
were separate from and controlled by civilian leaders in these
countries. Kido would later note with complaint that Saigo
Takamori took the office of Commander-in-chief of the Armed
Forces while also holding the civil post of Imperial Councilor
when word reached him in London in October 1872.
not charged with the study of western industry (a task given
to Okubo Toshimichi to supervise), Kido made a number of observations
on various industrial operations, noting numbers of employees,
their wages, and their hours. He also attempted to study new
technologies (i.e., refineries), but like many in the party
had "trouble asking the right questions and understanding
mission also spent a good deal of time touring, meeting various
dignitaries and studying the history of these western nations.
Among the persons met included President Ulysses S. Grant,
Queen Victoria, French President Adolphe Thiers, Kaiser Wilhelm
I, and Tsar Alexander.
enjoyed many sights and experiences -- noting with pleasure
the scenic routes through which the trains took him (among
them through the Sierra Nevadas), and experienced some of
the West (Salt Lake City and its hot springs).
observed iceskating for the first time in the Netherlands,
attempted social dancing in Scotland, viewed circuses in Washington
and Vienna, and attended the opera in Berlin.
and Okubo's journeying was unexpectedly cut short when orders
came on March 19, 1873 for the two to return. Okubo deparated
first, with Kido first visiting the Russian empire.
Return-- The Peace Party Prevails
issue of Korea -- and the issue of expansion -- was the topic
of the hour as Kido returned to Japan. Saigo Takamori and
the War Party espoused the invasion of Korea, with Saigo even
proposing to go to Korea as a diplomatic envoy and getting
assassinated to provide cause. Kido, prior to going abroad,
had been supportive of action against Korea for its prior
treatment of envoys from the new government, but upon his
return switched to a more moderate position.
reasons for this switch, as speculated by the translator,
included a personal rivalry with Saigo as well as the viewpoint
that Saigo's joint position as civilian Councilor and War
Minister was not consistent with the enlightened view of the
west and the precepts of the Meiji Restoration in which the
Emperor was restored to military authority.
would go on to draft a memorial on the question of Korea for
presentation to the Throne. He stated that "for the welfare
of the people" "Japan should draw back from the
expensive and provocative Korea policy."
the time the issue came to debate, Kido was gravely ill -
and Finance Minister Okubo Toshimichi (also elevated to Imperial
Councilor) was to guide the Peace Party to victory over Saigo's
afar, Kido was kept abreast of the debate through reports
brought to him by Ito Hirobumi, made Imperial Councilor at
Kido's motion. When the Peace Party prevailed, five Imperial
Councilors headed by Saigo resigned and a third of the officer
corps in the fledgling Imperial Army followed, including most
October 28, 1873, Kido wrote: "A country whose soldiers
interfere in government decisions, discussing whether they
are right or wrong - and pressing for action accordingly,
does not yet deserve to be called a nation." In November
of that year, he wrote "Through Saigo's actions laws
are broken and discipline destroyed.. I am filled with rage."
as Minister of Education
was appointed by the Emperor to this office on January 25,
1874. His role was supervisory, with administrative details
to be handled by Vuce Minister Tanaka Fujimaro.
personal reform efforts were directed towards modeling the
Japanese government after the Western models he had observed
abroad. In September 1873, in his memorial advocated a constitutional
government for Japan, and resulted later in the Meiji Constitution
of 1889. It called "for a government under law in a land
in which the sovereign held absolute authority," suggesting
that a legislature should exist to keep officials informed
of the wish of the people.
however, was still conservative in the concept of implementing
such a constitutional government. He stated "Even if
we imitate the magnificent form of the European and American
government in the externals of ours, while public understanding
trails far behind, and the system is removed from the actual
conditions of our country and unrealistic, it can only bring
unhappiness to our people and cause damage to the nation,
so will be of no use" (November 22, 1873).
proposals were geared towards gradual versus an immediate
implementation of elective assemblies.
son Shojiro departed in 1871 for study at Brighton in England.
His role as father included taking the boy to Yokohama to
be fitted with foreign clothes, and had a photograph made
with his son there. Kido had hopes for his son, and noted
that Shojiro should "serve the nation with sincerity,"
show "respect for the fundamental principles of humanity;"
and yet recognize the purpose of the Restoration. Shojiro,
if unable to measure up, should recognize his limitations
and not seek a post beyond his capacity, as consistent with
the idealized concept of government in which capable men would
serve, regardless of familial position.
Shojiro's ship was delayed in departing, Kido had to leave
his wife Matsu to represent the family when the ship finally
set sail. When Kido was in England, he of course visited his
extended his care to his nephew Hikotaro. Hikotaro also studied
abroad in Brookeville, Maryland and Amherst, Massachusettes.
In 1872 Hikotaro accompanied his uncle on some of his travels
in the U.S., and was later entrusted with his treasured watch
(from the Restoration). Kido however, was not so pleased with
another unnamed nephew who made of spectacle of himself and
was sent home.
of many of Kido's associates who died prior to and during
the Restoration were also mentioned in these diaries. He saw
to the education of their sons -- Takasugi Shinsaku's for
example -- and consoled their widows.
health was often a concern in his diary entries, but during
this time, Kido became concerned over a pain in his chest
-- and was involved in a serious accident (August 1873), in
which he was thrown from a carriage near his home in Tokyo.
A few days later, when his jinrikisha struck a rock, jarring
the head, he complained of headache , and the next day his
left leg was paralyzed. Kido was plagued by headaches and
sleeplessness -- and his weakened condition removed him from
much of his duties.
personal issues also arose during this time -- noteably he
was angry with Nomura Yasu, Yamagata Aritomo and Torio Koyata
for spreading rumors or untruths. (webmaster note: The specifics
are not detailed as far as I can tell as to what these gentlemen
was also talked of as a traitor to Choshu for his involvement
in the Abolition of Domains -- a matter which deeply offended
him. This as well as his declining health seemed to have fed
his deepening depression.
are summarized notes from the translator's foreward and introduction.
All credit is due to Sidney Devere Brown, as these do not
appear in the Japanese editions. Any mistakes in summarizing
the summary are the maintainer's. :)