Launching the Exhibition


On the Constitution Day of May 2003, the National Diet Library released a digital exhibition "Birth of the Constitution of Japan." To my pleasure, this exhibition drew attention from both inside and outside Japan, and many people visited it, sending us encouraging words and requests for future expansion of the contents. We have thoroughly examined how to improve the quantity and quality of the exhibition since its opening last year, and now we are pleased to provide this revised version.

"Birth of the Constitution" provides online access to valuable documents and other materials which were created both inside and outside Japan and related to the enactment of the Constitution of Japan. In view of the widespread use of the Internet, I believe it is worthwhile to provide a large number of people with opportunities to have access to the materials of the NDL through digital exhibitions. This is a part of a series of digital exhibitions under the general theme "Memories of Japan," in which we choose a special topic from Japanese history or culture for each exhibition, digitize relevant documents and materials mainly from our own collections, and provide them on the Internet with commentaries.

The following are major improvements in this revision:
· Additions to documents from GHQ/SCAP Records and other materials of the Allied Powers with background descriptions in those days
· A new menu item "Main Issues," which explains controversies surrounding the Constitution (e.g. renunciation of war, the bicameral system, etc.)
· A new menu item "Archives" providing major documents on the Constitution making process.

We have also added many materials and revised commentaries to the entire exhibition.

Currently in the National Diet, the Constitution is under active discussion in the Research Commissions on the Constitution, which were established in both Houses with the purpose of studying the Constitution broadly and comprehensively. I believe it is one of the responsibilities of the NDL, which owns many historically important documents, to make them widely available on our website with concise commentaries, and contribute to deepening the understanding of and interest in the Constitution among all people. We hope this exhibition will be a reference source at schools, home and elsewhere, as well as in the deliberations in the Diet.

As was the case last year, many people have contributed to its preparation, including those who provided us with original documents. I would like to express my sincere appreciation for their generous support and cooperation.

It will be my great pleasure if you discover for yourself the purpose and the meaning of the Constitution through these original documents that were produced in the process of making the Constitution, presented in this upgraded exhibition "Birth of the Constitution of Japan."

Last but not least, I would like to add that this exhibition was prepared under the supervision of Mr. Katsutoshi Takami, Senior Specialist of the National Diet Library.

May 2004

LibrarianTakao Kurosawa