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Those opened to the public in fiscal 2006 (Titles of persons are those used in that year)

Takashi Sasaki, Professor of University of the Sacred Heart Tokyo and an Affiliate Researcher of the National Diet Library, is the Editor in Charge of this project. In addition,Dr. George Akita, Emeritus Professor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa cooperated with us to look over and correct the English version.

An American Scholar Honors a Debt

My specialty is Meiji-Taisho political/constitutional history and began on deciphering letter and other documents written in sosho (the calligraphic style) thirty years ago. The Kensei-shiryoshitsu (Modern Japanese Political History Material Room), National Diet Library is the nonpareil repository of these materials. Mr. Horiuchi Hiroo, Assistant Director of Modern Japanese Political Documents Division, has been unfailingly helpful and professional in advising me for over a decade. When this project was undertaken, he suggested that I be asked to check the Anglophone translator's rendition of the commentaries describing the primary documents, given the possibility that he is not a specialist in the subject. I was honored to be asked, and indeed, nearly all of the documents were familiar to me.

I hasten to add that the completion held for me a special significance. It enabled me to repay my debt to the Kenseishiryoshitsu and its successive personal for helping me grow and mature in my specialization over the span of these decades.The factual errors, though not a few, were easily caught. It dawned on me after a few pages, however, it would be necessary to compare every line of English rendition with the Japanese version. This I did after which I asked Mr. Horiuchi, who sat next to me as I explained my emendations, to check for possible errors on my part. This was an arduous, painstaking, time consuming process, but Mr. Horiuchi gamely persisted, in fact, insisted that he should do so.

We believe that we have had some success in this joint effort, granting that some infelicities may be caught by the sharp-eyed. Moreover, non-Japanese reader may, at certain spots sense a lack of a smoothly flowing narrative. This is due to the constraint of space imposed on the Japanese commentaries that in turn required leaving out transitional facts or events to explain the specific documents in question. If, however, the reader can come to grasp the basic thrust of the totality represented by, the documents and commentaries, this exercise may be judged a success. If brief, the basic thrust is that from the immediate post-Meiji Restoration years, the Japanese themselves were actively, purposefully, and gradually creating, in this imperfect world peopled by less then perfect human beings, a relatively pluralistic, open, inclusive political system of checks and balances, subject to changes by an increasingly vocal electorate. These were digressions and even setbacks along the way, but it is this indigenously created and developed system, including a lively movement for female enfranchisement, that enabled Japan to quickly regain its political footing, after its devastating defeat in 1945.

George Akita
Professor emeritus
Department of History
University of Hawaii

We would like to express our appreciation and recognition for his cooperation.

Addition in fiscal 2010 (Chapter 6)

Yoshiya Suetake, professor of Soka University, and an Affiliate Researcher of the National Diet Library, took charge of supervising this additional chapter.

Explanation of Documents

The explanation of documents were produced by the Modern Japanese Political Documents Division of the References and Special Collections Department.

Columns (from Column 1 to Column 7), and "What Are Historical Materials?" were supervised by Takashi Sasaki, who was an Affiliate Researcher of the National Diet Library at that time. Columns (Column 8 and Column 9) were supervised by Yoshiya Suetake, an Affiliate Researcher of the National Diet Library. "How to Use Historical Records" was supervised by Toshiaki Imazu, an Adjunct Researcher of the National Diet Library at that time.

People Who Cooperated and Contributed Documents

We would like to express our appreciation and recognition to the many people who contributed documents and cooperated in the creation of this exhibit.

List of Contributor and Collaborators

ARIMA, YorinakaHatoyama Hall
HAYASHI, SachikoHistoriographical Institute, The University of Tokyo
HOSHI, KiyoshiIshibashi Tanzan Memorial Foundation
IMAI, SeiichiK.K.Kyodo News
ISHIBASHI, MasashiLibrary of Kochi City
ISHIBASHI, ShozoMinistry of Finance, Policy Research Institute
ISHII, KoichiroNational Archives of Japan
ISHIKAWA, ReikoOhara Institute for Social Research, Hosei University (OISR.ORG)
KAMADA, KaoruParliamentary Museum
KASHIWABARA, HyoshiroThe Asahi Shimbun Company
KATAYAMA, TamioThe Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
KAWAGOE, IkukoThe National Science Museum
KISHI, NobukazuThe Secretariat of the House of Representatives (The National Diet of Japan)
MASAKI, TeruoTokyo Metropolitan Library
MIZUNO, MasakazuTokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
NAKANO, KinueWaseda University Library
OBAMA, YasukoYokohama Archives of History
OKI, Hideaki 
OYAMA, Tomoko 
SASAKI, Takuya 
SHIMOKOBE, Motoharu 
SHINODA, Yasunao 
SODEI, Rinjiro 
SUZUKI, Rumiko 
SUZUKI, Ryuzo 
TSURUMI, Kazuko 

Exhibited Documents

Some of the documents presented here are digital images of hand written or printed documents and may include areas that are difficult to read. We apologize for this.

Documents with indication, "the National Diet Library" are kept in the Tokyo Main Building, mainly in theModern Japanese Political History Materials Room (Kensei Shiryoshitsu). (For reservation of the materials, we possibly ask you to use reproduction in microfiches or other forms instead of the originals.)

We do not have the copyright for some of the exhibited documents including ones provided by above-mentioned contributors and collaborators.

Update Information

This site was first offered in July 2006.

In November 2010, Chapter 6 and two columns (Column 8 and Column 9) were added. Screen transfer and others were renovated.

In March 2013, character code and metatag were renovated.


The links to this site can be used without restriction.

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Reproduction of the contents

If you wish to reproduce any item or any portion of any item (image, document, article, data, etc.) in this exhibition, please complete the reproduction request form and send to us in advance.

Please note that in some cases, you cannot use an image that belongs to another institution or posted with the permission of the copyright-holder.

For more details, please see Terms of Use of the National Diet Library Digital Exhibitions on the NDL website


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