the Sino Japanese War officially broke out half a month after the amendment of the Japan UK treaty. Britain agreed to amend the treaty not because Japan defeated the Qing Dynasty and became a powerful country in East Asia, but more because Japan’s legal system has been continuously improved.

ukiyo: in 1889, the constitution of the great Japanese Empire was promulgated.

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since modern times, whenever Chinese intellectuals mention Japan, they mostly recognize its changes in political, cultural and educational systems since the Meiji Restoration, and severely criticize its intensified militarist aggression.

this year, zongzeya, a Chinese scholar living in Japan, based on a large number of Japanese historical archives, wrote two books, the Qing Japanese War and the Meiji Restoration country, which were successively published in mainland China and attracted attention. Although the author’s excavation of new historical materials and the emphasis on new perspectives make some descriptions and conclusions of this set of “sister articles” quite different from previous domestic studies and refreshing, on the whole, it does not deviate from the above traditional ideas. The problem of

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is that some more intriguing and key historical details are often easy to be ignored.

tickets to the internationalization of Japan

the book of Meiji Restoration, as its name, introduced a lot about what kind of country Japan was at that time, but the analysis of Meiji Restoration itself was a little rough, especially the core issue of this modernization reform – the construction of legal system.

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generally believe that the real goal of Meiji Restoration is to establish a set of modern national system, and other reforms are auxiliary measures. In East Asia at the end of the 19th century, the biggest feature of “modernization” is not how many guns and machines can be made, but a complete and standardized legal system.

when Western powers invaded Eastern countries, one of the top priorities was to obtain “consular jurisdiction”: foreigners who committed crimes in “your country” could not be tried according to local laws, but should be tried according to their own laws.

conversely, if we want to recover extraterritorial jurisdiction, the first priority is to improve the domestic legal system. After the Meiji Restoration, this has long been the focus of high-level political issues in Japan.

in 1875 (the eighth year of Meiji), Japan issued Order No. 58 of taizhengguan, which was officially introduced into the constitutional regime; In September 1876, the constitutional Investigation Bureau was established; The constitution of Japan in 1880 stipulates that the emperor should swear to abide by the constitution; The cabinet was established in 1885; The constitution of the great Japanese Empire was promulgated in 1889; In 1891, Japan joined the public international law society.

it is because of the continuous improvement of the legal system that Japan can amend the unequal treaties. In 1888 and 1893, Japan reached equality treaties with Mexico and Hawaii respectively, and Britain amended the original unequal treaty with Japan on July 16, 1894.

note that the Sino Japanese War officially broke out half a month after the amendment of the Japan UK treaty. In other words, Britain agreed to amend the treaty not because Japan defeated the Qing Dynasty and became a powerful country in East Asia, but more because Japan’s legal system has been continuously improved.

for the Meiji Constitution, the book “the war between the Qing Dynasty and Japan” quotes some articles, which is intended to say that tomorrow’s emperor is still a “real monarch”, not a “constitutional monarch”. However, the Meiji Constitution is originally a contradiction. For example, Article 1 stipulates that “Japan is ruled by the emperor of all ages”, and Article 4 stipulates that “the emperor shall exercise power in accordance with the constitution”. Whether it is absolute monarchy or constitutional monarchy is not clear in this constitution.

in fact, the constitutional framer Hirofumi ITO is inclined to the constitutional monarchy, but it is most appropriate to find a spiritual leader for the new modern Japan, the emperor. In order to limit the power of the emperor, as early as September 1886, ITO Bowen reached “six maintenance articles” with Meiji emperor. Its core spirit is that the emperor shall not participate in cabinet meetings, that is, he shall not directly intervene in politics, unless invited by the prime minister.

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ITO Bowen said in person that article 4 of the constitution is the core. Entering the Taisho Era (1912-1926), the jurist of Imperial University of Tokyo, Yoshimoto darjee, published a paper to reinterpret the Meiji Constitution with Article 4 as the core, pulled the emperor down from the position of absolute monarch and became only an “organ” of state rule. In the era of Taisho, the “theory of emperor’s organ” has always been the dominant theory in Japanese legal circles. Even the later emperor Showa privately said that he agreed with this theory.

Japanese mission Iwakura visited Europe and the United States.

this “inequality” and that “inequality”

zongzeya paid attention to the diplomatic relations between Japan and other countries in modern times in his two works, but the length was slightly brief and did not deviate from the normal track, especially ignoring the revision of the unequal treaty, which was the most concerned diplomatic focus of the Japanese in the Meiji period. The spekds, which is the most important diplomatic mission in Japan, has been revised repeatedly from 189kd to 189kd. Later, the spekds, which is the most important diplomatic mission of all countries, was established in Japan.

interestingly, before Japan and Britain revised the treaty, Japanese folk “national power faction” engaged in a long campaign to retain the unequal treaty.

why? Quite simply, unequal treaties are unequal to the Japanese and “unequal” to the British. Because the treaty stipulates that Britons can only do business in places where foreigners live, which seriously limits the desire of British businessmen to expand.

the attitude of the Japanese government at that time was: in exchange for opening the national market, it demanded the cancellation of “consular jurisdiction”, and the British in Japan must abide by Japanese laws.

as for the “national power faction”, it advocates: let’s not be the LordWhen the British can’t help it, they will naturally revise the treaty. Then we can open our mouth and ask the British to transfer more interests.

in 1893, the Japanese government allowed Britons to live together in the mainland of Japan, and the six major parties of “national power faction” immediately formed the so-called “six foreign hardliners”. On November 28, the “six foreign hardliners” jointly raised a no confidence motion against the speaker of the house of Representatives and the leader of the government, Xing Heng, forcing him to step down; Two days later, Prime Minister ITO Bowen announced the dissolution of Parliament and re-election.

the general election was held in March 1894. The party supporting the government failed to obtain a majority, and the situation became more and more delicate. The “six foreign hardliners” immediately raised the old issue again and again demanded the abolition of the treaty amendment. As a result, it was rejected by only five votes, which was very unfavorable to the ruling authorities. On June 2, ITO Bowen had to dissolve the parliament again.

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happened to be the outbreak of the Dongxue party uprising in North Korea. The Qing army sent troops to help suppress it at the request of the Korean government. ITO Bowen saw that he could transfer the internal political contradictions of Japan to the hostile Qing Dynasty and immediately decided to send troops to North Korea on the same day – thus, it finally led to the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, which changed the balance of power and historical trend in East Asia.

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triggered domestic political unrest by amending unequal treaties, then caused large-scale war by transferring domestic political contradictions, and then obtained the leading power to sign unequal treaties with other countries. History is so speechless.

of course, externalizing domestic contradictions is also a favorite move in Modern Japan. Another notable example after the Jiawu festival was that when the Guandong army launched the September 18th Incident in 1931, Japanese Prime Minister ruohi Yi Wei killed Jing guidao and expanded its shadow and green, but it was in the way of the internal disturbance of the military department. The right-wing populism and the waves were booming, so he had to bend to the facts at the last minute.

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, “leaving Asia” and “Prospering Asia” the road of alienation

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zongzeya described in two books the trends of Japanese ideological circles from Meiji Restoration to the Sino Japanese War of 1894-1895, especially the contents of Japanese Nationalism and Japan’s own perception of China. However, there are also arguable points. For example, the thought of “leaving Asia and entering Europe” advocated by Yuki Fukuzawa is different from the latest research findings in the academic circles.

on March 16, 1885, Japan’s “current affairs news” published an article on “leaving Asia”, pointing out that China and North Korea are Japan’s “evil friends” and advocating abandoning Asia and associating with foreign powers. This article is regarded as the source of the thought of “leaving Asia and entering Europe”. However, after the article was published for 10 days, there was no public opinion response in the three major newspapers in Tokyo. No one praised or scolded.

research shows that in the past 70 years since 1885, almost no one in Japanese academic circles quoted or mentioned the article. It was not until 1951 that the historian Shigeru Yuanshan re dug out the article as the “beginning” of Japanese expansionism. It can be inferred from this that the article “on breaking away from Asia” should not have much impact on the ideological trend and realistic politics of Japan’s Meiji era.