桂園体制論への一視角 : 元老をめぐる権力状況について the "Kei-En System" and the Political Power Situation Surrounding the Genro
The period from the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 to the general resignation in 1913 of the third cabinet set up by Katsura Taro (桂太郎) has been characterized as the "Kei-En System" (桂園体制) in the sense that it was the time in which alternating cabinets were organized by Katsura and Saionji Kinmochi. (西園寺公望). Katsura enjoyed the backing of the Yamagata Aritomo faction (山県閥), mainly. composed of military men and members of the House of Peers. Saionji occupied the leadership of the Seiyukai (政友会) which was the majority party in the House of Commons. This period has also been known as the time in which men of new generation, namely Katsura and Saionji, came to head cabinets as the result of an impasse in a system of ministerial change which had continued from 1885 when the Genro (元老) first began to alternate as prime ministers. Up until now, in explaining the smooth transitions between the Katsura and the Saionji cabinets, the rather superficial image offered in the dairy of Hara Takashi (原敬日記) has often been referred to -that is to say, after the Russo-Japanese War, the participation of the Genro in state government became indirect and passive, and it created a political power vacuum. In this essay, by investigating the political process during the latter part of the first Saionji cabinet (1907-8), the author attempts. a revision of the accepted account of the position and role of the Genro in the political sphere after the Russo-Japanese War. The first section makes clear, through an examination of the process, of drawing up the 1908 budget, that both the tax increase of that year and the postponements in the agenda surrounding the military budget were agreed upon as a result of the initiative of the Genro. The second section examines the process from January to July, 1908, of accomplishing a smooth transition to the second Katsura cabinet, and clearly shows that the transition was decided upon as the result of a consensus of opinion reached by the Genro. In addition, during this process, the positive efforts of two Genro, former Seiyukai party's chairman, Ito Hirobumi (伊藤博文), and his colleague, Inoue Kaoru (井上馨), were particularly noteworthy in showing that the influence of the Genro, rather than waning during this time, was an important factor in bringing about a smooth changeover of cabinets. Finally, the author concludes that while, during the period following the Russo-Japanese War, the Genro handed over cabinet responsibilities to a younger breed of politicians, they by no means ceased to participate in decisions with respect to the important and fundamental problems of state government.
史学雑誌 90(6), 984-1000,1069-, 1981