山県有朋と地方自治制度確立事業 : 明治二一年の洋行を中心として [in Japanese] Yamagata Aritomo and the Establishment of a Local Government System : Yamagata's 1888 European Tour [in Japanese]
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This article attempts to portray Yamagata Aritomo as a political leader by looking at his efforts to establish the legal framework for a system of local government for modern Japan. At present, there are no studies which probe the significance in Yamagata's long political career in establishing such a system. The author attempts to analyze its significance by illustrating Yamagata's enthusiasm for the project against a background of the contemporary political situation and his views on local government. The local government legal system in which Yamagata played a decisive role (laws pertaining to the organization of cities, town and villages, counties, and prefectures) is generally characterized as very centralized. But, as Kikegawa Hiroshi has poined out, bills drafted under the direction of Yamagata differ substantially from the actual laws promulgated. The author attempts to clarify the strength of Yamagata's political leadership by analyzing the source of these differences. Moreover, he evaluates Yamagata's views of local government as they are manifest through his proposals. The thesis begins with a consideration of the significance of Yamagata's sojourn to Europe from December, 1888 to October, 1889. In his absence from Tokyo, Yamagata missed such major events as the enforcement of laws for the organization of cities, and town and villages (April, 1889); deliberations in the genro council over the organization of counties and prefectures, and the promulgation of the constitution (February, 1889). The main purpose of Yamagata's travels was the inspection of European systems of local government. He was vety conscious of distinguishing himself from the genro, Ito Hirobumi and Inoue Kaoru, and confidently considered the bills under deliberation for the organization of counties and prefectures as his exclusive domain. In analyzing the diffefences between Yamagata's proposals and the final drafts of these laws, the author has discovered that Yamagata's absence from Tokyo paved the way for revisions by Ito, Inoue, Inoue Kowashi, Ito Miyoji, and Suematsu Kencho. Yamagata's overwhelming self-confidence led to a temporary lapse in his famed caution. The author then evaluates Yamagata's views on local government by looking at his opinions while abroad of reports on the situation in Japan. Yamagata considered an attitude of "lenience" and "benevolence to all" as crucial for statesmen and urged the necessity of political consciousness among the people. This made for an idealized image of local government, at the base of which lay a firm conviction in national growth, modernization and Westernization for Japan. The author concludes first that the establishment of a system of local government was the first project taken on by Yamagata which, coming at the outset of constitutional government, aimed at a personal transition from military to civilian leadership. As such, Yamagata viewed the project as on a par with Ito's drafting of the constitution. Second, compared to the laws actually passed, Yamagata's idealistic proposals, as Roesler points out, were too liberal and self-autonomous in nature. While in Europe, his proposals were revised along more practical, centralized lines. Third, although Yamagata's policies as seen in the effort to establish a system of local government were not adequately reflected in the organization of counties and prefectures, they are connected with his success in keeping the first Diet from dissolving. Moreover, a feeling of inferiority toward Ito et. al. in administrative matters prompted Yamagata to keep an eye out for possible advisers from among men of talent such as Tsuzuki Keiroku and to work on improving his own administrative skills.
- SHIGAKU ZASSHI
SHIGAKU ZASSHI 100(4), 453-484,604-60, 1991
The Historical Society of Japan