Privy Council

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The Privy Council, established in April 1888, was the highest board of government advisors in Meiji period and prewar Japan.

In the very first years of its existence, the Council was tasked primarily with advising the Meiji Emperor on the drafting of the Meiji Constitution, several other fundamental laws of the nation,[1] and various matters of Imperial ritual, such as whether accession rites should be performed in Kyoto, or in Tokyo. The members of the Council were initially rather divided on this last matter. Though the Meiji Emperor had had his daijôsai rite performed in Tokyo, an Imperial Rescript issued on 1883/4/24 dictated that all future accession ceremonies were to be performed in Kyoto, rendering the 1871 daijôsai of the Meiji Emperor an exception in Imperial history.[2]

The first Privy Council consisted of ten privy councilors, including Higashikuze Michitomi, Yoshii Tomozane, Hijikata Hisamoto, Sano Tsunetami, Soejima Taneomi, and Kôno Togama.[3]


  • Takashi Fujitani, Splendid Monarchy, UC Press (1998), 61.
  1. Including the Imperial House Law, Law of the Houses of the Diet, Election Law, and Imperial Ordinance Concerning the House of Peers.
  2. Fujitani, 59-60.
  3. Fujitani, 63-65.