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Meiji 14 (明治十四年)
Timeline of 1881
- 1881/1 Construction begins on the Rokumeikan.
- 1881/1/5 Japanese ambassador to China Shishido Tamaki informs the Chinese government that he considers the dispute over sovereignty over the Ryûkyû Islands to be settled.
- 1881/1/20 Shishido departs Peking.
- 1881/1/26 A fire breaks out in the Ryôgoku neighborhood of Tokyo; it lasts 16 hours, destroying some 10,000 homes, and is the largest fire of the entire Meiji period.
- 1881/3/4 King David Kalākaua of Hawaiʻi arrives in Yokohama. He becomes the first reigning monarch of a foreign country to visit Japan freely (i.e. not as a prisoner). During his 19-day stay in Japan, he meets with Emperor Meiji, proposes Japanese immigration to Hawaii, and suggests a marriage between Princess Kaiulani and Prince Yamashina Sadamaro (ultimately, the Japanese reject this latter proposition). Nagasaki Seigo serves as Kalakaua's interpreter and is later awarded the Royal Order of Kalākaua.
- 1881/3/22 Kalākaua departs Nagasaki for Shanghai.
Other Events of 1881
- The British Museum obtains the art collection of William Anderson, and appoints him curator.
- The second Domestic Industrial Exposition is held.
- The General Staff Office of the Imperial Japanese Army, a major public building in Tokyo designed by Giovanni Vincenzo Cappelletti, is completed.
- The Gen'yôsha (Black Ocean Society), an organization dedicated to lobbying for expansion into Korea, is founded.
- The Meiji Emperor declares he will establish a National Diet nine years later.
- The Meiji Emperor visits Hokkaidô.
- The territory formerly defining Obama han, previously a part of Shiga prefecture, is absorbed into Fukui prefecture.
- The ni-no-maru of Kanazawa castle is destroyed by fire.
- Ômura Shigenobu founds the Progressive Party (Kaishintô).
- Prince Albert and his younger brother Prince George visit Japan.
- The first Western-style songbook is published in Japan; it contains the original adaptation of "Auld Lang Syne" into Hotaru no hikari.
- The Tokyo National Museum opens in its current location, organized around a two-story brick building designed by Josiah Conder.
- Uesugi Mochinori succeeds Nabeshima Naoyoshi as Governor of Okinawa Prefecture.
Births and Deaths
- 1881/3/13 Emperor Alexander II of Russia is killed.
- Okinawan scholar Higaonna Kanjun is born (d. 1963).
- Ie Chôjo is born (d. 1957).
- Painter Kawakami Tôgai dies (b. 1827).
- Langdon Warner is born (d. 1955).