(redirected from Emperor Meiji)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


Meiji (māˈjē), 1852–1912, reign name of the emperor of Japan from 1867 to 1912; his given name was Mutsuhito. He ascended the throne when he was 15. A year later the shogun fell, and the power that had been held by the Tokugawa military house was returned to the emperor. This was the Meiji restoration, a pivotal event in the modern history of Japan, for it meant the downfall of Japanese feudalism and the forging of a new and modern state. Emperor Meiji himself had little political power, but he was a paramount symbol of the unity of Japan. A constitution adopted in 1889 provided for a diet with an upper house selected mainly from the peerage, and an elected lower house to advise the government. The cabinet was not directly responsible to the diet but was regarded as above politics and responsible only to the emperor. In practice, the emperor delegated selection of premiers to a group of close advisers known as the genro, or elder statesmen. Under the direction of these oligarchs (among them Hirobumi Ito, Aritomo Yamagata, and Kaoru Inouye), Japan was transformed into a modern industrial state, and its military power was demonstrated in the first Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5). When the Meiji period ended in 1912, Japan was a world power.


See D. B. Sladen, Queer Things about Japan (4th ed. 1913, repr. 1968); W. G. Beasley, The Meiji Restoration (1972); P. Akamatsu, Meiji, 1868 (tr. 1972); D. Keene, Emperor of Japan (2002).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Born Nov. 3, 1852; died July 30, 1912, in Tokyo. Japanese emperor.

Mutsuhito’s reign began in 1867; the portion of his reign after 1868 is known as the Meiji period. Mutsuhito was the first emperor of Japan after the overthrow of the shogunate during the Meiji Ishin (Meiji Restoration).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun is a Japanese order, established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji of Japan.
We also learn that although Emperor Haile Selassie was committed to Ethiopia's modernization, he was unwilling to devolve power as Emperor Meiji of Japan did.
This group attempted to assassinate Matsutaro Shoriki, the newspaper executive who underwrote the tour, because he allowed the Americans to defile the stadium named in honor of the Emperor Meiji.
In Japan, the isolationist temptation is expressed in the current nostalgia for the Edo period, from 1600 to 1868, before Emperor Meiji opened Japan to the world.
The 1933 publication of Meiji Tenno Ki [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Chronicles of Emperor Meiji), the official record of the imperial household of the Meiji Emperor, revealed that the emperor's only surviving child, Prince Sachinomiya, was vaccinated as a young boy in 1857 on the orders of his maternal grandfather, Nakayama Tadayasu [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Meiji Tenno Ki 1933, 454-55).
The nature of Japanese rule over Korea is symbolized by the fact that the government general of Korea in 1925 built the Chosen (Korean) Shrine - to enshrine Japan's Sun Goddess and the Emperor Meiji - in the Korean colonial capital Keijo (today's Seoul).
friendship were recognized, and the Japanese government conferred on him the Order of the Sacred Treasure (Zuihousho), an honor established on January 4, 1888, by Emperor Meiji of Japan as the Order of Meiji.
One of the hired diviners envisions Saionji Kinmochi (1848-1940) performing his duty as the prime minister to assist the Emperor Meiji in appointing a new prime minister.
During the reign of Emperor Meiji, the grandfather of Hirohito, extensive changes took place in Japan.
When, after two and a half centuries of self-imposed isolation, it rejoined the world in the reign of Emperor Meiji (1868-1912), its leaders adopted the slogan "look West" while scorning the "backward" East as having nothing of value to teach.
The division of Korea began almost a century ago, in 1910, when Japan, under Emperor Meiji, decided to annex the entire country.
In dramatic contrast with Western practices, photographs were sometimes mounted on paper scrolls with silk borders, for example, Emperor Meiji's Fleet in Hakodate Harbor (1876), attributed to Tamoto Kenzo.