1890 Japanese general election

General elections were held for the first time in Japan on 1 July 1890. Voters elected 300 members of the House of Representatives of the Diet of Japan in what was the first example of a popularly elected national assembly in Asia (as the Ottoman Chamber of Deputies was elected indirectly).[1]

1890 Japanese general election

1 July 1890 1892 →

All 300 seats to the House of Representatives of Japan
151 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Itagaki Taisuke.jpg Masuda Shigeyuki.jpg Shigenobu Okuma 2.jpg
Leader Itagaki Taisuke Shigeyuki Masuda Ōkuma Shigenobu
Party Jiyutō Taiseikai Rikken Kaishintō
Seats won 130 79 41

Prime Minister before election

Yamagata Aritomo
Independent

Prime Minister after election

Yamagata Aritomo
Independent

BackgroundEdit

The elections for the lower house of the Diet were held in accordance with provisions of the new Meiji Constitution, which had been promulgated in 1889.[2]

The elections had limited suffrage, with only male citizens 25 years of age and over, who had paid 15 Japanese Yen or more in national taxes, and who had been resident in their prefecture for at least a year, qualified to vote. The number of eligible voters who met this requirement was 450,872 people out of a total Japanese population of 39,933,478 (1.13%). The high tax requirement meant that voter roles were heavily weighed towards rural landlords and urban entrepreneurs. In terms of social class, 91% were commoners, and 9% were ex-samurai.[3] Residents of the prefectures in Honshū, Kyūshū and Shikoku participated; residents in Hokkaidō and Okinawa (as “territories”) were excluded from this election. About 95% of those eligible to vote actually cast ballots, although there was no penalty for not doing so.[4]

Only male citizens 30 years of age and over, who were not members of the kazoku peerage or of the imperial family or its branches were allowed to become candidates for office in the lower house. The number of seats in the lower house was 300, divided into 214 single-seat districts and 43 two-seat districts, which were contested by 1,243 candidates. The election went smoothly and without violence reported.[5]

ResultsEdit

 
PartyVotes%Seats
Liberal Party130
Taiseikai79
Rikken Kaishintō41
Kokumin Jiyutō5
Independents45
Total300
Total votes422,594
Registered voters/turnout450,87293.73
Source: Statistics Bureau of Japan

Post-election composition by prefectureEdit

Prefecture Total
seats
Seats won
Liberal Taiseikai Rikken Kaishintō Kokumin Jiyutō Ind.
Aichi 11 2 9 0 0 0
Akita 5 3 2 0 0 0
Aomori 4 4 0 0 0 0
Chiba 9 4 0 3 0 2
Ehime 7 5 0 2 0 0
Fukui 4 4 0 0 0 0
Fukuoka 9 2 5 0 0 2
Fukushima 7 2 5 0 0 0
Gifu 7 1 5 0 0 1
Gunma 5 4 1 0 0 0
Hiroshima 10 1 2 2 0 5
Hyōgo 12 6 0 5 0 1
Ibaraki 8 2 1 3 0 2
Ishikawa 6 2 0 2 1 1
Iwate 5 4 1 0 0 0
Kagawa 5 3 0 1 0 1
Kagoshima 7 7 0 0 0 0
Kanagawa 7 6 0 1 0 0
Kōchi 4 4 0 0 0 0
Kumamoto 8 2 1 0 4 1
Kyoto 7 1 5 0 0 1
Mie 7 3 1 2 0 1
Miyagi 5 1 4 0 0 0
Miyazaki 3 3 0 0 0 0
Nagano 8 5 2 0 0 1
Nagasaki 7 5 1 0 0 1
Nara 4 2 0 1 0 1
Niigata 13 9 0 3 0 1
Ōita 6 1 4 1 0 0
Okayama 8 3 4 1 0 0
Osaka 10 6 4 0 0 0
Saga 4 1 0 3 0 0
Saitama 8 4 1 2 0 1
Shiga 5 1 4 0 0 0
Shimane 6 0 5 0 0 1
Shizuoka 8 2 4 2 0 0
Tochigi 5 4 0 1 0 0
Tokushima 5 1 0 3 0 1
Tokyo 12 2 4 3 0 3
Tottori 3 0 2 0 0 1
Toyama 5 1 0 3 0 1
Wakayama 5 0 0 0 0 5
Yamagata 6 4 0 0 0 2
Yamaguchi 7 0 0 0 0 7
Yamanashi 3 0 1 0 0 2
Total 300 127 78 44 5 46
Note: Party affiliation after the general election.

AftermathEdit

The first Diet session was summoned on 25 November; the two opposing forces confronted each other for the first time in the arena of practical Japanese politics. The mintō (liberal parties), which included the Liberal Party, Rikken Kaishintō and their affiliates) held a combined strength of 171 seats, forming a majority.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The First Japanese Election The New York Times, 31 July 1890
  2. ^ Jansen. Cambridge History of Japan Vol. 5: The Nineteenth Century. Page 670.
  3. ^ Meyer. Japan: A Concise History. Page 144
  4. ^ Keane. Emperor of Japan:Meiji and his World. Page 435.
  5. ^ Mason. Japan's First General Election, 1890.

ReferencesEdit

  • Jansen, Marius B. (1989). Cambridge History of Japan: Vol. 5: The Nineteenth Century. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22356-3.
  • Fraser, Andrew (1995). Japan's Early Parliaments, 1890-1905: Structure, Issues and Trends. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-03075-7.
  • Keene, Donald (2005). Emperor Of Japan: Meiji And His World, 1852-1912. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12341-8.
  • Mason, R.H.P. (1969). Japan's First General Election, 1890. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-07147-X.
  • Meyer, Milton Walter (1992). Japan: A Concise History. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8226-3018-4.