The Context and Structure of the Meiji Nationality Law: The Establishment of 'Japanese' Nationality Through Assimilation and Exclusion

35 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2011

Date Written: February 4, 1999

Abstract

This paper (available in Japanese) examines the process by which the "Japanese" nationality was created during the Meiji revolutionary era of Japan. In particular, it explores the ideology behind the definition of "Japanese" nationality as established by the Meiji Nationality Law.

This law was the first law that explicitly attempted to define the "Japanese" nationality in the context of the expansion of Western powers in East Asia. While insisting on the purity of Japanese blood, the Meiji Nationality Law also had to make maneuvers so as to allow Japan to expand its own territory and incorporate the Ainus, Okinawans, and a broader range of peoples in Asia.

This paper primarily relies on the proceedings of the Imperial Diet that enacted this law, as well as manuscripts of major political and legal thinkers of the time. It was originally submitted as a Bachelor's thesis at Waseda University in 1999, but the author thinks that it contains materials that are worthy as a public asset and is making it available for the first time today (2011).

Note: Downloadable document is in Japanese.

Keywords: Japanese nationality, Ethnicity (Japan), Japanese history, East Asia, Meiji era (Japan)

Suggested Citation

Akiba, Takeshi, The Context and Structure of the Meiji Nationality Law: The Establishment of 'Japanese' Nationality Through Assimilation and Exclusion (February 4, 1999). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1796664 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1796664

Takeshi Akiba (Contact Author)

Waseda University ( email )

1-6-1 Nishi-waseda
Shinjuku, Tokyo 169-8050
Japan

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