Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1117

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761 JAPAN.


Reigning Sovereign. The Japanese claim that their empire was founded by the first Emperor Jimmu 660 B.C., and that the dynasty founded by him still reigns. It was revived in the year 1868, when the now ruling (dejure) sovereign overthrew, after a short war, the power of the Shogun (the de facto sovereign), who had held the ruling power in successive families since the twelfth century ; and in 1871 the feudal system (Hoken Seiji) was entirely suppressed. The sovereign bears the name of Kotei, or Emperor ; but the ap- pellation by which he is generally known in foreign countries is the ancient title of Mikado, or ' The Honourable Gate.'

Mikado of Japan. — Mutsuhito, born at Kyoto, November 3, 1852; succeeded his father, Komei Tenno, Feb. 13, 1867; mar- ried, Feb. 9, 1869, to Princess Haruko, born May 28, 1850, daughter of Prince Ichijo.

Offspo'ing. — Prince Yoshihito, born Aug. 31, 1879 ; proclaimed the Crown Prince (Kotaishi), Nov. 3, 1889; Princess Masako, born Sept. 30, 1888; Princess Fusako, born Jan. 28, 1890; Princess Nobuko, born August 7, 1891 ; Princess Toshiko, born May 11, 1896 ; Princess Takiko, born September 24, 1897.

By the Imperial House Law of February 11, 1889, the suc- cession to the throne has been definitely fixed upon the male de- scendants. In case of failure of direct descendants, the throne devolves upon the nearest Prince and his descendants. The civil list for 1896-97 amounts to 3,000,000 yen.

In December, 1898, by a unanimous vote the Diet expressed its gratitude for the Emperor's direction of the naval and military operations against China, by including in the Imperial estates a sum of 20,000,000 yen from the indemnity obtained in consequence of the country's victories.

Constitution and Government.

The system of government of the Japanese Empire was that of an Absolute Monarchy. A Constitution was, however, pro- mulgated on February 11, 1889.

By this Constitution the Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercising the whole of the executive powers with the advice and assistance of the Cabinet Ministers, who are responsible to him, and are appointed by himself. There is also a Privy Council, who de- liberate upon important matters of State when they have been consulted by the Emperor. The Emperor can declare war, make