By Takii Kazuhiro

ISBN-10: 4924971200

ISBN-13: 9784924971202

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Extra resources for The Meiji Constitution : the Japanese experience of the West and the shaping of the modern state

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Their meanings are therefore diametrically opposed. When observing the political culture of Europe it is of the utmost importance never to lose sight of this fundamental point. 69 For someone steeped in the East Asian tradition in which virtue was the ultimate value of civilization, Western politics, with its pursuit of pri­ vate interest and its use of power to legitimize that pursuit, was no doubt abhorrent. In the West the chief concern of government is protection [of the people and their property] .

This might also be said to be Kume's conclusion. Amid the diversity of the civilized nations that he encounters, Kume saw that the lesson to be learned was the ethos of civilization, which embodied both nationalism and gradualism.

Based on observations in Belgium, Kume writes: Belgians contend that i f there are too few people who are [economically] self­ sufficient, the country will grow weak and become difficult to preserve. 75 The need to establish a constitution is clear. A constitution can nurture a spirit of national independence and unity among the people, encourage the growth of individual autonomy, and enhance the nation's power. It is the backbone of national integration. In jikki, a variety of factors-technology, industry, and so forth-are cited as making the civilized nations what they are.

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The Meiji Constitution : the Japanese experience of the West and the shaping of the modern state by Takii Kazuhiro


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