The Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is an interdisciplinary unit composed of faculty members whose teaching and research focus primarily on China, Japan, Korea, and bordering areas.
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Upcoming Event: Professor Kazuhiro Takii, International Research Center for Japanese Studies - "“Kuni no Katachi (the Shape of a nation)” and Ito Hirobumi’s framing of the Meiji Constitution"
|Date:||Thursday, December 5, 2013|
|Location:||Stiteler Hall, Room B21|
|The brilliant and influential statesman and first prime minister of modern Japan, Ito Hirobumi (1841-1909), has been badly misunderstood. The son of a poor farmer, he showed exceptional talent as a boy and was sent to study in Europe and the United States. He returned home convinced that Western civilization was the only viable path for Japan. Following the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Ito became a powerful intellectual and political force behind Japanese institutional and legal reforms aimed at shaping a modern government based on informed leadership and a knowledgeable populace. Among his many achievements were the establishment of Japan’s first constitution and the founding of a new type of constitutional party, the Rikken Seiyukai (Friends of Constitutional Government). Reformulated after 1945, the Seiyukai became the Liberal Democratic Party, which has dominated Japanese politics in the postwar period. In this talk, I will highlight Ito's idea of a constitutional state using a phrase recently popular in discussions of the Japanese constitution, “Kuni no Katachi (the Shape of a nation).” Ito was the first in Japan to recognize that a constitution was not only a terse text but a practical effort to shape the nation.
Takii Kazuhiro is a Professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto, Japan.
For additional information about the East Asian Area Studies Major and Minor please visit our Degree, Programs and Requirements page or contact Dr. Frank L. Chance.
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