1873 intermarriage proclamation

Family law and "the standing of being Japanese"

By William Wetherall

First posted 1 April 2006
Last updated 25 May 2011

"Japanese" as legal status Subjects and nationals All in the family Race a private matter Not naturalization
Incoming husband controvery Chamberlain's "sober, legal fact" Koyama on British objections Aliens who became Japanese
1873 GCS Proclamation (No. 103)Gaining and losing Japanese status through marriage and adoption
1876 attempt to revise proclamationDual status, extraterritoriality, and primacy of husband's identity
1883 attempt to revise proclamationMarriage of insiders and outsiders and rights and duties of wives and children
1898 revision of proclamation (Law No. 21)Concerning adopted sons and incoming husbands

Related articles
Derivative nationality: Personal status based on interpersonal relationship
Allegiance change in Yamato: How natives and migrants joined the fold
Becoming Japanese in the Meiji period: Adopted sons, incoming husbands, and naturalization
International marriages, 1873-1899: Statistics based on Koyama Noboru's 1995 study

"Japanese" as a legal status

The object of the 1872 Family Register Law was to register "people throughout the country" (‘Sš l–¯ zenkoku jinmin) in order to control and protect them. In principle, all people affiliated with a locality were to be registered in a family register under the jurisdiction of the local government.

The preamble to the 1872 law states that people who were not registered were tantamount to not being "nationals" (‘–¯ kokumin). The articles of the law refer only to "subjects" (b–¯ shinnmin), but it is clear that being a subject is tantamount to being a national, and vice versa. It is also clear that being registered is an essential qualification for recognition as a subject/national among the subjects/nationals who constitute "the people" of the country.

"kokuseki" meaning "Japanese classics"

‘Ð (kokuseki) did not at the time mean "nationality" or otherwise refer to affiliation with a state. The term existed but meant "national [Japanese] books" -- as in the expression "Chinese and national books" (Š¿Ð‘Ð kanseki kokuseki) -- meaning classics written in Chinese and Japanese.

This usage of ‘Ð appears in the title of a "school of great learning" circular issued on Meiji 2-11-10 concerning the provision of such books at reading schools for middle-level students and above (‘åŠwZ‹å“ǏŠƒj‰—ƒe’†‹‰¶“kƒˆƒŠŠ¿Ð‘Ðƒ’ŽöƒPƒVƒ€). Reading schools were "parsing and reading places" (‹å“ǏŠ kutōjo) where students learned to read Chinese classics, and Japanese works written in Chinese, by punctuating and texts to facilitate their translation into Japanese.

"Schools of great learning" (‘åŠwZ daigakkō) referred to several kinds of schools that taught subjects essential for building a strong and prosperous country. Specialized schools trained military officers, interpreters and translators, engineers, doctors, and others who would contribute to the defense and development of Japan.

Most such schools, originally set up with names reflecting their purpose or speciality, later incorporated "daigaku" (great learning) into their name -- thus becoming "colleges" and "universities". Most of Japan's oldest "institutions of higher learning" go back to such schools.

"kokuseki" meaning "nationality"

The Brazilian attorney and legal scholar Ninomiya Masuto points out that the term ‘Ð (kokuseki) had not yet been coined in 1873 when the measure facilitating permissions for Japanese to marry or adopt aliens used the phrase “ú–{lƒ^ƒ‹•ªŒÀ (Nihonjin taru bungen) or "the standing of being Japanese" (Ninomiya 1983: 218).

Parts of the following discussion are heavily indebted to Ninomiya Masato's 1983 comparative study of nationality law and gender equality, which I have reviewed in Bibliography.

However, Ninomiya does not analyze the significance of this phrase. Moreover, he replaces it with ‘Ð in citations of articles in the 1873 proclamation, and in drafts of later proposals to amend the proclamation -- thus clouding the linguisitic clarity of his discussion of "nationality law" in Japan before the formal beginning of "nationality".

Having no legal terms by which to denote affiliation with Japan as state, it made sense to those who drafted the proclamation to use the term “ú–{l (Nihonjin) as a signifier of legal status.

There were, as Ninomiya points out, basically only two kinds of people in Japan -- insiders and outsiders. Insiders were Japanese. Outsiders were not Japanese. And, as Ninomiya remarks, this view of "Japanese" undoubtedly implied "'Japanese' in a racial sense" (lŽí“I‚ȈӖ¡‚ł́u“ú–{lvjinshuteki-na imi de no 'Nihonjin') -- which, in turn, undoubtedly encouraged the adoption of jus sanguinis in the 1899 Nationality Law (Ninomiya 1983: 218).

However, Ninomiya does not explore the implications of permitting people to gain or lose "the standing of being Japanese" without regard to race. If "Japanese" is a racial entity otherwise known as an "insider" (“àl naijin), and if "alien" is a racial entity otherwise known as a "outsider" (ŠOl gaijin), then how can either become the other, simply through marriage or adoption?

Those who wrote the 1873 proclamation apparently viewed the matter of "standing" differently. Since the purpose of the law was to legalize marriage and adoption between "outsiders" and "insiders" and facilitate changes in registration status -- apparently they viewed "being Japanese" as merely a matter of register status.

In other words, one either "was Japanese" or "was not Japanese" -- according to whether they were a member of a family register in Japan. Therefore, when changing legal status, one gained or lost "the standing of being Japanese" -- in accordance with Japanese principals of family status.


Subjects and nationals

"Nihonjin" continued to be used in the 1899 Nationality Law to denote the status of someone qualified to be a member of a family register -- by way of stipulating the conditions for being a "Nihon shinmin" (subject of Japan). "Nihonjin" (Japanese) was replaced with "Nihon kokumin" (national of Japan) in the 1950 Nationality Law, which determined the conditions for being a "Nihon kokumin" (national of Japan) under the 1947 Constitution.

The 1899 Nationality Law and the 1950 Nationality Law defined respectively "Nihonjin" (Japanese) and "Nihon kokumin" (nationals of Japan) in terms of having the "kokuseki" (nationality) of Japan. However, the 1873 proclamation spoke only of being a "Nihonjin" (Japanese) or a "gaikokujin" (aliens) as statuses in and of themselves. "Nationality" was not then an issue because Japanese law had not yet embraced its concept.

Of course, in 1873 there were not yet any "subjects" or "nationals" of Japan -- at least not in terms of being a "shinmin" or "kokumin" under a constitution. These words, too, were still in the embryonic stage.

The matter-of-fact declaration that anyone who acquired the standing of being "Nihonjin" (Japanese) was legally just that -- nothing less and nothing more -- is clear evidence there was no racialization of "Nihonjin" as a legal status.

Today, too, one becomes, or ceases to be, "Nihonjin" (Japanese) -- as an matter of legal status -- though now the status is associated with the possession of "kokuseki" (nationality).


All in the family

The 1873 proclamation shows why Japanese nationality came to be so closely linked with the family as a corporate rather than blood entity. The proclamation -- which came into force a decade before the Japanese term for "nationality" existed -- empowered competent officials with the authority to permit an alliance of marriage or adoption involving a Japanese and an alien.

Permitting such an alliance resulted in recognition of a family relationship or status that warranted a status change in a family register -- entering or leaving the register. Entering or leaving the register resulted in gaining or losing the standing of being Japanese. So being Japanese was entirely a matter of status in a family register.

Family status -- relationship within a family -- existed as a matter of customary law. Family customs varied regionally, and regional customs had changed over the centuries. But families and family registers were something people understood. Family law was easily amenable to regulation and standardization throughout the realm.

Whereas "nationality" did not yet exist as a concept in Japanese law. And while the notion of "race" was not unknown, it was far from being familiar. No one seems to have thought of imposing racial criteria on family law. Families were families. Men were men. Women were women. A husband had more status than a wife, generally. Sons had more status than daughters, and older sons had more status than younger sons, generally.

It was also possible to adopt an heir, or a groom for an unwed daughter, and a female head of household could adopt a husband. It was, afterall, a corporate family. It was not that "blood" was not important. It was simply that some other things were more important.


Race a private matter

Despite the prevalence of racial consciousness throughout the world, the 1873 proclamation permitted international marriages, and changes of national status, without regard to race. This alone made Japan's emerging definition of nationality more progressive those in, say, the United States, where racism -- the treatment of people according to their putative race -- would prevail in immigration and naturalization law and policy for another seventy-five years.

Another point that cannot be overstressed is the totally absence of any concern with race or ethnicity in the 1873 proclamation, which set the standard for virtually all subsequent laws concerning acquisition and loss of Japanese nationality.

In 1862, when Japanese were still not allowed to travel overseas, the Tokugawa shogunate decreed that a child born between a Japanese woman and a non-Japanese man would be allowed to leave Japan with its father, as a non-Japanese, with the permission of its mother. During most of the Tokugawa period, such children were treated as Japanese, an echo perhaps of the matrilineal ruling made in 6th century Imna.

Though marriages between Japanese women and non-Japanese men were possible before the Meiji period, they were not legally recognized until 1873, when the Great Council of State issued a proclamation that permitted international marriages and allowed changes in nationality. Patrilineal rules could then apply, because the mother and father were married.

Even in these assessments -- regardless of how people may have "viewed" themselves and others through what today would be regarded as "racial" or "ethnic" lenses, the nature of family ties were most important in determining whether a child should be regarded as affiliated mainly with its Japanese mother or with its alien father.


Not naturalization

While a change in nationality is commonly thought of as "naturalization", there is a fairly clear legal distinction between "naturalization" and other means of acquiring nationality other than through birth. The fact that this distinction has been made in Japanese law is all that matters when talking about Japan.

"Naturalization" is a process of applying to be a national of a state, and being permitted to be so by the authority of a competent official. Becoming a national in consequence of the automatic operation of the law, facilitated by the filing of a notification that vetted by an official who merely confirms that the particulars comply with the law, is not naturalization.

The 1873 proclamation did not have any provisions for naturalizatio or "kika" -- a legal procedure not possible in Japan until the enforcement of the 1899 Nationality Law. The proclamation was not, in any event, an instrument for changing nationality status, but for changing family status. Change of national status was merely an byproduct of change of family status.

The 1899 Nationality Law continued to make this distinction. "Naturalization" was an application to change one's nationality, though family status might affect permission. Changes of nationality through marriage or adoption, though, continued to be treated as byproducts of change in family status -- hence such roads to nationality continued to be differentiated from naturalization.

It remained possible for some aliens to gain Japanese nationality through marriage or adoption -- without recourse to naturalization, in accordance with the principles of family law and family registration -- until the enforcement of the 1950 Nationality Law.


Incoming husband controversy

An alien woman who became the wife of a Japanese man would become Japanese. A Japanese woman who became the wife of an alien man would lose her Japanese status, though she could seek permission to regain it.

Linking a woman's status to that of her husband was in full accord with the patriarchal standard of laws in most other countries at the time. Though marriage and family customs in Japan had always varied regionally and included matrilocal practices, patriarchy had become the cornerstone of Japan's corporate family system, already being served by the Family Registration Law, and soon to be defined by the Civil Code.

Somewhat remarkably, in comparison with practices in most other countries, the 1873 proclamation allowed an alien man to become Japanese by being adopted as the husband of a Japanese woman, in which case he joined her register, took her family name, and stood to become the legal head of household and principle heir. Some other governments took issue with this provision because it went against the grain of their patriarchal definition of nationality, according to which males, not females, counted in a nation's political make-up.

Where suffrage existed, it was usually limited to males. So long as a woman could not vote, her change of nationality was inconsequential. Males, though, mattered politically. And it was unconscionable that a man could change his national loyalties. Hence the fear, particularly in North America and Europe, that immigrants and their offspring, especially males, constituted a potentially disloyal fifth column.


Chamberlain's "sober, legal fact"

Basil Hall Chamberlain (1850-1935), who resided in Japan from 1873-1911, had a ringside seat to the impact of the 1873 proclamation on alliances between aliens and Japanese. He also appears to have shared the opinion of some of his compatriots that the practice of change of nationality in the course of marriage was odd.

In Things Japanese -- as his encyclopedia was titled when first published in 1890 -- Chamberlain made the following remark about the husband-adoption provision (Japanese Things, Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1971, Third printing, 1972, page 18 of reprint of fifth revised edition of 1905).

Until quite recently the sole way in which a foreigner could be naturalised was by getting a Japanese with a daughter to adopt him, and then marrying the daughter. This may sound like a joke, but it is not. It is a sober, legal fact, recognised as such by the various judicial and consular authorities, and acted on in several well-authenticated instances. Indeed, it is still the easiest method to be pursued by those desirous of naturalising themselves in this country.

Chamberlain made this observation toward the end of a two-page article on adoption. He is using the term "naturalisation" in its popular sense of change of allegiance, from the point of view of English law.


Koyama on British objections

Koyama Noboru elaborates at length on the objections of British, French, and German officials in Japan to provisions in the 1873 proclamation that allowed foreigners who married Japanese to become Japanese. The most contentious provisions were those that allowed foreign males to enter family registers as adopted sons and incoming husbands. However, concerns were also expressed about provisions for nationality changes of foreign wives.

Sir Harry Smith Parkes (1828-1885), who represented Birtain in Japan between 1865 and 1882, voiced the most strenuous objections, in the interest of British subjects in the country. One issue was that British subjects who opted to become Japanese would lose the protections accorded them by their extra-territorial status under the Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty of 1854. (Koyama 1995:102)

Koyama suggests that Eliza Pittman may have heard such concerns expressed by British officials and decided to remain a British subject. Or perhaps her husband, Minami Teisuke, elected not to have her entered in his family register, out of concern about her status in Japan, or because he anticipated problems in the marriage (Koyama 1995:103).

See Koyama 1995 in Bibliography for a review of Koyama's study.


Aliens who became Japanese

The first international marriage approved by the Meiji government is thought to have been that of Minami Teisuke (1847-1915) and Eliza Pittman (katakana "Raiza Pittoman). The ceremony took place in London on 10 September 1872 and was recognized in Japan on 3 June the following year. The story of Minami-Pittman is told in great detail in Koyama 1995.

First "adopted husband" marriage

Allick Asam appears to have been the first alien man to become Japanese through marriage, in his case as an adopted son-in-law (muko yōshi) on 25 December 1880 (Koyama 1995:265). Asam, an Indian, had been living in Yokohama's Foreign Settlement, as a British subject, for 16 years at the time he married.

First "incoming husband" marriage

The first alien man to become Japanese as an incoming husband (nyūfu) was Kashimu Wisuramu (romanization of katakana, possibly for Kassim Wisram), on 8 June 1881 (Koyama 1995:265). Wisuramu, like Asam, was a British subject from India residing in Yokohama's Foreign Settlement.

Other notable "incoming husband" marriages

Joseph Ernest De Becker (1863-1929), a British subject educated in the United States, became Kobayashi Beika through his marriage to Kobayashi Ei, a Kanagawa prefecture commoner, on 29 July 1891.

Henry Black (1858-1923), better known in Japan as the storyteller Kairakutei Burakku, and before that as the son of the Australian newspaper publisher John Reddie Black (1827-1880), became Japanese through marriage to Ishii Aka on 19 May 1893.

Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) married Koizumi Setsu in 1891, renounced his British nationality in 1895, and was permitted to be her "incoming husband" on 12 December 1895. He was enrolled in the Koizumi register, and formally became Koizumi Yakumo ("Haun" in Sino-Japanese), early in the following year.

See Aliens who became Japanese for fuller accounts of these and other foreigners who became Japanese through provisions of the 1873 proclamation.


1873 proclamation permitting marriages with aliens

On 14 March 1873 the Great Council of State issued a proclamation, No. 103 that year, which (1) enabled Japanese to marry aliens, (2) provided criteria for losing and gaining Japanese status through marriage and regaining lost status, and (3) restricted property ownership by Japanese wives and their alien husbands.

From the pont of view of foreigners, the proclamation enabled an alien man or woman to become the legal spouse of a Japanese, and to become Japanese upon being registered as a member of the Japanese spouse's household.


1873 Great Council of State Proclamation No. 103
Permitting marriages with aliens and
allowing alien spouses to become Japanese

Japanese text

The following Japanese text began as a copy download from the website of Nagoya Univeristy professor Asakawa Akihiro (retrieved April 2006). The script had been corrupted by the sort of errors made by opitical mark readers after scanning. The downloaded copy was corrected and edited while consulting relevant parts of a copy in the appendix of Tashiro Aritsugu, Kokusekihō chikujō kaisetsu [An article by article commentary on the Nationality Law], Tokyo: Nihon Kajo Shuppan, 1974, page 829.

The text is shown in its original unpunctated form. A puncuated version can be found in Koyama Noboru, Kokusai kekkon daiichigō: Meiji hitotachi no zakkon kotohajime [The first international marriage: The beginnings of mixed marriages of Meiji people], Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1995, pages 12-13.

The proclamation is also referred to as “àŠOl¥ˆ÷ð‹K (Naigaijin kon'in jōki) or "Insider/outsider marriage provisions" and ŠO‘l¥ˆ÷ð‹K (Gaikokujin kon'in jōki) or "Alien marriage provisions".

English translation

The translation is mine (William Wetherall). I have assigned numbers to the articles, which the original marks only as items.

–¾Ž¡˜Z”NŽOŒŽ\Žl“ú (•z)
Great Council of State Proclamation No. 103
Meiji 6-3-14 [14 March 1873] (promulgated)
Provisions permitting marriage with an alien person
[Gaikoku jinmin to kon'in sakyo jōki]
ŠO‘l–¯–m¥ˆ÷·‹–ð‹K Provisions permitting marriage [kon'in]
with an alien person [gaikoku jinmin]

From now marriage with an alien person is to be permitted. The provisions to the left [below] are decided and shall be put into effect as stated.

1. A Japanese [Nihonjin] who would marry an alien [gaikokujin] shall obtain the leave [inkyo] of the government of Japan.
ˆê@ŠO‘lƒj‰ÅƒVƒ^ƒ‹“ú–{ƒm—ƒn“ú–{lƒ^ƒ‹ƒm•ªŒÀƒ’Ž¸ƒtƒwƒVŽáƒVŒÌ—Lƒcƒ`Äƒq“ú–{lƒ^ƒ‹ƒm•ªŒÀƒj–ðƒZƒ\ƒRƒgƒ’ŠèƒtŽÒƒn–Æ‹–ƒ’“¾”\ƒt‰ÂƒV 2. A woman of Japan who becomes the wife of an alien shall lose the standing of being Japanese [Nihonjin taru no bungen]. Should one [who has thus lost her Japanese standing] with reason wish to again serve in the standing of being Japanese, it will be possible [for her] to gain permission [menkyo] [to do so].
ˆê@“ú–{lƒj‰ÅƒVƒ^ƒ‹ŠO‘ƒm—ƒn“ú–{ƒm‘–@ƒj]ƒq“ú–{lƒ^ƒ‹ƒm•ªŒÀƒ’“¾ƒwƒV 3. A woman of a foreign country who becomes the wife [yome] of a Japanese shall, in accordance with the national laws of Japan, gain the standing of being Japanese.
ˆê@ŠO‘lƒj‰ÅƒXƒ‹“ú–{ƒm—ƒn‘´gƒj‘®ƒVƒ^ƒ‹ŽÒƒg嫃‚“ú–{ƒm•s“®ŽYƒ’Š—LƒXƒ‹ƒRƒgƒ’‹–ƒTƒX’AƒV“ú–{ƒm‘–@›óƒj“ú–{­•{ƒjƒe’èƒ^ƒ‹‹K‘¥ƒjˆá”wƒXƒ‹ƒRƒgƒiƒNƒn‹à‹â“®ŽYƒ’ŽŒgƒXƒ‹ƒn–WƒPƒiƒVƒgƒX 4. A woman of Japan who becomes the wife of an alien, though [she be] affiliated with him, shall not be permitted to possess immovable property [fudōsan / real estate] in Japan. However, if not contrary to regulations determined by national laws or the government of Japan, possession of gold or silver movables will not be prevented.
ˆê@“ú–{ƒm—ŠO‘lƒ’–¹—{Žqƒgˆ×ƒXŽÒƒ‚–’“ú–{­•{ƒmˆò‹–ƒ’ŽóƒNƒwƒV 5. A woman of Japan who makes an alien an adopted son-in-law [muko yōshi] also shall obtain the leave [inkyo] of the Japanese government.
ˆê@ŠO‘l“ú–{lƒm–¹—{ŽqƒgƒiƒŠƒ^ƒ‹ŽÒƒn“ú–{‘–@ƒj]ƒq“ú–{lƒ^ƒ‹ƒm•ªŒÀƒ’“¾ƒwƒV 6. An alien who has become the adopted son-in-law [muko yōshi] of a Japanese shall, in accordance with Japanese national laws, gain the standing of being Japanese.
ˆê@ŠO‘ƒj‰—ƒe“ú–{lŠO‘lƒg¥‰ÅƒZƒ“ƒgƒXƒ‹ŽÒƒn‘´‘ˆ½ƒn‘´‹ß‘ƒjÝ—¯ƒm“ú–{ŒöŽg–”ƒn—ÌŽ–Š¯ƒjŠèo‹–‰Âƒ’ŒîƒtƒwƒVŒöŽg‹yƒq—ÌŽ–Š¯ƒnÙ‰Âƒmã–{‘­•{‚֓͏oƒwƒV 7. A Japanese who marries an alien in a foreign country shall request permission by making notification to a minister [kōshi / envoy] or consul [ryōjikan] of Japan in that country or in a nearby country, and ministers and consuls shall upon their sanction make notification to [the] home country [hongoku].


1876 attempt to revise 1873 proclamation

In 1876, Foreign Affairs Minister Terajima Munenori (Ž›“‡@‘¥ 1832-1893) sent a proposal to revise the 1873 proclamation to Prime Minister Sanjō Sanetomi (ŽOðŽÀ”ü 1837-1891). The gist of the proposal, which was never not accepted, is as follows (paraphrased from Ninomiya 1983: 219-220, where citations of the original text appear to be corruptions).

Article 2 would have been revised so as not to cause a Japanese woman to lose her status, for then her extraterritorial rights as an alien would have to be recognized.

Article 3 would have been revised to require that an alien woman should not apply for marriage or enrollment in her Japanese husband's register until after she had severed her original status.

Article 6 would have been abolished "for the same reason(s)" -- i.e., since an alien man would not likely be able to divest himself of his alien status, he would not be able to be enrolled in his wife's register and thereby acquire the standing of being a Japanese.

Article 7 would have permitted the alien wife of a Japanese man who married abroad to be enrolled in his register by a minister or consul of Japan, only after she had divested herself of her status in her own country.

These revsions were never realized, but apparently a procedural measure was taken out of concern over dual status and extraterritorial rights. Accordingly, an alien woman who became the wife of a Japanese would have to obtain permission from the government of her home country to move her registration (Ninomiya 1983: 220).

Concerning this, Gustave Boissonade (1825-1910), a legal advisor to the Japanese government from 1873 to 1895, seems to have argued that, from the viewpoint of the laws and morality of overseas countries, a legal wife ought to accord with her husband's identity, hence an adopted husband should retain his original status (Ninomiya 1983: 220). Boissonade later drafted much of Japan's first Civil Code, which included what became the Nationality Law. Boissonade


1883 attempt to revise 1873 proclamation

In 1883, Inoue Kowashi sought to entirely revise the 1873 proclamation and asked the German legal advisor Karl Friedrich Hermann Roesler to come up with a proposal. The result a draft called "Ordiance concerning marriages of insiders and outsiders and the rights and duties of the wives and children" (“àŠOlƒm‰Å›W‹y‘´ÈŽqƒmŒ —˜‹`–±ƒjŠÖƒXƒ‹ð—á Naigaijin no kashu oyobi sono saishi no kenri gimu ni kan suru jōrei) -- according to Ninomiya, who appears to have consulted primary sources (see Notes in box below).

The term ‘–¯Ð (kokuminseki) appeared in the original draft. Apparently this reflected Inoue's translation of Roesler's German term, presumably "Staatsangehörigkeit" (Ninoymia 1983: 218, 220).

Inoue, having been opposed to previous proposals to revise the proclamation, over adopted husband issues, insisted that these parts be deleted. Another draft then went to the ministers of foreign and home affairs for their scrutiny. And a slightly revised "Insider/outsider marriage ordinance" (“àŠOlŒ‹¥ð—á Naigaijin kekkon jōrei) was slated for adoption -- but never promulgated (Ninoymia 1983: 220).

The term ‘–¯Ð (kokuminseki) in the original draft, however, had become just ‘Ð (kokuseki) in the final draft -- according to Ninomiya (Ninomiya 1983: 220).


I have shown the titles and summarized the development of the 1883 drafts as reported by Ninomiya. Ninomiya attributes all his observations about the 1876 and 1883 attempts to revise the 1873 proclamation to documents in the Goin Bunko (Œæ‰A•¶ŒÉ), a collection of the papers of Inoue Kowashi in the archives of Kokugakuin University in Tokyo (Ninomiya 1983: 246, notes 12-15). The collection includes Inoue's correspondence with other statesmen, and papers related to drafts of the Meiji constitution and other laws.

Inoue Kowashi (ˆäã‹B 1844-1895) was one of the most important drafters of Meiji laws, particularly the Constitution. He joined the Ministry of Justice in 1871 and was sent to France to study. In 1875, he published Laws founding kingdoms (‰¤‘Œš‘–@ Ōkoku kenkoku hō), a translation of, with his commentary on, the 1850 Prussian and 1831 Belgian constitutions from a collection of constitutions by Édouard Louis Julien-Laferrière (1841-1901)Inoue

Inoue was close to all the principle leaders of the Meiji government, from Okubo Toshimitsu to Iwakura Tomomi and Ito Hirobumi. Because of his study in Europe and language skills, he worked closely with Karl Friedrich Hermann Roesler (1834-1894), one of the government's most important foreign advisors on legal matters, on drafts of the Constitution, and on other legislation.


1898 revision of adopted son-in-law and incoming husband provisions

The 1873 proclamation was revised by Law No. 21 of 1898 and otherwise called the Law [regarding] making an alien an adopted son-in-law [muko yōshi] or an incoming husband [nyufu] [Gaikokujin o muko yōshi mata wa nyūfu to nasu hōritsu].

The law was promulgated on 9 July under the seal of the emperor, and the seals of the members of the Oligarchy beginning with Count Okuma Shigenobu, Marquis Saigo Tsugumichi, Minister of the Army Viscount Katsura Tarō, and Minister of Home Affairs Count Itagaki Taisuke, and five other ministers, and was reported in Kanpō on 11 July.

1898 revision of 1873 proclamation (Law No. 21)
Making an alien an adopted son or an incoming husband


This law revised the 1873 Great Council of State Proclamation No. 103.

Japanese text

The following Japanese text began as a combination of two copies: (1) the first downloaded from the website of Nagoya Univeristy professor Asakawa Akihiro (retrieved April 2006), and (2) the second downloaded from the National Diet Library Digital Archive Portal [Kokuritsu Kokkai Toshokan Jijitaru Aakaibu Pootaru (NDL DAP)] (retrieved December 2006). The script of both copies had been somewhat corrupted by the sort of errors made by opitical mark readers after scanning. The downloaded copies were corrected and edited while consulting relevant parts of a copy in the appendix of Tashiro Aritsugu, Kokusekihō chikujō kaisetsu [An article by article commentary on the Nationality Law], Tokyo: Nihon Kajo Shuppan, 1974, pages 828-829.

English translations

The structural translation is mine (William Wetherall). The numbers are as stipulated in the original.

The received translation is from Richard W. Flournoy, Jr., and Manley O. Hudson, A Collection of Nationality Laws of Various Countries as Contained in Consitutions, Statutes and Treaties, New York: Oxford University Press, 1929, page 381. The source attribution is "Text from Report on the Subject of Citizenship, Expatriation and Protection Abroad (December 20, 1906), House of Representatives, 59th Contress, 2d Session, Document No. 326, 445."

Japanese Structural


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Meiji 31 [1898] Law No. 21
Law Revising Meiji 6 [1873] Proclamation No. 103
(Law [regarding] making an alien an adopted son [yoshi] or an incoming husband [nyufu])

I [the emperor] sanction and hereby pomulgate the law revising Meiji 6 Proclamation No. 103 which has passed the consent of the Imperial Diet.

   Imperial seal [Mutsuhito]
     Meiji 31-7-9 [9 July 1898]
       Prime Minister of the Cabinet and Minister of Foreign Affairs Count Okuma Shigenobu
       Minister of the Navy Marquis Saigo Tsugumichi
       Minister of the Army Viscount Katsura Taro
       Minister of Home Affairs Count Itagaki Taisuke
       Minister of Agriculture and Commerce Ooishi Masami
       Minister of Education Ozaki Yukio
       Minister of Finance Matsuda Masahisa
       Minister of Justice Oohigashi Gitetsu
       Minister of Telecommunications Hayashi Yuzo

Law No. 21 (Kanpo 11 July)
–¾Ž¡˜Z”N‘æ•SŽO†•z¶ƒm’ʉü³ƒX Meiji 6 Proclamation No. 103 is revised as to the left [below].
Japanese Structural Received
Article 1
A Japanese who makes an alien an adopted son or incoming husband needs to gain the permission [kyoka] of the Minister of Home Affairs.
I.   A Japanese, in order to adopt an alien or a Japanese woman who is the head of a house, in order to marry and alien, must obtain the permission of the Minister of the Interior.

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“ñ •is’[³ƒiƒ‹ƒRƒg
Article 2
One will not gain conferral of permission regarding the preceding article if the Minister of Home Affairs deems that the alien does not have the qualifications [joken o gubi suru] to the left [below]:

1. Has had a domicile [jusho] or residence [kyosho] in Japan for one consecutive year or more;
2. Is [a person] of proper conduct [hinko tansei naru].
II.   The Minister of the Interior may give the permission mentioned in the preceding article, if the following requisites exist as to the alien:

(1) He must have his domicile or residence for at least one full year in Japan.
(2) He must be a person of honest behavior.