Banyu Enzetsu (Speech with Brute Courage) (蛮勇演説)

Banyu Enzetsu is a speech made by Navy Minister Sukenori KABAYAMA in the second Imperial Diet in December 1891. He stressed validity of the Satsuma-Choshu-dominated government and criticism of minto (general term of the political parties such as Liberal Party, Progressive Party and so on which conflicted with a han-dominated government when imperial Diet was inaugurated), which triggered strong backlash from minto and partly contributed to dissolution of the House of Representatives.

In November 1891, the first Matsukata cabinet submitted a budget proposal for the next year to the Imperial Diet, but it increased 6.5 million yen from the previous fiscal year, including 2.75 million yen for building a warship of the Imperial Japanese Navy and 2.25 million yen for building a steel works. For this budget proposal, minto maintained their policy 'rest for people, reduction of government's expense' that they had been asserted from the previous First Yamagata cabinet. And saying that the budget proposal could not be accepted without enforcement of the law of the land in the Navy, they submitted a revised budget proposal down by about 8 million yen including a cost of building a Navy warship and a steel works.

Navy Minister Kabayama became indignant at this revised budget proposal because it ignored the Navy's demand, and at a plenary session of the House of Representatives on December 22, he made a speech, 'You call us Satsuma-Choshu government or something, but who do you think contributed to keep this country safe and quiet today, and protected national security regardless of 40 million lives?', stressing validity of the Satsuma-Choshu-dominated government, refuting the criticism of the Navy and the government by minto.

This speech that outright rejected the minto's cost reduction policy, brought a fierce backlash from members of the House of Representatives belonged to minto, triggered utter turmoil on the scene.

After that, minto expressed further strong opposition to the government, and the budget proposal based on the revised proposal was passed in the House of Representatives. Consequently, prime minister Masayoshi MATSUKATA dissolved the House of Representatives for the first time on December 25.

It was an affair that showed the conflict between Satsuma-Choshu government and minto in the early Diet.

[Original Japanese]