Campaign of the three biggest petitions (三大事件建白運動)

The campaign of the three biggest petitions is a political movement caused by petitions ("The three biggest petitions") submitted to Genroin (the Chamber of Elders) (Japan) by Kenkichi KATAOKA in October 1887. It is known as the last campaign of the Freedom and People's Rights Movement as well as the campaign to unite for a common purpose.

In 1886, Kaoru INOUE, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Japan) in The First Ito Cabinet, held a meeting for revision of a treaty with delegation from foreign countries, and the proposal in the meeting included some compromises such as raising tax and employment of foreign judges. Therefore, Jutaro KOMURA, Koyata TORIO, and Gustave Emile BOISSONADE submitted the adverse opinion, and furthermore, it caused a scene that Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, Tateki TANI turned in his resignation in 1887.

Members of the Civil-Right group who found out about this unanimously criticized the government, and in Tokyo, students and political activists caused a demonstration. Amidst these situations, the Civil-Right group in Kochi Prefecture submitted a petition called 'the three biggest petitions' focusing on 1) establishment of free speech, 2) restoring mental balance of civilians by reducing a land tax, and 3) recovery of diplomacy (realization of revision of a treaty on an equal footing), saying these unrests were because of a policy of Europeanization as national disgrace and oppression of public opinions.

Just then, the campaign to unite for a common purpose by Shojiro GOTO was gathering stream, while Yukio OZAKI and Toru HOSHI, as well as KATAOKA, called for unity of the Civil-Right group and to criticize the government in accordance with the campaign. Against these activity, the government promulgated hoan jorei (regulations for the preservation of law and order) in December 1887 and arrested Kataoka, as well as exiled and arrested many other activists, and thus this campaign had no choice but to be collapsed. In addition, this caused breakup of the campaign to unite for a common purpose and the Freedom and People's Rights Movement reached a tuning point.

[Original Japanese]