Hanbatsu (domain clique) (藩閥)

Hanbatsu (domain clique) is a critical designation for the group of people from the former domains in southwest Japan (the domains of Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa and Hizen; they were so-called, Sacchodohi), who occupied important posts in the Japanese government from the Meiji to the Taisho period. The cabinet, most of which members are the constituent members of Hanbatsu, are called Hanbatsu (han-dominated) government.
Even though Tosa and Hizen were included in Sacchodohi (the abbreviated form of Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa, Hizen), the people from these domains were the minority and those from Satsuma and Choshu domains formed far larger-scale cliques

Under newly-organized governmental system after Haihan-chiken (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures) in 1871, most of the councilors and chiefs of the ministries were occupied by the people from Sacchodohi, and the domain-clique government was organized. Then Satsuma clique lost its momentum after Takamori SAIGO went into opposition and died in Seinan War and Toshimichi OKUBO was assassinated in Kioizaka Incident, so Choshu clique including Hirobumi ITO and Aritomo YAMAGATA virtually reigned supreme. After the establishment of cabinet system in1885 many people from Satsuma and Choshu became prime minister, ministers of state and Genro (senator).

Domain clique has been treated critically since then because it is the resistance forces against parliamentary government and is also the preferential system that conflicts with democracy or an idealism such as ikkunbanmin-ron (the theory where constitutional authority was given only to one ruler and any discrimination and distinction of social status were generally not allowed among others). It was the subject of criticism since the time of the Freedom and People's Rights and 'Dispel clique group. Defend constitutional government' was the slogan of Taisho Democracy.

On the other hand, an organic tie between the government and departments of the Army was formed by the domain clique, so there is a view that when bureaucrats and military men who were employed through examinations and training institutions in the Showa period held actual power of their departments, red tape swelled causing the national policy to keep straying unsettled and decreased sense of tension without domain clique brought corruption of the political parties and made them pander to bureaucrats and the military.

Domain cliques in Army and Navy

After the Meiji Period, as is widely alleged like 'Satsuma'a Navy, Choshu's Army,' Satsuma clique gained the power within the Navy as marked by Gonbei YAMAMOTO and Heihachiro TOGO and Choshu clique gained the power within the Army as represented by Aritomo YAMAGATA and Taro KATSURA. However, there were several influential persons of Satusma clique such as Iwao OYAMA, Michitsura NOZU and Yusaku UEHARA in the Army, so it's no easy to classify simply with domain clique. When graduates of the Army War College and Naval Academy (Japan) assumed important posts, these forces of domain clique within the military shrank gradually because the performance of their school days was valued.

Later the influence of Aritomo YAMAGATA increased and Masatake TERAUCHI and Giichi TANAKA formed Yamagata clique in the Army and they became mainstream in the Army. However, in the Taisho period the influence of Yamagata decreased and soon the clique of the Army separated into Tosei faction and Kodo faction.

The Navy became inclined to value Keibatsu Blood Connection more than the hometown clique and it was said that the blood relationship of one's wife was the factor of career progress along with experience of studying abroad and the class standing at Naval Academy
There arose 'Joyaku (treaty) faction' and 'Kantai (fleet) faction' in the Navy later.

Only Hisaichi TERAUCHI (a son of Masatake TERAUCHI), who served as Minister of Army, was the native of Choshu who served as any of the three secretaries of the Army, and the only Satsuma native that served as any of the three secretaries of the Navy was Eisuke YAMAMOTO (a nephew of Gonbei YAMAMOTO), who was the Commander-in-Chief of the Combined fleet.

[Original Japanese]