Ichoku (違勅)

Ichoku refers to a charge meted out as a reuslt of not following an Emperor's command. It is also called Ichokuzai (literally means 'The Charge of Ichoku').

Based on the Ritsuryo law, the original purpose of the Ichoku was to apply the Charge of Ichoku to individuals who went against the procedures contained in an Imperial command, but in later years, the Ichoku changed to mean an act or behavior which signified resistance against an Imperial command or an Imperial envoy. The application of the Charge of Ichoku is thought to have been expanded according to ranks, and there was a difference in opinions of lawyers about the actual scope of application. In and after the Middle Ages, the Ichoku was understood as 'punishing all the violations against judgements issued by court nobles' (according to the book called "Satamirensho"), and by people, it is ambiguously thought to have gone against an Emperor's command. Of note, there were cases in which court nobles who were applicable to this and received a punishment equivalent to being expelled from the court noble community, such as the emperor's censure.

In Article 278 of "Kaiteiritsurei", a criminal code in the beginning Meiji Period, a charge named 'Ichokuzai' was established as an illegal act, but in line with the subsequent constitutional monarch of Emperors, accusing a person of Ichoku itself as a crime ceased.

In the Taisho Political Crisis, Emperor Taisho issued an imperial command that Kinmochi SAIONJI, president of Rikkenseiyukai (a political party originally organized by Hirobumi ITO) should withdraw a parliamentary motion of non-confidence against the cabinet related to the 3rd Katsura Cabinet and urge Seiyukai to collaborate with the Katsura Cabinet, but the parliamentarians of the Seiyukai made Saionji return the imperial command for the reason that the parliamentarians were the representatives of the Japanese nation (February 9, 1913.)
As a result, the Katsura Cabinet fell, and Saionji provided a resignation to step down from the president post for the reason that it was Ichokuzai, and shut himself up at home in Kyoto (February 23.)
After that, Saionji remained in Kyoto for a while in spite of the advice of Takashi HARA, etc.

[Original Japanese]