Independent Party or Mushozoku-dan (無所属団)

Independent Party (Mushozoku-dan) refers to a faction within the Diet of the House of Peers under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan. The formal name is 'Independents;' however, most members of the House of Peers were not legally affiliated with any party, and those members could not be distinguished from the members of 'Pure Independents' who were not affiliated with any party including even the faction within the Diet, so the name of 'the Independent Party' was used. Also, because the name of a parliamentary group from the Meiji period to the early Taisho period and that from the later Taisho period to the Showa period were the same, the group in the former period was called as the "First Independents" as well as the other in the latter was called as the "Second Independents" to be distinguished for convenience.

the First Independents

The First Independents was formed in about 1898 and continued until November 25, 1919. However, it was recognized as a formal parliamentary group on March 20, 1911.

It was based on a group which was formed against party cabinet and for protecting the nonparty principle by a small number of the Pure Independents such as Shinkichi TAKAHASHI (scholar), Toshiaya BOJO and Shinanojo ARICHI who had felt a crisis of the establishment of the first Okuma Cabinet by the Kenseito (Constitutional Party) in 1898. However, at that time the group could not come into effect as a faction within the Diet due to the small number of members, and it was usually with the Sawa-kai (one of factions within the Diet) that had the similar points of view.
Therefore, both of the factions together were termed the 'Saiwai-Club.'
However, after a group which formed the Seiko-kai due to internal conflict of the Mokuyo-kai (Thursday Association) in 1910 could not maintain the faction and dissolved the following year, some of former members became a member of the 'Independents' so it qualified as a faction.

The Mokuyo-kai and the Seiko-kai were factions which comprised of baronial members of an assembly; however, as those in each faction created a movement for forming a unity faction in 1919, baronial members in the 'Independents' also participated and formed the Kousei-kai. Therefore, the number of assembly member in the 'Independents' drastically reduced so it had difficulty surviving as a faction. Then, the Independents tried to unite with the Doyo-kai (Saturday Society) that fell into critical situations due to decreasing of the number of baronial members who left the Doyo-kai. 10 days later, the remainders in the "Independents" joined into the Dosei-kai which was formed as a new faction for holdovers from the Doyo-kai on November 15.

the Second Independents

The Second Independents was formed on December 16, 1921 and continued until February 1st, 1928.

The Second Independents was established by 25 members including 10 nominated members of the House of Peers such as Ryohei OKADA who had belonged to the largest faction Kenkyu-kai (the House of Peers) opposed the cooperation of the Kenkyu-kai and the Hara Cabinet and left from the faction as well as some members of the Independents including Moritatsu HOSOKAWA. Because of its position against the Kenkyu-kai, the group was usually with the Sawa-kai.
At that time, the 'Saiwai-Club' that was centered on the Sawa-kai was consisted of three factions (Sawa-kai, Dousei-kai, Kousei-kai) and termed 'Saiwai Sanpa' as well as termed Saiwai Yonpa or 幸無三派 with adding the 'Independents.'

However, Fumimaro KONOE who left the Kenkyu-kai in 1927 premeditated to factionalize Kayou-kai parliamentary group, an organization for promoting mutual friendship of a faction which was formed by him and councilors of duke or marquis. Marquis HOSOKAWA responded to this; however, KONOE completely refused councilors' joining except members who were duke or marquis, so the members or the nominated members of the House of Peers belonging to the 'Independents' who were ranked count and below had nowhere to go. Consequently, the Sawa-kai which was reducing parliamentary seats due to a Kenkyu-kai offensive proposed the merger and then tied up with the Independents on February 1, 1928 and formed the new faction, Douwa-kai.

[Original Japanese]