Ko Roppa (the hard-line six parties) (硬六派)

The Ko Roppa (the hard-line six parties) was a pro-nationalistic federation of six political parties that advocated a strong foreign policy in 1890s. Ko Roppa was an abbreviation of "Taigai Ko Roppa" (six hard-line foreign policies factions).


Nationalists were critical of the idea of the Meiji Government promoting step-by-step revisions to the treaties. They developed a strong partnership as they led the opposition movement against the government's policy of allowing non-Japanese to live anywhere in Japan, and Iwane ABEI, Tomofusa SASSA, Tomotsune KOMUCHI and some other activists formed the Dai Nihon Kyokai (Great Japan Association) in 1893. They insisted that the allied western powers abolish the unequal treaties immediately, otherwise Japan would abide by the basic principles, stated in the Ansei Treaties, to prohibit foreign residents from living outside foreign settlements and to restrict trading activities. They advocated that Japan should urge the western powers that either those countries accept new equal treaties or Japan would break off diplomatic relations. The Dai Nihon Kyokai was a nonpartisan organization consisting of members from different political parties, including representatives such as Sassa, who also belonged to the Kokumin Kyokai (National Association), and some councilors belonging exclusively to the Dai Nihon Kyokai.

The Toyo Jiyuto (Oriental Liberal Party), the Domei Club (Alliance Club), the Rikken Kaishinto (Constitutional Progressive Party), the Kokumin Kyokai, and the Policy Affairs Research Council of the five parties of the Meiji period, promised to bond together to fight in response to the Dai Nihon Kyokai's campaign, chanting slogans such as "protesting the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation" and "wage a early war against Qing." These five parties and a group of councilors who belonged exclusively to the Dai Nihon Kyokai were regarded as the "Taigai Ko Roppa" (six hard-line foreign policies faction) or the "Ko Roppa" for short. There were conflicts between the "Minto" (People's Party) representing the Jiyuto (Liberal Party) in Meiji period and the Rikken Kaishinto supporting the Freedom and People's Rights Movement, and the "Rito" (Bureaucrats' Party) representing the Kokumin Kyokai after the constitution of the Imperial Diet opposed it. Therefore, this was the first broad-based coalition of Minto and Rito parties.

The second Ito cabinet became wary of the situation with the signing of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation near at hand, and the Liberal Party, which was the first party of the House of Representatives, strengthened the opposition from supporting the government's idea of step-by-step revisions to the treaty. As the Ito cabinet and the Liberal Party disagreed over land tax cuts and government reform issues, three-cornered confrontation among the Ito cabinet, the Jiyuto, and the Ko Roppa formed within the politics. The second Ito cabinet dissolved the House of Representatives and ordered the Dai Nihon Kyokai to disband in 1893, citing the fact that some of its members attacked people from other countries. However, the Ko Roppa tabled a no-confidence motion to be reported to the Emperor after the third general election for the House of Representatives, which resulted in the Diet having to dissolve itself in 1894. It was in the middle of the fourth general election for the House of Representatives when the Sino-Japanese War broke out. Although both the Liberal Party and the Ko Roppa declared a truce with the government, public support for the Ko Roppa increased. An extensive reorganization of the government was carried out after the election, including the Ote Club established by nonpartisans. Thus, the new Ko Roppa was formed by six parties consisting of the Rikken Kaishinto, the Kokumin Kyokai, the Rikken Kakushinto (Constitutional Reform Party), the Chugoku Shinpoto (Western Region of Japan Progressive Party), the Conference of Reform of Imperial Financial Affairs, and the Ote Club.

The Ko Roppa showed a cooperative attitude toward the government during the Sino-Japanese War, but the party started to take action to overthrow the government after the war while criticizing it for accepting the Triple Intervention (a diplomatic intervention by Russia, Germany and France). The Ito cabinet and the Liberal Party isolated in the Diet, announced their cooperation at this stage. In response, the Ko Roppa began to form a new party. Five parties of the Ko Roppa, except the Kokumin Kyokai, joined forces to form the Shinpoto (Progressive Party) (in Meiji Period) in 1896. As the Kokumin Kyokai was bureaucratically inclined, it did not take sides with either the Liberal Party or the Shinpoto. The Kokumin Kyokai sought to realize the "tripartite factions" in the Diet by remaining to be a third party, but the association ended up dissolving itself in 1899 as it failed to extend the political power.

[Original Japanese]