Kogisho (Lower House) (公議所)

The Kogisho (Lower House) was the legislative body that was established in the beginning of Meiji era. It was opened on March 7, 1869. It was composed of komu-nin (public-servants) (that was renamed to kogi-nin on August 20) selected from each domain and various schools, and it was invested with the right of introducing bills. The chairman was Tanetatsu AKIZUKI who came from Takanabe Domain. The acting chairman was Arinori MORI who came from Satsuma Domain. The deputy chairman was Kohei KANDA who was former retainer of shogun.

Komu-nin (kogi-nin) were selected one each representing government, each school in affiliation with governments, each domain, no one representing prefectures, and counseled in 19 departments. The tenure was set down 4 years and half of the members were to run in an election on the expiration of their tenure every two years.

Although the Kogisho existed such a short period as one year an several months, it is now under reassessment since it introduced many progressive bills like prohibition on seppuku (Hara-kiri), abolition of swards, abolition of Eta and Hinin (the lowest rank of Japan's Edo-period caste system) in recent years.

However, the Kogisho was renamed to the Shugiin in order to clip its power on July 8, 1869 by the Meiji Government who feared the Kogisho because it began to hold independent influence like such innovative proposals that the Meiji Government didn't anticipate at all.

Incidentally, it is said that Kogi derived from Kogi-seitai-ron (parliamentary regime theory) that was then widely advocated without regard to anti-Shogunate group or Sabaku-ha (supporters of the Shogun), and Ouetsu-reppan alliance (alliance of strong domains in the northern part of Japan) also used the name of Kogisho (established at Shiraishi castle) for the assembly body of representatives of the domains who opposed to the Meiji Government at Boshin War.

[Original Japanese]