Kyogaku Seishi (教学聖旨)

Kyogaku Seishi is an education policy presented to Sangi (Councilors) Hirobumi ITO and Munenori TERASHIMA (also the Mombukyo [chief of the Ministry of Education]) by the Meiji Emperor in 1879.

It consisted of two parts: a section called 'Kyoiku Taishi', which provided an overall outline; and a section called 'Shogaku Jomoku Niken', which provided a description of primary school education. Opposed to the thought-provoking education policy of the Meiji government that had been in place since the Government Order of Education in Japan, Kyogaku Seishi wanted to return to the type of Confucian-centered educational system that had been pursued prior to the Meiji period; he believed that just practical learning with the main focus on reading, writing and arithmetic combined with the teaching of Confucian-type virtues was sufficient for the masses.

However, Ito was enraged when he found out that the actual writer of the document was a jiho (Emperor's aide) Nagazane MOTODA who was well known as a conservative Confucianist. For a long time, Ito had been wary of Motoda who was known for his adverse opinion towards the modernization of Japan, and Ito immediately wrote 'Kyoikugi' (Proposition on Education) protesting vehemently that Motoda's view is the unrealistic theory; and thus they fiercely confronted each other. Soon Ito decided to abolish the role of jiho but agreed to strengthen moral education to hold out against the Jiyu Minken Undo (Movement for Liberty and People's Right) and decided to allow the continuation of the government's education policy.

However, with the deepening of the Meiji Emperor's trust for Motoda who insisted on direct rule by the Emperor and raised frontal objection to the Meiji government's plan to establish a constitutional state, Ito struggled with the dissociation between the government's policy and the Emperor's intention. On the other hand, Motoda's idea was not realized in its original form but his Confucian and absolute Imperialism was realized in the form of the "Kyoiku Chokugo" (Imperial Rescript on Education).

[Original Japanese]