The Rito (Party of Officials) (吏党)

The Rito party was a political party that supported the Meiji government at an early Imperial Diet during the mid-Meiji period. The term was originally a derogatory term used by the Minto party who supported the Movement for Liberty and People's Rights, and at the time they, and the media, called themselves "Onwaha."

In time with the opening of the Imperial Diet, a movement to the Daido assembly happened among the old minor parties supporting the Jiyu Minken Undo on the sidelines of opening of the Imperial Diet, the conservative councilors who opposed the movement assembled in a move to counteract them. One example being the Taiseikai (Great Achievement party) that was established after the first general election of members of the House of Representatives. They were not entirely pro-government from the start (for example, they stood with the Minto party against the government's suppression of free speech) but they ultimately sided with the government as they held many of the same sentiments, especially in their opposition of the Jiyu Minken Undo and the Daido Ketsudan Undo.
In response, the Rikken Jiyuto (Constitutional Liberal Party) and the Rikken Kaishinto (Constitutional Progressive Party, who handled the Jiyu Minken Undo, began calling them the 'Rito' in disapproval (Shusui KOTOKU pointed at Chomin NAKAE as being the person to coin the phrase.)

Although the Taiseikai party was dissolved shortly after, it was later taken over by the Chuo kosho-bu (Central Negotiating Section), and Tomofusa SASSA set up the Kokumin Kyokai (National Union Party in Japan) appointing Yajiro SHINAGAWA as a leader in 1892, thereby completing the framework of the the Rito party core. However, their relationship with the government gradually soured as the Kokumin Kyokai had the highest percentage of nationalists, and especially during the Second Ito Cabinet, the Kokumin Kyokai conversely organized the Koroppa (hard-line six parties) cooperating with the Rikken Kaishinto by accusing the Cabinet of forwarding the revision of a treaty while the Jiyuto (Liberal Party of Japan), the hard core of the Minto party, approached the government and took concerted action, and thus the Rito party and Minto party were no long entirely 'pro-government' or 'anti-government'. Eventually the term 'Yoto)the ruling party)' and the 'Yato (opposition party)' were used in their stead. When the Kokumin Kyokai turned over to Teikokuto (Imperialist party), some members broke off from the group and and formed the Seiyukai (Association of Friends of Constitutional Government) together with the Kenseito (Constitutional Party), which was the incoming party of the Jiyuto, and the Hanbatsu Kanryo (domain government officials, a political party of Hirobumi ITO), and soon the political layout was mostly the Seiyukai against their opponents, that the terms 'Rito' and 'Minto' eventually lost their original meaning.. Before long, each opposing parties of the Seiyukai started to gather in the Rikken Doshikai (Association of Believers of Constitutional Government) transcending the framework, while some also joined the Kenseikai, and the words, the 'Rito' and the 'Minto' were a thing of the past.

[Original Japanese]