The Satchodohi (Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa and Hizen Domains) (薩長土肥)

The Satchodohi was a generic name of 4 Domains, Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa and Hizen, which were called 'Yuhan (powerful domain)' in the late Edo Period, implemented the Meiji Restoration and supplied people for major government service in the Meiji Government. The key people are called 'Genkun (oligarch with merit)', 'Genkun of Meiji', or 'Genkun of the Restoration'.

The Satchodo (Satsuma, Choshu and Tosa Domains) formed a partnership through exchanges held among nationalist patriots from these three domains in the late Edo period, as well as through the Satsuma-Choshu Alliance and the Satsuma-Tosa Alliance. Especially Satcho, having started domain duty reform far earlier than the other domains, were quick to deal with the uncertainties of the changing times such as the chaotic situation caused by the opening Japan to the world by the Unequal Treaty and the ending of the Edo period, so they threw up many major figures in the overthrow of the Shogunate including martyrs.

The Hizen Domain, which had been indifferent to the movement of overthrowing the Tokugawa shogunate since the Boshin War but had made progress in Domain duty reforms, was one of 'Yuhan,' so the Satchodo considered the Hizen Domain as their collaborator and let it supply its people for the Meiji Restoration government.

Because of this, the Satchodohi briefly monopolized almost all the higher ranks of government services in the Meiji Government and were referred to as the domain clique government. However, virtually since the inauguration of the new government, the Meiji Government was administered in an environment of severe conflict over authority and policy among the former members of the Four Domains. The people coming from Satcho were in the middle ranks of the government and the military, however, while some people from Hizen remained in the Meiji Government, others made an attack against the Satcho Government. For better or worse, it can be said that the affairs of state in the Meiji period were under the leadership of Satchodohi.

In 1869, these Four Domains simultaneously took the role of national leadership in submitting a plan of Hanseki-hokan (return of lands and people to the emperor), and led the returning of lands and people of the various domains of the entire nation to the emperor.

In 1871, again, the Four Domains simultaneously took the role of national leadership in reporting a plan of the Haihan-chiken (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures) to the emperor, and led the abolition of the various domains of the entire nation.

Because on July 14, 1871 it was decided that each domain in the Satchodohi should supply one Sangi (councilor) to the Sangi cabinet, which effectively had the final say of constitutional matters (according to the order in which they were recommended, the members of the Sangi cabinet were Kogoro KATSURA from Choshu, Takamori SAIGO from Satsuma, Shigenobu OKUMA from Hizen, and Taisuke ITAGAKI from Tosa); thereafter, a majority of the Sangi cabinet was made up of people from the Satchodohi.

In October, 1875, Taisuke ITAGAKI from Tosa resigned from the Meiji Government for the second time following the political change which had happened in 1873, and while educating the nation's people, he initiated a course of action to prepare for the liberalization of parliamentary procedure from outside of the Meiji Government.

In October, 1881, Shigenobu OKUMA from Hizen, who requested the enactment of a radical parliamentary system, had to resign from the Meiji Government because of the political change which happened in the same year, and like Itagaki, he initiated a campaign to seek a constitution and a parliamentary government like those of Great Britain from outside of the Meiji Government.

In June, 1898, the Meiji Government established the Waihan Cabinet (Prime Minister: Shigenobu OKUMA, the Minister of Dometic Affairs (Japan): Taisuke ITAGAKI, both were shuhan [chairman of their respective parties]) organized by Kenseito (a political party in the Meiji period in Japan) as the first party cabinet in Japan.

In April, 1914, due to the mass resignation of the first Yamamoto cabinet and the abortive attempt to form the Keigo KIYOURA government, the Genro (elder statesmen) had no alternative but to nominate Shigenobu OKUMA as the shuhan again and order him to be imperial commander letting down the imperial command and made him establish the second OKUMA Government, which resulted in infamous one especially after the Showa War.

[Original Japanese]