The movement to unite for a common purpose (大同団結運動)

The movement to unite for a common purpose refers to a unification movement took place between 1887 and 1889 among factions of the Freedom and People's Rights Movement to prepare for the establishment of the Imperial Diet.

The Freedom and People's Rights Movement once declined because of the government's oppression, which led Liberal Party (Meiji Period) to dissolve and the Constitutional Progressive Party to halt its activities, but in 1887, when so called the petition movement of three major events happened, Shojiro GOTO, a leader of former Liberal Party, advocated the reunion of factions of the Freedom and People's Rights Movement to prepare for upcoming of the first House of Representatives election and he called for the establishment of parliamentary government within the Imperial Diet to deal with difficult problems such as treaty revision, a land tax, and financial affairs; in March of the same year, he got principal members of former Liberal Party and the Constitutional Progressive Party to participate, which triggered the movement to unite for a common purpose.

However, Taisuke ITAGAKI, former president of the Liberal Party, distanced himself from the movement because he was alienated and Shigenobu OKUMA of the Constitutional Progressive Party was skeptical. Against this movement, the government enacted hoan jorei (regulations for the preservation of law and order) to oppress those activists on December 26 of the same year, whereas Shigenobu OKUMA was appointed to the First Ito Cabinet as a Minister of Foreign Affairs in February, 1888 (the following year) to separate the Constitutional Progressive Party from the movement. At the same time, within the former Liberal Party, there was a confrontation between two groups: one led by Hironaka KONO (seisha group) who aimed to form a temporary political organization to prepare for the election which would be a parent organization of a new political party and the other led by Kentaro OI (hi-seisha group) who aimed to restore Liberal Party rather than form a new political party now that the Constitutional Progressive Party left and emphasized that it was not a time to think about a new political party. However, Shojiro GOTO, the leader of the movement, was appointed to the Kuroda Cabinet as a Minister of Communications and announced that he would withdraw from the movement in February, 1889 (It is said that Itagaki, who was displeased that he was alienated from the movement to unite for a common purpose, and Governor Tametomo TOKITO of Kochi Prefecture, who was a close associate of Seiki KURODA, encouraged Goto to enter the Cabinet), which led the movement to be divided into two groups: Daido kurabu (uniting for a common purpose club) led by KONO and Daido Kyowakai (uniting for a common purpose harmonious meeting) led by Oi, and then the movement virtually collapsed. Nevertheless, Oi launched a restoration campaign of Liberal Party in vain, and in 1890 (the following year), together with Chomin NAKAE and others, he declared the restoration of the Liberal Party on their own. However, once the Imperial Diet was actually held and a confrontation between People's Rights-leaning minto (general term of the political parties such as Liberal Party) and the government became intense, the trend became stronger to give support to Taisuke ITAGAKI, who had distanced himself from the movement to unite for a common purpose, and then this led to the discussion toward reunifying former Liberal Party; in the end of the year, the Constitutional Liberal Party was organized by Oi's Liberal Party and Daido kurabu and supported Itagaki. In the meantime, Shojiro GOTO and his followers consequently lost support and organized Kokumin Liberal Party (National Liberal Party), which turned into a government-leaning party; however, they could gain only five parliamentary seats in the first general election, which barely bestowed them much political clout. The ill feelings of the division of the movement to unite for a common purpose were carried into the new Constitutional Liberal Party, which would be an underlying cause to undermine organizational unity of Tosa school of Liberal Party by the First Yamagata Cabinet which would come into power.

[Original Japanese]