Meiji, aka Emperor Meiji or Meiji the Great, personal name Mutsuhito
We lack superior institutions for high female culture. Our women should not be ignorant of those great principles on which the happiness of daily life frequently depends. How important the education of mothers, on whom future generations almost wholly rely for the early cultivation of those intellectual tastes which an enlightened system of training is designed to develop!
With diligent and united efforts, manifested by all classes and conditions of people throughout the empire, we may successively attain the highest degrees of civilization within our reach, and shall experience no serious difficulty in maintaining power, independence and respect among the nations.
After careful study and observation, I am deeply impressed with the belief that the most powerful and enlightened nations of the world are those who have made diligent effort to cultivate their minds, and sought to develop their country in the fullest and most perfect manner.
From you, nobles of this realm, whose dignified position is honored and conspicuous in the eyes of
I have to-day assembled your honorable body in our presence chamber, that I might first express to you my intentions, and in foreshadowing my policy also impress you all with the fact that both this government and people will expect from you diligence and wisdom while leading and encouraging those in your several districts to move forward in paths of progress. Remember your responsibility to your country is both great and important. Whatever our natural capacity for intellectual development, diligent effort and cultivation are required to attain successful results.
If we would profit by the useful arts and sciences and conditions of society prevailing among more enlightened nations, we must either study those at home as best we can, or send abroad an expedition of practical observers to foreign lands competent to acquire for us those things our people lack which are best calculated to benefit this nation.
Liberty is therefore granted wives and sisters to accompany their relatives on foreign tours, that they may acquaint themselves with better forms of female education, and on their return introduce beneficial improvement in the training of our children.
The people at large, I ask and expect conduct well becoming your exalted position, ever calculated to endorse by your personal example those goodly receipts to be employed hereafter in elevating the masses of our people.
Thus convinced, it becomes my responsible duty as a sovereign to lead our people wisely in a way to attain for them results beneficial, and their duty is to assist diligently and unitedly in all efforts to attain these ends. How otherwise can Japan advance and sustain herself upon an independent footing among the nations of the world?
To you, nobles, I look for endorsement of these views; fulfill my best expectations, by carrying out these suggestions, and you will perform faithfully your individual duties to the satisfaction of the people of Japan.
Travel in foreign countries, properly indulged in, will increase your store of useful knowledge, and although some of you may be advanced in age, unfitted for the vigorous study of new ways, all may bring back to our people much valuable in formation. Great national defects require immediate remedies.
Knowledge shall be sought for all over the world and thus shall be strengthened the foundation of the imperial polity.
Mr. President [Ulysses S. Grant]: Whereas since our accession by the blessing of heaven to the sacred throne on which our ancestors reigned from time immemorial, we have not dispatched any embassy to the Courts and Governments of friendly countries. We have thought fit to select our trusted and honored minister, Iwakura Tomomi, the Junior Prime Minister (udaijin), as Ambassador Extraordinary … and invested [him] with full powers to proceed to the Government of the United States, as well as to other Governments, in order to declare our cordial friendship, and to place the peaceful relations between our respective nations on a firmer and broader basis. The period for revising the treaties now existing between ourselves and the United States is less than one year distant. We expect and intend to reform and improve the same so as to stand upon a similar footing with the most enlightened nations, and to attain the full development of public rights and interest. The civilization and institutions of Japan are so different from those of other countries that we cannot expect to reach the declared end at once. It is our purpose to select from the various institutions prevailing among enlightened nations such as are best suited to our present conditions, and adapt them in gradual reforms and improvement s o f or our policy and customs so as to be upon an equality with them. With this object we desire to fully disclose to the United States Government the constitution of affairs in our Empire, and to consult upon the means of giving greater efficiency to our institutions at present and in the future, and as soon as the said Embassy returns home we will consider the revision of the treaties and accomplish what we have expected and intended… Your affectionate brother and friend, Mutsuhito , Sanjō Sanetomi, Prime Minister