1997 年 12 巻 p. 98-109,290
I have estimated the population under the single election system of the Meiji era in Japan, and, making use of the number of electors in each constituency and its poll, made a fundamental analysis of this election system on the constituency basis. The points I have made are:
1. At the time of the enactment of the system, the actual population of each constituency was in most cases large enough to clear the standard. The ratio of the population of the biggest constituency to that of smallest was less than 2, namely 1.97, with the exception of 6 constituencies.
2. The total population had greatly increased by the 31st year of the Meiji era and the ratio mentioned above had reached 6.0, with the exception of island constituencies. The system itself was in urgent need of some change to secure ‘fairness’.
3. Since the system was a selective one, the ratio of the number of electors in the biggest constituency to that of the smallest was 88.2 and there was no ‘fairness’ in this sense from the beginning.
4. At the fifth general election, carried out in the 31st year of the Meiji era, the total number of electors was almost the same as the first.
5. The system admitted new electors through the introduction of voting rights by ‘business tax’ in contract to the existing right by ‘land tax’. In constituencies with large numbers of ‘new’ electors, however, abstention became common. In most constituencies with much smaller numbers, it proved that they were no match for the landowners, and this very fact provided an objective basis for the ‘city constituency movement’.
This analysis is but the first step and there is still a lot to be done. What is of necessity is to organize the data used here with achievements in other disciplines such as geography and to classify constituencies. My plan is to define what relations there were between the types of constituencies and various other data such as election results, so as to find how effective the Meiji election system was.