皇后陛下「かつて、あきる野市の五日市を訪れた時、郷土館で見せて頂いた五日市憲法草案のことをしきりに思い出しておりました。」

empress_michiko
皇后陛下お誕生日に際してのご近影

皇后陛下お誕生日に際し(平成25年)
http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/okotoba/01/kaiken/gokaito-h25sk.html

皇后陛下:
5月の憲法記念日をはさみ,今年は憲法をめぐり,例年に増して盛んな論議が取り交わされていたように感じます。主に新聞紙上でこうした論議に触れながら,かつて,あきる野市の五日市を訪れた時,郷土館で見せて頂いた「五日市憲法草案」のことをしきりに思い出しておりました。明治憲法の公布(明治22年)に先立ち,地域の小学校の教員,地主や農民が,寄り合い,討議を重ねて書き上げた民間の憲法草案で,基本的人権の尊重や教育の自由の保障及び教育を受ける義務,法の下の平等,更に言論の自由,信教の自由など,204条が書かれており,地方自治権等についても記されています。当時これに類する民間の憲法草案が,日本各地の少なくとも40数か所で作られていたと聞きましたが,近代日本の黎明期に生きた人々の,政治参加への強い意欲や,自国の未来にかけた熱い願いに触れ,深い感銘を覚えたことでした。長い鎖国を経た19世紀末の日本で,市井の人々の間に既に育っていた民権意識を記録するものとして,世界でも珍しい文化遺産ではないかと思います。

Press Conference on the occasion of Her Majesty’s Birthday (Written Answers) (2013)
http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/e-okotoba/01/press/gokaito-h25sk.html

Her Majesty Empress Michiko of Japan:
It seems to me that this year, before and after the Constitution Memorial Day in May, we saw more active discussion regarding the constitution than in previous years. As I followed the discussion, mainly in the papers, I recalled the Itsukaichi Constitution Draft, which we once saw at the Folk Museum of Itsukaichi during our visit to Itsukaichi in Akiruno City. Many years before the Meiji Constitution was promulgated in 1890, the local elementary school teachers, village heads, farmers, and other common people gathered together, and after much deliberation, drew up a private draft constitution. The constitution contains 204 articles, including those about respect for basic human rights, guarantee of freedom of education, the obligation to receive education, equality under law, as well as freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and it also mentions local autonomy. I was told that similar draft constitutions were drawn up by the people in more than 40 places across Japan at the time. I was deeply impressed by the strong desire for political participation of the people who lived at the dawn of modern Japan and their passionate hopes for the future of our country. As a document of how ordinary citizens in Japan had already developed an awareness of civil rights at the end of the 19th century, in a country which was just opening up after years of closure, I think it is a rare cultural asset in the world.
…….

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