Meiji 5 (明治五年)
Timeline of 1872
- Meiji 4/12 (January 1872) Narahara Shigeru and Ijichi Sadaka lead an Imperial mission to Shuri, to discuss various matters relating to Ryukyuan obligations to Satsuma han, and policies Tokyo wishes to implement in the Ryukyus.
- 1872/1 Ijichi Sadaka meets with the Ryukyuan regent to discuss administrative policy in the islands, under the new Meiji government.
- 1872/3/10 The Tokyo National Museum opens.
- 1872/4 Order Number 133, issued by the Ministry of State, abolishes public laws against the breach by clergy of their Buddhist vows.
- 1872/4/24 Deputy Finance Minister Inoue Kaoru suggests ending Ryûkyû's tributary relations with China and incorporating Ryûkyû into Japan. The Minister of the Left opposes this suggestion, arguing that Ryûkyû should remain subordinate and not be made a han or otherwise counted as naichi, and further that since the Ryukyuans are ethnically not Japanese, the Ryukyuan king and royal family should not be made kazoku (Japanese aristocracy).
- 1872/5 The first railroad stations and lines are opened, connecting Yokohama (today, Sakuragichô Station) with Shinagawa.
- 1872/5 Officials from Tokyo meet with Ryukyuan officials to discuss economic matters, including the end of the minting of Okinawan coinage (which had been minted in Satsuma up until that point).
- 1872/c. 6 The Meiji Emperor begins an Imperial tour of the provinces in Kagoshima, visiting Tsurumaru castle and the Shûseikan factory complex, among other sites.
- 1872/7/12 The Meiji government requests, via the authorities in Kagoshima prefecture, that the Ryûkyû Kingdom is ordered to send messengers to officially congratulate the Meiji Emperor on the success of the Meiji Restoration.
- 1872/7/16 Prince Ie Chôchoku and Giwan Chôho are nominated to lead a mission of thirty-five Ryukyuan officials to Tokyo.
- 1872/7/25 The Ryukyuan mission departs Ryûkyû.
- 1872/9/2 Prince Ie and Giwan Chôho arrive at Shinagawa.
- 1872/9 The railroad connecting Yokohama to Shinagawa is extended to Shinbashi (Shiodome), and is officially opened by the Meiji Emperor.
- 1872/9/14 Prince Ie and Giwan Chôho ueekata meet with Emperor Meiji. They are informed of the annexation by Japan of the kingdom as Ryûkyû han, and the "promotion" of King Shô Tai to "Lord of Ryûkyû han" and a member of the peerage. The envoys return to Okinawa and inform King Shô Tai of this development.
- 1872/9/18 (Oct 20) Charles DeLong, US Diplomatic Minister resident in Japan, writes to Foreign Minister Soejima Taneomi, asking if the Japanese government was going to honor provisions agreed to in treaties between the Ryûkyû Kingdom and foreign powers.
- 1872/9/23-27 Soejima Taneomi meets with Charles DeLong and Charles LeGendre (legal and policy advisor to the Meiji government), and is advised that since the Chinese do not exert effective (de facto) control over certain sections of Taiwan - those dominated by aborigines - the territory is essentially terra nullius, and if Japan were to occupy the territory, under Western/modern international law, it could be rightfully Japan's.
- 1872/9 The Kingdom of Ryûkyû is released from its vassal status under Kagoshima prefecture (formerly Satsuma han), and comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The zaiban bugyôsho (Satsuma's office in Ryûkyû) is abolished, and replaced by an office of the Foreign Ministry, albeit with many of the same Satsuma/Kagoshima staff.
- 1872/9/28 A Dajôkan Proclamation has the official copies of Ryûkyû's formal treaties with the US, France, and the Netherlands confiscated by Tokyo.
- 1872/12/2 The last day of the use of the lunar calendar.
Other Events of 1872
- A school is established in Tokyo for the assimilation/education of the Ainu.
- The Asiatic Society of Japan, a scholarly association of Western scholars, is established in Yokohama.
- The word bijutsu ("art") is coined, in connection with the 1873 Vienna Exposition the following year.
- The first official photo portraits of Emperor Meiji are taken by Uchida Kuichi (72 shots in the first session).
- Fukuchiyama castle is destroyed.
- Geisha spectacles including Miyako odori and Kamogawa odori are first performed.
- The Hokkaido Land Regulation Ordinance incorporates Hokkaido, formerly known as Ezo, more fully into Japanese territory.
- Karatsu castle is destroyed.
- Kôki calendar system, counting years from the mythical ascension of Emperor Jimmu in 660 BCE, is established.
- The koseki (family register) system is established.
- Kururi castle is destroyed.
- The 1872 Kyoto Exposition includes the introduction of the ryûrei style of tea ceremony, conducted seated on chairs at a table.
- French-born American Charles LeGendre is hired as an advisor by the Japanese government.
- Maria Luz Incident - a Peruvian ship carrying Chinese coolies calls at Yokohama, leading to a diplomatic incident when the coolies declare they are being mistreated and request aid from Japanese authorities.
- Matsudaira Katamori ends his self-imposed confinement entered following the Boshin War.
- The Morita-za kabuki theater is moved from Saruwaka-chô to Shintomi-chô, and rebuilt as a larger structure. This was the first time a theatre opened or operated outside of Saruwaka-chô since the 1842 edict restricting the theatres to that district.
- The Ministry of Education organizes an art exhibition at the Yushima Seidô in Tokyo. This is considered the first Domestic Exposition in Japan. Some 190,000 people attend.
- Nationwide system of elementary schools is established.
- Nishio castle is torn down.
- Odawara castle is torn down.
- The government issues the Ordinance Relating to Public Morals (Ishiki kaii jorei), banning the sale or consumption of sexually explicit art.
- The Prostitute Emancipation Act (geishôgi kaihôrei) is issued; burakumin and certain types of bonded laborers and servants are also granted a certain degree of freedom, liberties, and rights.
- Yanagihara Sakimitsu, a Japanese official in Shanghai, reports back to Japan about the Taiwan Incident of 1871, in which 54 Ryuykuans were killed by Taiwanese aborigines.
- Ryukyuan survivors of the Taiwan incident are returned to Ryukyu via Fuzhou. King Shô Tai sends his official thanks to the Chinese emperor and authorities for rescuing and returning his subjects.
- Saigô Tanomo, confined since the end of the battle of Hakodate, is released.
- Takatô castle is destroyed.
- The Tsukiji Hotel (completed 1868) is destroyed by fire.
- Western clothing is made mandatory for government and other official circumstances.
- Women are banned from having men's short haircuts.
- Yamaoka Tesshû becomes a chamberlain to Emperor Meiji.
- Yanagawa castle burns down.
Births and Deaths
- Mercator Cooper dies (b. 1803).
- Higuchi Ichiyô is born (d. 1896)
- Nagaoka Kenkichi dies.
- Shimazaki Tôson is born (d. 1943).
- Rôshigumi member Shimizu Goroichi dies.
- Yamauchi Toyoshige, lord of Tosa han, dies.
- Yamanouchi Toyosuke dies (b. 1794).
- Zeng Guofan dies (b. 1811).