Searching for the "National Clothes" - "From the Iwakura Mission to the Meiji Constitution ~ The man who went from a poor farmer to becoming the First Prime Minister of Japan" Special Lecture Held by JICA Chair in Paraguay and Argentine.


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Professor Kazuhiro Takii, Center for International Japan Studies (Nichibunken), was dispatched as a lecturer and held a special lecture for the JICA Chair program in collaboration with local universities as follows:

Paraguay June 20 (Tue) National University of Asuncion (UNA) June 21 (Wed) National University of Itapúa (UNI)
Argentina June 26 (Mon) National University of La Plata (UNLP)

Dr. Takii specializes in research from the perspective of development and the history of international relations. After moving up from the doctoral program at the Faculty of Law and Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University, he served as an assistant at Kyoto University and as professor at the University of Hyogo. In 2010, he won the Suntory Gakugei Prize for his book "Ito Hirobumi: Intellectual Politician" (Chuo Koron Shinsha), and, in 2022 his book, “Toshimichi Okubo: A Leader Who Connects Knowledge (Shinchosha)”, won the 76th Mainichi Shuppan Culture Award.

Professor Takii gave a lecture focusing on the people involved in the new "nation-building" after the Meiji Restoration, and on what kind of background, experience they have, etc., and how they worked on the modernization of Japan going through human stories.

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Iwakura Mission, Nichibunken is working on a manga, produce in collaboration with Kyoto Seika University / Kyoto International Manga Museum, where the main characters appeared. Through the challenges of the Iwakura Mission 150 years ago, he provided the audience with an opportunity to think about what the modernization of Japan was. The lecture was very easy to understand, the participants listened attentively, and the participants highly evaluated the conference as "impressive" as well as the academics of the universities.



© Nichibunken

The key message in the lecture is as follows:

Iwakura Mission; to find national clothes

  • Even in Western civilization, there are various countries, and the degree of development varies depending on the history and tradition, so we should accumulate national power in a form commensurate with the national situation without rushing.
  • As if to tailor clothes to suit our appearance, the nation needs a constitution. The state has a constitution, and the shape of the country becomes clear.

Itō Hirobumi and the enactment of the Meiji Constitution; Meeting with Professor von Stein (University of Vienna)

  • What Stein taught is that it will not work if you make a constitution alone, and that in order to work the constitution, you must reshape the "shape of the country" accordingly.
  • In order to prevent the government from ceasing, it is important to establish the organization and operation of the government, establish a cabinet system to lead the administration, and universities to develop human resources who will be responsible for administrative activities.

Hirobumi Ito's thoughts;

  • Considering his background as a poor farmer, he wanted to create a society where talented and knowledgeable people can demonstrate it.
  • The Constitution is a mechanism for conducting politics together with knowledgeable citizens.
  • Parliament is supposed to be a place where elected members of the people can discuss, exchange knowledge, make compromises and concessions, and bring harmony. ⇒ Challenges of democracy around the world.



(With students and related parties at the National
University of Asuncion)


(President of the University of Itapua and Vice President and Professor Takii)


showed a strong interest in the content of Professor Takii's presentations, and the discussion was held in a friendly atmosphere from beginning to end.


(Lecture at Universidad Nacional de la Plata)



(Meeting with experts from the Argentine Council on International Relations)

Future Initiatives

The series of lectures and exchange of opinions by Professor Takii received high praise at each of the places visited, and from now on, JICA Chair Program will be enhanced and strengthened in each country through collaboration with the International Research Center for Japan Studies (NICHIBUNKEN).