genro

genro
/gen roh", gen"roh/, n., pl. genro.
any of the unofficial elder statesmen of Japan who influenced the government c1875-1940.
[1875-80; < Japn genro senior statesman (from a reference in the Book of Odes) < MChin, equiv. to Chin yuán original, first + lao old]

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(Japanese; "principal elders")

Extraconstitutional oligarchy that dominated the Japanese government from the promulgation of the Meiji Constitution (1889) to the early 1930s.

The genro were men who had played a leading role in the 1868 Meiji Restoration. Their caretaking role outside the official government structure continued the Japanese tradition of having actual authority wielded by forces other than the titular authority. See also Fujiwara family; Hōjō family; Itō Hirobumi; Yamagata Aritomo.

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▪ Japanese oligarchy
Japanese  Genrō 

      (“principal elders”), extraconstitutional oligarchy that dominated the Japanese government from the promulgation of the Meiji Constitution (1889) to the early 1930s. The genro were men who had played a leading role in the 1868 Meiji Restoration (the overthrow of feudal rule) and in the organization of the new government that followed this revolution. After the constitution was promulgated, these men became personal counselors to the throne, a position that allowed them virtually to run the bureaucracy, though they rarely assumed overt power for themselves. Important figures in the group were Itō Hirobumi, framer of the constitution; Yamagata Aritomo, who modernized the army; and Saionji Kimmochi, the last survivor and most liberal of the group.

      Between 1900 and 1920 the strength of the genro as a governing body was reduced by differences among its members and by the growing need of the Japanese government for public support. The institution ended with the death of Saionji in 1940.

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Universalium. 2010.

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