Empire of Japan

Empire of Japan

  • 大日本帝國 (Japanese)
  • Dai Nippon Teikoku
Anthem: 君が代
(His Imperial Majesty's Reign)
The Empire of Japan at its peak in 1942:    Territory (1870–1895)    Acquisitions (1895–1930)    Acquisitions (1930–1942)
The Empire of Japan at its peak in 1942:
   Territory (1870–1895)
   Acquisitions (1895–1930)
   Acquisitions (1930–1942)
CapitalKyoto (1868–1869)[1]
Tokyo City (1869–1943)
Tokyo (1943–1947)
Common languagesJapanese
De jure: None
De facto: State Shinto[nb 1]
• 1868–1912
• 1912–1926
• 1926–1947
Prime Minister 
• 1885–1888 (first)
Itō Hirobumi
• 1946–1947 (last)
Shigeru Yoshida
LegislatureImperial Diet
House of Peers
House of Representatives
Historical eraMeiji • Taishō • Shōwa
3 January 1868[7]
29 November 1890
25 July 1894
8 February 1904
23 August 1914
18 September 1931
7 July 1937
7 December 1941
2 September 1945
3 May 1947[6]
1938[8]1,984,000 km2 (766,000 sq mi)
• 1920
• 1940
CurrencyJapanese yen,
Korean yen,
Taiwanese yen,
Japanese military yen
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Tokugawa shogunate
Occupied Japan
  1. 56.0 million lived in Japan proper.[9]
  2. 73.1 million lived in Japan proper.[9]
Empire of Japan
Japanese name
Empire of Japan
Official Term name
Official TermEmpire of Japan
Literal Translation name
Literal TranslationImperial State of Great Japan

The Empire of Japan (大日本帝國, Dai Nippon Teikoku, literally "Empire of Great Japan")[10] was the historical nation-state[nb 2] and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.[6]

Japan's rapid industrialization and militarization under the slogan Fukoku Kyōhei (富國強兵, "Enrich the Country, Strengthen her Armed Forces") and Shokusan Kōgyō (殖産興業, "Promote Industry") led to its emergence as a world power and the establishment of a colonial empire following the First Sino-Japanese War, the Boxer Rebellion, the Russo-Japanese War, and World War I. Economic and political turmoil in the 1920s led to the rise of militarism and totalitarianism, eventually culminating in Japan's membership in the Axis alliance and the conquest of a large part of the Asia-Pacific in World War II.[13]

Japan's armed forces initially achieved large-scale military successes during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and the Pacific War. However, after many Allied victories and following the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan on August 9, 1945, and subsequent invasion of Manchuria and other territories, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Empire surrendered to the Allies on August 15, 1945. A period of occupation by the Allies followed. In 1947, with American involvement, a new constitution was enacted, officially bringing the Empire of Japan to an end. Occupation and reconstruction continued until 1952, eventually forming the current constitutional monarchy known as Japan.

The Emperors during this time, which spanned the entire Meiji, Taishō, and the lesser part of the Shōwa era, are now known in Japan by their posthumous names, which coincide with those era names: Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito), Emperor Taishō (Yoshihito), and Emperor Shōwa (Hirohito).


The historical state is frequently referred to as the "Empire of Japan", the "Japanese Empire", or "Imperial Japan" in English. In Japanese it is referred to as Dai Nippon Teikoku (大日本帝國),[10] which translates to "Empire of Great Japan" (Dai "Great", Nippon "Japanese", Teikoku "Empire"). Teikoku is itself composed of the nouns Tei "referring to an emperor" and -koku "nation, state", so literally "Imperial State" or "Imperial Realm" (compare the German Kaiserreich).

This meaning is significant in terms of geography, encompassing Japan and its surrounding areas. The nomenclature Empire of Japan had existed since the anti-Tokugawa domains, Satsuma and Chōshū, which founded their new government during the Meiji Restoration, with the intention of forming a modern state to resist Western domination.

Due to its name in kanji characters and its flag, it was also given the exonym "Empire of the Sun".

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: Yaponiya İmperiyası
беларуская: Японская імперыя
Esperanto: Japana Imperio
français: Empire du Japon
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Thai Ngi̍t-pún Ti-koet
한국어: 일본 제국
Bahasa Indonesia: Kekaisaran Jepang
Bahasa Melayu: Empayar Jepun
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Dâi-nĭk-buōng Dá̤-guók
Nederlands: Japans Keizerrijk
日本語: 大日本帝国
português: Império do Japão
Simple English: Empire of Japan
slovenščina: Japonski imperij
српски / srpski: Јапанско царство
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Japansko Carstvo
татарча/tatarça: Япон империясе
українська: Японська імперія