Empire of Japan

Empire of Japan
  • 大日本帝國 (Japanese)
  • Dai Nippon Teikoku
Motto: 1868–1912:
Gokajō no Goseimon
(Charter Oath)
(The Oath in Five Articles)
Hakkō ichiu
(The World Under One Roof)
(All Eight Corners of the World)
(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)
Common languagesJapanese
Religion De jure: None
De facto: State Shinto[nb 1]
Constitutional monarchy
(1890–1940, 1945–1947)[5]
One-party totalitarian military dictatorship under an absolute monarchy (1940–1945)
Supreme Commander for the Allies (1945–1947)
• 1868–1912
• 1912–1926
• 1926–1947
Prime Minister 
• 1885–1888
Itō Hirobumi
• 1946–1947
Shigeru Yoshida
LegislatureImperial Diet
House of Peers
House of Representatives
Historical eraMeiji, Taishō, Shōwa
January 3, 1868[8]
November 29, 1890
July 25, 1894
February 10, 1904
August 23, 1914
September 18, 1931
September 2, 1945
May 2, 1947[5]
1938[9]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
Ryukyu Kingdom
Taiwan under Qing rule
Russian Empire
Korean Empire
German New Guinea
British Hong Kong
French Indochina
Commonwealth of the Philippines
British Malaya
British Borneo
Straits Settlements
Dutch East Indies
British rule in Burma
Occupied Japan
United States Military Government of the Ryukyu Islands
United States Army Military Government in Korea
Soviet Civil Administration in Korea
Sakhalin Oblast
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
British Hong Kong
French Indochina
Commonwealth of the Philippines
British Military Administration in Malaya
British Military Administration in Borneo
Dutch East Indies
British rule in Burma
  1. 56.0 million lived in Japan proper.[10]
  2. 73.1 million lived in Japan proper.[10]
Empire of Japan
Official Term name
Official TermEmpire of Japan
Literal Translation name
Literal TranslationGreater Japanese Empire

The Empire of Japan (大日本帝國, Dai Nippon Teikoku, literally meaning "Empire of Great Japan")[11] 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.[5]

Japan's rapid industrialization and militarization under the slogan Fukoku Kyōhei (富國強兵, "Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Armed Forces") 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, 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.[14]

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 and invasion of Manchuria, 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 the surrender, and a new constitution was created with American involvement in 1947, officially bringing the Empire of Japan to an end. Occupation and reconstruction continued well into the 1950s, eventually forming the current nation-state whose full title is the "State of Japan" in Japanese (simply rendered "Japan" in English).

The Emperors during this time, which spanned the entire Meiji and 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),[11] which translates to "Empire of Great Japan" (Dai "Great", Nippon "Japanese", Teikoku "Empire").

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 imperiyası
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
українська: Японська імперія