The fundamental attitude towards the Diet and the parties expressed by the Meiji Government at the time of the inauguration of the Imperial Diet [1890] was termed ‘transcendentalism’. The word ‘transcendentalism’ was born out of a speech made to a gathering of prefectural governors on the day following the proclamation of the Imperial Constitution by the Prime Minister of the day, Kuroda Kiyotaka, in which he declared: ‘The Government must always steadfastly transcend and stand apart from the political parties, and thus follow the path of righteousness.’1 The word thus originated unaccompanied by any definition. As an official of the Ministry of Home Affairs pointed out in 1892: ‘Already two years have passed under the Constitution, and in this time each Government has declared that it is observing what it calls “transcendentalism”, but nobody has ever explained what doctrine it is that the word refers to. This is because the meaning of the word is extremely vague, and the same word “transcendentalism” can describe two doctrines having mutually quite opposite meanings.’2 It was indeed, as he perceived, a multi-faceted term.