Chosonsei (town and village system) (町村制)

Chosonsei, as well as Shisei (a municipal system), is the fundamental law governing local autonomy under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan.

History and characteristics
On April, 1888, it was promulgated as the latter part (as opposed to the first part consisting of Shisei) of Legislative Decree No.1, Apr.17,1888 as a replacement for the previous law, Gun-ku-cho-son Heniseiho (an act for the organization of the administrative divisions). Starting from April in the next year, 1889, it was consecutively enforced in various places depending on individual circumstances, such as consolidation of towns and villages.

As it adopted the local self-government system of Kingdom of Prussia, it was advantageous to the propertied class, for example, the suffrage was given only to those who were paying more than two yen in land tax or direct national tax. In addition, the Minister of Home Affairs and prefectural governors had the strong right to supervise, while autonomy was not sufficiently granted.

Although the revisions of the law carried out in 1911, 1921, 1925 and 1929 had increased the autonomy and expanded the civil right, the basic character of this law remained unaltered. The revision of 1943 during the Second World War reduced the autonomy. After the war, in 1946, the law was revised to expand the autonomy, but in the next year, 1947, the law was repealed when The Constitution of Japan and Local Autonomy Law came into effect.

At this time, however, such words as 'Chosei' or 'Sonsei' are still used as the vestiges of this Chosonsei.


Chapter 1. General provisions
Article 1. Areas of towns and villages
Article 2. Residents of towns and villages/Their rights and duties
Article 3. Regulation on towns and villages

Chapter 2. Association of towns and villages
Article 1. Organization/Election
Article 2. Functional authority/Code of practice

Chapter 3. Public administration on towns and villages
Article 1. Organizational election of municipal public servants
Article 2. Official authority of public servants

Chapter 4. Administration of properties of towns and villages
Article 1. Properties owned by towns and villages/Municipal tax
Article 2. Budget and settlement of accounts for income and outcome of towns and villages

Chapter 5. Internal administration on towns and villages

Chapter 6. Union of towns and villages

Chapter 7. Supervision on administration of towns and villages

Chapter 8. Supplementary provisions