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The "Charter Oath" (literally, "Imperial Oath of Five Articles" in Japanese), was a document promulgated to the Japanese people by the Meiji Emperor on April 6, 1868, announcing the major goals of the newly innaugurated Meiji Restoration. Although the articles in the Oath were not laws nor legally binding in any way, the promulgation of the Oath was nevertheless an epoch-making event because it implied a complete overthrow of the established social structure and promised a new path for Japan based on modernization, westernization, and democratization.

一 廣ク会議ヲ興シ萬機公論ニ決スベシ

1. Deliberative assemblies shall be widely established and all matters decided by public discussion.

一 上下心ヲ一ニシテ盛ニ經綸ヲ行フベシ

2. All classes, high and low, shall unite in vigorously carrying out the administration of the affairs of state.

一 官武一途庶民ニ至ル迄各其志ヲ遂ゲ人心ヲシテ倦ザラシメン事ヲ要ス

3. The common people, no less than the civil and military officials, shall each be allowed to pursue his own calling so that there may be no discontent.

一 舊来ノ陋習ヲ破リ天地ノ公道ニ基クベシ

4. Evil customs of the past shall be broken off and everything based upon the just laws of Nature.

一 智識ヲ世界ニ求メ大ニ皇基ヲ振起スベシ

5. Knowledge shall be sought throughout the world so as to strengthen the foundation of Imperial rule.