The period of Japan's greatest promise, the hopeful 1920's when dim flashes of political liberalism were sometimes discernible, was also the “golden era” of the Kenseikai. The picture of those eventful years would be incomplete if the image of this political party, both in and out of office, did not appear on at least one corner of the canvas. Occasionally displaying promise of strength but generally exhibiting its actual impotence, the Kenseikai nevertheless played a role of some significance to developments in Japan. It is the purpose of this essay to examine briefly some of the forces at work within the party which had their effect upon that role. This task calls for an investigation of the political inheritance of the Kenseikai, the circumstances surrounding its birth, the elements that went into its composition, the techniques used by some factions to consolidate their strength, and the devices utilized by competing groups to dislodge from power those in control of the organization.

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