Principles of government said to have been promulgated by Prince Shōtoku in 604. Although the word kempō has traditionally been translated as "constitution," in this instance it has neither the connotation nor the binding power of the modern sense of the term. The Seventeen-Article Constitution is a set of moral injunctions based on Confucian and Buddhist doctrines to exhort government officials to work in harmony for the good of the central government. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)
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