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Rebellion and democracy : a study of commoners in the popular rights movement of the early Meiji period Bowen, Roger Wilson 1976

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REBELLION AND DEMOCRACY: A Study of Commoners i n the Popular Rights Movement of the Early M e i j i Period by ROGER WILSON BOWEN B.A., Wabash College (Indiana), 1969 M.A., University of Michigan, 1970 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES P o l i t i c a l Science Department We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December 1976 Roger Wilson Bowen, 1976 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for s c h olarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s representatives. I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. P o l i t i c a l Science Department The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5. Date 1° Ou^AjiA, Research. Supervisor: Frank C. Langdon ABSTRACT, The t h e s i s i s concerned with three s o - c a l l e d "incidents of intense violence" (gekka jiken) that occurred between l a t e 1882 and l a t e 1884: the Fukushima, Kabasan, and Chichibu incidents. A l l three r e v o l t s oc-curred simultaneous to, and were connected with, the r i s e and f a l l of the "freedom and popular r i g h t s movement" (jiyu minken undo), e s p e c i a l l y with i t s p r i n c i p a l i n s t i t u t i o n a l expression, the Jiyuto or " L i b e r a l Party." One of the most important of the connections between the r e v o l t s and the Jiyuto i s that of t h e i r overlapping leadership. For the most part, l o c a l Jiyuto leaders served as the leaders of these three r e v o l t s . Due to t h i s f a c t , and the other equally important one of the c r i t i c a l extent to which the l o c a l Jiyuto leaders embraced the i d e o l o g i c a l p r i n c i p l e s of the n a t i o n a l J i y u t o — a s opposed to the pragmatic, perhaps c y n i c a l , approach toward these p r i n c i p l e s taken by the national l e a d e r s h i p — t h e "natural r i g h t " basis of the L i b e r a l ' s ideology and i t s corresponding endorsement of the " r i g h t of revolution" f i l t e r e d down to the farmers, hunters, day-labourers and others who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n these incidents. Notions of "natural r i g h t " were used as guiding p r i n c i p l e s to govern the aims of t h e i r revolutionary organisations and as explanations to j u s t i f y t h e i r attempts to overthrow the government. Popular songs, poems, the court-room testimony of those p a r t i c i p a n t s arrested, the content of t h e i r revo-luti o n a r y manifestos, t h e i r statements of aims as presented i n t h e i r o rganisational charters, the content of lectures given i n peasant v i l l a g e s , by l o c a l Jiyuto organisers, and the l i k e a t t e s t to the beginnings of a strong liberal-democratic undercurrent e x i s t i n g i n the early 1880's i i i among Japan's common people (heimin). These findings c a l l into question the conclusions regarding the early f a i l u r e of democracy i n Japan reached by such noted Western scholars as E. H. Norman, Robert Scalapino, and Nobutaka Ike. This i s due p a r t l y to the f a c t that each of these scholars analysed Japan's p o l i t i c s of t h i s period almost e x c l u s i v e l y at the l e v e l of national, e l i t e figures and thereby ignored the impact that the popular r i g h t s move-ment had upon l o c a l p o l i t i c s and r u r a l f o l k . By neglecting l o c a l p o l i t i c s , the above-mentioned scholars prematurely drew the conclusion that Japan's common people acted as a c o l l e c t i v e Atlas who p a t i e n t l y bore the burdens of modernisation upon t h e i r peasant backs i n obedient s i l e n c e . TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page INTRODUCTION 1 I. THE INCIDENTS 11 The Fukushima Incident 11 Governor Mishima and the Aizu Jiyuto 15 Governor Mishima and the Fukushima Jiyuto . . . . 23 Mo b i l i z i n g the People of Aizu 28 East-west A l l i a n c e 34 The Kitakata Incident 37 The Kabasan Incident 42 Interpretations 46 Strategy and Recruitment 50 Planning the Revolution 57 Beginning of the End 61 The Chichibu Incident 68 Towards Rebellion . 70 "Headquarters of the Revolution" 79 From V i c t o r y to Defeat 83 I I . BACKGROUND 103 T r a d i t i o n of Rebellion 104 Patterns of Rebellion 105 Tokugawa Uprisings: Economy, Society, P o l i t y . . . 117 M e i j i Uprisings 126 i v V Chapter Page The Economic Basis of the Gekka Jiken 131 Depression i n the Countryside 131 Depression i n the Regions 137 The Movement for Libert y and Popular Rights- . . . . 147 The Formative Period 148 The Period of Organisation and Promotion 1878 to 1881 152 I I I . THE PARTICIPANTS 169 The Samples • 177 Residence 182 Age . . 195 Status . 200 Occupation 205 F i n a n c i a l Status/Land Ownership 209 Conclusion: Leaders and Followers 230 IV. IDEOLOGY AND ORGANISATION 247 Introduction 247 Natural Right and L i t e r a c y 253 Natural Right: Western and Japanese 253 Lit e r a c y i n the Countryside 260 Natural Right and P o l i t i c a l S o c i e t i e s 266 Sanshinsha 266 Aishinsha 274 v i Chapter Page Period of Activism 1881 to 1884 281 The Jiyuto in Fukushima 281 The Jiyuto and the Kabasan Rebels 297 The Komminto and the Jiyut o 315 Conclusion 344 V. CONSEQUENCES AND CONCLUSIONS 362 Consequences 363 Conclusions 384 WORKS CITED 402 Appendix I. DECLARATION OF RESTORATION OF RIGHTS 416 II. FUKUSHIMA ACTIVISTS 417 III. CHICHIBU ACTIVISTS 426 IV. KABASAN ACTIVISTS 434 GLOSSARY 440 LIST OF TABLES Table Page 1. Uprisings by Region 107 2. Types of Tokugawa (1590-1867) Uprisings by Meiji Prefectures, and During Fir s t Ten Years of Meiji (1808-1912) 109 3. Market Value of One Roll of Silk by Year 142 4. Comparison of Residence of Fukushima Activists, Originally Listed for Crime of Treason with Those Actually Tried 183 5. Residence of Komminto Army Leaders by Town and Village and Residence of those Charged with "Massing to Riot" 191 6. Number of Participants in Chichibu Incident by Village, Relative to Village Population, for Villages Contributing more than Fifty "Direct" Participants 194 7. Age Structure of Sample Participants of Fukushima, Chichibu and Kabasan Incidents (abstracted from Appendices II, III, IV) 196 8. Age Structure with Graph, of Seventy-Seven Defendants Charged with Rioting 198 9. O f f i c i a l Status of Participants in the Three Incidents 201 10. Size of Land Holdings of Twenty-four Fukushima Men Involved in Fukushima Incident (abstracted from Appendix II) 211 11. Average Area of Land Managed in Fukushima Prefecture, by Strata (1875) 212 12. Strata Structure by District Using Land Tax Payments (1883) 215 13. Farmer Strata According to Size of Land-holdings, Fukuzawa Village, Yama District, Fukushima Prefecture (1872) . • 216 v i i v i i i Table Page 14. Percentage of Households and Land by Type of Cultivation for the Sixteen Districts of Fukushima (1883) 217 15. Percentage of Households by Type of Land-holding for Chichibu District and Saitama Prefecture 220 16. Selected Statistics for Saitama Prefecture and Chichibu District (1885) 221 17. Landholding Relations, Makabe District, Ibaraki Prefecture (1884) 226 18. Landholders by Strata According to Size of Holding, Makabe District (1879) 226 19. Landholding Relations in Two Villages of Makabe District: Number 1 Responded to Call for Revolution; Number 2 Did Not 227 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Map Page 1. The Kanto Region, and Fukushima and Nagano Prefectures 9 2. Fukushima Prefecture 11 3. The Kabasan Area of Ibaraki and Tochigi Prefectures 43 4. Chichibu District and Surrounding Areas 67 Figure 1. Schema of Komminto Organisational Structure 332 ix ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The lonely and oftentimes anxiety-ridden work of writing this thesis was made easier because of the help given to me by many individuals. Professor Frank Langdon, my thesis supervisor and compassionate mentor in the ways and means of academia, provided me with advice and steady en-couragement throughout the entire two years of my labours. Professor Donald Burton, whom I must regard as a kindred s p i r i t inasmuch as we share an interest in the struggles of a l l peoples of a l l places against the many and various forms of p o l i t i c a l oppression, helped me to organise my ideas in a coherent fashion and to structure my writing style into an understandable form. My sincere thanks also go to Professor John Howes who helped convince me and others in the early stages of topic formulation that the topic was indeed worthwhile studying. The author is also in-debted to Professor Heath Chamberlain for reading the entire manuscript. To the University of British Columbia, I am pleased to express my gratitude for the many years of financial support I have received. On the other side of the Pacific, Professor Inoue Koji guided my search for materials relevent to the topic. At the National Diet Library, Kato Rokuzo and Mitani Hiroshi lent considerable assistance in locating documentary material. Good friend, Professor Kage Tatsuo of Meijigakuin University helped to arrange interviews with several Japanese scholars who shared my interest in the topic of popular rights. I am indebted also to Professor Charles T i l l y of the University of Michigan. During my f i r s t year of graduate school, he not only gave x x i generously of his time and ideas, but also helped me to appreciate the importance of studying incidents of collective violence. Dr. Robert Ward, formerly at Michigan, helped to sustain my interest in Japanese p o l i t i c s at a time I was losing i t , and to procure financial aid for my year at the Inter-University Centre in Tokyo. This is an old debt, but one I feel compelled to r e c a l l . Finally, to Mrs. Agnes Lambe of Galiano Island I dedicate this thesis. She gave her home, her mind, and considerable typing a b i l i t i e s to me and my work during the f i n a l stages of preparing the thesis. She is an inspiring person, and one who causes young sceptics of the "modern era" to understand that they do not have a monopoly on wisdom. R.W.B. Vancouver, British Columbia October 1976 REBELLION AND DEMOCRACY: A Study of Commoners in the Popular Rights Movement of the Early Meiji Period x i i INTRODUCTION An alliance for freedom, taken with the idea of freedom: i t a l l becomes clear in the small mirror of sincerity. Yet while we lament, asking why our insignificant selves were oppressed, the rain s t i l l f a l l s heavily on the people-*-The poem quoted above was written by Ohashi Genzaburo in October 1892, shortly before he died in his prison c e l l . He was a commoner (heimin) and a farmer, and by his own admittance "barely literate." He was also a member of the old Jiyuto party (Freedom, or Liberal party) that dissolved i t s e l f in late October 1884, barely a month after an at-tempt to overthrow the government had taken place. This attempt i s known to later historians as .the Kabasan Incident (Kabasan jiken), and Ohashi Genzaburo had participated in that attempt at revolution. This study is concerned with men such as Ohashi and with the po-l i t i c a l party and movements in which they were involved. It i s a study concerned not with the great statesmen or the institutions they bui l t , but instead is concerned with the common people of Japan who were compel.-led to suffer those great statesmen and their institutions. It i s a study of the popular opposition known as the jiyu minken undo (Movement for Liberty and Popular Rights), a movement that began shortly after the Meiji Restoration (1868), coalesced in 1881 to form the Jiyuto, and nearly collapsed in 1884 when the Jiyuto dissolved. Our special concern is with the movement as i t manifested i t s e l f in popular rights' societies 1 2 in the late seventies and early eighties and how these societies and simi-lar groups influenced the ideas of an entire generation of rural folk. Only those rural folk who were involved in the so-called gekka jiken, or "incidents of intensified [violence]" are the subjects of our study. Between 1881 and 1886 about ten of these occurred in different parts of the nation—Akita, Fukushima, Niigata, Gifu, Gumma, Kanagawa, Ibaraki, Saitama, Nagano, Aichi, and Shizuoka prefectures. Although the goals, the class composition of the leaders and followers, and the tactics employed by the membership in each differed, they a l l had in common at least two elements: they a l l had connections with the popular rights movement, and they a l l tried using violent methods to effect the kinds of p o l i t i c a l reform that were advocated by the popular rights movement. In general, the reforms could be regarded as democratic, for example, a national assembly elected by the citizenry on the basis of a constitution that would guarantee the basic rights of free expression, free association, and other c i v i l liberties then being denied most of Japan's population. In many instances, the demands for p o l i t i c a l reform revolved around basic economic issues such as excessive taxation; in this case the theme of "no taxation without representation" was voiced repeatedly by the popular rights advocates. And the loudest voicing demands for reform were the participants of the gekka jiiken. This i s one reason why we have chosen to study the gekka jiken. Because they were "loud" and violent, they captured the attention of not only the authorities, but also the newspapers, the village historians, and the politicians of the time. A l l of these observed and wrote about 3 the participants and the incidents of which they were part. Hence, we have today records and observations on how the popular rights movement affected the lives and ideas of the members of the lower classes who rebelled. Of course the question then arises, how representative are the rebels of the social classes from which they came? Is i t f a i r to assume that the farmers involved in the gekka jiken accurately reflected the opinions of the farming class-as a whole toward the p o l i t i c a l reforms being advocated by popular rights' activists? For as we know, "More often, historians have been inclined to treat the rebellious or revolutionary crowd as a militant minority to be sharply marked off from the far larger number of citizens of similar class and occupation who, . . . played no active part in the event." To test the truth of this statement one need only consult any of the large number of volumes dealing with Japan of this period. Robert Scalapino's Democracy and the Party Movement in Pre-war Japan devotes a bare four pages out of nearly 500 to the gekka jiken; Nobutaka Ike allows nine pages; and E. H. Norman, whose sympathies for the Meiji peasants were clearly strong, discusses these incidents in less than four pages. Clearly, none of these scholars places much importance on the topic we have chosen to study. Partly this is due to the nature of their studies and the time when they were written: a l l three of these works were sweeping in scope, covering decades of p o l i t i c a l development in Japan, and when they were written there existed very l i t t l e work in English that could be regarded as general histories of this period. There clearly existed a need for the types of work they produced. 4 Yet there appears to have been another reason for their having ignored the gekka jiken, one which has to do more with the focus of his-t o r i c a l analysis than with the absence of suitable material or with the period in which they were writing, although, contradictorially, a l l three reasons are related. What I mean is simply this: a l l were aware of the two attempts to establish a democratic form of government in modern Japanese history--the popular rights movement in the eighties and the so-called Taisho democracy of the 1920's. Yet at the time they were writing, Japan was entering a stage of ultranationalistic p o l i t i c a l development, or was just leaving i t , having lost the war and having been occupied by Western military forces whose purpose was to impose a democratic form of government on Japan. Each believed that democracy had failed in Japan, and Scalapino even went as far as to say that i t s failure was predeter-mined by the logic of Japan's past p o l i t i c a l development. The absence of libe r a l traditions, the predominance of Confucian notions of hierarchy, the anti-democratic bias of the e l i t e power structure, the close ties be-tween "free enterprise" and the government, the imperialistic power struc-ture of the World at the time Japan began her modernization, a tradition of glorifying the military and of despising the agricultural population— a l l these past elements of Japan's p o l i t i c s determined that the democratic experiment in Japan would f a i l . Likewise, they were less than sanguine about the future of democracy once the Allied Occupation had l e f t Japan. The "failure thesis" i s , then, a convincing one. It is attractive because of i t s a b i l i t y to weave together a l l the various threads of Japanese history, society, and p o l i t i c s into one neat explanatory piece 5 of p o l i t i c a l fabric. However, the fabric is not without i t s loose threads and i t s gaps in the stitching. Probably the most unsightly of these gaps is the failure of the "failure thesis" to explain adequately the success of democracy in those two periods when i t was a p o l i t i c a l fact. Although they acknowledge the fact, they attribute i t s origins primarily to exo-genous factors or necessary external preconditions, and therefore f a i l to consider seriously the possibility of indigenous p o l i t i c a l developments that may have prepared the way for the rise of democracy. But an explana-tion of the necessary preconditions for the rise of democracy is one thing; to explain why those conditions enabled democracy to burgeon i s entirely another. For example, to discuss the expansion of industry after the Fi r s t World War, the growth of international labour standards, the spread of democratic and so c i a l i s t ideas within Japan, and so on, does not in i t s e l f t e l l us how or why industrial labourers and tenants organized them-selves into unions, apparently democratic in both principle and practice, and made them effective means for getting demands met. Nor, for another example, does a mere recitation on the democratic programmes imposed by the Occupation after the Second World War explain why the Japanese were able to embrace democratic ideas and practices so quickly after such a long period of fascist rule. I think that the failure of the "failure thesis" l i e s in i t s f a i l -ing to account for the practice of p o l i t i c s at different levels of society. The level at which their historical analyses have been aimed primarily is the e l i t e level of p o l i t i c s , the level occupied by national politicians, business leaders, and government o f f i c i a l s . There is a reason for this 6 emphasis on the e l i t e level: Japan's modern history is replete with examples of great leaders in a l l fields of social l i f e . The imagery is one of a squadron of captains, each ruling and directing the course of his own particular ship, yet in co-ordination with one another, toward a "rich country and a strong military" (fukoku kyohei). But in focusing upon the "captains" of the ship of state, the lives and work of the many individual seamen collectively serving as a "crew," upon whom the real fate of the ship rests, have been ignored. More often than not, they have been treated as an unthinking body of men whose identity i s a mere extension of the captains', and their duty only what the captain orders. To date, treatments of Japan's p o l i t i c a l history have been con-fined to the study of "captains" and therefore i t has been assumed that the many seamen existed, as in any disciplined military situation, only to do as their commanders ordered; the seamen constituted a "subject p o l i t i c a l culture." But to carry this imagery one step further, what i f the seamen decided to mutiny? What then? Since mutinies are studied by historians, p o l i t i c a l scientists, and sociologists, we find out what con-ditions produced rebellion; we discover who the leaders were; whether they in fact represented a l l the crewmen or just a militant minority; we learn what their demands were and which officers were the subject of their attack; and we find out whether there was sufficient provocation and whether the captain had been unjust. This study w i l l focus on the seamen, as individuals and as members of a crew, and w i l l do so by examining three "incidents of intense vio-lence": the Fukushima Incident of 1882 and the Kabasan and Chichibu 7 incidents of 1884. We examine them for a l l the reasons social scientists study mutinies: to learn why they happened, what they t e l l about general social, economic and p o l i t i c a l conditions, and what consequences they had for society and po l i t i c s as a whole. We also wish to discover whether the democratic ideals the participants espoused were shared by others within their class, and whether they had some impact upon later p o l i t i c a l developments in Japan. A word of caution: as there was no Gallup p o l l at the time these incidents occurred, in the fin a l analysis i t w i l l not be possible to demonstrate with any degree of precision to what extent these early democrats represented others within their class; we can only present the best case possible, and then suggest the l i k e l i -hood of representativeness. The thesis begins with case studies of each of the incidents. The second chapter tries to pinpoint the conditions—historical, social, economic, and p o l i t i c a l — t h a t helped to produce the three incidents. In the third chapter, we perform an in-depth analysis of the participants of the three incidents. Many of the rebels we w i l l be examining may be regarded as local elites, i.e., the p o l i t i c a l , economic and social leaders of local society. In terms of the earlier-used metaphor, these local elites might be thought of as "chief petty officers." Although in some respects their "rank" sets them apart from the many non-elites whom they led in the local popular rights movement and the related rebellions, in other respects they differed very l i t t l e . But despite whatever di f -ferences that may have separated local leaders from followers, in the pages that follow i t should become clear that both groups shared similar 8 p o l i t i c a l goals, and that these shared goals set them far apart from the national liberal leaders and governmental rulers. The nature of these goals i s set forth in the fourth chapter where we further identify the participants by examining their p o l i t i c a l beliefs and the p o l i t i c a l societies and parties to which they belonged. In the fin a l chapter, we discuss the consequences the individual pa r t i -cipants suffered because of their involvement in the popular rights move-ment and the effects their rebellion had upon the Jiyuto. We conclude by making some suggestions about the democratic experience in modern Japanese history. One f i n a l word of introduction: the ultimate purpose of this thesis is to address i t s e l f to three types of c r i t i c s , those whom Sir Isaiah Berlin cited in his introduction to Franco Venturi's Roots of Revolution, deleting where necessary the reference to Russia and in-serting a reference to Japan: Those who look on a l l history through the eyes of the victors, and for whom accounts of movements that failed, of martyrs and minori-ties, seem without interest as such; those who think that ideas play l i t t l e or no part in determining historical events; and fin a l l y those who are convinced that [democracy in Japan] was simply the result of the [Allied Occupation], and possessed no significant roots in the [Japanese] past.4 9 Notes ± Quoted in Endo Shizuo, Kabasan jiken (Tokyo, 1971), p. 264. 2 George Rude, The Crowd in History: A Study of Popular Distur-bances in France and England, 1730-1848 (New York, 1964), p. 211. 3 Robert A. Scalapino, Democracy and the Party Movement m Prewar Japan: The Failure of the First Attempt (Berkeley, 1967; originally pub-lished in 1953), pp. 104-7; Nobutaka Ike, The Beginnings of Political Democracy in Japan (New York, 1969; originally published in 1950), pp. 160-68; E. H. Norman, Japan's Emergence as a Modern State: Political and Economic Problems of the Meiji Period (New York, 1940), pp. 180-84. 4 Franco Venturi, Roots of Revolution: A History of the Populist and Socialist Movements in Nineteenth Century Russia, trans. Francis Haskell, Introd. Isaiah Berlin (New York, 1960; originally published in Italy in 1952), p. v i i . Map 1. The Kanto Region, and Fukushima and Nagano Prefectures L Z U •Fukushima Town /FUKUSHIMA L T O C H I G : GUMMA NAGANO Chichibu- V S A I - ^ p • Kabaaan .TAMA A IBARAK] • Osaka KANA-3AWA -TOKYO 0 200 km CHAPTER I THE INCIDENTS The purpose of this .chapter is a simple one: to provide a de-tailed sketch of the Fukushima, Kabasan, and Chichibu incidents. Care w i l l be taken to introduce the main characters involved in each of the jiken, to explain how and when they got involved, and what part they played in the development of the incidents. The question of why they i n -volved themselves w i l l be discussed in Chapters III and IV, where we w i l l look at the background of the participants in the f i r s t instance, and their ideas as translated into action and organisation in the second. THE FUKUSHIMA INCIDENT One of the few scholars specializing on the Fukushima Incident, Shimoyama Saburo, t e l l s us that "The incident begins with the appointment of Mishima [Michitsune or Tsuyo] as Governor [of Fukushima prefecture] in early 1882, and ends with the mass arrests of Jiyuto members in late November and early December."1 Most of the other s p e c i a l i s t s — S h o j i Kichinosuke, Takahashi Tetsuo, Oishi Kaichiro, and Goto Yasushi—agree with Shimoyama's dates for the most part, although Takahashi, for i n -stance, believes that the incident did not really end until well after the "treason t r i a l " of April 1883, u n t i l , that i s , several of those acquitted of treason became participants in the abortive Kabasan revolt of September 1884. But since in Chapter V we w i l l deal exp l i c i t l y with the government's reaction to the Fukushima jiken, and with i t s 11 Map 2. Fukushima Prefecture 13 consequences, here we w i l l accept Shimoyama's dates as representing the incident proper. Although the dates for the beginning and the end of the incident are debatable, there exists almost no disagreement among the specialists with regard to the more important events of 1882 which collectively com-prise the Fukushima j i k e n . After having compared their treatment of the important events with those cited by the newspapers of that period, we can, after noting one caveat, conclude that their accounts appear to be historically accurate. The caveat is this: while a l l these scholare are careful to distinguish between the incident as i t developed in eastern Fukushima from i t s development in western Fukushima, the fact that the leadership of the incident in' both areas was largely drawn from the Jiyuto of each area often causes obfuscation in their work with regard to the important differences in the nature of each regional Jiyuto party branch. This is due in part, I believe, to an ideologically-based tendency of these scholars to see anti-government solidarity among the party faithful as a more important point to stress than the geographical, local self-interest that in fact motivated the actions of each branch, independently of one another. Minimizing the extent to which regional self-interest separated the eastern from the western branches of the Jiyuto in Fukushima, and conversely, maximizing the party t i e , leads, for instance, to the com-mission of an error in interpretation by Shimoyama: that i s , to transform an admittedly highly p o l i t i c a l event into a revolutionary one. As we shall see in Chapter IV, even though there is certainly reason enough to regard several of the eastern Fukushima Jiyuto members as being motivated 14 by revolutionary aims, and even though both eastern and western members had adopted a potentially revolutionary ideology prior to the incident, there is at the same time l i t t l e evidence to support the argument that most of the Jiyuto followers in western Fukushima were intent upon bring-ing down the government by force. Force, as we shall see, did indeed play an important role in this incident, but i t was applied one-sidedly. If measured upon the scales of coercion, the authorities' use of force tips the scales heavily to their side. This said, i t is now necessary to examine the incident i t s e l f . 2 The appointment of Mishima Michitsune (1835-88), an ex-samurai from Satsuma who began his government service in 1871 with the Tokyo muni-cipal government, was the catalyst that set into motion the subsequent clash between prefectural authorities on the one side, and the prefectural assembly and, especially, i t s Jiyuto membership on the other. Already serving as governor of Yamagata prefecture, a post he continued to hold until July, in February 1882 the "Devil Governor" (oni kenri) was assigned 3 the Fukushima governorship. Upon this occasion Mishima reportedly con-fided to a friend, Sata Jiro (District Chief of Yama), what his orders were from the central government: "I was given three secret orders along with my appointment. The f i r s t i s to destroy the Jiyuto, the second is to build up the Teiseito [the government's 'political party'], and the 4 third i s to construct several important roads." Events subsequent to his appointment prove that Mishima acted faithfully to obey these three orders, even though, in terms of the sequence of events, the execution of the orders was reversed, and for good reason. 15 Governor Mishima and the Aizu Jiyuto The destruction of the Fukushima Jiyuto was not an easy task. Two branches, one in Aizu and the other in the east, had been established in December 1881, just two months after the founding of the national party. Of a l l the party branches later established across the nation, the Fukushima branches were popularly regarded as among the strongest. At the time of Mishima's appointment, prefectural assembly members a f f i l -iated to the Jiyuto outnumbered those of the other parties. The break-down in the sixty-two-member assembly (with one seat vacant) was: Jiyuto, 6 twenty-four; Texseito, fifteen; Kaishinto, twelve; unattached, ten. Besides holding a numerical superiority, the Fukushima Jiyuto assembly members also shared a history of p o l i t i c a l activity in the jiyu minken movement that began in the mid-seventies (see Chapter IV). More than the members of the other parties, they were a readily identifiable and cohe-sive group. Moreover, outside the prefectural assembly, both in the Aizu and eastern Fukushima regions, Jiyuto members held many positions of authority at the local level of government, e.g., village head (kocho), sub-district head (kucho), or as elected members of the village or ku 1 assemblies. A number of Jiyuto members had also held positions of respon-s i b i l i t y during the tenure of the previous administration, but once Mishima took office they were summarily dismissed and replaced by o f f i c i a l s per-sonally loyal to him. In a l l , more than ninety known Jiyuto o f f i c i a l s or school teachers (who were employees of the government at this time) were g said to have been sacked by Mishima. These dismissals can be regarded as the f i r s t instance of Mishima acting upon his objective to "destroy 16 the Jiyuto." This instance, however, is of minor importance compared to subsequent attacks upon the Jiyuto, and with regard to the development of the Fukushima Incident. This becomes clear when we look at two other actions taken by Mishima during his f i r s t few months in office. The f i r s t was the action the governor took in order to implement the central government's order to build new roads in the Aizu region, which consists of the six d i s t r i c t s located in the western part of the prefecture: Yama, Kawanuma, Onuma, Minami-Aizu, Kita-Aizu, and Higashi-9 Kabahara. The project, one he had already begun during his tenure as governor of Yamagata prefecture, was known as the "Three Roads" (sampo doro) project, so called because i t was to link Wakamatsu, the former castle town of Aizu han, with Yamagata prefecture to the north, Tokyo to the south via Tochigi and Ibaraki prefectures, and Niigata prefecture to the west. The total cost of construction in Aizu, 620,000 yen, was to be shared by the central government and the six d i s t r i c t s of Aizu. The Aizu share, however, at 360,000 yen was substantially larger, and further repre-sented a considerable extra economic burden for the 129,000 residents of the region. Mishima realized that this extra, unsought financial burden, announced within weeks of his taking office succeeding a popular governor, would not be enthusiastically received by Aizu residents, and that i t would be necessary to gain the co-operation of the area's residents. To this end, on 28 February, Mishima sent from the far-off capital (Fukushima Town)' his construction chief Nakayama and his personal deputy Ebina, a former samurai of Aizu han, to Aizu for the purpose of assembling the six 17 d i s t r i c t chiefs (guncho). They were ordered by Mishima to hold an elec-tion among village and town councilmen, with only councilmen serving as electors, to choose one man from each d i s t r i c t to serve as members of a committee that would be responsible for establishing the rules to govern the election of residents who would compose a standing committee called the Aizu rokugun rengokai ("Six Aizu d i s t r i c t s ' joint committee," here-after cited as Rengokai). The Rengokai, representing the "people," in turn was intended to serve to legitimize and rubber-stamp Mishima's policy, as yet unannounced, of carrying out the road construction. Mishima's own notion of the composition of the Rengokai was a thirty-man committee, con-sisting of five people from each d i s t r i c t and elected by village and town councilmen. Moreover, as communicated to Ebina, Mishima made i t clear that a l l this business—the election of the rule-making committee, the determination of the rules for electing the Rengokai members, and the election i t s e l f — s h o u l d be concluded in several days time! 1 1 The election of the rules committee went as quickly as Mishima 12 had wanted, and the six members f i r s t ..met: on 5 March. In one day the rules for electing Rengokai members were settled. But despite the alac-r i t y , and because four of the six were Jiyuto members, the rules f i n a l l y settled upon for the Rengokai election were much more democratic than Mishima had wanted. Instead of an indirect election by village and town councilmen serving as electors, the rules committee endorsed proportional representation, i.e., the number of Rengokai members from each d i s t r i c t would depend upon the d i s t r i c t ' s population, and a direct election of members by a l l male taxpayers twenty years or older. This scheme was 18 accepted by Mishima for the sake of expediency, and two days later, on 7 and 8 March, the election of thirty-four Rengokai members was held. (This number was later increased to forty-six once Onuma and Minami-Aizu d i s t r i c t s , whose chiefs favoured indirect elections i n i t i a l l y , complied 13 with the rules committee election criteria.) Although the procedure, the speed of selection and even the idea of the existence of such a committee as the Rengokai was questioned, or rather, protested against by Jiyuto members of the prefectural assembly who regarded this as a violation of their right to advise the administra-tion on important issues, their protests were muted by the aggressiveness and quick i n i t i a t i v e that Mishima had taken on this matter. The only really serious protest was lodged by the administrative head of Yama dis-t r i c t , Igarashi Chikarasuke, a left-over from the previous administration whom Mishima quickly replaced with his own appointee, Sato Jiro, who, in disposition and attitude toward the Jiyuto, remarkably resembled his boss On 14 to 16 March, just two weeks after Mishima initiated this entire process, the Rengokai met for the f i r s t time at Wakamatsu to "deliberate" on the government's road construction plans. Most present 14 were "large landlords or local notables (meiboka)," and several were members of the prefectural assembly, such as Jiyuto members Nakajima Yuhachi and Watanabe Ichiro. Nakajima, a thirty-one-year-old small land-lord of Kawanuma prefecture, was elected chairman of the Rengokai. Their deliberations essentially revolved around a proposal earlier outlined by the six d i s t r i c t heads in collaboration with Mishima' deputies. Pressured to "deliberate" quickly, debate over the government' 19 proposals was sharply curtailed, and on 16 March the Rengokai approved two resolutions. The f i r s t required (a) one day of corvee labour each month for a period of two years from a l l Aizu residents between the ages of fifteen and sixty, excluding the disabled and widowed; and (b) a sub-stitute labour tax to be paid by those disinclined to work, at the rate of fifteen sen per day for male labour, and ten sen per day for female labour. The second resolution provided for village and town councils to take appropriate measures to ensure participation, or for the collection of taxes for substitute labour based upon land value and the population of the village. The acceptance of both resolutions, however, was condi-tional on (1) the grant of supplementary funding from the central govern-ment and on (2) a l l work done by corvee labourers being restricted to level ground, only professionals doing the mountain and bridge construc-15 tion. It i s important to note that nothing was mentioned about what course the road should take, who would oversee the workers, the precise amount of supplementary funds to come from the central government, or about the details of tax assessment. In this regard, almost a l l students of the incident agree that these mistakes or oversights by the Rengokai were important factors in the growth of the incident."^ Since actual construction work on the roads was not due to begin unt i l August, during the intervening months Aizu residents in general and Rengokai members in particular had time to consider the details of the Rengokai resolutions and to discover the oversights or omissions not covered by them. By June, in fact, several events had transpired that caused many Aizu residents to question the road plan seriously. F i r s t , 20 in June i t was learned that instead of the 260,000 yen in government funds 17 i n i t i a l l y promised, only 98,000 yen was granted. This, of course, meant a correspondingly heavier financial burden for Aizu residents. Second, Mishima effectively suspended the Rengokai, taking complete charge of the planning and supervision of road construction. As Takahashi evaluated this development, "The Rengokai was nothing but a tool whose resolutions merely served to round up people to work on the roads. Its actual work was three days of debate, and then i t had to close up shop. Or rather, from the standpoint of the governor and the d i s t r i c t head, i t had out-18 lived i t s usefulness." And thirdly, the governor ordered corvee labour dues to be made retroactive to March, when the resolutions were passed, and further ordered through the six d i s t r i c t heads the speedy collection of these dues. 1^ In reaction to these developments, a good number of Aizu residents adopted defensive measures. Some, such as Rengokai member Igarashi Takehiko of Yama d i s t r i c t , began calling on other members to fight the government, specifically by demanding that a special session of the Ren-gokai be called in order to oppose these recent developments. By 28 July, the efforts of Igarashi and other Jiyuto-Rengokai members had succeeded in gaining a majority (by one) of Rengokai members to sign a petition calling for the special session. But on 14 August the petition was re-jected, as were two other such petitions presented to the government be-20 fore the end of the month. Other local Jiyuto members were preaching c i v i l disobedience against the levies saying, as Saji Kobei of Takada v i l -lage in Onuma d i s t r i c t did, "It i s not the duty of our citizens to obey 21 this resolution" because of "the i l l e g a l and unfair election of the 21 [Rengokai] members." (He was referring to his d i s t r i c t ' s failure to comply early on with the rules committee election criteria.) Such attempts at i n i t i a t i n g c i v i l disobedience, moreover, spread throughout the region, although they were mainly concentrated in Yama, Kawanuma, and Onuma d i s t r i c t s . Reports sent to Mishima by Yama d i s t r i c t head Sato further attest to such activity. "The Jiyuto i s agitating," wrote Sato, "by lecturing at village assemblies, involving often more 22 than a hundred people, throughout the entire region." Uda Seiichi, for example, told the farmers of Atsushio village in Yama, "We ought to ex-23 pand this [movement] into an extraordinary incident." Proof that their "agitating" had some effect i s seen in the growing numbers of village councilmen who were refusing to levy road construction taxes on their fellow villagers. Further evidence is the government's i n i t i a t i o n of intimidation and bribery as means to dissuade Rengokai members from organising an opposition movement. The most blatant example of intimida-tion occurred on 18 August, the day after the government surreptitiously held a ceremony to mark the o f f i c i a l beginning of road construction, when Jiyuto members Uda Seiichi, Kojima Yuhachi, and Tamano Hideaki were brutally attacked while sleeping at the Shimizu ryokan (hotel) in Kita-kata by seven or eight Teiseito party members. Kojima was able to flee 24 and escape injury, but the other two suffered a bad beating. This attack, known to later historians as the "Shimizuya jiken," is p o l i t i c a l l y significant not only for showing the extent to which the government would go in order to suppress the Jiyuto, but also for 22 demonstrating how successful Mishima had been in accomplishing the second of his secret goals as governor, that of building a loyal and unquestion-ing Teiseito. In going about this Mishima had concentrated his efforts in Wakamatsu, the centre of han (feudal domain) resistance during the Tohoku region's primarily samurai-led counter-revolutionary movement after the Restoration in 1868 and 1869 (known as the Boshin War). After their defeat by the new government, and the loss of their status as samurai and the stipends that went•with that status, many ex-samurai of this region suffered unemployment and poverty. Many depended upon the goodwill of the new government in finding them employment, such as in the Asaka land reclamation project or in the local constabulary, but in any event, there existed a large free-floating population of ex-samurai in the Aizu region ready and able to be mobilized for one cause or another. Some joined the Jiyuto, and others joined the Teiseito. On 30 June 1882, the Fukushima branch of the Teiseito was organ-ised, and under Mishima's direction founded i t s e l f on the principles of "love of Emperor and country, the defense of the righteous road of the fatherland, and the measured reform of society based upon the above two 25 ideas." In September i t received through Mishima an interest-free loan of 196,000 yen from the central government, which served to finance the expenses of the party and i t s largely ex-samurai (shizoku) membership, and to establish a party headquarters and academy at Wakamatsu, called the Nisshinkan ("New Day Academy").26 Shortly after i t s founding, i t claimed the support of more than 4,500 members, although the real figure 27 was probably only one-half that number. It received additional support 23 from local businessmen and merchants who were eager to have a new road for the expansion of commerce. The chief, self-defined duty of the Fuku-shima Teiseito, and that which had the greatest impact on the Jiyuto, was "to protect and enforce the Law Regulating Public Meetings (shukai jorei).' During the day of the evening when the "Shimizuya jiken" took place, Jiyuto members of the Rengokai secretly gathered in Wakamatsu where they resolved that henceforth the Aizu Jiyuto would take f u l l respon s i b i l i t y for organising a more wide-scale and structured protest against the government. Lawsuits and a tax boycott (of the substitute corvee labour fee), they decided, would constitute the core of their protest move ment. For the residents of the Aizu region, this Jiyuto meeting, and the Teiseito attack of the same day, marks the end of one phase in the jiken and the beginning of the next. Governor Mishima and the Fukushima Jiyuto While these events were happening in Aizu, on the other side of the prefecture, in the east, around Fukushima machi (town), equally signif icant developments had also been taking place. For different but nonethe-less related reasons, the Fukushima branch of the Jiyuto was assuming a posture of opposition to Mishima. During April when the prefectural assembly was in session, Governor Mishima, contrary to custom, failed to attend even one si t t i n g , even though the assembly had requested his atten-dance on three separate occasions. On 1 May, the assembly chairman, Kono Hironaka, a long-time Jiyuto and minken leader, sent a personal messenger to ask the governor one last time to appear before the assembly, but 24 again Mishima did not respond. Infuriated at Mishima's open contempt, on 4 May, during a debate on a b i l l relating to annual government expen-ditures, Kono accepted a motion from the floor, made by Jiyuto member and vice-chairman of the assembly Yamaguchi Chiyosaku, to suspend a l l busi-ness un t i l the governor consented to appear. The motion was not approved, but the idea behind the motion began to gain currency nevertheless. From 5 to 7 May, the Jiyuto caucus met and put together nineteen articles accusing Mishima of misgovernment, and further resolved to try again to garner sufficient support to suspend business in the assembly. The 29 author of this measure was Uda Seiichi of Aizu's Yama d i s t r i c t . Uda's resolution was subsequently presented in the assembly three different times, on 7, 8, and 10 May. Each time i t was approved by a bare majority, and the f i n a l vote was twenty-three to twenty-one (eighteen members were 30 absent, and in mid-May, fearing Mishima's temper, they resigned). Sup-porting Uda were nineteen other Jiyuto members and three Kaishinto members. The fin a l resolution, dated 12 May 1882, read in part: For acting contrary to public opinion, for not responding to the wishes of the public of this jurisdiction in regard to deliberating on policy, and in settling the matter of this year's taxes, this assembly withholds the disbursements of those funds. Also, we w i l l vote down a l l such b i l l s in the future.31 This action was without precedent in the few years since the July 1878 law permitting the establishment of prefectural assemblies had come 32 into effect throughout Japan. But because that law really accorded very l i t t l e power to the assemblies—they had the "right to deliberate on b i l l s " (gian shingi ken)—vis-a-vis the governor, who had the exclusive right to i n i t i a t e legislation, the power to request the Home Minister to 25 dissolve the assembly, and the further right to ignore the assembly's deliberation, the Fukushima prefectural assembly's action to refuse to accept a l l future b i l l s from the administration in effect merely amounted to a strong vote of censure against Mishima. It also provided Mishima with sufficient reason, under the law, to seek the aid of the Home Min-istry, i.e., to involve the central government directly in prefectural affairs, which is exactly what he did on 22 May. Upon doing this, he re-ceived permission from the Home and Finance ministries to enforce the annual appropriations b i l l and to invoke Article 34 of the Fu-ken-kai kisoku (Rules governing Prefectural Assemblies), impowering him to suspend the right of election for a fixed period of time, and to dissolve the 33 assembly. Although this was not the least significant of Mishima's responses to the contentious assembly, i t s t i l l represented only his pro forma 34 reaction. Equally as significant was his campaign to suppress the Jiyuto, which, as the following excerpt from a letter written by Uda to Miura Nobuyuki on 13 May shows, was intensive even before the vote of censure: Since this assembly convened, daily the risk of speaking freely in the assembly h a l l grows greater. . . . Ever since the present governor assumed office, the policy of government toward free speech in the assembly has changed for the worse. His actions are manifestly author-itarian, restraining the freedoms of the people . . . and he shows no regard for the opinions of the assembly.35 Earlier s t i l l , on 4 May, during the morning session, assembly chairman Kono Hironaka took the floor and addressed i t s members: This assembly is founded on the premise that we ought to represent public opinion, that we ought to consider this and then enact public 2 6 policy. . . . Since his arrival, Governor Mishima has removed himself many r i and has neglected the assembly and has acted without regard to public opinion. . . . Without regard for the wishes of the people of today for freedom of speech, he has for one thing employed the police against assemblymen involved in p o l i t i c s , and for another, against those who publicly gather, using the Law Governing Assembly (shukai jorei) with the utmost severity . . . . J D The proof of the pudding, moreover, that Mishima reacted oppres-sively against the assemblymen who voted to censure him, came later with the arrest of a l l twenty-three men for the crime of "slandering a public o f f i c i a l " (kanri bujoku zai); conviction of this crime carried a prison 37 term of seven months to a year, and a fine of ten to twenty yen. The topping to the pudding (to be examined more fully in Chapter V) was f i r s t his personal involvement in obtaining financing from the central govern-ment for the establishment of a Fukushima branch of the Teiseito, created, as we have seen, to "protect and enforce the Law Governing Assemblies 38 against the Jiyuto"; and secondly, Mishima's order in December for the arrest of most of the twenty-three assemblymen for the crime of treason. After the motion of censure was passed, Mishima enjoyed no respite from the Jiyuto attack. During the next several months Jiyuto members in eastern Fukushima relentlessly continued to contest the legality of Mishima's administration. Shortly after Mishima dissolved the assembly, Jiyuto members sent memorial after memorial to the central government accusing Mishima of misgovernment. These memorials cited his summary dis-missal of former o f f i c i a l s , his contempt for the assembly, his handling of the Aizu road project, his suppression of freedom of speech, and so 39 on. On 5 July, another such memorial was sent, this time concerning 4 0 alleged i l l e g a l pr ctic s in is taxation policy. 27 The effects of their failure to e l i c i t a satisfactory response from the central government to these memorials, and the more general prob-lem of the repression they were suffering, are reflected in the growing tribute paid to more radical ideas by Jiyuto leaders attached to the Mumeikan ("Hall of No Name"), the meeting place of the Fukushima branch of the Jiyuto in the eastern part of the prefecture. Within this branch a faction calling i t s e l f the Kyushinto or "Radical Party" under Hanaka, and later under Kono Hironaka as well,.was daily gaining influence in the 41 party. Hanaka, i t s chief promoter, characterized i t in this way: "Our ideology concerns how to obtain freedom quickly and to give vent to a 42 radical philosophy, under the aegis of the Jiyuto. . . . " (See Chapter IV for a f u l l e r treatment.) After his arrest in late November, Hanaka made clear in his courtroom testimony why a more radical orientation was necessary for the Jiyuto: The governor took on the dual job of f i r i n g [former] o f f i c i a l s and crushing the Jiyuto. On the one hand, he replaced [the former o f f i -cials] with his own; on the other, he worked to organise the Teiseito in order to suppress the Jiyuto. . . .43 Clearly, Hanaka at least believed that radicalism was necessary at this juncture in order to preserve the l i f e of the Jiyuto. In any event, this development coincides with the emergence within the national party of others holding similar radical beliefs, such as Oi Kentaro and Miyabe Noboru who were elected to leadership positions in June 1882. In Fukushima this growing tendency toward radicalism did not go unobserved by the authorities. The police chief of Miharu reported as early as late May, "People in the area are saying that by July of this year a new Jiyuto government w i l l be established and w i l l rule the entire M 44 country. . . . " 28 Having observed the important developments in eastern Fushima that took place before September, the narrative now returns to examine what was happening in Aizu after the important 18 August meeting of Jiyuto members there, in preparation for showing how these two different anti-Mishima movements coalesced. Mobilizing the People of Aizu During late August and early September a number of secret meetings between Aizu Jiyuto leaders were held, concerning the problem of how to involve large numbers of Aizu residents in the anti-road campaign. Up to this point, the local Jiyuto leaders realized that the movement was what present-day scholars would c a l l joryu minken or an "upper-class peoples' rights movement," consisting mainly of landlords, ex-samurai (shizoku), intellectuals and village o f f i c i a l s . Though locally powerful, such men alone, they reasoned, would not be able to carry out a tax boycott nor a l i t i g a t i o n campaign. To be effective, such action required mass p a r t i c i -pation in the f i r s t instance, and in the second instance, at least the written endorsement (power of attorney) of a substantial number of citizens in order to receive recognition by the courts. But in either case, their intent was to involve as many as possible in a campaign of popular pro-test, and thereby to create a climate for the government that some of them termed "cloudy and foggy" (unmu), that they alone, upon government capitu-lation to their demands, would have the power to dissipate. As one of the Aizu Jiyuto leaders, Nakajima, put i t , "Through l i t i g a t i o n on the road affa i r , we believe that we can realise our [immediate] objective of caus-45 ing the government to be upset." Pressure p o l i t i c s , employed through 29 legal means on the one hand, coupled with a massive c i v i l disobedience campaign on the other (i.e., the tax boycott), could drive the government to recognize the right of Aizu residents to hold greater authority over local affairs. Of the two-pronged attack against Mishima's actions concerning the road construction project, however, at this point l i t i g a t i o n was most heavily relied upon. Since none of the Aizu Jiyuto leaders were lawyers by profession, they naturally looked outside for aid. Interestingly enough, instead of turning to the Fukushima branch in the east, which was staffed by many competent lawyers, they sought aid from the Tokyo head-quarters of the Party, mainly because even by this time the Fukushima branch had shown only nominal interest in, and concern for, the road issue. Some time in September, Hara Heizo, a moderately wealthy farmer and minken a c t i v i s t since 1880 when he was twenty-one, and "the biggest 46 hope of the Aizu Jiyuto," went to Tokyo to seek the legal counsel of two of the national party's more radical lawyers, Oi Kentaro and Hoshi Toru. While Hara was in Tokyo, Jiyuto activists in Aizu had begun organ-izing an effective l i t i g a t i o n movement. Five men—Uda Seiichi, Akajiro Heiroku, Igarashi Takehiko, Yamaguchi and Nakajima—were present at the f i r s t such meeting in early September. A second organisational meeting was held soon after in Yamaguchi's village of Onomoto, but this time thirty Jiyuto members were in attendance, including the important addi-tions of Miura Bunji, Saji Kobei, and Kaneko Tsunejiro. At the third organisational meeting, held at Komeoka village in Yama d i s t r i c t on 28 30 September, over seventy were present, holding the power of attorney of 47 3,400 to 4,000 supporters. At this meeting the "Declaration of the Restoration of Rights" was formulated and approved (see Appendix I), and the movement was given added structure by selecting a three-man l i t i g a t i o n committee (Uda, Nakajima, and Yamaguchi), a President (Akajiro), and a vice-President (Miura Bunji). Also at this gathering, Hara Heizo, back from Tokyo, reported on the legal advice given by Oi and Hoshi. Briefly, they advised that success in the l i t i g a t i o n movement could only be assured by acquiring the formal support of at least one-half of the region's 48 40,000 voting citizens. The activists in attendance resolved to try to get the extra support of the 16,000 needed. By the fourth organisational meeting, held on 8 October, again at Onomoto village in Kawanuma d i s t r i c t , over 100 leaders were present, repre-senting and holding the power of attorney of 5,792 Aizu voting residents, a gain of almost 1,800 in a l i t t l e more than a week's time. Again i t was resolved to continue the drive to recruit others to the movement, but in the meantime they decided that immediate action was necessary. F i r s t , Miura Bunji and Yamaguchi were to leave on 12 October for Tokyo to get further legal advice from Oi Kentaro. Secondly, using what support they had already mustered, they would i n i t i a t e a special type of lawsuit, a gankai, which would request of the Wakamatsu magistrate a ruling of arbi-tration on four points: (1) that the rule-making body for the Rengokai and the election of i t s members was unfair; (2) that the course of the road was arbi t r a r i l y surveyed in disregard of centres of population; (3) that Mishima's refusal to reconvene the Rengokai was improper; and (4)' that 31 action thus far taken by the authorities contravened the original resolu-49 tions adopted by the Rengokai. This suit, soon after rejected on the grounds that the court was not competent to rule on the matter, was prompted by the increasingly repressive action taken by the authorities to break up the opposition movement—threats of expropriation of homes and property, public auctions of the protesters' household artifacts, summons to appear before the 50 local authorities for questioning, etc. —and was therefore intended to serve as a "stop-gap" measure against the government, and to demonstrate to the movement's supporters that action was being taken on their behalf. It was also hoped that this suit would serve to lessen the chances of capitulation by harassed farmers while the l i t i g a t i o n committee continued to try to recruit the necessary number of signatures. While this was the purpose of the suit for arbitration, the sub-stance of the suit consisted of the central points made earlier in the third organisational meeting, and incorporated in their "Declaration of the Restoration of Rights." Besides the above-mentioned four points, the suit called for investing the Rengokai with the necessary authority to oversee the road construction. It was, therefore, not against the road as such, but only opposed to "outside" control over i t , i.e., against the prefectural government's handling of i t . For this reason the Fukushima Incident i s commonly regarded as one of the more dramatic episodes of the early rural peoples' fight for "the right of self-government" (chiji kenri). ^ Seen in this way, the "restoration of rights movement that developed in this region was connected with the fight for an autonomous 33 those villages where the more active of the regional Jiyuto leaders resided. Those villages where strong Jiyuto leaders resided and often served as village heads (kimoiri or kocho), e.g., Shinai and Atsushio, were the same villages which sustained the tax boycott, despite threats and intimidation by the authorities, until the very end of the af f a i r , u n t i l , that i s , the mass arrests of late November and early December. Most such villages, i t is important to add, were located in Yama d i s t r i c t , which by October had become the centre of opposition within the six dis-t r i c t s of Aizu. By 20 October, in Yama d i s t r i c t alone forty-two villages and 2,662 of their residents had handed over their power of attorney to the l i t i g a t i o n movement. One week later an additional 1,287 people of 56 sixteen other villages in Yama had also signed up. By mid-November when many Yama residents were losing their property to government-enforced public auctions, only 132 of the several thousand involved had 57 given in to governmental oppression. In some villages, such as Miura Bunji's Atsushio, where 273 people were summoned to appear at government offices for "questioning," and where numerous others were losing their 58 property to forced sales, none at a l l capitulated. Many others did, however. In mid-November, when property confis-cation and police repression against boycotters was stepped up, many broke from the movement and either promised to comply to corvee labour 59 duty or to pay the substitute labour tax. Among those who quit the move-ment were local Jiyuto leaders Endo Naoyuki, Miura Shinroku, and Endo Shozo, but only after they unsuccessfully tried to reach a compromise with Mishima. Moreover, since many of the defectors' were local village heads 32 52 governing body led by the Aizu branch of the Jiyuto." Local autonomy versus central c o n t r o l — i t was a battle classic to most developing nations. The import of the conflict as regards the Japanese experience is neatly summarized by Kurt Steiner: A local government system that has grown up from below may emphasize the idea that the citizens of a community should be given the oppor-tunity to realise their own interests within that community and that the state should exercise self-restraint for this purpose. A local government system imposed from above w i l l put the interests of the state f i r s t , and w i l l stress the duties, not the rights, of citizen-s h i p . ^ This, certainly, i s the fundamental issue raised by the "Declara-tion of the Restoration of Rights," seen equally as clearly in the pre-face to the rules governing the l i t i g a t i o n movement: "We who say we want to guarantee happiness and to regain rights for our members seek to achieve this goal, based on legal a c t i v i t i e s , of reforming government by 54 simply moving to stop the road construction." On a more practical level, in order to achieve their goals they implemented resolutions that would fund the movement. Members were asked to contribute ten sen apiece (Resolution 5) to cover the costs of travel expenses for the l i t i g a t i o n committee members (Resolution 6), and their lodging expenses (Resolution 6a). The organisational structure was also enlarged and made more e f f i -cient. Local village organs composed of one person per household and apportioned into ten-to twenty-man units, who in turn selected a leader, were established as more efficient means to communicate information, to assign responsibilities, and to pressure collectively the local o f f i c i a l 55 in charge of road construction. Through such organs they were also able to organise their tax boycott, which until then was largely limited to 34 and therefore local men of influence, they were able to withdraw entire villages from the movement. Such defections did not dampen the s p i r i t of most activists. Several lawsuits against Mishima, and even against the Home Ministry, were carried on, meetings were called and speeches given in many villages, and most, as a result, remained loyal to the Restoration of Rights move-ment. Also, an outside force entered the fight to give .added staying power to the movement: belatedly, Jiyuto members from the Fukushima branch of the Jiyuto were coming to the rescue of Aizu people. East-West Alliance Despite the common party t i e between the east and west branches, i t i s not surprising that the Fukushima branch stayed out of the Aizu con-f l i c t for so long. In the mid-to-late seventies the predominant eastern popular right societies served as patrons to the slower-organising western society (the Aishinsha; see Chapter IV), but when in late 1881 the subject of consolidating into one prefectural branch party came up, Aizu residents opted to remain separate from their eastern brethren. Thereafter, each branch was regional in scope and in interest. This i s easily seen in the fact that for the eastern branch the Aizu road struggle was only one among several of the charges cited against Mishima for misgovernment dur-ing the censure vote in May. In fact, that i t was cited at a l l was largely due to the influence and insistence of Westerners in the largely eastern-dominated prefectural assembly, and to their friendship with Kono Hironaka, rather than to the interest Easterners had in the affairs and problems of the Aizu party and the residents of the area. Most western assemblymen 35 were not Jiyuto members; only Uda, Nakajima, and Yamaguchi and a few others stood as the proverbial lone voices of protest to represent their region's interest in a p o l i t i c a l wilderness dominated by eastern and prefecture-wide interests. The estrangement of the west from the east stemmed in part from the earlier administrative division of the two regions. Less than a decade before, Aizu had been a separate prefecture with separate interests, and fought against amalgamation. Moreover, the Aizu Jiyuto branch was organisationally autonomous from the Fukushima one, and i t s members d i f -fered substantially from the eastern members in terms of socio-economic background. (See Chapter III.) In any event, with regard to the separate nature of the two branches vis-a-vis one another, the important points to make are these: f i r s t , "The disobedience campaign in Aizu was organised under the aegis of the Aizu Jiyuto i t s e l f . " ^ 0 Secondly, the Fukushima branch did not lend a hand until less than a month before the Aizu movement was suppressed, and even during that last month, very few party men from Fukushima actually set foot in Aizu to lend aid. Thirdly, the separate quality of the relation-ship between the two branches is further attested by the earlier-mentioned instance of Aizu members going to Tokyo, and not to Fukushima, for legal counsel. Finally, of a l l the well-known eastern Jiyuto leaders, only one, Tamano Hideaki, involved himself in the Aizu struggle before November, and then only by happenstance. 6 1 Prior to November, the eastern branch mainly directed i t s energies and attention toward Tokyo: i t was too embroiled in the controversy surrounding Jiyuto President 36 Itagaki Taisuke's planned t r i p abroad to give the Aizu road problem much attention. In large part, this stemmed from the fact that Kono Hironaka qua national party leader involved his branch in the junket controversy, and himself spent most of October in Tokyo at the national party head-quarters. When the Aizu problem was broached, Kono was quoted as having responded on more than one occasion, i t "ought not to be the main busi-ness of our party." He gave as further reason not to involve himself, or his branch, the 1874 precedent of how Eto Shimpei, an early minken/ nationalist activist, and his followers in Saga were manipulated by simi-lar circumstances into leading the i l l - f a t e d Saga Rebellion. Not unt i l late October did Kono and the Mumeikan of eastern Fukushima succumb to chance involvement. On 17 October, Yamaguchi and Miura, who had been sent to Tokyo 63 to seek additional legal advice from Oi Kentaro, met there with Kono. The two Aizu men requested of Kono that he send eastern party activists to Aizu to lend a hand in the anti-road campaign. On 23 October, Kono dispatched two of the more radical Mumeikan members, Sato Sumasu and Kamada Naozo, not because of the earlier request for help, but instead to investigate a rumour of Jiyuto-provoked violence that supposedly took 64 place on the twenty-first in Kitakata. Kono's two envoys reported back: "At this time, the people [of Aizu] have not yet reached the boiling p o int." 6 5 It was this seemingly insignificant non-event that served to open the doors for future involvement by the Fukushima branch into the Aizu conflict, for from this moment until the Kitakata incident on 28 November, the eastern branch became increasingly committed and receptive 37 to pleas made by Aizu Jiyuto leaders to assist them in the fight against the hastened tempo of governmental repression against the party. More-over, the eastern commitment was strengthened once i t s own members f e l l prey to repression. On 25 October, a meeting in Aizu between eastern and western Jiyuto members was violently broken up by f i f t y or so Teiseito members. On the evening of the same day, in Shinai village, Akajiro's village and the headquarters of the Restoration of Rights Movement, several tens of . policemen under Ebina's command threatened eastern members Sato and Monna Mojiro (Shigejiro), who were acting as representatives for the villagers in a petition campaign. The same sort of incident occurred the next day as well, this time with another eastern Jiyuto member, Kamada, also pre-sent. These confrontations, says Shimoyama Saburo, mark "the f i r s t time Mumeikan leaders directly participated in the l i t i g a t i o n movement. In terms of consequences, Kamada was arrested, and Sato barely escaped, only to return to the Mumeikan to report what had happened, and to request that aid be given, prophetically remarking, "For our party, victory or 6 7 defeat [in Aizu] w i l l have great consequences." Kono's response to Sato's recommendation, however, cabled from Tokyo where he remained until 11 November, said the Aizu affair was not the business of the Fukushima 68 branch, adding, "It might destroy our party." In contrast, the Fuku-shima Jiyu Shimbun editorialized on 5 November, "The troubles in the Aizu 6 9 region are not unimportant with regard to our Party's future growth." The Kitakata Incident In Kono's absence, opinion among Mumeikan members seemed to be 38 siding with the "help Aizu" proponents.^ On 9 November, Sugiyama Masagi, lawyer and later a Waseda University professor, and radical Sawada Kiyonosuke, signatory to a manifesto calling for the overthrow of 71 the government, were dispatched by Mumeikan leaders to Aizu. They were present when during the next few weeks the police began confiscating the property of the tax boycotters. They were also there when Jiyuto activists Hara Heizo and Miura Bunji were arrested for "slander" on 19 November for having denounced the Yama d i s t r i c t chief as a "criminal" for ordering the confiscation ("robbery") of the protesters' property. Reportedly, Sugiyama and Sawada were at least partly responsible for in-citing a crowd of two thousand farmers, coming from villages recently raided by the police, to assemble on 23 November at the police station in Kitakata where Miura and Hara were being held. The reason for this i l l e g a l assembly was a rumour that the two Jiyuto captives were going to be sent outside the d i s t r i c t to Wakamatsu to be tried; only after the crowd received assurances from the Kitakata police that Miura and Hara 72 would be tried in local court did i t disperse. The arrest of these two men, and especially of Hara, became a cause celebre among local activists and supporters. Leaders of the movement since the beginning and "defenders of the faith," their arrest aroused the anger of thousands of Aizu residents. It became even more intense the next day when i t was learned that yet another Aizu Jiyuto leader, Uda Seiichi, was arrested. One of the early organisers of the anti-road movement, Uda was seized by twenty policemen while on a re-73 cruitment drive in nearby Toyama prefecture. 39 Uda's recruitment drive was not limited merely to Toyama. Before arriving there, Uda had toured much of the nation, giving speeches and meeting with Jiyuto leaders in an effort to secure outside aid. It appears that his efforts were f r u i t f u l . In Gumma and Sendai he received assurances that Jiyuto members from those areas would send delegations to Aizu (several of whom were arrested; see Appendix II: Fukushima Activists). Around 18 November, after Kono had returned to Fukushima from Tokyo, he and Uda engaged in several days of conversation, and as a result, Uda received a promise from Kono that the eastern branch would 74 commit i t s e l f to the Aizu struggle. Before any of these outside Jiyuto groups could mobilize, however, certain events overtook them, as well as the Aizu protesters. The police took pre-emptory action, believing a rebellion of sorts was in the offing, and began arresting other Jiyuto leaders. Between Uda's arrest and the Kitakata incident on 28 November, another eleven Aizu Jiyuto "ringleaders" were arrested for "assembling crowds for the purpose of rioting" (kyoto 75 shushukyosa), presumably for their alleged participation in the 23 November disturbance in Kitakata. Ten other local Jiyuto leaders, fear-ing arrest, fled. The situation, for both sides, was one of confusion and fear. Against this backdrop of a largely leaderless Jiyuto and a very apprehensive government, the Kitakata incident occurred. The incident be-gan to take shape on 26 November, two days before the event i t s e l f , at a meeting of Jiyuto leaders and supporters held at the famous Chuzenji temple, which is located in Tanaka hamlet of Shibage village, residence 40 of Uda Seiichi. The purpose of the meeting was to consider what action should be taken in response to the arrest of Uda and the other Jiyuto leaders. The principal speakers at.the. meeting were Uda's father, Sugiyama Masagi and Sato Samasu of eastern Fukushima, and Uryu Naoshi, a twenty-two-year-old Jiyuto speech-maker and son of a headman of a Yama di s t r i c t village. The upshot of the opinion expressed by these men was that Uda was unjustly victimized for his efforts to contest the road project legally and was arrested on trumped-up charges. As most present shared this opinion, i t was enthusiastically decided to gather as many supporters as possible and to march to the Kitakata police station where Uda was being held. According to an eye-witness account of the Chuzenji meeting, nothing was said or proposed about making the march a violent one; the purpose was reportedly to inquire about Uda's condition, to make sure that he would not be transferred to.another j a i l outside the dis-t r i c t , and, i f possible, to demonstrate peacefully for his immediate re-77 lease, and that of Hara and Mxura who were also being held there. Independently, another group, this one from Onuma d i s t r i c t , had arrived at a similar plan, and on 28 November, the two bodies of farmers met on the fields of Danseigehara, located about five kilometres south of Kitakata. Estimates of the crowd's size vary from just over a thous-and to 10,000, but the actual figure, the experts maintain, was probably 78 closer to the former than to the latter. ° By the time a l l were assembled at Danseigehara, i t had been learnt that Uda had already been transferred to Wakamatsu; the knowledge of this undoubtedly served to kindle the anger of the crowd. Sugiyama 41 and Uryu addressed the crowd and, according to a police report, used inflammatory language: "Mishima's despotism is trampling over the rights 79 of man." The police also reported that Uryu urged the crowd to attack the police station in Kitakata and to free the Jiyuto leaders being held. From a l l accounts (other than police reports, although even these d i f f e r ) , i t is unlikely that even i f Uryu said such things, he really intended that the crowd attack the police station. For one thing, the crowd was not armed with weaponry of any sort; i t was unlikely that they could or would risk their lives against well-armed policemen.80 For another, even when the crowd did assemble in front of the police station, no one made any move to incite the crowd to storm the station. Even though they were unarmed, however, they probably could have overcome the fifteen or so police occupying and defending the station, but as mentioned, only at the risk of suffering many casualties. The most offensive action the crowd took during the twenty minutes they were assembled there was to shout words of abuse at the police, u n t i l , that i s , someone threw several stones and broke several stationhouse windows, although even here i t has been alleged by several that a police spy (agent provocateur) was 81 responsible. When this happened, three sword-swinging policemen charged the crowd, k i l l i n g one, seriously injuring three, and arresting four. No police were injured. The crowd then immediately dispersed in fli g h t and the "revolutionary r i o t and attack" (kakumeiteki na kyoto shugeki), as the Kitakata incident was later termed by the police, came abruptly to an end. If the Kitakata incident can properly be regarded as the denouement 42 of the movement, then the wholesale arrests which followed in i t s wake can be regarded as the climax of the Fukushima Incident. Until late December, the police embarked upon a massive arrest campaign against Jiyuto members, supporters, and leaders, and many innocent farmers whose only crime was to give support to the l i t i g a t i o n movement. Throughout the entire prefecture, close to two thousand were arrested; many were later victims of torture while awaiting t r i a l ; and fifty-seven were sent to Tokyo to stand t r i a l for the crime of sedition. Since these post-Kitakata events were clearly an instance of government using a minor disturbance as a pretext for major repression, they w i l l be discussed in detail in the last chapter where the conse-quences of the gekka jiken and the government's reactions to them are treated. THE KABASAN INCIDENT Around eleven o'clock on the rainy Tuesday morning of 23 September 1884, a solitary mountain priest of Mount Kaba, Makabe d i s t r i c t , Ibaraki prefecture, discovered that he was no longer alone, that his mountain had been occupied by an armed force. He sent this message to the police sub-station at Machiya, situated at the northern base of Mount Kaba: Fifteen or sixteen men calling themselves Jiyuto members, armed with various weapons, and bombs too, I believe, have assembled atop Mount Kaba, near Nagoaka village, Makabe district.^2 Of a l l reports, newspaper and government, subsequently issued about the Kabasan rebels, this one by the priest, despite i t s brevity, was most accurate. The rebels in fact numbered sixteen; they were heavily Map 3 . The Kabasan Area of Ibaraki and Tochigi Prefectures To Nikko Utsunomiya •Inaba •Mibu •Tochigi Town TOCHIGI PREF. •Kobayashi Kokuri To Takasaki (Gumma) Shimodate IBARAKI PREF. / •Ota A Mt. Kaba Nagaoka •Makabe Town ,A Mt. Tsukuba To Sendai / •Mi to •Nakada 44 armed with swords, a few guns and about 150 home-made bombs; and i f the several banners they raised atop Mount Kaba were a f a i r indication, then indeed they were Jiyuto members. The banners read: "Charge Ahead for Freedom," "Overthrow the Oppressive Government," "Die for Patriotism," 83 and "Friends of Freedom and Liberalism." The next day, as i f to make their intentions and identity of their group clearly known, the rebels hoisted yet another banner reading "Headquarters of the Kabasan Revolu-tionary Party." They could also be heard singing the "Song of American 84 Independence" (Beikoku dokuritsu no uta). The plan of the rebels was to remain at Mount Kaba until they re-ceived word about when an already twice-postponed o f f i c i a l ceremony to celebrate the opening of new government buildings at nearby Utsunomiya (Tochigi prefecture) was to be held. On the day of the ceremony they intended to assassinate the many highly-placed Ministers of State who were scheduled to be in attendance, to attack the prison there and re-lease i t s inmates, and to lead these men and other local residents on a march against the central government in Tokyo. However, as they realized that the authorities were already aware of their existence and possibly of their plans as well, after reaching the summit of Mount Kaba they de-cided to alter their original plans and to take immediate action. They decided to raise an army from the residents of the area. To this end, on 23 September, they raised their several banners calling for revolution, wrote and distributed revolutionary manifestos to Kabasan area residents, and launched an attack upon the nearby Machiya police sub-station, a l l done in order to demonstrate to the local populace the seriousness of 45 their intentions. The rebels also attacked and robbed the wealthier residents of the area (to whom "receipts" were given for the money and merchandise taken) in order to secure arms, food and money to meet their own needs, and the needs of the embryo army of locals they expected to attract. But since several scores of policemen had thwarted the attempt of some local residents, perhaps 100 to 200, to join the rebels, the Kabasan men were effectively isolated atop the mountain, and were further plagued with a rapidly diminishing water supply. Hence, early on 24 September, they decided to try to go ahead and attack Utsunomiya, despite there being no ceremony scheduled for that day. En route to Utsunomiya, by nightfall they had reached the ricefields of Nagaoka village. There they were forced to engage in a battle with about twenty police. Using their bombs, they k i l l e d one, injured four, and lost one of their own men. Also, during the confusion of the fight they had to abandon almost 100 bombs. Confronted with death and the loss of much of their weaponry, and fearing more police ahead, they backtracked towards Kabasan. On 25 September, as they headed northwest from Kabasan toward Ota village, they were being pursued not only by the combined police units from four villages in the Makabe d i s t r i c t , but also by a squad of Imperial troops and ten metropolitan police earlier sent from Tokyo. Despite their fear of being overtaken by the authorities, on the twenty-sixth, around 1:00 a.m., they attacked two homes of wealthy citizens of Kokuri village (Makabe d i s t r i c t ) . From there the rebels crossed into the moun-tainous d i s t r i c t of Haga in Tochigi, where after dividing their money and 46 weapons equally, they made camp at Kobayashi village and discussed their uncertain future. Finally, after protestations by several, and sugges-tions of mass suicide by others, they agreed to disband, but also to regroup in one month's time in Tokyo. However, before the month was over, a l l but two of them had been captured and placed under arrest. By Feb-ruary 1885, the other two had also been caught. Thus ended the Kabasan Incident, the f i r s t instance in the Meiji 85 period in which bombs had been used, and for .revolutionary purposes. Interpretations It w i l l be remembered that several specialists on the Fukushima Incident believe that the Kabasan Incident of September 1884 marks the true ending of the Fukushima Incident. . Their reasons for adopting such a view are not d i f f i c u l t to understand. Fi r s t , of the principal Kabasan rebels (including several who did not climb the mountain, but who joined in the planning), eight of the twenty or so had been arrested for their participation in the Fukushima Incident, and another four Kabasan rebels were residents of Fukushima. Secondly, one of their principal targets of assassination was none other than the "Devil Governor" himself, Mishima Michitsune, who since 30 October 1883, had been serving simultane-ously as Governor of Fukushima and of Tochigi, and therefore was to serve 86 as host to the gathering of Tokyo o f f i c i a l s at Utsunomiya. As several have pointed out, " . . . had there been no Mishima, there probably would 87 never have been a Kabasan Incident." In other words, for the Fukushima participants in the Kabasan Incident at least, the attack on Utsunomiya was a means to avenge the earlier repression they and the Fukushima 47 Jiyuto had suffered under Mishima during 1882. In this view, Mishima was a catalytic agent personified. Finally, during their t r i a l s several of the Kabasan rebels coming from Fukushima stated unequivocally that their involvement stemmed from a hatred of Mishima. Although there i s good reason to accord credence to this view, at the same time there also exists reason enough not to accept this inter-pretation of revenge in i t s entirety. This view by i t s e l f does not, for instance, explain why those rebels coming from Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Aichi and perhaps even Tochigi decided to join. Nor does i t explain why several of the Fukushima participants during their court t r i a l s failed to cite revenge against Mishima as an important reason for participating. The revenge thesis also f a i l s to take into account ideological beliefs as motivating forces which, as we shall see in Chapter IV, were much too strongly f e l t to ignore. Finally, the single-factor interpretation of revenge does not even begin to explain the substantially different nature of the Kabasan rebellion in terms of the tactics, targets and goals of participants. The Fukushima Incident may, then, be regarded as a start-ing point in the development of the Kabasan, but nonetheless must not obscure the fact that the Kabasan Incident was historically an event in i t s e l f . One f i n a l observation: revenge against Mishima might have very well provoked the Kabasan rebels to act i n i t i a l l y , but in the process of planning the assassination of Mishima they broadened their objective to include high-ranking government o f f i c i a l s of the central government. Planning lasted over a year, and in the process the i n i t i a l reason for involvement came to be less important to the conspirators than their 48 ultimate goal, r e v o l u t i o n . In the process, the Kabasan rebels appear to have experienced some change i n p o l i t i c a l consciousness; t h i s generaliza-t i o n applies to those coming from Fukushima prefecture as well as other areas. Before looking at the development of the inciden t , i t i s necessary to f i r s t explain what i s meant by development. In a small scale, conspir-a t o r i a l p l o t such as the Kabasan Incident, development r e f e r s to r e c r u i t -ment, the process by which i n d i v i d u a l s and small groups come to know one another s u f f i c i e n t l y to exchange confidences about ideas and plans that would conventionally be regarded as treasonable. As we s h a l l see, from early 1883 u n t i l 23 September 1884, almost a l l of the twenty or so rebels l i v e d i s o l a t e d and lonely l i v e s of i n t r i g u e , p l o t t i n g , and conspiracy. Each, i t seems, determined f o r himself that r e v o l u t i o n was e s s e n t i a l . But each of them also knew that alone he was unable to e f f e c t r e v o l u t i o n . Hence, each r e a l i z e d the importance of f i n d i n g others who shared t h i s b e l i e f , and more importantly, who were w i l l i n g to act upon i t . This pro-cess whereby each found "like-minded" men (doshi) constitutes the develop-ment of the incident. More than i n eit h e r of the other two incidents, men rather than events form the core of the Kabasan Incident. The Kabasan rebels sought to make events, rather than to react to them. Recruitment was of a p a r t i c u l a r kind. F i r s t , since most of the rebels were committed to assassination, recruitment was necessa r i l y highly exclusive, as t h i s type of adventure appealed only to very few. Status or s o c i a l standing was not a c r i t e r i a i n choosing comrades. As one of the rebels phrased i t , "From the outset, we d i d not place any 49 importance on recruiting important personages (meiboka) to join our 88 i l l e g a l rebellion." Secondly, the nature of recruitment was very i n -formal and secretive. A constant fear of police spies i n f i l t r a t i n g their group, which as we shall see probably did happen, caused the rebels to exercise extreme caution in discussing their plans. Only those people known to hold strong anti-government views, and who attended i l l e g a l party meetings, were privy to the conspiracy. Monna Shigejiro, for example, te s t i f i e d on 10 November to the question: Q: What methods were used to bring the comrades together? A: Mine and other's was to speak only with those [interested in] this topic, and also to keep our ears open to bits and pieces [of information] coming from a wide variety of people at meetings of comrades. But as far as special methods, I say there were none.^9 Finally, i f we can believe the rebels' testimony in court and police interrogations, then for each rebel there i s a somewhat different version of how they became involved. Moreover, in reconstructing the chain of events, the few secondary sources—contemporary to the incident as well as present-day—are of l i t t l e help in sorting things out. In these works, too much emphasis is placed on personalities, ideology or 90 "terrorist" tactics, and too l i t t l e on the intricacies of involvement. However, after careful readings of each of the rebels' stories as told to the police and prosecutors, I think that this problem can be handled be-91 cause the stories told by each of the participants, except for one, are characterized by forthrightness and apparent honesty, even to the ex-tent that i t earned seven of them the death penalty. This w i l l be dis-cussed further in the last chapter. This said, we now move on to look at the development of the i n c i -dent. 50 Strategy and Recruitment It w i l l be remembered that during October 1882, as the leaders of the Fukushima Incident were turning greater attention to l i t i g a t i o n as a means to fight Mishima, Monna Shigejiro, ex-policeman, Wakamatsu shizoku, and member of the l i t i g a t i o n committee, was sent to Tokyo to seek further legal counsel from Oi Kentaro. After the Kitakata incident of 28 November, Monna was arrested and in April 1883 was sent to Tokyo to stand t r i a l for the crime of sedition. Acquitted of this crime, he sought to make Mishima pay for his arrest and imprisonment (and probably torture; see Chapter V). Hence, in July, along with Jiyuto activists Hara Heizo and Saji Kyomatsu, Monna went to Sendai, obtained a lawyer named Maezawa, and "called on a member of the appeals court (koso sai-banjo) in order to bring legal action against the unfair treatment suf-92 fered because of the Fukushima governor." Unsuccessful there, he and his companions went to the Wakamatsu courts for the same purpose, but this time not only did he not have a chance to pursue his lawsuit, but as a result of trying was sought for the crime of "slandering a public o f f i c i a l " (namely, Mishima). To escape arrest, Monna fled to Tokyo and went into hiding for three months. While there he met a number of Jiyuto radicals, two of whom, Kono Hiromi (or Hiroshi), nephew of Kono Hironaka and also recently acquitted of treason, and Yokoyama Nobuyuki, ex-policeman and son of a low-ranking samurai of old Aizu han, were to join him later in the Kabasan Incident. The content of the discussions held in Tokyo between Monna, Kono, and Yokoyama during the winter of 1883 to 1884 are of great importance in 51 understanding subsequent events. By this time a l l three of these young Fukushima men, aged twenty-three, nineteen, and twenty-one respectively, had abandoned any notion of bringing about p o l i t i c a l reform by peaceful means and had concluded that only violence offered any hope of effecting democratic changes in the Japanese government. This common understanding gave them, and the others who were to join them later, the necessary basis to arrive at a plan for revolution. But at the same time, they disagreed on what type of violent strategy to employ. This disagreement proved to be an ongoing one, lasting until shortly before the rebellion i t s e l f , and determined to some extent exactly who would be among the sixteen men who climbed Mount Kaba on 23 September. The disagreement revolved around the distinction made by the rebels between ko-undo or "small movement" and dai-undo or "large move-ment." "Small movement," otherwise called "assassination-ism" (ansatsu-shugi) by the rebels, and supported by Kono and Yokoyama, implied that "five men, perhaps ten men, having the same beliefs and aiding one another, could carry out assassination, in other words, a small movement." By "large movement," again quoting Kono Hiromi's courtroom testimony, i t s advocate, Monna meant "getting a large number of like-thinking men from a l l over the country to meet in Tokyo and overthrow the government; in 93 other words, a large movement." To the rebels, this was also known as "raising-an-army-ism" (kyoheishugi). How many men were needed to comprise a large movement was suggested by one of the early plotters who withdrew from the rebellion because of disagreement over this issue of strategy. Ohashi Genzaburo said during police questioning: 52 To carry out the revolution (kakumei), 300 comrades would be suf-ficient to go to Tokyo and effect the overthrow. Using dynamite, probably 100 men would be enough to assassinate o f f i c i a l s . But the proper time to carry this out has not yet arrived.(Emphasis mine.) According to Kono, those advocating a "large movement" wanted "to 95 wait three years to start the revolution." Kono, Yokoyama and most of the others argued that i t was not necessary to wait for the "proper time," that i t was in their power to create the "proper time" by large-scale assassination of high-ranking government o f f i c i a l s : To discuss [this issue of tactics] is senseless. To establish a con-stitutional system based on the rights of the people, i t is necessary to overthrow the despotic government. To overthrow a despotic govern-ment, we cannot count on the remote possibility of such things as raising a prefecture-wide army. It is a far-fetched idea because we lack sufficient funds. Hence, instead we strike one blow aimed at the genro ["senior statesmen"] of the government. This done, having lost i t s leaders ["head"], the government ["body"] w i l l naturally f a l l . 9 6 This problem of the best strategy to employ to overthrow the government resurfaced continually, even up until the day of the rebellion i t s e l f . Although more about the implications of this debate w i l l be dis-cussed in Chapter IV, for the present let i t suffice to make three points: (1) a strong majority of the Kabasan rebels favoured "assassination-ism" more or less consistently; (2) "more than half of the assassination fac-97 tion had been connected with the Fukushima incident"; and (3) even those against a "small movement" usually believed that once the assassina-tions were accomplished, either by design or by chance, an anti-government army would rise up. In any event, the important point to make i s that regardless of which strategy a Kabasan conspirator advocated, he shared with the others the goal of overthrowing the government, and i t was this 53 fact that allowed him to co-operate with the others. Through Yokoyama, Kono and Monna became better acquainted with Yokoyama's patron, Koinuma Kuhachiro (Tadayaro), the "fatherly master of 98 the assassination faction," or as another contemporary called him, 99 "friend to the commoners (heimin)." Although less famous p o l i t i c a l l y than the man whom the government mistakenly assumed was' the real leader of the Kabasan rebels, Tomatsu Shoan (Masao), Koinuma was in fact the prime mover and organiser of the rebels until less than two weeks before the incident, when an accidental explosion of a bomb he was making cost him his l e f t arm. Koinuma was thirty-two years old in 1884, was himself a commoner from Tochigi prefecture, and was the unsuccessful third son of a wealthy merchant/farmer family who allowed Koinuma freedom enough to 100 pursue his child-like fascination for mechanical devices. In fact, Koinuma's a b i l i t y to make bombs, an art that he later taught to several of the other rebels, made him the l i k e l y leader of those who had opted for assassination-ism. Koinuma's radical tendencies are f i r s t known to have been ex-pressed in January 1883, during a meeting of around 300 Kanto Jiyuto mem-bers held in Tochigi Town. During the meeting, the purpose of which was to discuss what consequences the Fukushima Incident had on the growth and solidarity of the Party, Koinuma met privately with five other members who were well known for their radical ideas: Arai Shogo, village head, secretary of the Tochigi party branch, and magazine publisher cum i n t e l -lectual; 1^"'" Shiota Okuzo, a Jiyuto prefectural assemblyman; Sakagihara Keibu, lawyer and brother-in-law to Monna; Koinuma's "client" (kobun), 54 Yokoyama; and Fukao Junnoseiparty member who was later accused of being 102 a police spy. A l l except Fukao were later arrested for complicity in the Kabasan Incident. What these men discussed with Koinuma remains unknown today, but at another such secret meeting, held this time in Tokyo on 23 November 1883 at an Asuka-yama ryokan (hotel), i t is known that about 100 young 103 Jiyuto members met "to discuss what shishi ['patriots'] should be doing." One source claims that i t was here that Koinuma met Ibaraki Jiyuto leader 104 Tomatsu Masao, Kono Hiromi and others later involved in the incident. Another source claims that at this meeting Koinuma f i r s t discussed with . . 105 these men his intention to assassinate high government o f f i c i a l s . Koinuma himself said that at this meeting he met Kono and Miura Bunji through Kotoda Iwamatsu, another Kabasan rebel, and that they then began plotting the assassination. 1^ But whatever the specific content of the discussion, i t is likely that some talk of assassination did take place for immediately after this meeting Koinuma began making bombs at his home in Inaba village. Also at this meeting in Tokyo, Koinuma probably was introduced to Amano Ichitaro, nineteen-year-old shizoku who participated in the Fukushima Incident, and Yamaguchi Moritaro (Sanetaro), eighteen years old and also a shizoku from Fukushima. Less than a month after the Tokyo meeting these two youth went with Koinuma to Tochigi Town to spy upon, and to investigate the routine of, the newly-appointed governor Mishima Michitsune, whom they had chosen as a target for assassination. One source states that their journey was more than a mere scouting patrol, 55 that they actually intended to assassinate Mishima then, but that they deferred because of respect for the Emperor who was v i s i t i n g Tochigi at ^ ^. 107 the time. Probably independently of this attempt, around January 1884, Kono and Fukushima a l l i e s Kotoda Iwamatsu and Kusano Sakuma pledged to k i l l 108 Mishima. Kono himself claimed during his courtroom testimony that " i t was late last year [1883] or early this year that we f i r s t discussed 109 [using bombs to assassinate government o f f i c i a l s ] . " But the "we" in Kono's testimony refers not to Kusano and Kotoda, as the authors of the Jiyuto-shi claim, but to "Yokoyama, Sugiura and Saeki." Quite possibly both sources are correct to the extent that each refers to a different episode involving Kono, for clearly several plots were in the making by this time. For instance, Kusano had already been recruited by fellow Fukushima activist Miura Bunji in mid-1883 for involvement in a plan to assassinate Mishima,"*"1^ along with Amano, Yamaguchi, and Kokugi. And, as we have already seen, Yamaguchi and Amano by this time were assisting Koinuma in his own plot to k i l l Mishima. Hence, besides Kono's scheming, at least two separate plots to assassinate Mishima, one by Koinuma and another by Miura, with overlapping membership, had been hatched in late 1883. The similarities in timing and in membership of the two plots leads us to believe that the two groups were probably in contact with each other by then. Moreover, Tomatsu Masao, who was to assume leader-ship of the incident after Koinuma's accident, had by 23 November 1883 been alerted at least to Koinuma's plot, and probably was therefore not at a l l surprised when he was approached in mid-September for assistance. 56 The intricacies of recruitment thus far mentioned can be simpli-fied. On the one hand there was Koinuma's group: Amano, Yamaguchi, Kono, and Yokoyama by late 1883; by late 1884 Saeki Shomon (Masakado), Sugiura Kippuku, Kobayashi Tokutaro, and Isokawa Motoyoshi had learned through Kusano of Koinuma's intentions and had joined him.11"'' A l l nine of these men, like their leader, Koinuma, were committed to "assassinationism." They stand in contrast to another group of Jiyuto members, mainly from Tochigi, with whom Koinuma entered into discussions after May 1884: Ohashi Genzaburo, Iwamoto Shinkichi, Tateno Yoshinosuke and several others, some of whom Koinuma had spoken with in the January 1883 Tochigi Town meeting (e.g., Arai Shogo, Shida Okuzo, and Sakagihara Keibu). This latter group of Koinuma's associates generally supported the "large move-ment" strategy, and although later implicated, remained for the most part on the periphery of the conspiracy, and were not among those who raised the flag of revolution atop Mount Kaba. More or less simultaneously to Koinuma's recruitment of this group, Miura Bunji, one of the principal activists in the Fukushima Inci-dent, was assembling his own group, also committed to "assassinationism." Kokugi, Kusano, and Hara Rihachi, farmer and commoner from Fukushima, were i t s main "members"; Yamaguchi and Amano, whom Miura shared with Koinuma, made up the rest of Miura's group. Besides the twelve thus far mentioned, four others eventually 112 climbed Mount Kaba on 23 September. From Ibaraki came Tomatsu Masao, former school teacher and head of an Academy for young Jiyuto radicals located in Shimodate; his bodyguard and fencing instructor at the academy, 57 Tamamatsu Kaichi; and one of the academy's students, Hota Komakichi. The fourth was Koinuma's fellow Tochigi resident and Jiyuto ideologue, Hirao Yasokichi, the only one of a l l sixteen to be k i l l e d in battle. The involvement of these men stemmed from either their personal contact with Tomatsu, or from the contact they made with members of Koinuma's or Miuras's group at a Tokyo Jiyuto youth academy. (See Chapter IV.) As we shall soon see, the beginnings of their participation in the planning of the incident are dated around mid- to late-August. Planning the Revolution Not until about that time did the Kabasan rebels settle upon a concrete plan of action. It could hardly have been otherwise. Until then "recruitment" consisted mainly of individuals and small groups discovering the identity of others who shared a more-or-less vaguely expressed intent to reform the government and a more-or-less precisely expressed belief in eliminating the more obtrusive of the government's leaders as the most efficient means to effect reform. But as Koinuma became the hub of this underground movement, the focus of the rebels' enmity became, contradic-t o r i l y , both sharper and duller. From the i n i t i a l plans to assassinate only Mishima, they changed to include a l l high government o f f i c i a l s . And since i t was the capital where a l l the important o f f i c i a l s resided, the rebels moved from Koinuma's home in Tochigi, where most of the bomb-making and discussions between his group and Miura's had taken place since January, to Tokyo. From early summer unti l shortly before the jiken i t -self most of the action takes place in Tokyo. The centre of activity in Tokyo was Kono Hiromi's apartment 58 located on the third floor of a boarding house (geshuku) in the Nihonbashi 113 d i s t r i c t , and owned by Jiyuto sympathizer Iizuka Denjiro. According to Koinuma, at Kono's apartment in early July, he, Kono, Yokoyama, Saeki, and Sugiura planned their f i r s t attempt to assassinate government 114 o f f i c i a l s . The occasion was to be the 19 July ceremony welcoming the new nobility into the Peers (Kazoku), to be held at the Enryokan, and to be attended, according to a newspaper report from which the five rebels took their information, by over 100 high government o f f i c i a l s , including such notables as Ito Hirobumi and the recently appointed (12 December 1883) Home Minister, Yamagata Aritomo. 1 1 5 As Koinuma lectured his co-conspirators, this was their chance to emulate the Russian n i h i l i s t s , to "bring about the revolution by assassinating ministers of state."1"'"6 But as in the September incident, bad planning and bad luck prevented them from carrying out their plan. In the matter of bad planning, although Koinuma had been making bombs at least since January, he had not yet tested any, nor perhaps had he yet obtained a l l the necessary ingred-ients to make them effective. This is indicated by a number of large purchases made just before the day the ceremony was scheduled—2,500 pieces of iron shot bought in Tokyo on 19 July, and 120 ti n tea containers (chazutsu) on 18 July, also in Tokyo—and by the bomb-testing sessions carried out by Koinuma and Kono in Ishikawa d i s t r i c t (Fukushima) on 29 July, and in Kamitsuga d i s t r i c t (Tochigi) as late as 21 August. In the second instance, "bad luck" apparently hurt their plans since the govern-ment postponed indefinitely (as they did with the Utsunomiya ceremony in 117 September) the Enryokan ceremony. 59 The decision to carry out the Enryokan assassination attempt was not made until 13 July, a bare three days after a meeting of Jiyuto radicals—including Koinuma, Sugiura, Kono and a number of Tomatsu Masao followers as well—was held at an inn on Mount Tsukuba, Ibaraki prefec-ture, from 9 to 11 July. The meeting was supposed to be attended by radicals from Ibaraki, Tochigi, Fukushima, Saitama, and Gumma in order to, according to one account contemporary to this period, "together select 118 the vanguard of the revolution." How many attended is not known, but i t i s known that Saitama and Gumma Jiyuto branches failed to send dele-119 gates. The meeting discussed the implications the Gumma Incident (May 1884) had for the possibility of starting the revolution. Koinuma and his supporters argued that the failure of the Gumma Jiyuto radicals to transform the incident's participants into an "army" proved the practical emptiness of the "large movement" strategy, and that accordingly "assas-120 smationism" must be tried. The other faction, however, primarily followers of Oi Kentaro (who was lecturing in the Kansai region at the time), proposed organising an advance guard composed of Tohoku (North-eastern) patriots so that "when the moment of imminence comes, we w i l l be ready to ra l l y groups of Tohoku shishi, who w i l l come [to Kanto] as the 121 pioneers of the revolutionary army (kakumei gun no semben)." This faction also argued that their immediate concern, as a preparatory step to raising the army, should be party reform, centred around the creation of a new radical leadership. They maintained, "Reform of the Jiyuto head-122 quarters [leadership] and p o l i t i c a l revolution are complementary." This group's position, though hurt because of Oi's absence, appears to 60 have carried the meeting, because Koinuma and his followers l e f t i t com-plaining that the meeting had failed to arrive at any concrete plan of 123 action. Given this, i t seems f a i r to assume that Koinuma's plans to assassinate government o f f i c i a l s at the 19 July Enryokan meeting stemmed from the frustration and impatience he suffered because of the Tsukuba meeting. Despite the Enryokan disappointment, Koinuma's hopes rose momen-ta r i l y when in mid-August he learned of a wide-scale disturbance at Hachioji, beginning on 10 August and organised by Jiyuto and Komminto (Poor Peoples' Party) leaders. Perhaps this indicates that Koinuma was coming around to the "large movement" strategy, or perhaps he was just looking to recruit other comrades for a "small movement," but in any event he sent Hirao, Isokawa, and Kobayashi to speak with the leaders of the Hachioji rising. Several days later Koinuma's emmisaries returned to report, "They are unable to understand our purposes at a l l . They are lack-ing in principles, in s p i r i t , and in w i l l , and were unwilling to discuss 124 the matter seriously." Again disappointed, he bided his time by testing his bombs. Finally, good news arrived. On 20 August, the newspapers reported that on 15 September, a ceremony to inaugurate the relocation of the Tochigi capital to Utsunomiya would be attended by many high-ranking government o f f i c i a l s from Tokyo; the host of the event, the papers also noted, would be Mishima Michitsune. The Kabasan rebels regarded this as 125 "one chance in a thousand." 61 The Beginning of the End Koinuma immediately arranged for a l l the bomb materials they had been buying, collecting, and hiding in Tokyo to be sent to his home in Tochigi. He also sent Sugiura, traveling under a false identity, to Utsunomiya to verify whether the newspaper reports were accurate,' and further called for his comrades to meet at Kono's Tokyo apartment on 1 September. Assembling there to plan the attack on Utsunomiya were Koinuma, Kono, Sugiura, Kotoda, Yamaguchi, Amano, Hirao, and Isokawa. As the o f f i c i a l Party history has i t , "There they united in a revolution-ary alliance (kakumei domei). " 1 2 6 But, as i t w i l l be noticed, only one-half of the sixteen men who ascended Mount Kaba were at this time part of the "revolutionary alliance." In fact, as Kobayashi later points out in his court testimony, "The assembling of a l l seventeen [sic] and the mutual decision on our plan by a l l seventeen [sic] was not completed until 21 or 22 September. Before then the plan had only been discussed 127 in small groups of five or ten." At any rate, after the eight men vowed in Tokyo to begin preparing for the 15 September assassination plot, Koinuma l e f t for his home in Tochigi to begin his own planning. Now confronted with what almost certainly was the perfect oppor-tunity to overthrow the government, Koinuma began to come around to the idea of raising an army. When he returned to Tochigi he entered into discussions with a number of Jiyuto radicals known for their support of the "large movement" strategy. In his own words, on 3 or 4 September he spoke with Ohashi Genzaburo about "how the Jiyuto could aid the ordinary people (ippan jimmin), . . . and together concluded that we must summon 62 our energies for a revolution decided only by our deaths (kesshi kakumei). . . . I told him of the plot to assassinate government Ministers. . . . 128 We subsequently made a compact to seek death together." As a result of this compact, Ohashi opened his home to bomb-makers Kusano and Isokawa. Secondly, Koinuma approached the local "strong man" (kyokaku or "Robin Hood") Kumakutsu Torashi about gaining help from him and his many f o l -lowers who were miners at the Ashio copper mine, hoping to raise an army 129 once the assassination was carried out. Finally, Koinuma chose four men—Kono, Yokoyama, Sugiura, and Miura--to draw up a plan of attack that included freeing the inmates from Tochigi prisons and j a i l s as a prelude 130 to inducting them into the revolutionary army. Similarly, he also 131 hoped to recruit the local poor into the army. Koinuma's plan, then, was " i f the attack on Utsunomiya is successful, then we w i l l raise an army" that would in turn march on Tokyo where an appeal would be made to 132 the Emperor to change the government. Given this plan, i t is not sur-prising that during his t r i a l Koinuma expressed admiration for Oliver Cromwell, who in the beginning of the English Revolution did not want to 133 dispose of the monarchy. Around the same time, and most probably with Koinuma's approval, Kono, Yokoyama and Kobayashi, who had remained in Tokyo after Koinuma and the others departed for Tochigi, met with Monna Shigejiro at the Jiyuto youth centre where they unsuccessfully tried to s o l i c i t party 134 funds for the revolution. They needed the money in order to buy addi-tional bomb materials, e.g., f i f t y pounds of potassium chlorate and 200 pounds of red phosphorous. In l i e u of a party contribution, they proposed 63 to Monna that the four of them should rob a Kanda area pawnshop, whose 135 owner was known not only to have 300 to 400 yen on hand usually, but also to be a generous money-lender to the nobility (kazoku). As a pure "raise-an-army-ism" proponent, Monna was reluctant to join these three "assassinationism" advocates, but did so on the understanding that his 13( portion of the money stolen would be used "to raise funds for the army." Thus i t came about that around 7:30 p.m. on 10 September, these four men, each armed with a bomb, broke into the Kanda pawnshop, surpris-ing i t s owner who screamed and brought a nearby policeman running to the scene, simultaneously whistling for other policemen to respond. Kono 137 alone, said Yokoyama later, threw his bomb, causing serious injury to one passer-by and slight injury to another passer-by as well as to one policeman. Monna too was slightly injured by the blast, and was captured. The other three—although the pawnshop owner said he saw only two others —escaped and hid that night in Tokyo. The next morning they l e f t for Koinuma's. The "costs" of the robbery far exceeded the "benefits" the rebels derived. F i r s t , they managed to steal only four yen. Secondly, although Monna managed to conceal his identity from the police for several days after the robbery, once i t was discovered they further learned who his comrades were that night (except for Kobayashi) and began a Kanto-wide manhunt. Finally, as the "Kogawa jiken" (Kogawa is a section of the Kanda district) was the f i r s t time in Japan's history that anyone had been injured by a bomb, the authorities were a l l the more persevering in their attempt to capture the rebels. Also, i t is likely that the apprehension 64 the robbery provoked in the authorities was responsible for the post-ponement of the Utsunomiya ceremony, scheduled for a mere five days after the robbery. The rebels did not hear of the postponement until four days later, on 14 September. By that time they had suffered yet another, perhaps more serious reverse to their cause. On 12 September, with eight other rebels present, Koinuma seriously injured himself at his home in Inaba when a bomb he was making exploded. Koinuma lost his l e f t arm, suffered a serious concussion, and had to be hospitalized at Mibu .Town:; The next day he was visited by the local police. Despite his serious condition, Koinuma did not break under Police questioning and refused to say anything. 138 Not un t i l October did Koinuma confess his role in the incident. For the rebels, the immediate consequence of the loss of their leader was, of course, fear of being discovered and arrested. They there-fore fled to Ibaraki, to the Literary and Martial Arts Hall (Bunbukan) of Nakada village, where they stayed one night. The next day (fourteenth) they went to Tomatsu Masao's Yuikan in Shimodate. There they remained until the Kabasan jiken on 23 September. By 18 September, Kono, Yokoyama, and Kobayashi had arrived there as well, after f i r s t stopping at Koinuma's on 13 September, only to hear of his accident. (Incredibly, though not yet known to the police as a "Kogawa jiken" participant, Kono visited Koinuma in the hospital on the thirteenth.) By 18 September, then, a l l sixteen rebels who were to climb Mount Kaba were assembled for the f i r s t time since the 1883 beginning of the recruitment process. Having lost their former leader, by going to Tomatsu they gained, 65 albeit reluctantly, a new one. I say "reluctantly" because Tomatsu was dedicated to Oi Kentaro's faction of Jiyuto radicals who believed in waiting and quietly preparing for some future revolution. How Tomatsu 139 got involved in what he called "this risky revolutionary undertaking" he explained during his t r i a l on 19 January 1885: On September 14, 1884, Hirao Yasokichi and Kotoda Iwamatsu came to see me. They expressed their approval of my work [at the Yuikan] and said that they agreed with i t . . . . They then informed me repeatedly that they were making bombs and that they planned to use them against important people at the Utsunomiya ceremony in the hope of reforming the government. After that they asked i f five or six others could come and talk with me, to which 1 said, "certainly." That afternoon I spoke with Hara and four or five other Jiyuto members who had come and who agreed with the plot. . . . On September 18, Kono and several others arrived, bringing our company to sixteen.140 On the same day that Tomatsu invited the rebels to his school, the rebels learned that the Utsunomiya ceremony had been postponed. This in part explains why Tomatsu, who in the past had consistently opposed the "small movement" strategy of revolution, agreed to involve himself, i.e., since there was no immediate danger that the rebels would take any action, he may have seen this as an opportunity to convert fifteen very dedicated and politicized men to his way of thinking. Certainly, i t was not simply because his ego was flattered by their praise of his work that he joined them, because he realized, "I was made their leader (shukai) . . . because I am well known in this region and could therefore persuade 141 people to give us men and provisions. . . ." S t i l l , the most likely reason for Tomatsu1s participation was, as the author of the contemporary work Tosui minken shi argued, that Tomatsu believed, as Koinuma had come to believe, "assassinationism" could serve as the f i r s t step to raising 142 an army of revolution. Hence, he had convinced the others by 22 66 September that, "Our aim i s defined: to go to Kabasan u n t i l the ceremony at Uysunomiya i s held; then to go there and r a i s e an army; then [to overthrow the government] and e f f e c t reform (kairyo) of the c e n t r a l 4. ..143 government. The events that forced the sixteen rebels to leave the Yuikan and go to Kabasan were several. F i r s t , on 21 September, several of the rebels attracted the attention of neighbours by st u p i d l y t e s t i n g some bombs near the Yuikan. Secondly, a warrant had been issued for the a r r e s t of Kono and Yokoyama on the eighteenth; they learned of the warrant on the t w e n t y - f i r s t . T h i r d l y , Hota had been sent to Utsunomiya to learn when the ceremony would be scheduled; he found out that i t had been moved from the twenty-fourth (the second scheduling) to the twenty-seventh. (It f i n a l l y took place on 22 October.) F i n a l l y , on the evening of the twenty-second, a " f r i e n d , " or a p o l i c e spy according to one con-144 temporary source, v i s i t e d the Yuikan to report and warn that, "Tonight 145 policemen are coming here. I t e l l you t h i s f o r your past kindnesses." Supposedly surprised at t h i s news, Tomatsu ordered the f i f t e e n to c o l l e c t t h e i r bombs, gather provisions, and head for Mount Kaba. What happened there, as we saw at the beginning of t h i s narrative, constitutes the climax of the Kabasan Incident. I f the rebels ever had a chance to r e a l i z e t h e i r plan, i t was l o s t the next day when the governor of Ibaraki cabled the Home Mini s t r y : "3,000 r i o t e r s on Mt. Kaba. Send a i d immediately." Map 4. Chichibu District and Surrounding Areas 0 10 20 km KODAMA DISTRICT GUMMA PREF. MINAMI-KANRA DISTRICT Fuj ikura , ?l - 1 £ E a . Narahara• , • •Homirioyama -^, „ , , Manaba* *Oda Sakahara • - -Yono* -otabu •Kpkahara '.Kami •OJz6mo hinozawa Isama* •KaneyA / / / •Kanesaki •Honnogami NAKA DISTRICT Yb'rii* HANZAWA ' DISTRICT • Fuppu* NAGANO PREF. Takanomachi-1 Usuda 'Kaize Shirai-• Chinas • Higashi-managashi •Kita-aiki •Hio •. Sanyama• Kami-•Kawarasawa yoshida : Iida •Ogano Shimo-• hinozawa Akuma *Minano \ OBUSUMA Sakamoto• DISTRICT • Onohara Susuki* Shimo- -Omiya ogano ?Nagaru •Komori *'Yokose •Shiroku i I > / To Kuma= ' gaya HIKI DISTRICT Noheyamahara • •Minami-aiki MINAMI-SAKU DISTRICT CHICHIBU DISTRICT \To Hanho > y IRUMA DISTRICT YAMANASHI PREF. TOKYO (URBAN) PREF. 68 THE CHICHIBU INCIDENT At 5:00 p.m. on 1 November 1884, as the last of the government troops were arriving in Tokyo from Ibaraki, where they had been sent five 147 weeks earlier to suppress the Kabasan rebels, about 3,000 farmers, hunters, small tradesmen, Jiyuto party members, and local school teachers were meeting at the Muku temple, situated on a high tree-covered h i l l in the village of Shimo-yoshida, Chichibu District, Saitama Prefecture. The people present were armed with r i f l e s , swords and bamboo spears. Most were wearing white head bands (shiro-hachimaki), straw sandals (waraji), short coats (hanten) with their sleeves girded up and held by white cords, and t i g h t - f i t t i n g trousers that were pulled up at the groin. Before them stood Tashiro Eisuke, sericulturist, once-convicted gambler, self-proclaimed lawyer (daigsnnin), the son of a low-ranking samurai, and a man of patronage who was able to count several hundred people as "clients" (kobun). But at this moment, he faced the crowd that was assembled within the outer compound of the temple as their "supreme commander" (soshireikan), as leader of the Poor Peoples' Army (Komminto). To one side of Tashiro stood his "chief of staff" (sambocho), Kikuchi Kanbei, another "lawyer," who had come from Saku d i s t r i c t of neighbouring Nagano prefecture to join the Komminto only four days earlier. The other officers of the Komminto, standing on the temple steps with Tashiro and Kikuchi, were individually introduced. "Vice-commander" of the Army was Kato Orihei, a gambler and philanthropic pawnshop owner of Isama village. The two "treasurers" were Shinto priest and long-time friend of Tashiro, Miyakawa Tsuari, and Jiyuto member and farmer of 69 Shimo-yoshida village, Inoue Denzo. Those introduced as "battalion com-manders" were Shibaoka Kumakichi, Arai Shuzaburo, and Iizuka Seizo, also residents of the Chichibu region. Under them were several assistant com-manders of the three battalions; below them squadron leaders, privisions officers, and so on. In a l l , over sixty men were introduced to the crowd as officers of their army. When the crowd was silent, Kikuchi read the "army code," or "articles of war," that would henceforth serve to guide the behaviour of the army. It prohibited drinking, the violation of women, arson without permission, and the withholding of appropriated goods and money from the 148 army command. When this was done, one of the leaders, perhaps Kikuchi again, read the "Rules of Conduct" (kodo mokuhyo) that would serve to give definition to the aims of the army. Its f i r s t rule was to "aid the poor people"; the others served to pinpoint the targets of the rebels: creditors' homes, police stations, government buildings, and the o f f i c i a l 149 documents found in these places. With these formalities disposed of, the last order of business was to assign a l l those present who were not already members of one of the village squads to units of their own. By 8:00 p.m. this work was done and two battal ions were assembled. The "First Battalion" (ko—tai) , numbering 2,000 men, was led by Kato Orihei, Arai Shuzaburo, and Ono Naekichi. It began marching southwest toward the market town of Ogano. The "Second Battalion" (otsu-tai), under the leadership of Tashiro, Iizuka, and Ochiai Toishi, took a different route to Ogano, enabling the Komminto army to surround the town eventually. Earlier, before the two 70 battalions began marching, Takagishi Zenkichi had taken a squad of men to Shimo-ogano in order to scout ahead of the main force. By eleven o'clock that evening the Komminto army had begun invading Ogano and be-fore the day was over had placed the town under Komminto rule. These events of 1 November mark the formal beginning of the Chi-chibu Incident. The "formal" end of the rebellion was ten days later, when the government announced that the last remnants of the Komminto army had been routed. In fact, however, these dates represent only the begin-ning and end of open, large-scale h o s t i l i t i e s between the government and the rebels. Here we w i l l examine the actual origins of the conflict, and in Chapter V w i l l show that the incident produced effects that mani-fested themselves p o l i t i c a l l y well after 10 November. Towards Rebellion The f i r s t known instance in which individuals, later to become instrumental in organising the Komminto and the rebellion, took concerted action to aid the poor people of Chichibu was in December 1883. At that time Takagishi Zenkichi, Sakamoto Sosaku, and Ochiai Toishi presented a "petition admonishing usurers" (koriga setsuya seigan) to the administra-tive head of Chichibu d i s t r i c t (guncho), requesting that the government intervene on behalf of the indebted, order creditors to permit interest payments on loans to be deferred, and also to i n i t i a t e a scheme whereby repayment of a l l outstanding debts could be made annually over a forty-year period. The d i s t r i c t head, however, argued that he did not have the 150 authority to accept such a petition and sent the three men away. The next instance of importance with regard to the later rebellion 71 took place in the spring of 1884. In March, following a February speak-ing tour throughout Chichibu by the well-known Jiyuto radical, Oi Kentaro, the same three men, who in December had petitioned the government, joined the Jiyuto and then attended i t s national conference in Tokyo. With Oi Kentaro, who by then was Jiyuto director of the Kanto region (Kanto chiho jobi-in), they secretly pledged to overthrow the government. They also agreed to serve as the Chichibu representatives for the Jiyuto 151 headquarters. Also during March, and on into April, these same three, along with other later Komminto leaders, Inoue Denzo (Jiyuto member), Inoue Zensaku, Miyada Seitaro, and Arai Shigejiro, again petitioned the d i s t r i c t head with the same demands that were made in December. Again, however, they were refused, this time on the grounds that a recent edict governing the presentation of petitions did not allow the peti-tioning of d i s t r i c t or prefectural officers without f i r s t receiving formal permission from the village heads (kocho) of the petitioners concerned. Ignoring this, they subsequently once again petitioned, but failed. For most of these early activists, who were farmers, the next two months was the "busy season" (nohanki) when sericulturists were forced to give the utmost care and attention to their spring silkworms. Not unt i l July did organisational activity resume in Chichibu. To the north, however, in Gumma prefecture, which borders Chichibu, several thousand impoverished farmers followed local Jiyuto members and others into a rebellion that May; this was known as the Gumma Incident and was 153 one of the several gekka jiken of 1884. It is noteworthy because in 72 October and November several prominent Jiyuto members from the region in Gumma where the incident took place came to Chichibu to offer their ser-vices to the Chichibu rebels. In July, according to the Meiji government, organisational activity that later led to the building of the Komminto began anew. When the government tried Arai Shigejiro, a forty-four-year-ole impoverished sericulturist from Isama village in Chichibu, for his participation in the rebellion, he was accused and found guilty of "helping to organise the Komminto between July 12 and September 1, 1884, along with Ochiai 154 Toishi and Takagishi Zenkichi " The government's contention that organisational activity was taking place since July is supported not only by Arai's testimony i t s e l f , but also by records that show far-mers gathering during July to protest against high interest loans. On 16 July, for example, farmers from the villages of Minano, Shimo-yoshida, 155 and Ogano met near Ogano for this purpose. Although some organisational activity occurred during July, i t is the month of August that really marks the beginnings of serious and consequential organisational activity by the farmers of Chichibu. The mechanism that brought farmers together in August and that allowed them the opportunity to begin organising was the s i l k market. In early August sericulturalists took their worms, cocoons, and s i l k to market for sale. And the market, as Inoue observes, "was where local farmers communicated 156 to one another their thoughts about local conditions." In early August, their thoughts centred around the fact that the value of their 157 products was only about one-half their 1882 value. 73 Such was the case on 10 August, when at l e a s t a dozen farmers who were doing business at the Ogano market decided, on whose suggestion i t i s not known, to meet s e c r e t l y i n the forests of nearby Mount Azawada i n order to organise some kind of response to the d e t e r i o r a t i n g economic conditions. On that day the Poor Peoples' Party was born. According to the l a t e r courtroom testimony of Takagishi, the nucleus of the Komminto was formed and the o r i g i n s of a platform were established: Iisuka Morizo, Ochiai T o i s h i , Inoue Zensaku and eleven or twelve others, i n c l u d i n g myself, discussed how we ought to obtain an eight-year, annual debt repayment scheme.158 Although no e x p l i c i t reference i s made to the term Komminto i n t h i s pas-sage, there i s nonetheless reason to think that by t h i s time (10 August) the term was being used frequently by Chichibu farmers. For one reason, since A p r i l the Komminto of H a c h i o j i , located about f o r t y kilometres southeast of Omiya, had been actively—sometimes peacefully, sometimes v i o l e n t l y — e n g a g e d i n a f i g h t against the usurers of t h e i r region for the reduction of i n t e r e s t on loans. In f a c t , on 10 August i t s e l f , the very day the Chichibu organisers were meeting on Mount Azawada, the Hachioji Komminto led a r e b e l l i o n of several thousand farmers from several v i l l a g e s against l o c a l loan companies and government 159 o f f i c i a l s . I t i s also important to note that t h e i r r e b e l l i o n met with p a r t i a l success, e s p e c i a l l y i n regard to the rescheduling of loan ^ 160 repayments. Elsewhere i n the country, organisations of indebted farmers, bearing d i f f e r e n t names but making the same type of demands, had been springing up since 1882. In August of that year farmers of Shimane 74 prefecture had formed the Yohaka shakuchito, or "Yohaka Leased Land Party." ""Debtors' Party" or Shakkinto, was another t i t l e that indebted farmers took for their organisations in Shiga and Fukuoka prefectures during 1883, and in Shizuoka and Iwaki prefectures in early 1884. In Chichibu i t s e l f , there i s evidence that the t i t l e "Komminto" was already gaining currency by early August. A farmer from Akuma v i l -lage, from which many later joined the November rebellion, was quoted as saying, "In mid-August I went to a meeting of the Komminto." In another instance, a young carpenter of Tochiya village (near Omiya) said, "On August 18, we gathered at a temple in our mountain village. It was said that a large crowd from Ogano was coming to wreck the house (uchikowashi) of' 16 2 a local usurer. We decided that we ought to join them." "We" here meant the village Komminto organ. While this was going on, the i n i t i a l organisers of Mount Azawada were also busy. Several of the Jiyuto members among them, such as Ochiai and Takagishi, had begun making l i s t s of the names of indebted farmers, then approached their creditors requesting r e l i e f , and traveled throughout the many mountain communities giving lectures, holding meetings, and X 6 3 organising local Komminto organs. Arai Eitaro of Isama village and Takeuchi Kishigoro of Kamihinozawa were two such village leaders who were 164 prompted by the early Komminto organisers to build village parties. In some cases, i t appears that joining the local Komminto was a prelimi-165 nary move to joining the Jiyuto i t s e l f . Moreover, during August and early September, organisational activities by Komminto leaders reached beyond the boundaries of Chichibu d i s t r i c t and spread into neighbouring 75 Kodama, Hanzawa, and Ofusama d i s t r i c t s . Even the neighbourhood prefec-tures of Gumma and Nagano were not immune to the organisational a c t i v i -ties of the early Komminto organisers. 1 6 6 Hence, "Around this time the 16V name 'Komminto' came to be widely used." By late August and early September the organisational process was proceeding well in the eyes of i t s init i a t o r s , but they also had reached the conclusion that the leadership of the Komminto was as yet diffuse, that i t needed a well-known and strong figure to unite and cement the bonds of membership. The one whom they were able to agree upon, the per-son who was later to become "Supreme Commander of the Army of the Poor Peoples' Party," was Tashiro Eisuke. According to the posthumous letters of Ochiai, i t was Kato Orihei who f i r s t suggested Tashiro Eisuke as the 168 ideal candidate. Tashiro was known to be sympathetic to the Jiyuto, i f not actually a member himself; he was a local meiboka ("famous person-age") , a patron (oyabun) who had several hundred clients (kobun) under obligation to him; a known gambler, once convicted, who was obviously not averse to opposing authority; and fin a l l y Tashiro was a self-declared Kyokaku, or "Robin Hood," who believed he should "help the weak and crush the strong." In a l l , Tashiro seemed to be the ideal person to head the Komminto. Thus, beginning 21 August, Tashiro was approached at least three times by the early Komminto organisers (Inoue Denzo, Horiguchi Kosuke of Gumma and one of Tashiro's kobun, Iizuka Seizo, Jiyuto member Kokashiwa Tsunejiro, also of Gumma, and Takagishi Zenkichi). Not until 8 September, however, did Tashiro consent to serve as leader. It appears that Tashiro's reluctance to join was due to a fear that the Komminto 76 would ultimately resort to rebellion and that in the process lives would 169 be lost. However, with the addition of Tashiro, the settling of the leadership problem was accomplished, and the Komminto leaders henceforth proceeded to devote a l l their energies to further organisational efforts. For the next month organisational activities took the form of Komminto aid to indebted farmers who were having d i f f i c u l t y with creditors. Komminto members would either confront creditors directly on the question of deferring repayment of loans, or they would encourage local farmers to organise themselves into local Komminto branches for the same purpose. They were aided in their attempts to capture new Komminto members by both the recalcitrance of creditors to comply with such demands, and by the effects that suppression of village meetings by the police had in alienating poor farmers from the authorities. Nearly a l l the efforts by the Komminto during this month met without success in reducing or deferring debt repayment. This fact prompted the Komminto leadership to c a l l a meeting at the home of Inoue Denzo on 12 October, to discuss how the Komminto was going to respond to i t s lack of success in helping the indebted farmers. According to the Nichi Nichi Shimbun account, nine leaders were present at this meeting: Tashiro, Kato, Inoue Denzo, Arai Shusaburo, a school teacher; Takagishi, Sakamoto Sosaku, Kokashiwa of Gumma, and 170 Kikuchi Kanbei of Nagano. They discussed the failures thus far of Komminto members to make any gains with creditors over the terms of loans, and the d i s t r i c t government!s refusal to intervene on behalf of Chichibu's 171 poor farmers. To date, they noted, the Komminto had worked within 77 the confines of the law, relying upon the means of organisation, per-suasion and negotiation to try to get demands met. This, they decided, had proved ineffective. Unanimously, they decided that rebellion was the only alternative. Having reached this conclusion on 12 October, they closed the meeting unt i l the next day when they decided they would meet at the home of Kato Orihei. There they would tackle the problem of how to implement the decision to rebel. Two immediate problems arose: f i r s t , the problem of how to communicate this decision to Komminto supporters throughout Chichibu and, likewise, how to convince them of the wisdom of this decision; and secondly, the problem of how a group of indebted farmers could acquire sufficient money and provisions to effect a rebellion suc-cessfully. The solution to the latter problem, i t was decided, perhaps on 172 Tashiro's suggestion, was to "liberate" funds from the wealthy r e s i -dents of the region. On 14 October, the next day, Miyakawa, Sosaku, Horiguchi and several others broke into the home of a wealthy merchant of Yokose village and stole four swords, a spear, and 100 yen. Arai Shusaburo followed suit on the fifteenth, but was only able to steal 173 f i f t y sen from a reputedly wealthy farmer. But once the actual fight-ing began in November, the Komminto increasingly turned, with greater success, to robbery, confiscation of goods, weapons and food, and to impressment in order to meet their needs of money, supplies and men for the rebellion. In response to the f i r s t problem of how to mobilize their 78 sympathizers throughout the d i s t r i c t , the Komminto leaders apportioned Chichibu d i s t r i c t into a number of ten-village units and assigned to each of themselves the responsibility for mobilizing one of these units. Tashiro, for instance, who was responsible for the villages encircling his own home town of Omiya, began on 15 October to v i s i t each of these villages on a rekiho ("round of c a l l s " ) , advocating to the villagers that they should be prepared to rise in "house-wreckings" against their 174 creditors. (Ultimately, once the rebellion began, only three of his villages responded.) Not a l l of the Komminto leaders, however, employed this method of "round of c a l l s " to mobilize followers, usually because i t was not necessary. Since many villages had begun organising themselves since late August, mobilization in these cases amounted merely to the conveyance of a message from Tashiro, or one of the other leaders, to a village Komminto leader. Such, for instance, was the case with Fuppu village. But whatever the means employed to mobilize the villagers, police reports on the condition of the region clearly show that Chichibu residents were busily engaged in organising after mid-October. Yet even though the police were aware of this, they maintained as late as 21 October, that, "The situation i s not such that [we expect] a rebellion soon." They argued this on the basis of knowledge of traditional agri-cultural patterns, saying that early November was an unlikely time for rebellion because this was when the Chichibu farmers began planting wheat (mugimaki) Just five days later, however, on 26 October, at Shimo-yoshida's Mount Ano, near where the Yoshida and Isama rivers converge and where 7.9 160 Komminto members had met for an organisational meeting on 6 September, the Komminto leadership gathered to decide upon the date to begin the 176 rebellion. Kokashiwa, who two months earlier had come from his native Gumma to help the Chichibu farmers organise the Komminto, argued on this occasion for a 28 October rising. Tashiro, supported by Inoue Denzo, recommended a later November beginning, mainly on the grounds that i t would take at least a month to mobilize and co-ordinate other groups and areas in the Kanto region. Only by involving the poor people of Gumma, Nagano, Yamanashi, and Kanagawa prefectures, Tashiro maintained, would the Chichibu rebellion have a chance of success. Kokashiwa, like most of the others present at this 26 October meeting, believed that the peoples of these other prefectures would rise spontaneously once the Chichibu Komminto led the way. Kokashiwa's views won the day, and as the meeting ended a l l present agreed upon 1 November as the date the rebellion was to begin. "Headquarters of the Revolution" Kokashiwa and his supporters at the Mount Ano meeting were not the only ones in Chichibu impatient to begin fighting. On 31 October, while most Komminto leaders were meeting at Kami-hinozawa in the morning, and at Kato's home in Isama in the afternoon, in order to make fi n a l preparations for the rebellion, the Komminto branch of Fuppu village located in the far northeast of Chichibu d i s t r i c t , numbering 130 to 140 men, began marching southeasterly i n order to meet up with the main body of the Komminto then beginning to collect at Shimo-yoshida. En route, the advance squad of the Fuppu organ met and fought with forty-five 80 policemen who had been sent from Yorii (Hanzawa district) to investigate rumours of rebellion. According to newspaper reports, which told of a 177 "poor peoples' rebellion in Fuppu," twelve of the rebels were captured before they managed to rout the police and continue their march, attack-ing the homes of usurers along the way. The same evening, before the rebellion was scheduled to begin, Arai Shusaburo, Shibaoka Kumakichi, and Kadodaira Sohei led forty men against a loan company in Kami-hinozawa and destroyed 10,000 yen worth of 178 mortgaged land deeds. They also reportedly set f i r e to the homes of the president of the loan company, of the village head (kocho), and of a local pawnbroker, and took the latter's brother as hostage. The next day, prior to the large gathering of the Komminto army (mentioned at the beginning of this section), yet another battle took place, this time at Shimo-yoshida. Though reinforced by police sent from Ogano, local police were nonetheless outnumbered by the rebels and were forced to flee after two of their members and one Komminto member were ki l l e d , the f i r s t of the very few recorded deaths in the Chichibu rebel-lion . While this fight was going one, other Komminto men were storming the office of the kocho. After capturing i t , they proceeded to burn a l l o f f i c i a l records stored there—land registries, tax assessments, family registries, etc. This practice of the destruction of o f f i c i a l records was repeated throughout the remaining days of the rebellion. Another instance of this practice, again occurring on 1 November, is exemplified by the activities of Sakamoto Sosaku and his "guerrilla" 179 unit of 150 men, one of three such units active during the rebellion. 81 On the f i r s t day of open rebellion his unit was active in and around Shimo-yoshida. They entered the different hamlets, attacked the homes of usurers and the offices of o f f i c i a l s , burnt documents, stole weapons and money, and invited or enjoined villagers to serve in their unit. In some villages the people willingly joined, but in others where the population was generally apathetic or unsympathetic to the rebellion, men were impressed into service. One person per household was the customary demand made by the rebels. In this way, by 2 November, Sosaku had i n -creased his force to 300, doubling i t s original number. This practice of recruiting or of impressing Chichibu residents also occurred throughout the remainder of the rebellion. By the end of 1 November, as earlier seen, the Komminto army had captured the market town of Ogano. There the local government office was set afire, destroying a l l public documents; the police station was attacked and i t s defenders sent running; the homes of six usurers were destroyed, and food and arms were appropriated from the residents of the town. From Omiya, the d i s t r i c t capital (present-day Chichibu City), the fires in Ogano could easily be seen. Reacting quickly, the merchants and the wealthy of Omiya began to scurry into hiding, or to send off their families and their valuables in anticipation of the impending attack upon the town by the rebels. In Ogano on 2 November at 6:00 a.m., over 3,000 men and women divided into squads of riflemen, takeyori ("bamboo spears") and battotai ("drawn-sword squad") formed into two long columns, boasting squad and battalion flags, and departed from Ogano to head southeast toward Omiya. 82 As they encountered no resistance along the way, they reached Omiya by noon and easily overpowered a squad of policemen who were defending the town. They then proceeded to the d i s t r i c t government office (gunyakusho) — e a r l i e r vacated by the d i s t r i c t head, known locally as "Daruma" because of his corpulence—where they placed a sign on the building that read 180 "Headquarters of the Revolution" (kakumei hombu). The Komminto army also immediately captured the town j a i l , which they partly destroyed, and the courthouse from which o f f i c i a l documents were seized and burnt. Between the evening of 2 November and the morning of 3 November, the Komminto leadership issued three orders to i t s army. Fi r s t , the homes and contents of Omiya's more notorious usurers were to be wrecked. Secondly, Ide Tamekichi, "the collector of funds for the army" (gunyokin-shukata), Nagano resident and Jiyuto member, was to take charge of col-lecting money from the town's wealthiest citizens. O f f i c i a l records show that almost 3,000 yen was acquired from the wealthy, and over 250 yen from the d i s t r i c t government office. To at least five of the ten who "donated" money to the Komminto, " o f f i c i a l " receipts were given, showing the amount donated, the purpose for which the money would be used ("mili-tary expenses"), the date, and a stamp reading "Headquarters of the Revo-181 lution" addressed, Omiya. Tashiro personally signed four of them. The third order issued by the command concerned an appeal for aid and manpower from the nearby villages. To this end, small forces of Komminto were dispatched to the nearby villages of the Buko Mountain area. Appeals for aid were usually made directly to the village head, who was asked to send to Omiya one person from each household. As a 83 consequence of these appeals, during the next two days people from the region poured into Omiya, bringing the total force to at least seven or eight thousand by 3 November. Some newspapers and the Komminto i t s e l f , and later the authorities, said that by this date the total Komminto force had reached 10,000. But in any event, as several newspapers ex-pressed i t , the Chichibu rebellion had become "the largest and most violent movement since the peasant uprisings (ikki) of 1876 in Gifu, Mie, 182 and Aichi prefectures." From Victory to Defeat An equally important fact pointed out by the newspapers at the time was that up unti l this point " a l l of the Chichibu region had been a 183 clear battle-field for the Komminto." It had thus far only experienced victories, albeit minor ones, in i t s battles against the authorities. Communications being what they were, the very remoteness of Chichibu, the very mountainous and therefore largely inaccessible terrain, as well as the impressive size of the Komminto army, not to forget,the unpre-paredness on the authorities' part, were a l l factors ensuring these early victories. There were, however, attempts made by local authorities early on to nip the rebellion in the bud. As early as 1 November, the prefec-tural governor had requested the Home Ministry, headed by the notorious Meiji oligarch Yamagata Aritomo, to dispatch Imperial troops to quell the rebellion. But no response was made by the Home Minister until the following day. On 2 November, the secretary to Yamagata relayed to him the cables that had been arriving from the Chichibu authorities. He also probably reported to Yamagata that the nation's major newspapers were 84 beginning to send special correspondents to Chichibu, indicating that the rebellion was coming to be regarded publicly as an event of some impor-tance. At 6:00 a.m. November 3, an assistant to Yamagata telegraphed Urawa, the capital of Saitama: The Home Minister has become very anxious about conditions there. But [it seems] there i s l i t t l e danger at this time and he urges cau-tion. He says that by now the [Tokyo garrison] troops should have been dispatched.184 By 9:30 a.m. a company of the Imperial Army, led by Major Harada and Second Lieutenant Kummamoto, arrived in Urawa, and their arrival was soon followed by that of two other companies in the late afternoon. A l l of these troops proceeded- to head for Kumagaya, and then on to Yorii (by rail) where a base of operations was set up. On 4 November, the next day, the Third Company of the Third Battalion of the Tokyo garrison had arrived at Kodama Town. Chichibu was sealed off at "the north and at the northeast. Perhaps because they had not anticipated that the Imperial army would be mobilized so quickly, or perhaps because of rumours circulating around Omiya, on 3 November, the Komminto leadership panicked. The panic was accentuated by their own "intelligence reports"—never very reliable throughout the entire time of rebellion—which mistakenly reported the Imperial army was marching on Omiya that very morning. To minimize the disorder arising among the rank-and-file because of these reports, the Komminto leadership devised a strategy to replace their earlier one of shutsugeki ("sortie") into surrounding hamlets for men, weapons, and provisions. Since by then i t was obvious that a show of strength alone would not compel the authorities to consider their 8 5 demands, they concluded that they must u t i l i z e and t e s t the strength of t h e i r army f o r the f i r s t time. Accordingly, they decided to employ t h e i r three b a t t a l i o n s . Kato Orih e i and A r a i Shusaburo were to take the F i r s t B a t t a l i o n and head toward the Ogano-yoshida d i s t r i c t and repulse the advance supposedly being made by the Imperial troops toward that area. The Second B a t t a l i o n , under the command of Kikuchi and Iizuka, was to head north to defend Onohara. The Third B a t t a l i o n , commanded by Tashiro and Ochiai, was to remain i n Omiya and prepare to defend the c i t y . Almost nothing went as planned. The Second B a t t a l i o n disobeyed i t s orders and went beyond Onohara as far as Y o r i i where they were routed and forced to r e t r e a t back to Onohara. The F i r s t B a t t a l i o n , numbering only 1,000 men, found no Imperial troops at Yoshida; they remained there, rather than searching out government troops, and c a r r i e d out s o r t i e s i n the region. Tashiro, too, was g u i l t y of disobeying (his own) orders. Fearing that an attack on Omiya was i n e v i t a b l e , he took most of the Third B a t t a l i o n and went to Minano, which, he figured, was a l e s s l i k e l y object of government attack. While there Tashiro suffered severe chest pains (he was fifty-one-years o l d ) , and, for a l l p r a c t i c a l purposes, by the morning of 4 November had withdrawn from the r e v o l t . His abandonment of h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to the rebels, i t appears, was p r e c i p i t a t e d by the a r r i v a l of h i s son Yasa, with whom he subsequently disappeared into the 1 8 5 mountains, only to be found and arrested two weeks l a t e r . On the same day, Komminto leader Inoue Denzo also disappeared. Nothing more was heard about him u n t i l t h i r t y - f i v e years l a t e r when on h i s deathbed i n a small v i l l a g e i n Hokkaido he revealed h i s true i d e n t i t y as a "leader of 1 8 6 the Chichibu Incident." 86 Following the disappearance of Tashiro.. and Inoue on 4 November, the leadership of the Komminto deteriorated quickly. In quick succession other leaders also fled: Kato Orihei, Arai Shusaburo (who had earlier been seriously wounded by a traitor in his battalion), Arai Eitaro, Takagishi Zenkichi, Kokashiwa Tsunejiro, Ide Tamekichi, and Akihara Shojiro a l l dispersed in different directions. Kato Orihei, second in command under Tashiro, probably typified the sentiments of the other leaders who fled when, upon hearing of the disappearance of Tashiro and 187 Inoue, he said, "I thought to myself, there is nothing to do but flee." Regardless of their reason for breaking ranks, they did so none too soon. Even more troops had been mobilized on the afternoon of 4 November, and had begun to augment their force by recruiting (conscripting, in some cases) local hunters and ex-samurai, and making them the core of "self-defense" forces. By late in the day an estimated 1,000 police, army and local recruits had formed a semi-circle from the northeast to the southeast around Chichibu, and were slowly closing in, constricting the movements of the Komminto. By the early morning of 5 November, the authorities had retaken Omiya, "Headquarters of the Revolutionary Army." At this point, the only effective resistance by the rebels that remained was centred at Minano. From there Ochiai ordered a unit of eighty to a hundred men to hold the Kainida pass, the most lik e l y point of entry for the government's troops coming over the mountains that sep-arated Minano from Sakamoto village. Near Sakamoto late on 4 November, the two sides clashed in armed combat, and although the Komminto troops were successful in repulsing the government's advance that evening, they 87 were forced to retreat the next morning after a squad of garrison troops, armed with the new Murata r i f l e s , arrived as reinforcements. During the retreat Ochiai vanished, only to re-emerge two years later as a p a r t i c i -pant in the Osaka Incident led by Oi Kentaro. Defeat followed defeat. At almost the same time that the Komminto leaders remaining in Minano were learning of Ochiai's retreat, they also learned that one of i t s best organised units, the Fuppu village Komminto, had met disaster late on 3 November. Led by Ono Naekichi, the 300-man Fuppu unit had headed northward into neighbouring Kodama d i s t r i c t the day before in order to provoke rebellion in that region. Although they had managed to recruit or conscript about 300 villagers during their march, they were nonetheless decisively defeated by a smaller force of army troops a short distance to the south of Kodama Town. Learning this news, the Komminto leaders remaining at Minano— Kikuchi Kanbei, Sakamoto Sosaku, and Kadohira Sohei—concluded that Minano too would soon be lost. They therefore assembled about 100 men, le f t Minano, and went to Yoshida where they joined the fifty-man force of Arai Torakichi of Gumma prefecture. After discussing the desperate-ness of their situation, they elected Kikuchi to serve as their commander, and resolved to take the Chichibu rebellion to Nagano prefecture, Kikuchi's home, by way of a western march through Gumma, Minami-kanra dis-t r i c t , along the Sanchuyatsu Kannagawa basin. They selected this route for i t s easy access from Chichibu and because i t was known to be a highly. po l i t i c i z e d region, dominated by Jiyuto activists who since 1881 had been 188 busy organising the local farmers. Their choice of routes proved to 88 be a good one for "when the Chichibu Komminto rose up, the farmers of 189 Sanchuyatsu also rose up." Indeed, before Kikuchi had even crossed the border into Gumma, a large group of villagers from the Hominoyama region were already on the march to join the Chichibu rebellion and soon the two groups united. But not only for this reason was their choice of routes a good one. Since most of the government's troops and the local police were concentrated around Omiya, the Sanchuyatsu road was rela-tively open to Kikuchi's company. Along the way toward Nagano, Kikuchi was able to recruit or impress about 125 men and was able to steal arms and food enough to insure that the march continued. Not u n t i l the morning of 7 November, just before they were beginning to cross the mountains that separated Gumma from Nagano, were they attacked from the rear by government troops. They lost as a result twelve men captured and an unknown number of others through desertion, mainly Gumma residents who did not want to leave their own prefecture. Despite these reverses, before they departed from the border town of Shirai they had managed to build up their number to 250 to 300 men, this time with residents from the Minami-saku d i s t r i c t of Nagano, a strong centre of Jiyuto activity, who had crossed the border into Gumma to join them. Despite this welcome aid, Kikuchi's company was thereafter forced to divert their attention and manpower to keep a close watch on the Sanchuyatsu farmers who made repeated attempts to escape once in Nagano. By the evening of 7 November, the Komminto force had reached the village of Ohinata where they camped for the night. That evening they 89 were joined by a number of farmers from the area who had heard of their a r r i v a l , and who hoped that by joining they would free themselves from indebtedness. Perhaps in response to their hopes, the next morning (8 November) witnessed uchikowashi campaigns against local creditors by the Komminto. More than 1,000 yen worth of weapons, artifacts, and money were taken and then distributed to local residents. Through such philanthropic action the Komminto attracted a large number of new recruits, bringing their total force to about 430. With this new-found strength they marched toward Kaize, attacking usurers, a bank, and a dry-goods store along the way. By then one squad of their army had been designated to serve as the "house-wrecking corps" (uchikowashi-so), which in turn called i t s e l f the "Freedom Corps" (Jiyu-tai). A special "swords-man squad" of twenty men was also organised; i t was led by a haiku poet from Omiya. It was separated from the main body and ordered to go north to Usuda; along the way i t was to attack government offices, to recruit (or impress) villagers, and to learn whatever possible about the move-ments of the authorities. This squad only got as far as Takanomachi where i t was met and routed by local police. Meanwhile, the main force under Kikuchi advanced as far as Higashi-managashi where they camped the evening of 8 November. From there squads were sent out to the surrounding villages to attack banks and usurers, and also to secure recruits. Unknown to the rebels at this time, however, was the fact that more than 100 troops of the Takasaki garrison (from Gumma) were encamped near Usuda, where another 100 local police were mobilized in order to 90 march south to battle the rebels. As these troops moved south, near Kaize they were spotted by a Komminto recruitment patrol. Four or five of the rebels, riflemen, remained there to f i r e upon the government troops and delay their advance while their comrades hastened to inform Kikuchi of the bad news. At f i r s t Kikuchi hesitated to withdraw, remaining to meet the government troops. A short battle cost the Kom-minto the lives of thirteen men (only one policeman was killed) and the aid of many more as a good number turned and fled. At this Kikuchi assembled his remaining force of about 200 and retreated south from Mana-gashi. By 2:00 p.m. on 10 November, the Komminto force had gone as far as the foothills of the Hachigaoka mountain range near the village of Noheyamabara, when unexpectedly they were attacked again, this time by a squad of soldiers who had come to meet them from Azusayama. The rebel force was thoroughly routed. Its members fled in a l l directions, and in a short time the Komminto army no longer existed. Only isolated in d i -viduals and small groups, most of whom went into hiding, remained to await capture by the authorities. The Chichibu rebellion was over. 91 Notes I Shimoyama Saburo, "Fukushima jiken koron," ed. Sakane Yoshihisa, Jiyu minken 10, Nihon Rekishi Ser. (Tokyo, 1973):162. 2 Takahashi Tetsuo, Fukushima jiken (Tokyo, 1970), p. 68. 3 Ibid.; the appointment was made on 25 January, but Mishima did not take up the post until 17 February. 4 Quoted in ibid., p. 70; and Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 162. 5 Ibid. 6 Takahashi, Fukushima jxken, p. 67. The breakdown by status was nine shizoku and fifty-two heimin. Economically, however, i t was a f a i r l y homogeneous group as most were wealthy farmers, merchants, or village headmen. 7 A ku was an intermediate level of local government, located be-tween the village or town and the d i s t r i c t (gun). This level of govern-ment was eliminated in the late eighties. Q Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, pp. 70-71. 9 In 1886, Higashi-Kabahara became part of Nngata prefecture. The other five d i s t r i c t s s t i l l comprise the Aizu region yet today. 1 0 Shoji Kichinosuke, ed., Nihon seisha seito hattatsu shi (Tokyo, 1959) , p. 305. I I Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 108. 12 The names of the six members were: Nakajima Yuhachi (Kawanuma), Maeda Sosaku (Yama), Chiba Toya (Onuma), Watanabe Yuhachi (Minami-Aizu), Shinya Shuji (Kita-Aizu), and Yamaguchi Uramatsu (Higashi-Kabahara). Ibid., p. 109. 13 Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 163. 14 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 110. 15 The resolution is quoted in ibid., p. 163, and in Shoji Kichino-suke 's collection of documents, Nihon seisha, pp. 305-6. 1 6 Ibid., p. 306; Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 110; Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 163. 17 Ibid., p. 165. In 1880 the central government began scaling 92 down i t s grants to the prefectures for regional construction projects; thereafter, funds for such projects came from local taxes for the most part. 18 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 125. 19 Theoretically, the rate of assessment was l e f t to the villages to determine in accordance with that part of the Rengokai resolution that read, "ought to be suitable for each village." In fact, the Onuma guncho i n i t i a l l y assembled a l l village heads and instructed them to levy taxes at the rate of 60 per cent by population and 40 per cent by land value. Rich peasants in many villages protested against this scheme, and in many cases were able to alter the tax rate to 10 to 20 per cent by land value and 80 to 90 per cent by population, thereby shifting the tax burden onto the poorer peasants. Some villages, moreover, rejected at the outset any levy at a l l . See Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, pp. 115-17. 20 Ibid., pp. 123, 125. 21 Ibid., p. 116. 22 Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 170. 23 Ibid. 24 See Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, pp. 133-37 for details of this incident. 25 Quoted in ibid., p. 132. 2 6 Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 179. 27 See Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 133,- for an evaluation of the different estimates made by historians on Teiseito membership. 28 Ibid., p. 132. 29 Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 163. 30 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 72. 31 Quoted in ibid., p. 73. Also see Kurt Steiner, Local Govern-ment in Japan (Stanford, 1965), pp. 30-37, esp. p. 31. 32 Shoji, Nihon seisha, pp. 254-75; also Steiner, Local Govern-ment, p. 31. 33 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, pp. 80-81; Shoji, Nihon seisha, p. 275; Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 164. 93 34 Barely a week in office, on 6 March 1882, Mishima signed Order No. 43; i t required prior approval from the police before groups be allowed to "discuss p o l i t i c a l matters" or be allowed to assemble. Quoted in Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 94. 35 This letter appears in Shoji, Nihon seisha, pp. 409-10. Quoted in Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, pp. 76-77; a r i is. a measurement of distance equalling 2.44 miles. 3 7 Ibid., p. 81. 38 Ibid., pp. 132-36. 39 Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 164. 40 Ibid., p. 169. 41 Ibid., p. 171. 42 Ibid. 43 Quoted in ibid., pp. 171-72. 44 Quoted in ibid., p. 165. 45 Shoji, Nihon seisha, pp. 310-11. 46 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 125. 47 Shoji, Nihon seisha, p. 312. The organisers themselves claimed the figure was 4,083. Takahashi says i t was about 3,400. Fukushima jiken, p. 126. 48 Shoji, Nihon seisha, p. 306. Takahashi, Fukushima jxken, p. 126; Takahashi Tetsuo, Fukushima j'iyu minken undo shi (Tokyo, 1954) , pp. 108-9. 49 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 127; Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 180; Shoji, Nihon seisha, p. 311. 50 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 126. Nakajima's village, for instance, which was unti l then among the most active in opposing the road construction, capitulated to government threats, and broke from the boy-cott. 5 1 The strongest proponent of this view i s Shoji; see his commen-tary in Nihon seisha, pp. 306-9. 52 Ibid., p. 309. 94 53 54 55 56 Steiner, Local Government, p. 35. Quoted in Shoji, Nihon seisha, p. 310. See Appendix II. Kobayashi S e i j i and Yamada Akira, Fukushima ken no rekishi (Tokyo, 1973), p. 202. 57 58 59 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 142. Ibid. Takahashi, Fukushima jiyu minken, p. 109; and his Fukushima jiken, pp. 143-45. The f i r s t instance of the confiscation of the boycot-ter's property was recorded on 12 November. Akajiro Heiroku of Shinai village (Yama di s t r i c t ) had his 'household belongings seized and sold at public auction. Ninety-five others from the same village suffered a similar fate. The total number of households so affected was 578 in Yama di s t r i c t alone. Moreover, the prices these household effects brought at public auctions was abysmally low. For example, a tatami mat sold for only three or four sen; a rain shutter for the same; a cupboard for five to six sen. The total sale price of a l l goods sold for a l l ninety-five households of Shinai was 799 sen, less than eight yen!. In some cases, however, rich sympathizers were known to have purchased these confiscated goods and to have returned them to their former owners at sale price. ^ Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, pp. 171-72. 61 Tamano had gone to Aizu in August in order to s o l i c i t funds for the recently established Fukushima Jiyu Shimbun, the prefectural party organ. Ibid., p. 172; in his 1954 work, Fukushima jiyu minken, Takahashi cites a slightly different reason (p. 101). 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 173. Kobayashi and Yamada, Fukushima rekishi, p. 202. Ibid.; Shimoyama, "Koron," pp. 181-82. Ibid. Ibid., p. 183; Monna was from Wakamatsu. Ibid. Ibid., p. 184. Ibid. 95 70 Kobayashi and Yamada, Fukushima rekishi, p. 205. 71 See Chapter IV. 72 Kobayashi and Yamada, Fukushima rekishi, pp. 204-6; Takahashi, Fukushima jiyu minken, p. 112; Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, pp. 164-65; Shimoyama, "Koron," p. 184. 73 Uda was accused of "fraud and extortion" (sagi shuzai), sup-posedly committed in the process of collecting contributions from sup-porters of the Restoration of Rights movement. He was later tried for sedition. Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, pp. 164-65, 197-98. 74 Ibid., pp. 164-65; Kobayashi and Yamada, Fukushima rekishi, p. 206. 75 Fukushima kenshi, 11 (Aizu, 1964):482-83; Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, p. 165. 7 6 Chuzenji i s a designated national treasure, dating from the Kamakura period of the thirteenth century, and visited by the author in 1971. 77 Takahashi, Fukushima jiken, pp. 166-70, 177. 78 The o f f i c i a l Party history says "a thousand several hundred"; police figures varied from a thousand to 10,000. See Takahashi, Fuku-shima jiken, p. 177. 79 Quoted in ibid., p. 178. 8 0 Ibid., pp. 179-83. 81 Ibid., p. 180. - 82 Quoted in Endo Shizuo, Kabasan jiken (Tokyo, 1970), p. 200. Another account has the priest sending this message at 5:00 p.m. See Inaba Seitaro, comp., Kabasan jiken kankei shiryo shu, with an introd. by Toyama Shigeki and an afterword by Endo Shizuo (Tokyo, 1970) , p. 766. (Hereafter cited as KJKS.) 83 Taoka Reiun (pseud.), Meiji hanshin den (Tokyo, 1954; o r i g i -nally published in 1909), p. 72; Wagatsuma E i et a l . , comp., Nihon seiji saiban shi roku II (Tokyo, 1968):48; Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 201. 84 Itagaki Taisuke, Jiyuto shi (Tokyo, 1973; originally published in 1913), 111:54. 85 For example, Takahashi, Fukushima jiken. Also see KJKS, p. 96 773, for a review by Endo on how various specialists treat the dates for the beginning and end of the incident. 86 His dual appointment was intended to ensure that the Three Roads project, begun earlier in Fukushima arid Yamagata, would be success-ful l y extended, into Tochigi prefecture. For the adverse reaction of the Tochigi prefectural assembly to Mishima's high-handed tactics in that prefecture, see Kenneth Strong, "Tanaka Shozo: Meiji Hero and Pioneer against Pollution," Japan Society of London Bulletin II, No. 14 (June 1972):6-11, esp. p. 8; and a more detailed report, Akagi Etsuko, "Tochigi no jiyuminken undo: chiho j i j i no yoso wo megutte," Tochigi shi ron, 2 (1969):1-15. 87 For example, see Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 15. 88 Testimony given on 8 November 1884; KJKS, p. 25. (Hereafter, unless stated otherwise in the text or in the footnote, a l l references to KJKS should be understood as o f f i c i a l police interrogation, court t e s t i -mony, or o f f i c i a l documents of one sort or the other.) 89 KJKS, p. 19. 90 Endo is one who has attached the term "terrorist" and "ter-rorism" to the rebels and their a c t i v i t i e s . For an ideological treatment of the rebels' ideology, see Hayashi Motoi, "Kabasan jiken nanaju shunen," Rekishi Hyoron 59 (Anniversary vol., 1954):54-61. 91 At the end of each defendent's testimony, he was given a chance to amend earlier statements. Most took advantage of this, pos-sibly to avoid perjury; Tomatsu rarely did. But besides this, he lied about knowing several close acquaintances. 92 93 94 95 96 KJKS, p. 15. Ibid., p. 244. Ibid., p. 120. Ibid., p. 345. Quoted in Taoka, Hanshin den, p. 59. The last sentence of this quote also appears in Hirano Yoshitaro, Oi Kenataro (Tokyo, 1965), p. 84. 97 98 ization. 99 Taoka, Hanshin den, p. 60. Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 29, referring to Taoka's character-No jima Kitaro, Kabasan jiken (Tokyo, 1890), p. 23. 97 1<")0 Nojima Kitaro, Kabasan jiken, pp. 33-36. 1 0 1 Arai's wife was the daughter of Eto Shimpei, the leader of the Saga Rebellion of February 1874, who was beheaded for his crime. See Wayne C. McWilliams, "Eto Shimpei and the' Saga Rebellion, 1874," paper delivered at the Association for Asian Studies Conference, Toronto, 21 March 1976. 102 Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 36; Nojima, Kabasan jiken, pp. 42-46 for a discussion about the contents of this meeting. 103 Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 54. 104 Wagatsuma et a l . , Meiji saiban shi 11:45. 1 0 5 KJKS, p. 764 (Afterword by Endo Shizuo). 106 KJKS, p. 102. 107 Taoka, Hanshin den, p. 45. 108 Itagaki, Jiyuto shi 111:44. 109 KJKS, p. 235. 1 1 0 Miura's testimony, KJKS, p. 29; Miura, you w i l l r e c a l l , was a leader of the Restoration of Rights movement in Fukushima and later tried for treason. 1 1 1 KJKS, p. 46. 112 Actually thirteen names have.been mentioned, but Saeki, who was involved from the beginning, withdrew several days before the i n c i -dent. 113 KJKS, p. 102; during a later testimony, Koinuma stressed that Iizuka was not involved in the planning sessions: KJKS, p. 108. Also see the 2 October 1884 interrogation of Sugiura, KJKS, p. 191, where he impli-cates Iizuka as "an intimate friend of Koinuma." 114 KJKS, p. 112. The peerage system had just been settled by law on 7 July 1884. See Nojima, Kabasan jiken, p. 158. 1 1 6 KJKS, pp. 112 (Koinuma), 191 (Sugiura), 235-36, 243 (Kono), 22 (Yokoyama), 258 (Saeki). 117 Further details can be found in Endo, Kabasan jiken, pp. 98 153-56; Taoka, Hanshin den, p. 61; Wagatsuma et a l . , Meiji saiban shi II: 47; Nojima, Kabasan jiken, pp. 156-59; Itagaki, Jiyuto shi 111:45. 118 Sekido Kanzo, Tosui minken shi, Shimodate (1903) quoted in Wagatsuma et a l . , Meiji saiban shi 11:46. 119 Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 149. 120 This faction has been called the "cautious faction" (shm-choha) as opposed to Koinuma's "decisive action faction" (kekkoha); Wagatsuma et a l . , Meiji saiban shi, pp. 46-47. 121 Quoted in Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 151. 122 Ibid. 123 Nojima, Kabasan jiken, p. 153. 124 Endo, Kabasan jiken, pp. 157-58. 125 Taoka, Hanshin den, p. 62. Itagaki, Jiyuto shi 111:45; the Meiji saiban shi claims they met at Koinuma's home on 1 September; the compilers of the KJKS say Tokyo. 127 KJKS, p. 455. 1 2 8 Ibid., p. 103. 129 Endo, Kabasan jiken, pp. 164-65. 130 Ibid., p. 172; also see Aoki Keiichiro, Nihon nomin undo shi II (Tokyo, 1958):359. 131 Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 173. 1 3 2 Ibid., pp. 173-74. 133 KJKS, p. 107. It is not surprising that Koinuma should be acquainted with the English Revolution and Cromwell. See a reference to this experience in English history in a J i y u Shimbun editorial of 19 October 1884 that also includes a reference to the Kabasan rebels. Be-sides the newspaper i t s e l f , the article can be found in Shimoyana Saburo, ed., J i y u minken shiso II (Tokyo, 1961):181-84, esp. p. 182. 134 Taoka, Hanshin den, p. 62. 135 The amount is mentioned by Kono in his testimony of 29 Sep-tember 1884: KJKS, p. 234. 99 1 3 6 KJKS./ p. 15. 137 See Itagaki, Jiyuto shi 111:46-47; also Endo, Kabasan jiken, pp. 167-70; and 6 November 1884 testimony of Yokoyama, KJKS, p. 21. 138 Almost simultaneous to this accident, Tateno Yoshinosuke, Jiyuto member and friend of Koinuma, lost his right arm when a bomb he was making for Koinuma exploded accidentally. Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 176. 139 Quoted in ibid., p. 186. 140 KJKS, p. 447. 1 4 1 Ibid., p. 448. 142 Quoted in Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 188. 143 KJKS, p. 448. 144 111:50. Quoted in Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 192; Itagaki, Jiyuto shi 145 Quoted in Endo, Kabasan jiken, p. 191; also Taoka, Hanshin den, p. 69. 146 p. 53. Quoted in Isikawa Naoki, Tonegawa minken kiko (Tokyo, 1972), 147 Japan Weekly Mail, 1 November 1884. Other primary sources of aid in relating the details of this f i r s t day include Tanaka Senya's 1884 eyewitness account entitled "Chichibu bodo zatsuroku," found in vol. II, Chichibu jiken shiryo, ed. the Saitama Shimbun sha (Urawa, 1970) :555-77 (hereafter abbreviated CJSR I or II); an account written by a shop owner of Omiya at the time of the rebellion entitled "Chichibu bodo jiken gairyaku," CJSR 11:589-607; and contemporary newspaper accounts by the Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun, Choya Shimbun, Yubin Hochi Shimbun, Jiyu Shimbun, Jiji shimpo, and the Japan Weekly Mail and i t s translations of articles appearing in the vernacular newspapers. A l l dates were checked against the details of the incidents as related by Ebukuro Fumio, Chichibu bodo (Tokyo, 1952); and Inoue Koji, Chichibu jiken (Tokyo, 1968). 148 Testimony of Tashiro Eisuke, 16 November 1884; CJSR 1:106-7. (Hereafter, a l l references made to o f f i c i a l documents appearing in either volume of CJSR w i l l simply be cited with page number unless the date of the testimony or document is relevant to the text.) 149 Tanaka Senya papers, CJSR 11:555. 1 5 0 Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 38; Wagatsuma et a l . , Nihon saiban 100 shi, p. 72; Ebukuro, Bodo, p. 49; and Tanaka Soka, ed., Saitama Kenshi, last vol. (Tokyo, 1926):584. According to the verdict passed on Kato Orihei, he too was supposed to have taken part; CJSR 1:359. 151 Ide Magoroku, Chichibu Komminto gunzo (Tokyo, 1973), p. 43; Inoue, Chichibu jiken, pp. 30-31; Gakushuin jojinkai, shigakubu, comp., Chichibu jiken no ikkosatsu (Tokyo, 1968), p. 43. 152 Ebukuro, Bodo, p. 50; Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 38. 153 For a short sketch of the Gumma jiken, see Maeda Hasuyama, Jiyu minken jidai (Tokyo, 1961), p. 270. The only book-length treatment of the disturbance i s Fukuda Kaoru, Temmin sojo roku: Meiji jushichinen Gumma jiken (Tokyo, 1974). Discussion of how the Gumma jiken connects with the Chichibu can be found in Ide, Komminto, pp. 160-67; Inoue, Chi-chibu jiken, pp. 34-36, 43-44; also see Gumma ken hyakunen shi I (Mae-bashi, 1971):582-96. 154 CJSR 11:202; also Ide, Komminto, p. 17; and Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 86. 155 Ebukuro, Bodo, p. 51. 156 Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 39. 157 Wagatsuma et a l . , Nihon saiban shi 11:68; Ebukuro, Bodo, p. 51; and Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 39. 158 CJSR 1:47; Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 39. 159 Irokawa Daikichi, Shimpen Meiji seishin shi (Tokyo, 1973), pp. 298-99. Irokawa Daikichi, "Komminto to Jiyuto," Rekishigaku kenkyu 247 (August 1961):l-30. 1 6 1 Hayashi, "Kabasan jiken," pp. 58-59; also see Ide, Komminto, and Irokawa, "Komminto," for a development of the debtors' and poor peoples' parties of the 1880's. Quoted in Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 40. 163 Wagatsuma et a l . , Meiji saiban shi 11:73; Ebukuro, Bodo, p. 51. 164 Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 40. 165 Ebukuro, Bodo, p. 52. 1 6 6 Ibid., pp. 53-54; Inoue, Chichibu jiken, pp. 40-41; and Wakasa 101 Kuranosuke, "Chichibu jiken ni okeru Jiyuto Komminto no soshiki katei," Rekishi Hyoron 260 (1972):30-50. The latter article stresses how impor-tant family ties that crossed prefectural boundries (i.e., between Chi-chibu and Gumma) were in aiding organisation of the Komminto. 16V Ebukuro, Bodo, p. 53. 168 CJSR II; also see the 14 November 1884 editorial in the Yomiuri Shimbun entitled "The Origins of the Riot." 169 Inoue, Chichibu jiken, pp. 51-52; Ebukuro, Bodo, p. 53. Ebukuro claims that Tashiro joined a day earlier, on 7 September, after meeting with Shibaoka Kumakichi. 170 November 24, 1884. It is doubtful i f Kikuchi was present since he was not supposed to have arrived in Chichibu until 28 October. Ide, Komminto, p. 21, claims that Inoue Zensaku and Kadodaira Sohei were also present. 171 Other attempts were made during August and September. See ibid., pp. 20-21. 172 Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 54. 173 Ibid.; Ebukuro, Bodo, pp. 66-67. 174 Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 71; Ebukuro, Bodo, pp. 63-64; also see Tashiro's testimony of 15 November 1884 in CJSR 11:101. 175 Quoted in Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 60. 1V 6 Ebukuro, Bodo, p. 68. 177 Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, 3 November 1884; also see i t s editorial of 12 November 1884: "Chichibu boto shimatsu." 1 7 8 TV, Ibid. 179 "Guerrilla'.' (gerira-tai) is Inoue Koji's term, Chichibu jiken, pp. 103-7. 1 80 CJSR 11:215; Ide, Komminto, p. 119. 181 The names of the wealthy and the amount of money they "contrib-uted" i s listed in the Yomiuri Shimbun, 14 November 1884. 182 Yomiuri Shimbun, 8 November 1884; Yubin Hochi Shimbun, edi-t o r i a l , "Boto no dosei," 7 November 1884. 183 Inoue, Chichibu jiken, p. 130. 184 Quoted in Inoue, Chichibu j i k e n , p. 120. 185 Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, 17 November 1884. 1 8 6 July 18, 1918. 187 Quoted in Inoue, Chichibu j i k e n , p. 134. 1 8 8 Ibid., pp. 145-46. 1 8 9 Ibid., p. 146. CHAPTER II BACKGROUND In the course of relating the details of each of the three distur-bances in the last chapter, what may be regarded as the precipitating causes were indicated. In the case of the Fukushima Incident, they were the road scheme, Governor Mishima's use of high-handed tactics, the onerous taxes and corvee labour dues imposed on the Aizu people, and so on. The immediate causes of the Kabasan Incident appear to have been the repression most of the participants suffered because of participation in the Fukushima Incident, the desire for revenge, and a more general wish to effect drastic changes in government. What set off the Chichibu Inci-dent can be inferred from the nature of the demands the rebels made: debt deferrment, tax reductions and an end to high interest loans; in other words, the rebels wanted r e l i e f from the economic depression. If this adequately sums up the precipitating causes of each of the disturbances, then we must go beyond and investigate what the under-lying causes were. That is the purpose of this chapter, to search for the historical, social, economic and p o l i t i c a l forces which, in providing a context for the revolts, help to explain why they occurred. Specifically, this chapter w i l l examine the following. F i r s t , we w i l l look at the Tokugawa tradition of peasant rebellion, a legacy uncon-sciously bequeathed by Tokugawa period (1600-1867) peasants to Meiji farmers. We study this tradition of rebellion for what i t can t e l l us not only about rebellion as such, but also for what i t reveals about the 103 104 changing socio-economic and p o l i t i c a l features of Tokugawa and early Meiji. Secondly, this chapter examines the nature of the Japanese economy as i t was immediately before the disturbances of the 1880's and as i t was at the time of their occasion. Here, special emphasis w i l l be given to the Matsukata deflation policy, as i t affected the nation's farmers as a whole and as i t affected the farmers of Yama (Fukushima), Chichibu (Saitama) and Makabe (Ibaraki) specifically. Finally, the last section w i l l look at the p o l i t i c a l climate of the 1870's and 1880's, and espe-c i a l l y at the rise of the popular rights movement. TRADITION OF REBELLION In the experiences of most nations, i t seems that some regions are more inclined toward rebellion than others. In China, for instance, the south more than other regions has been "the hearth of rebellion within the Chinese State In Mexican history, the north in general and the State of Morelos in the south stand out as rebellious areas. Like-wise, one can cite Nghe An province in Viet Nam; Kabylia in Algeria; Oriente in Cuba; the Ukraine in Russia; the south (Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent) in early industrial England; and the provinces surrounding Paris in 2 eighteenth-and nineteenth-century France. The reasons for some regions to manifest rebelliousness and not others are both complex and varied: peripheral location vis-a-vis the centre of State control;, close proximity to urban centres of commerce; linguistic or ethnic differences separating them from the majority of the population; differences with regard to pat-terns of agriculture, economy and kinship; and perhaps even the existence 105 of a folk "custom of rebellion" that relies upon the collective memory of 3 a region's inhabitants. Now, the existence of such a tradition of rebellion in a par-ticular region cannot be regarded as a cause or rebellion. It must, how-ever, be considered in any explanation of the origins of rebellion, i f only as a crucial intervening variable that helps to show a tendency or proclivity of the residents of certain areas to employ collective vio-lence as a means to redress wrongs, or even to attempt to reform society i t s e l f . If such is the case, what, then, can be said about the case of Japan? Patterns of Rebellion Despite the emphasis in recent years by Western scholars on the importance of the passivity of Japan's peasant population as a key to her successful modernization, the truth i s otherwise—Japan modernized in spite of peasant rebellion. As i f to emphasize this much under-emphasized point, eminent Japanese social historian Irokawa Daikichi stressed, "Even 4 our country has a history of armed rebellion." During the Tokugawa period no less than 6,889 peasant uprisings (ikki) were recorded; this 5 figure translates into nearly twenty-five disturbances per annum. An annual average, of course, cloaks the equally important fact of rises and f a l l s within this 267 year era. For instance, during the Tempo period (1830-44), an average of over sixty-seven disturbances occurred annually. This figure was second only to the Keio period (1865-68) when the annual average was 114 incidents. The Temmei period (1781-89) was another highpoint; i t had a yearly average of f i f t y - f i v e 106 incidents. By way of contrast, the twenty-four-year Kyoho period (1716-35) experienced only nineteen risings each year; likewise, there were only nine risings a year during the Kambun period (1661-72).^ Just as certain periods witnessed more peasant rebellions than others, so too did certain regions of Japan. If we partition Japan into geographical regions as i t has traditionally been done, and look to the number of disturbances each region experienced during a l l of Tokugawa, then we can see the results in Table 1. The Chubu region or central por-tion of the main island of Honshu clearly leads with slightly over 30 per cent of a l l disturbances, and is followed in order by Kinki (19.6), Kanto (16.6), Tohoku (14.8), and so on. The same kind of figures are likewise indicated for the f i r s t decade of the Meiji period, only here we see that the Kinki region drops from second to sixth in rank, and the Tohoku region advances to second. Although this breakdown i s revealing in a very general way, i t nonetheless obscures internal geographical distinctions within each region, as partially noted in the table by the subdivisions of the Chubu and Kanto regions. Also, we know that each region distinguishes i t s e l f from the others by consisting of different numbers of provinces (kunl), as well as varying numbers of feudal domains (han). To the extent that many uprisings were generated by distinctive provincial or domain prob-lems—and i t i s impossible to say here when and how often this was the case—then i t becomes necessary to go beyond the high level of general-ization concerning uprisings by regions, and try at least to distinguish the uprisings by employing a lower level of geographical specificity. 107 Table 1. Uprisings by Region No. of Region Provinces Rural Uprisings City Type Intra Village Rising Total % of Total Rank TOKUGAW7A, 1590-1867 Tohoku (8) 664 45 311 1,020 14.8 (4) Kanto (8) 349 74 721 1,144 16.6 (3) E. Kanto (6) (660) 9.6 W. Kanto (3) (484) 7.0 Chubu (16) 735 155 1,187 2,077 30.1 (1) Chuo (2) (747) 10.8 Hokuriku (7) (609) 8.8 Tokai (6) (721) 10.5 Kinki (15) 519 127 706 1,352 19.6 (2) Chugoku (12) 375 40 137 552 8.0 (5) Shikoku (4) 260 9 75 344 4.9 (7) Kyushu (11) 303 38 52 393 5.7 (6) (Unclear) 7 7 0 Total (74) 3,212 488 3,189 6,889 99.7 MEIJI, 1868-1877 Tohoku 110 — 10 120 17.8 (2) Kanto 58 4 41 103 15.3 (3) E. Kanto (.54); 8.0 W. Kanto (49). 7.3 Chubu 98 11 46 155 23.0 (1) Chuo (59) 8.7 Hokuriku (47) 6.9 Tokai (49) 7.3 Kinki 43 3 26 72 10.7 (6) Chugoku 72 5 11 88 13.0 (5) Shikoku 29 — 13 42 6.0 (7) Kyushu 89 1 4 94 13.9 (4) (Unclear) — — — Total* 499 24 151 674 99.7 Source: Based on figures provided in Aoki Koji, Tokugawa hyakusho ikki no sogo nempyo (Tokyo, 1971), Appendix. 108 Since i t is the tradition of rebellion within certain Meiji prefectures that we are interested in studying, then we do what the Meiji government did and amalgamate the seventy-four kuni into forty-five prefectures. The results are shown in Table 2, appearing on the next page. For the present, the most important point to be taken from Table 2 is the rankings according to prefecture. We see that Fukushima and Saitama prefectures, where the Fukushima and Chichibu Incidents occurred, rank third and second respectively in their number of incidents for the Tokugawa period, and f i r s t and fourth for the f i r s t decade of Meiji. Ibaraki prefecture, site of the Kabasan Incident, does not rank highly in either period. It should also be pointed out that even i f we look at a higher level of specificity by separating Fukushima into Iwashiro and Iwagi provinces (kuni) and look only at the figures for Iwashiro (the larger part being the Aizu region), then we see that i t s 259 Tokugawa incidents and i t s fifty-two in Meiji would s t i l l place i t in the top ten in both periods, and would even rank i t f i r s t for early Meiji! Unfortunately, the same cannot be done with Saitama prefecture, since i t and Tokyo have historically been lumped together as Musashi 7 province. Nevertheless, i t is known that within the Saitama portion of Musashi province the northern zone, of which Chichibu occupies the la r -gest part, was where most of the peasant disturbances took place during the Tokugawa period. During the eight-year Temmei period (1781-89), for instance, a l l but two of i t s dusturbances took place outside of Tokyo, 9 and eighteen of them were based in the northern part of Saitama. Chichibu d i s t r i c t as such, with four disturbances, was second only to the Table 2. Types of Tokugawa (1590-1867) Uprisings by Meiji Prefectures* and During Fir s t Ten Years of Meiji (1868-1912) T O K U G A W A M E I J I Prefecture Uprisings City Type Intra Village Total Rank Uprisings City Type Intra Village Total Rank Aomori 34 9 3 46 4 — — 4 Akita 91 12 28 131 9 — 1 10 Iwate 138 8 14 160 22 — — 22 (9) Miyagi 25 8 5 38 4 — — 4 Yamagata 129 5 81 215 (10) 13 — 1 14 Fukushima 247 3 180 420 (3) 55 — 8 63 (1) Ibaraki 52 3 45 100 6 — 3 9 Tochigi 33 21 66 120 12 1 — 13 Gumma 74 12 71 157 18 — 4 22 (9) Saitama 94 28 310 432 (2) 16 3 15 34 (4) Tokyo Kanagawa 22 7 82 111 — — 10 10 Chiba 74 3 147 224 (9) 6 — 9 15 Niigata 138 40 128 306 (6) 23 3 2 28 (6) Toyama 37 24 4 65 5 5 3 13 Ishikawa 54 19 17 90 3 — 1 4 Fukui 67 18 63 • 148 2 — — 2 Shizuoka 40 15 71 126 2 — 1 3 Yamanashi 21 3 156 180 7 1 4 12 Nagano 173 23 371 567 (1) 28 — 19 47 (2) Aichi 74 5 78 157 12 2 3 17 Gifu 104 5 276 385 (5) 13 — 13 26 (7) Tohoku Kanto Chuba Excluding Hokkaido and Okinawa. Source: Aoki, Sogo nempyo, Appendix. i—1 o VD Table 2 (continued) T O K U G A W A M E I J I Region Prefecture Uprisings City Type Intra Village Total Rank Uprisings City Type Intra Village Total Rank Kinki Shiga 67 15 61 143 4 1 1 6 Kyoto 102 16 107 225 (8) 6 1 2 9 Osaka 64 8 200 272 (7) — — 12 12 Nara 55 16 21 92 1 — 1 2 Wakayama 27 12 26 65 3 — — 3 Mie 19 7 17 43 9 1 — 10 Hyogo 180 53 270 403 (4) 20 — 10 ' 30 (5) Chugoku Okayama 96 3 54 153 21 — 4 25 (8) Hiroshima 106 20 55 181 15 2 4 21 (10) Yamaguchi 69 2 3 74 14 — — 14 Tottori 45 7 9 61 7 — 3 10 Shimane 59 8 16 83 15 3 — 18 Shikoku Kagawa 26 1 6 33 4 — 3 7 Ehime 145 4 30 179 19 — 7 26 (7) Tokushima 53 0 4 57 2 — 2 4 Kochi 36 4 35 75 4 — 1 5 Kyushu Fukuoka 37 6 2 45 9 — — 9 Oita 55 3 4 62 12 — — 12 Miyazaki 71 1 4 76 19 — — 19 Saga 20 1 17 38 6 — — 6 Nagasaki 38 14 9 61 7 1 2 10 (3) Kumamoto 68 13 12 91 33 — 2 35 Kagoshima 14 0 4 18 3 — 3 (Unclear) 7 0 0 7 Total 3,212 488 3,189 6,889 499 24 151 674 i i J I l l Tama region (with six) which, i t may be recalled, is not only contiguous to Chichibu but is topographically identical and had, since the sixth 10 century, been regarded as an adjunct of Chichibu. Also from Table 2 we should notice that of the 432 Tokugawa period disturbances, most probably took place in the rural regions of Saitama since only twenty-eight of a l l disturbances were of the "city type." 1 1 In any case, Tables 1 and 2 show conclusively that Saitama and Fukushima ranked among the highest of the disturbance-prone regions for the Tokugawa and early Meiji periods. S t i l l , there are a number of impor-tant features about rebellion that these two tables do not show: the fre-quency according to region; the intensity of the disturbances; the forms they took; the number of participants; the duration of the risings; the causes and consequences of them, and so on. For some of these questions, owing to incomplete data, only tentative answers can be offered. For others, the answers must be sought in the remaining sections of this chapter. Right now, however, we w i l l only attempt to answer the f i r s t few. When talking about a tradition of rebellion existing in certain regions, the question of frequency is important only insofar as i t serves as an incomplete substitute for the cultural and anthropological evidence that can demonstrate the endurance among a co l l e c t i v i t y of an oral or written tradition of rebellion. If, for example, a co l l e c t i v i t y rises in rebellion, say, once every couple of generations, then we may provision-all y assume that a collective memory passes on the information of the 112 facts of rebellion to younger generations. For this reason, the question of frequency is an important one. But we also know that as time elapses between rebellions, a co l l e c t i v i t y also commits i t s e l f to an apotheosis of earlier rebels, that i s , like any coll e c t i v i t y i t creates for i t s e l f 12 certain folk heroes. Also, since a colle c t i v i t y may be defined in either very broad or narrow terms, a hero-rebel may at f i r s t only be remembered by the local community from which he came, but later may be revered by a regional or even the national community, and revered perhaps for reasons totally unrelated to the original experience that catapulted him into the ranks of heroism. In the Japanese experience, folk heroes have traditionally been rebels. Kanno Hachiro of Fukushima, Date dis-t r i c t , Kaneharada village, who led a revolt against his domain government in 1866, i s one such example. His name was invoked as a legitimizing 13 symbol a decade later by Tama region popular rights advocates. Much earlier, Sakura Sogoro was initiated into the holy order of martyrdom after he was crucified by the feudal government for i l l e g a l l y petitioning 14 for economic r e l i e f for his village. Gimin (martyr), kyokaku ("Robin Hood") , and daimyojin (."Divine Rectifier") were terms variously used by peasants to refer to their rebel heroes who had led them to fight the authorities. Itagaki Taisuke, President of the Liberal Party (Jiyuto), was oftentimes referred to as a daimyojin for the imagined help he gave to the poor and disenfranchised in their quest for economic and p o l i t i c a l autonomy. But cultural rebel-heroes aside, there exists enough evidence on the frequency of risings to lead us to suppose that at least the peasants 1 113 of Fukushima and Chichibu possessed a collective memory of rebellion. In the Iwashiro region of Fukushima, or western Fukushima where the 1882 incident was centred, risings of various types broke out f a i r l y regularly, 16 beginning in 1654 and continuing un t i l the Fukushima Incident i t s e l f . After the mid-eighteenth century, risings in the Aizu region were rarely separated from one another by more than a dozen years, and in some periods there was even some clustering, especially in 1749 to 1752, the 1780's, and the 1860's. In these years i t appears that one revolt was transposing i t s e l f into another. It should also be noted that the clus-17 terings usually coincided with periods of poor harvests and famine. Like Fukushima, the Musashi region also experienced risings on a f a i r l y regular basis, and demonstrated some clustering, notably in the Tempo (1830-44), Temmei (1781-89), and Keio (1865-68) periods. The 130 uprisings in these three periods alone accounted for 30 per cent of a l l Musashi-based Tokugawa disturbances. Nearly a quarter of the 130 were centred in the Tama region, and nineteen or about 15 per cent took place 18 in and around the d i s t r i c t of Chichibu. Compared to Fukushima and Chichibu, Hitachi province (Ibaraki) did not experience any clustering u n t i l the Bakumatsu period (1853-68). In that period, Ibaraki had twenty-two of i t s 100 Tokugawa risings, four-teen of which took place in the Tsukuba or Makabe regions, both areas of 19 popular rights activity in the 1880's. Thus, in a l l three regions, though somewhat less in the case of Ibaraki, a tradition of rebellion seems to have been sustained throughout the Tokugawa period, and was bolstered by a frequency of occurrence that 114 probably made later generations of residents less hesitant to take col-lective action whenever an apparent need to do so arose. Equally as important, in a l l three regions the number of incidents of rebellion clustered during the latter years of Tokugawa, thereby increasing the chances that a tradition of protest would survive the profound changes that came with the founding of the new Meiji order. This certainly seems to have been the case with the Aizu region. In the f i r s t ten years of Meiji that area alone accounted for twenty-four risings.' In the same period ten of the thirty-four Musashi risings took place in and around Chichibu. Even Ibaraki, where only nine disturbances were counted in this period, showed continuity with i t s past by hosting 20 three of them in Makabe d i s t r i c t . If quantity with special reference to frequency is one index that helps to demonstrate a tradition of rebellion for certain regions, then i t i s necessary to show the quality of the rebellion as well. Form, intensity, duration and participation figures are aspects of rebellion that help to differentiate the risings which have thus far only been counted and not explained. In a large measure, the intensity and duration of, and the extent of participation in, a peasant uprising was a function of the form the rebellion took. What is meant by form here differs minimally from the 21 typologies used by Hugh Borton, Kokusho Iwao, and Aoki Koji. Each of these specialists more or less subscribe to the same typology, but since Aoki's is the more recent and the more complete, i t is the one related 115 Chosan ("running away") refers to a form of protest used by peas-ants since the early Muromachi period, whereby they would collectively 23 abandon their farms and leave the area. It perhaps rested on the idea incorporated in the old saying, "Agreement in the village on nonpartici-24 pation is one way to coerce." In effect then, i t was a farmers' strike and was therefore potentially harmful to the feudal rulers whose wealth and power was derived from agricultural production. For this reason, i t enjoyed considerable success as a way of getting demands met. But with the gradual erosion of village solidarity, a sine qua non for this form, the chosan soon became impossible to effect; seldom did i t occur after the early eighteenth century. The other forms, however, lasted well into the Meiji period. (1) The tonshu, choshu, and gunshu referred to the legal gathering of a crowd intent upon demonstrating their discontent. When these gatherings were unruly and broken up by local o f f i c i a l s , they were known as fuon ("un-rest"). (2) When the crowd manifested enough organisation to make a col-lective appeal by legally petitioning the village o f f i c i a l s , the form was known as a shuso. (3) Sometimes the protesters would try to bypass or leapfrog their local o f f i c i a l s and appeal directly to the domain lord or even to the Bakufu. This form was i l l e g a l and was called an osso. It had a variant known as the daihyo osso and referred to an i l l e g a l appeal made by a village representative(s), usually the village headman. Sakura Sogoro and Kanno Hachiro, earlier mentioned as rebel heroes, are two examples. (4) If an osso was backed up by threat, intimidation or violence, then i t became a goso. (5) That form easily and oftentimes was 116 transformed into a Jbodo ("violent movement"), and i f i t was directed against the homes, property or persons of o f f i c i a l s , wealthy merchants and farmers, then i t became an uchikowashi ("house-wrecking"). (6) These latter largely local affairs might sometimes go beyond village or domain borders and then become a zenpan sodo ("all-domain rising"). To the extent that i t was organised and had a strong goal orientation, then i t was a hoki ("rebellion"). In some cases the large-scale rebellions were characterized by atavistic, religious or primitive communistic undertones; these were termed yonaoshi ikki ("world reform uprising"). As might be expected, usually the intensity heightened, the dura-tion lengthened, and the number of participants increased as the form of rebellion progressed from the f i r s t type toward the last. Rarely, i t seems, i f ever, did a disturbance pass through a l l six "stages." Many were probably uniform, i.e., began, proceeded and ended at the same stage or in the same form, and probably just as many jumped from the legal appeal stage directly to the "house-wrecking" stage. While most of these forms could be found occurring at any time during the Tokugawa period, at certain times one form seemed to predomi-25 nate. Thus, for the f i r s t seventy years, un t i l 1660, the predominant form of social protest was what i t had been for the past several hundred years, the chosan, and secondarily, the bodo. The next f i f t y years wit-nessed the ascendency of the osso, but particularly i t s variant, the daihyo osso. For the next half century, until the early 1760's, the i l l e g a l and more violent goso form was the major type of protest. During the last 100 years of Tokugawa and during early Meiji, peasant uprisings 117 were usually of the Jbodo and uchikowashi varieties, although this i s when the all-domain risings and the yonaoshi ikki also began manifesting them-selves . Accordingly, as the more violent forms of protest became more frequent as the Tokugawa era approached the Meiji, the intensity, duration and peasant participation also heightened. Even a cursory examination of the figures shows that especially after the mid-eighteenth century, more 26 peasants were involved more often in more violent forms of protest. Why this happened has to do with certain socio-economic changes that were taking place, changes which were themselves reflected by changes in the form of peasant uprisings. Before viewing these changes in this way, a brief outline of the main socio-economic changes occurring during 27 Tokugawa would be helpful. Tokugawa Uprisings: Economy, Society and Polity During the seventeenth century the system of landholding changed dramatically. Large landholdings which were based on the extended family and servant labour—what Professor Aoki Koji terms the "system of patri-28 archical slavery" (kafucho doreisei) —were breaking up and i n their place many small landholdings appeared, some tenant operated and others owned by self-cultivators. In some regions, such as the Kinai (Osaka region) which was more urban and commercial than other parts of Japan, this phenomenon of the disintegration of large holdings was already pro-nounced. Even in less commercialized regions, such as the Tohoku, a l -29 though the same process was already discernible as''early as-1594, i t did 30 not become widespread until the eighteenth century. 118 Although this process was recorded and made o f f i c i a l by govern-ment surveys which recognized the de facto operator of a landholding, i t was also commonly recorded by the villagers themselves in the form of village codes. These codes recognized landownership, established regu-lations regarding the appropriation of common lands, and set down penal-ties for v i o l a t i o n s . 3 1 The codes were oftentimes the product of the buraku (hamlet) association which would, after a natural disaster or a poor harvest (and the consequent loss of land for some smaller cultivators), rewrite the village code so as to reflect the new rea l i t i e s of landowner-ship. Those who lost their land would quite commonly s e l l their labour for a term of service as a day labourer or servant; doing so, however, meant a loss of whatever socio-political rights the code granted land-32 owners. S t i l l , despite having lost their property and their rights as landowners, they benefited from the close social and familial ties opera-tive in early Tokugawa villages. Whether related by blood, marriage, or indentured servitude, the agricultural labourer was treated as a "child" by the large landowner he served. This relationship, known as oyakata-kokata ("parent-child"), reflected a condition of social and economic 33 interdependence between the two parties. Occasionally in early Tokugawa, this relationship took on a p o l i -t i c a l aspect as well when: . . . the successful farmer, having become a village o f f i c i a l repre-senting the interests of the small farmer, represented the village cooperative body in opposition to the domain authority.34 In addition to representing his village, he oftentimes led i t in rebellion. 119 This too was a p o l i t i c a l act: "Resorts to violence—peasant r e v o l t s and jacqueries—was the only other method of intermittent p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n 35 the decision-making process." Only within such a close, interdependent and co-operative v i l l a g e context could the predominant form of peasant protest be the chosan, a form which v i r t u a l l y disappeared a f t e r the mid-seventeenth century. U n t i l then the v i l l a g e had retained mush of i t s co-operative s p i r i t , but thereafter began l o s i n g i t as the breakup of the large landholdings l e f t i n i t s wake several remaining large landowners and a m u l t i p l i c i t y of small-scale subsistence farmers. The unequal r e l a t i o n s h i p r e s u l t i n g usually caused the large landholder to occupy a p o s i t i o n of authority equal to hi s economic p o s i t i o n . Thus he became the headman (shoya, nanushi, or kimoiri, depending on the lo c a t i o n of the v i l l a g e ) , an o f f i c e u s ually i n h e r i t e d by hi s descendents, but a p o s i t i o n of leadership rather than one of overlordship. He derived h i s p o l i t i c a l predominance from the consent of the organic v i l l a g e unit and i n order to keep i t , and to be true to the co-operative s p i r i t of the v i l l a g e , would on occasion have to 36 represent the demands of the v i l l a g e r s to the domain r u l e r s . It was not u n t i l the l a t e seventeenth and early eighteenth cen-tury that l o c a l o f f i c i a l s became alienated from the v i l l a g e u n i t . As Thomas Smith and others suggest, t h i s was due to a number of fa c t o r s : an inheritance system that reinforced an economic hierarchy among land-holders; an expanding population that put extra pressure on fi x e d land resources and which helped to fos t e r i n turn the creation of socio-economic classes; the development of sharper c l a s s l i n e s a f t e r natural 120 d i s a s t e r s , causing many to indebt themselves to the large landholders; the r o u t i n i z a t i o n of c e r t a i n s o c i a l customs such as dress, ceremonial seating arrangements and the increasing importance attached to family h i s t o r i e s ; the increasing i n t r u s i o n into and the c o n t r o l over v i l l a g e 37 government by domain government; and f i n a l l y , the growth of the market economy which made land, labour and wealth into commodities, that i s , 3 8 "goods produced not f o r use, but f o r s a l e . " Hence, i n c r e a s i n g l y the socio-economic context was being defined i n terms of the unequal encounter between the large landholder qua v i l l a g e o f f i c i a l on the one hand, and the r e s t of the v i l l a g e small holders on the other. V i l l a g e s o l i d a r i t y was slowly eroding, g i v i n g way to a p o l a r i z a t i o n of classes within the v i l l a g e brought on by the impersonal r e l a t i o n s h i p s imposed by the cash nexus. This change was c l e a r l y mirrored by the changing form of peasant protest. Whereas during early Tokugawa, "when the s o l i d a r i t y of the v i l -lage had not been widely disturbed by the influence of competitive farming, many peasant uprisings were led, not by outcasts and ne'er-do-wells, but by headmen," despite the f a c t that s i d i n g "with the v i l l a g e 39 against h i s l o r d . . . meant almost c e r t a i n death," during the l a t t e r h a l f of the Tokugawa period many peasant uprisings were led by the v i l -lagers themselves and were frequently d i r e c t e d against the headman qua 40 landlord. Some of these, known to l a t e r h i s t o r i a n s as murakata sodo ( i n t r a - v i l l a g e c o n f l i c t ) , would go beyond the v i l l a g e a f t e r disposing of 41 the headman and go d i r e c t l y to Bakufu o f f i c i a l s . These types, usually expressed i n the forms of the more v i o l e n t goso or uchikowashi, accounted 121 for between 40 and 50 per cent of a l l uprisings of the mid-Tokugawa period. Even then however, i t was not uncommon in the more economically backward regions for some headmen to lead their villagers in rebellion, 43 but this was becoming more and more rare. Since headmen were increas-ingly also the major landlords and creditors of the village, especially in the Kinai and Kanto regions, they were not very sympathetic to demands for debt deferrment, lower prices for commodities and, to the extent 44 they were tied to the domain government, requests for tax reduction. Consequently, in their place as leaders of village rebellions, the middle income farmer—oftentimes a minor village o f f i c i a l or the head of an old but financially unstable family—who was more vulnerable to the v i c i s s i -45 tudes of the market and of nature, rose to lead the poorer villagers. Rebellions led by middle-income farmers in the mid-eighteenth century were as yet small-scale affairs; the large-scale ones were led by the headman. As Professor Koji observes, the scale of violence "widened considerably" whenever the poorer farmers "formed an alliance with other 46 classes [i.e., headmen]." 47 An example of the latter case is the Tenma Sodo of 1764. One of the largest Tokugawa uprisings, i t involved an estimated 200,000 peasants, encompassed both Bakufu and private domains, and during i t s more than three month existence spread throughout most of the northern 48 Kanto region (Chichibu in Saitama, Gumma, Tochigi and Eastern Nagano). The uprising takes i t s name from the issue which set i t off originally, the Bakufu's decision to increase the number of post stations (tenma) in 122 the sukego ("assisting v i l l a g e , " responsible for providing men, horses 49 and other o f f i c i a l transportation services between post stations) on the main road between Tokyo (Edo) and Nikko, shrine of the Tokugawa family which was about to celebrate the one hundred and f i f t i e t h anniversary of i t s founder's death. For that reason, and to improve the road f o r com-mercial t r a f f i c , the Bakufu imposed an onerous tax. I t was supported by the merchants who had business i n the region, a n t i c i p a t i n g increased revenue i n the future, but i t met with v i o l e n t opposition by the many f a r m e r s — i n c l u d i n g the v i l l a g e headmen—who would have to finance the la r g e s t proportion of the sukego system improvement plan. Most v i l l a g e s along the road contributed manpower to the r e b e l l i o n — v i l l a g e s that were reluctant to j o i n were threatened with d e s t r u c t i o n — a n d together they compelled the government to abandon i t s plans. However, the v i c t o r y was not without i t s p r i c e . Some 600 v i l l a g e leaders—headmen, elders (toshi-yori), "group heads" (gumigashira) and farmers' representatives (hyaku-shodai)—were punished; only 113 peasants received sentences, usually much l i g h t e r than those given to the l e a d e r s . 5 0 The p r i n c i p a l leader of the r e b e l l i o n , a v i l l a g e headman from Kodama d i s t r i c t i n Saitama, was 51 executed, only to be resurrected 100 years l a t e r as a gimin (martyr). This example of r e b e l l i o n also points to another index of what 52 Smith terms "the decline of the cooperative group," that i s the emer-gence of a new pattern of mobilization for uprisings, whereby rebel leaders would compel i n d i v i d u a l s to p a r t i c i p a t e . One person per house-hold was the usual exaction, and those households which would not comply 53 were subjected to "house-wreckings." In the mid-to-late eighteenth 1 2 3 century, when trans-domain uprisings took place (like the Tenma Sodo), 54 entire villages were forced to participate. During the last 100 years of Tokugawa, peasant uprisings continued to record changing socio-economic conditions. Most of the large-scale disturbances of this time reflect the increasing numbers of farmers who were turning to specialized commercial production of crops"*"' but were finding the consequences of this hard to bear. They were troubled by: variability of farm income and an inelastic cost structure; increased production of cash crops hurt by the variability of the market; fixed taxes in the face of such variability; the steady concentration of land-holdings in the hands of a few which made competition d i f f i c u l t ; the rising merchant guilds that manipulated the market; time-consuming and costly government projects for improved transportation systems that depen-ded on the farmer's corvee labour; and so on. 5 6 The Tenma Sodo, for instance, reflected the government's efforts to establish efficient means of transportation between production centres and commercial centres. Seventeen years after that uprising, again the same region experienced another, but this time centred in the s e r i -culture region of later-day Gumma prefecture. This time i t was over the government granting permission to merchant guilds and village headmen/ wealthy farmers to establish quality controls on s i l k production, and to 57 issue transport licences and levies on s i l k . A few years after that incident, an entire series of "rice riots" (kome sodo) broke out in countryside areas which had no rice because they had to s e l l i t a l l , and 58 in c i t i e s denied rice because of a general shortage. Rice shortages 124 59 again produced rice riots in the Tempo period. Two decades later, in 1865 to 1866, the demand for rice provoked more violence, especially in Edo and in the predominantly cash crop areas of Chichibu and Aizu; both areas were dependent on the importation of staples to meet basic needs; they were also troubled by a new government stamp tax on s i l k and other sericulture-related items. 6 0 Moreover, the staples that the people of these areas required were priced almost out of reach, even i f they could get them. Between 1859 and 1867, the price of rice increased 3.7 times; soy sauce 4.0 times; sugar 3.2 times; cotton 4.3 times; and tea 1.3 times.6"*" According to one of the rebels involved in the 1866 uprising: Since the opening of the Yokohama port, commodities have become higher priced, gradually causing hardships for village peoples, especially this year when silkworm production was poor. Popular discontent was widespread, and after discussion i t was decided to do some house-wrecking. In addition to grain stores, we wrecked five houses.62 The Chichibu protesters "decided to destroy the homes of o f f i c i a l s f i r s t " and especially the homes of the headmen. After disposing of them, they attacked s i l k and tea merchants who were selling their goods to Yokohama merchants. Finally, they attacked "rice dealers, usurers, o f f i -c i a l s , and others who have authority." 6 3 From Chichibu, this uprising spread south, almost to Yokohama i t s e l f , and later north as far as Fuku-shima, but only after reaching a very violent stage in the Gumma area. The rebellion involved tens of thousands of farmers, and f i n a l l y had to be put down by newly organised noheitai ("farmers' army"), armed with r i f l e s supplied by the Tokugawa government. It was "composed mainly of 64 the sons of middle and wealthy farmers." In contrast, the rebel forces were mainly led by middle-income farmers and consisted of "poor people— 125 65 day labourers, servants, craftsmen, tenants and the li k e . " This rebellion, especially as i t was manifested in Fukushima, developed into a yonaoshi ikki, and therefore exhibited a markedly anti-feudal character. It opposed merchant guild controls over production, taxes and special levies on the production of cash crops, and called for free enterprise of commodity production and sale. P o l i t i c a l l y , i t called for the democratization of village government, i.e., an end to hereditary positions in village government, and the use of open and free elections; i t also demanded village autonomy from domain administration. Finally, the participants wanted tenant rents decreased and wages for day labourers increased. 6 6 Similar types of demands were again made in October 1868 when another yonaoshi involving several thousands of Aizu residents broke out. In this one, and in others in different parts of the country, demands for a more equitable distribution of the land, as well as demands for the elimination of certificates of pawned land (shichichiken), have led later historians to regard these yonaoshi ikki as precursors of the demo-cratic movement and/or the "farmers' revolution." 6^ Indeed, the "level-ing" component of the yonaoshi were recognized by observers of their time, who referred to such uprisings as yonarashi ikki ( l i t e r a l l y , "equalize the world uprisings"). As one of the few specialists on the subject characterizes them: Yonaoshi took as i t s objective the leveling of economic l i f e and the creation of a [new] universe. Concretely, as the movement expressed i t s [aims] in action, most sought to recover documents pertaining to pawned land or loans; to distribute food equally in times of famine; and appeared as destroyers of the private property of the wealthy 126 farmers, whose economic status stemmed from holding positions of v i l -lage authority, or from serving as domain functionaries. Moreover, the participants were a l l poor farmers, therefore making the risings totally class based. 6 8 Since most yonaoshi ikki were centred around the sericultural regions of Chichibu, Fukushima, Gumma and eastern Nagano, where tenancy was minimal and most farmers were small landholders who produced mainly for the market, the "poor farmers" of the yonaoshi rebellions must be understood in this light. Moreover, i t should also be made clear that the leaders of the yonaoshi were usually the slightly more wealthy of the 69 community of poor farmers. Despite the fact that many of the yonaoshi rebellions invoked Buddhist millenial notions and occasionally neo-Confucian standards of right and wrong to justify their anti-feudal economic and p o l i t i c a l 70 opinions, i t is nonetheless necessary to pay heed to the leveling aspect they exhibited, especially since this aspect later re-emerged in the radical popular right thought of Oi Kentaro and others, as well as in the expressions and slogans used by Meiji farmers belonging to the Jiyuto and Komminto. Calls for p o l i t i c a l reform during the Chichibu Incident, for example, were expressed by such slogans as "Itagaki no yonaoshi" ("World reform of [Jiyuto President] Itagaki"), and "aid the poor, equally 71 distribute the wealth." Meiji Uprisings If the various types of Tokugawa peasant uprisings were not an important cause of the disintegration of the Tokugawa government and sys-tem, then they certainly may be regarded as an index of the extent to 127 which the feudal system was collapsing. A feudal system based theoreti-cally upon the wealth derived from the land the peasants worked was being increasingly subjected to ever more violent attacks by the farmers them-selves. Even after traditional village leaders were co-opted by the system, thereby taking from the peasants one of their more important means to plug into the decision-making structure, the farmers continued to employ the only other means l e f t open to them—rebellion. Moreover, this system which so denigrated the merchant by placing him last i n the feudal social hierarchy was being undermined by the many farmers who turned increasingly to commerce as a subsidiary or even as the main source of their income. The peasant uprisings then, and the penetration of the market economy down into the depths of peasant society, revealed clearly the socio-economic contradictions besetting the feudal system. But even when the old system f e l l and a new set of feudal elites replaced the old, peasant uprisings continued to plague the new govern-ment just as much as they did the old, and to make just as apparent the contradictions inherent in the new order. It could hardly have been otherwise. For the vast majority of farmers, conditions prevailing dur-ing at least the f i r s t five years of Meiji, until the land tax reform, 72 were no different than those of late Tokugawa. Neither should i t be surprising, therefore, that the bulk of peasant violence in early Meiji occurred during the f i r s t five years. In the f i r s t year of Meiji at least eighty-five disturbances 73 occurred, eleven of them large yonaoshi ikki. During the f i r s t decade (see Table 1, page 107), 674 incidents took place, a yearly average of 128 67.4 (a mean of about f i f t y per annum), considerably higher than the rate for almost any decade during the Tokugawa period. Most reflected economic conditions not unlike those which existed in late Tokugawa. For example, due to a succession of poor harvests in the f i r s t three years of Meiji, nineteen "rice riots" broke out. Likewise, even as government was making appeals to merchants to stop speculating on commodities, violent "house-wreckings" and bodo were occurring in the name of cheaper food or tax r e l i e f or debt exemption. Nearly 50 per cent of a l l disturbances during 74 the f i r s t ten years were of this type. Some disturbances of this period, however, were different from Tokugawa ones, but only in terms of the immediate cause and not in terms of the form they assumed. For example, after the Restoration domain borders formerly closed to outside commerce were now opened; this cut 75 into profits made on the local market, producing some rebellion. Once prefectures were established (1871), differences in the tax rates between prefectures, or rather the knowledge of this, provoked some r e b e l l i o n . 7 6 Other early reforms enacted by the new government also produced discon-tent. Conscription, the school system, the census, and telephone and telegraph systems were a l l , to quote E. H. Norman, "sparks which ignited 77 the uprisings." But probably the most resented of a l l the new reforms was the land tax reform of 1873. It recognized private ownership, issued land deeds, changed the form of tax payment from rice to cash., and fixed the land tax at 3 per cent of the land's assessed value. The new land tax regulations were regarded as excessive by many farmers, especially those from regions where immediately after the 129 Restoration the domain rulers had reduced annual land taxes (nengu) by 78 half in order to placate a rebellious peasantry. For most farmers, however, several years were needed in order for them to understand and to be affected by this reform. Its most immediate effect was "the estab-79 lishment of the landlord system." Large numbers of small-and medium-sized landholders began losing their land because they were unable to pay the tax or the mortgage they took out the year before in order to meet that year's land tax payment. Hence, they f e l l into tenancy. In 1872, the amount of land under tenant cultivation was an estimated 29 per 80 cent. By 1888, the figure was over 40 per cent. The records of subse-quent protest also record the effects of the land tax reform. During the decade 1877 to 1886, 29 per cent of a l l disturbances were tenant-landlord conflicts, up 23.3 per cent from the decade earlier; 17 per cent of a l l incidents for 1877 to 1886 were fights against creditors, a type of disturbance virtually unknown in the previous decade. In contrast to these types of disturbances, between 1877 and 1886 the percentage of anti-government conflicts had dropped about 41 per cent, to a mere 9 per cent 81 of a l l incidents. It seems that in a very short time, the main enemy of the farmer had changed from the government to the landlord and creditor. In the next section where the rising rate of tenancy and dispos-session of land i s discussed, i t w i l l become apparent why the number of anti-landlord conflicts jumped dramatically after the 1873 land tax law had a chance to effect changes in patterns of landownership. On the other hand, why the number of anti-government conflicts dramatically de-creased requires explanation immediately. Briefly, i t has to do with the 130 growing power and authority of the Meiji government. In an incredibly short period, the leaders of the Meiji Restoration embarked on a pro-gramme of "centralization of power by means of taxation and conscription 82 [that] rendered rebellion well-nigh impossible." In the name of the 83 Emperor, the forces of "oligarchic absolutism" organised a conscript army capable of suppressing peasant and samurai uprisings. Nowhere was this capacity better demonstrated than in 1877 when the conscript army easily and quickly put down the largely samurai army of Saigo Takamori. A year before i t had done the same in the case of the huge Mie and Gifu peasant uprising. Up against a veritable brick wall of military strength, the Meiji farmer learned quickly that he could not knock i t down. Instead, he joined lawful struggles (goho toso)—"This i s one characteristic that 84 separates the Meiji period from the Tokugawa feudal period" — t o oppose national policy. Chief among these lawful struggles was the jiyu minken undo. In joining i t , he changed from the essentially nonpolitical being he was during the Tokugawa period, having no p o l i t i c a l rights outside the village (providing, of course, that he owned land), to a p o l i t i c a l being out to define what was meant by the 6 April 1868 Imperial Oath, especially Article One: "An assembly shall be widely convened and a l l 85 issues shall be resolved by public opinion." Strengthened by the legacy of protest bequeathed to him by his Tokugawa forefathers, and given direction by the Freedom and People 1s Rights Movement, the Meiji farmer sought to make government honour the Imperial Oath. To this experience we w i l l turn shortly, but before doing 131 so we w i l l look f i r s t at the economic background to the "incidents of i n -tense violence" of the 1880's. THE ECONOMIC BASIS OF THE GEKKA JIKEN The "incidents of intense violence" took place against an economic backdrop of severe depression the acceptance of which was made a l l the more d i f f i c u l t since the five preceding years (1878-82) was a period of unprecedented prosperity for most landowning farmers. What brought on the depression was Finance Minister Matsukata Masayoshi's deflationary policy. This policy was adopted in late 1881 in order to strengthen the unstable Japanese economy, beset by a weak currency at home and a too heavy reliance on imported goods. What exactly the policy entailed and even i t s effects on the farming population in general has been well-86 documented elsewhere. Here let i t suffice to outline the consequences of the deflation policy on the general farming population and then, more specifically, on the farming populations of the regions where the gekka jiken occurred. Depression in the Countryside Following the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, Japan's farming popula-tion prospered. In that year the rate of taxation was lowered from 3 per cent to 2.5 per cent. This was done partly in response to peasant uprisings over the land tax, and partly in response to pressure applied by the popular rights movement on the government to keep i t s 1873 pledge 87 of lowering the land tax. At the same time, the commodity price index rose appreciably, thereby increasing the incomes of farmers. Increased 132 income encouraged increased consumer spending, as well as efforts to expand production and commercial ent