The scandal of Shunpoan (春峯庵事件)

The scandal of Shunpoan is the large-scale criminal case of counterfeit hand-painted Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints), which occurred in the early Showa period around 1930s.

In 1934, there was a public auction at Tokyo Art Club for inviting the bids for the hand-painted Ukiyo-e owned by a good old family called Shunpoan, whose art works were claimed to be produced by Sharaku TOSHUSAI or Utamaro KITAGAWA. Because of the reports and articles published in newspapers stating those art pieces to be the 'discoveries of the century,' this auction drew quite a large attention from the public, although later it was found that those pieces were actually counterfeits.

Members of a group consisting of an art dealer, a counterfeit painter and others were disclosed as the suspects of a fraud. Furthermore, there was an incident that Rinpu SASAGAWA, the authority on the study of Japanese art history, was detained by the police as the accomplice of the fraud because he had written the recommendation notes for those art pieces.

[Original Japanese]