Horeki Incident (宝暦事件)

The Horeki Incident is the first incident in which imperialists were oppressed in the middle of the Edo period. It is also called the Takenouchi Shikibu Incident after the person who was regarded as the ringleader.

Sekkan-ke (the families which produced the Regent and the Chief Adviser to the Emperor), to which the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) totally entrusted the management of the Imperial Court, was in danger of decline during the eras from Emperor Sakuramachi to Emperor Momozono (Gembun and Kanpo eras). As young family heads appeared in succession in all the families, except the Ichijo family, it became impossible to manage the Court in a successful manner. The other families that were not allowed to participate in the affairs of state, particularly young court nobles, were becoming more and more dissatisfied.

At that time, Shikibu TAKENOUCHI, a vassal of the Tokudaiji family, who believed in Ansai YAMAZAKI's theory, gave lectures on Shinto and Confucian books to the kinju (attendants) of Emperor Momozono; Kinmura TOKUDAIJI, Toshimichi KOGA, Kintsumu OGIMACHISANJO, Mitsutane KARASUMARU, Toshihaya BOJO, Kinkoto IMADEGAWA,中院通雅, Tokina NISHINOTOIN, and Takafuru TAKANO, for legitimate reasons. Those court nobles who were angry at the tyranny of the bakufu, and Sekkan-ke's control over the Imperial Court made the jiko (teacher) give a lecture on Shikibu's theory to the Emperor. Soon, Shikibu was allowed to directly give lectures to Emperor Momozono in 1756.

In response to this, the then chief adviser to the Emperor, Michika ICHIJO, who was concerned about the worsened relation between the Imperial Court and the bakufu, planned and conducted the banishment of seven Emperor's kinju (TOKUDAIJI, OGIMACHISANJO, KARASUMARU, BOJO, NAKANOIN, NISHINOTOIN, and TAKANO) with Uchisaki KONOE, Sukehira TAKATSUKASA, and Naozane KUJO. Then, Ichijo brought a suit against Shikibu to Kyoto shoshidai (The Kyoto deputy) on the ground of the military art practice of kugyo (court noble) in 1758, and inflicted dismissal, life-time confinement at home, and suspension from office on the involved kugyo, including TOKUDAIJI. Meanwhile, Shikibu was submitted to the inquisition of Kyoto shoshidai, and the severest banishment was inflicted on him in the following year, 1759.

The Emperor Momozono, who lost the close advisors he had had since his childhood, was offended at the actions of the Sekkan-ke, such as ICHIJO, which resulted in escalated confrontation between the Emperor and the Sekkan-ke. This confusion was resolved after the Emperor Momozono suddenly died at the age of 22 in 1762.

The impaired reputation of Kinmura TOKUDAIJI and others were restored by conferring their court ranks one step higher than their last ranks in their life time in 1891 after the collapse of the Tokugawa bakufu.

[Original Japanese]