Kogo Jihen (庚午事変)

Kogo Jihen was an incident in which vassals of the Hachisuka clan, who lived in Sumoto City, attacked the second residence of chief retainer Kunitane Inada and a place of study and other places near the Sumoto-jo Castle on Awaji-shima Island, Tokushima domain of that time in 1870. That incident is also called Inada Sodo (Inada riot).


Before this incident, chief retainer INADA of Sumoto-jo Castle in Tokushima Domain (14,000 koku) had had various conflicts with Tokushima Honpan (the original domain) for some time. At the end of the Edo period, the Honpan side were supporters of the bakufu, but the Inada side were royalists, so the more the Inada side acted to overthrow the bakufu, the more serious their confrontation with the Honpan side became. After the Meiji Restoration, under the Tokushima domain's Rokusei reformation (the reform in salary system), the vassals of the Tokushima Honpan came to be regarded as warrior class. However, the vassals of the Inada clan, as baishin (indirect vassals), did not agree with allowing themselves to be relegated to sotsuzoku rank (low-ranking samurai), and requested the Tokushima Honpan to incorporate their rank into warrior class. When they found that would not be granted, in turn, they moved to spin off Awaji with Sumoto as its center from the Tokushima Honpan and aimed to establish the INADA Domain, of which the leader would be the INADA clan (so that they would become warrior class), and also worked on the new Meiji Government for their independence. The INADA side thought their request would be approved soon due to the achievement at the end of the Edo period. One group of radical retainers on the Honpan side, who got upset about a series of unacceptable conduct of the INADA side, attacked the residences of the Inada family's and their retainers' near the Sumoto-jo Castle on June 11, 1870.

On the previous day, they also set fire to the Inada's residence in Tokushima, and advanced to the Inada family's territory located around Wakimachi (now: Mima City). The Inada side, however, was completely unable to resist it. Inada's damage caused by this incident was 2 suicides, 15 instant deaths, 6 serious injuries and 14 minor injuries. Another 300-odd people were imprisoned. 25 residences were burned.

The government investigated whether it was a riot caused by just one extremist group, or the government building in the domain stirred the extremist group behind the scenes. In Sumoto at least, there were suspicions that they deliberately failed to take immediate steps to intervene. If they found any hint of truth to this, they intended to discharge Mochiaki HACHISUKA from the post of prefectural governor forthwith.

After the return of lands and people to the emperor, the government was still not different from the old regime at all except that the lord of the domain became govenor of the domain. Upon the implementation of centralization, this problem had to be overcome at whatever cost. However, if they made a bad job of undertaking some action, an armed uprising of antigovernment forces would have occured throughout Japan.

Eventually, the punishment from the government was that 10 people, including Tomisaburo OGURA and Suichiku NII, who were the key leaders from the Tokushima Domain, were decapitated (they committed Seppuku [ritual suicide] at the petition to appeal of the governor of the domain, later). It is the last case of Seppuku as a legal punishment in Japanese history. A lot of people were punished; 27 people were sentenced to life deportation to Hachijo-jima Island, 81 people were sentenced to imprisonment and house arrest and so on. The governor of the domain and secretaries were also sentenced to house arrest, and although the Domain escaped dissolution or forfeiture, the Tsuna District including Sumoto was merged into Hyogo Prefecture in May, 1871.

For the Inada side, the government used this incident as an excuse to order them to migrate as warrior class in Hyogo Prefecture jurisdiction, under the guise of granting the territory in Sizunai-cho, Hokkaido and Shikotan-to Island, and the Inada clan went to the wild North districts. This Sizunai migration is portrayed in a novel, "Otose (written by Kaoru HUNAYAMA)" and a movie, "Kita no Zero nen (Year One in the North)" which was released in May, 2005.

In addition, there is a permanent exhibition of 'Kogo Jihen' section at Awajishima Museum and some historical items are on display, such as a notebook of a vassal of the Inada clan recording the incident.

If these incidents had not happened, it would be quite possible that Awaji-shima Island would be still in Tokushima Prefecture.

[Original Japanese]