Kuichigai Incident (喰違の変)

Kuichigai Incident was an assassination attempt on Tomomi IWAKURA, the Minister of Right, which occurred in Kuichigaizaka, Akasaka, Tokyo (now Minato Ward, Tokyo) on January 14, 1874.
It's also called as 'Akasaka Kuichigai Incident' or 'Tomomi IWAKURA Sonan Jiken.'

The Background
The resignation of Seikan-ha (supporters of sending army to Korea) Sangi (councilors), including Takamori SAIGO, Shinpei ETO and Taisuke ITAGAI, who were defeated at the Seikan Ronsou (debate on subjugation of Korea) occured in October 1873, made fuhei shizoku (former samurai with gripes) even more frustrated since they looked forward to conquer Korea. Especially, the resentment against Tomomi IWAKURA, Minister of the Right and Toshimichi OKUBO, Secretary of Interior, who led the aforementioned debate in place of Sanetomi SANJO, the Grand Minister who had to retire due to sudden illness, was increasingly grown.

The assassination attempt incident
At the night of January 14, 1874, when Iwakura finished his work and left the temporal imperial palace to his home (they used the Akasaka Palace as the Imperial Palace because of the fire in previous year), he was attacked by assailants when his hose-drawn buggy reached to Kuichigaizaka, Akasaka. The assault team consisted of nine people, Kumakichi TAKECHI who had been a shizoku (a samurai-oriented family) from Kochi Prefecture and worked at Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Kikuma TAKECHI, Norio YAMAZAKI, Naokata SHIMAZAKI, Yoshiaki SHIMOMURA, Masahiko IWATA, Yasumichi NAKAYAMA, Shigeki NAKANISHI and 悦弥太 SAWADA. All of them were the bureaucracy or military men who quitted to follow Saigo and Itagaki. Iwakura was slightly injured below eyebrow and left hip by the attack, but survived because he fell off to Yotsuyago (a moat in Yotsuya) of the Imperial Palace, and the assailants lost the sight of him. However, the incident shocked him greatly therefore his return to the official duties was about a month later, on February 23 (Saga War happened during the period).

The punishment of the assailants
When Toshimichi OKUBO, the secretary of Interior, caught the news, he immediately visited the imperial palace with Tsugumichi SAIGO. Okubo was relieved to hear Iwakura's injury was slight one, but as he was strongly concerned about the fact the assault was made to a high government official by the Fuheishizoku, he told Toshiyoshi KAWAJI, the Daikeishi (top of the police) to search for the criminals. As a result, the nine criminals, including Kumakichi TAKECHI, were arrested three days after the incident, on January 17. The geta (Japanese footwear) left at the crime scene was a clue. All the members were punished by decapitation on July 9, 1874.

Four years later, in 1878, Toshimichi OKUBO was assassinated by a group of shizoku from Ishikawa Prefecture, including Ichiro SHIMADA, at the Kioizaka (Kioizaka Incident), which was just ahead from Kuichigai Mitsuke.

[Original Japanese]