Nikyo Jiken (Dual incidents triggered by two court nobles) (二卿事件)

The Nikyo Jiken was an abortive coup d'etat in which Michiteru OTAGI and Mitsusuke TOYAMA, nobles in joi-ha (supporters of expulsion of the foreigners), attempted to overthrow the Meiji Government in 1871.

The joi-ha all over the nation believed that foreigners would be expelled by the establishment of the Meiji Government whose main members were from Satsuma and Choshu clans that played important roles in the expulsion of the foreigners, but they were deeply disappointed and outraged by the Meiji Government's issuance of the 'Kaikoku Washin (opening the country to the world with peace and amity)' policy immediately after the end of the Boshin War. This outrage spread to the royalists from Satsuma, Choshu, Tosa, Hizen, that participated in overthrowing the Shogunate, and some of the court nobles. They insisted on overthrowing the Meiji Government, establishing a new government, expelling the foreigners, and fighting against foreign countries. The spearhead of the movement was 'Dattai Sodo (a riot of dropouts from armies)' which originated in the Kiheitai Army led by Gentaro DAIRAKU and others in the domain of Choshu on January 2, 1870. Although the riot was soon suppressed by Takayoshi KIDO and others, Dairaku escaped to Kyushu and waited for an opportunity to make a comeback supported by Gensai KAWAKAMI and others from the clans of Kurume and Kumamoto, where the joi-ha took control of domain duties. On the other hand, Seinoshin HORIUCHI from Tosa clan, who had come up to help Dairaku, escaped to Kyoto and planned to rally the patriots of the joi-ha there.

At the same time, Michiteru OTAGI, who had been dismissed from the position of councilor to the Meiji Government and retired to Kyoto, felt irritated that, despite having participated in the demonstration held by 88 retainers of the Imperial Court and been part of 'the protective wall for the emperor', he had now been cut off from the center of politics by lower-ranking samurai from Satsuma and Choshu. His vassals including Genji HIKITA and Ryutaro YASUKI, sympathized with him, and offered to overthrow the Meiji government, bring the Emperor Meiji back to Kyoto and force the expulsion of the foreigners. Hikita further invited Juro KOGA, known accusing Shonan YOKOI during an investigation into assassination of Yokoi in danjodai (Board of Censors), and his friend, Josuke NAKAMURA from the Akita clan. Koga and Nakamura asserted that nothing would change unless trouble was caused in Tokyo as long as the emperor and important court nobles stayed in Tokyo, and Otagi, who agreed with this assertion, left Kyoto with Hikita, Yasuki, and others on March 18, 1871, and entered Tokyo on March 24. Otagi and his men arrived in Tokyo, and repeatedly plotted together with Seinoshin HORIUCHI and retainers of the Akita and Kurume clans, who were called by Koga and Nakamura, to occupy Nikko with help from the members from the Akita clan, setting fire to Tokiyo and taking the emperor to Kyoto.

On the other hand, Mitsusuke TOYAMA, who was staying in Kyoto at the same time, was also making a similar plan with his vassal, Osamu TAKADA. Takada had a secret meeting with Gazen MIYAKE who was the vassal of Shoren-in Monzeki Temple, Toshiyasu and Seisai YATA who were father and son and the vassals of the Kikutei family, Kimihisa TATEISHI who was the village headman of Mimasaka Province, and others. Especially, Tateishi was in contact with Dairaku who was being given shelter in the domain of Kurume. Toyama, who learned that Otagi was making a similar plan in Tokyo, sent a messenger and joined hands with Otagi. Since the Kurume retainers taking part in Otagi's plan were naturally in contact with the members in their domain and Dairaku under their shelter, a triangle alliance among Otagi, Toyama, Kurume clan, and Dairaku was formed.

However, trying to count Nakagawa no miya in, information was leaked to the government that was investigating the assassination of Saneomi HIROSAWA, Aritomo YAMAGATA and others started to investigate what was happenening. First, Mitsusuke TOYAMA was captured on April 26, while a residence of the Kurume domain in Tokyo was confiscated by the government on April 29, and Yorishige ARIMA, governor of domain, was incarcerated. On May 2, samurai of Kumamoto clan took over Kurume Castle and arrested top officials of the clan (Dairaku escaped in the last minute) under orders from the government, and Michiteru OTAGI was arrested on May 3.
As many as 339 people were arrested at last, this was 'the largest suppression after Ansei no Taigoku (suppression of extremists by the Shogunate).'

The two masterminds were forced to commit seppuku on January 12, 1872.

[Original Japanese]