Kume The Incident of Kunitake (久米邦武筆禍事件)

The Incident of Kunitake KUME was the incident in which a thesis, 'Shinto wa saiten no kozoku' (Shinto Is a Remnant of the Ancient Custom of Worshiping Heaven) was reprinted in 1892, in "Shikai" (Ocean of History) which Ukichi TAGUCHI edited, which caused a problem, and Kume lost his position as professor at the Imperial University.

This incident raised a question on the relationship between the academic (especially, historical) freedom and the nation's political system. This incident made people think of the academic independence and neutrality for the politics.


In January, 1891, Kume published 'Shinto wa saiten no kozoku' in the "Journal of the Historical Science".

In 1892, it was reprinted in "Shikai". Ukichi TAGUCHI, the editor, wrote the following text.

He wrote, 'I read the article and believed that true Shintoists in our country must not be silent with this article, if they keep quiet over this issue, I shall assume that they must be overwhelmed.' and provoked the Shintoist.

On February 28, 1892, Jikyu KURAMOCHI, Sadao HONGO, Tatsuji FUJINO, and Morio HANYUDA who were Shintoist pressed Kunitake KUME on the issue. On the following day, they demanded the retraction of the thesis.

On March 3, 1892, Kume put a notice in a newspaper, and withdrew the thesis. However, he did not yield a point.

On March 4, 1892, he resigned the post of a professor of the Imperial University.. On March 5, 1892, the 23rd, 24th, and 25th issues of the "Journal of the Historical Science", the second edition, and the 8th issue of "Shikai" were banned from publication, and it finally came to a tentative settlement.

On March 29, 1893, a dispute arouse over the pros and cons of the project for the compilation of historiography. And on the following day, it was decided the History Compilation Bureau was abolished and on April 7, Arata HAMAO, the president of Imperial University, was notified of the decision of the abolishment.

On April 10, 1893, the historiographers such as Yasutsugu SHIGENO, and Hisashi HOSHINO were dismissed.

[Original Japanese]