The Shindo Incident (真土事件)

The Shindo incident is a peasants' revolt that took place in Shindo Village (present-day Hiratsuka City), Osumi County, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1878.
It is also known as 'the Shindo Revolt' or 'the Matsuki Revolt.'

The officer who was in charge of administrative affairs of this village arbitrarily transferred villagers' pawned lands into his possession, and was sued. The villagers won the first trial, but lost the second. The villagers had no money to make an appeal to a higher court, so they provoked a revolt and murdered the officer and his family. Kyoka IZUMI wrote a novel titled "Kanmuri Yazaemon" on the theme of this incident and started his career as a novelist.


In November 1876, 65 peasants including Yaemon KANMURI filed a lawsuit against Choemon MATSUKI, the ward mayor and kocho (the officer in charge of administrative affairs), for the redemption of the lands to the Yokohama Court and won the case.

In September 1878, Matsuki appealed to the High Court. Yaemon KANMURI and others lost the case at the second court and faced a strict levy of legal costs and arrears of farm rent. Needless to say they have no money to make an appeal to the Daishin-in (Predecessor of the Supreme Court of Japan); further, they were forced to face starvation.

Late at night on October 26, 1878, 26 villagers led by Yaemon KANMURI set fire to the house of Choemon MATSUKI, and murdered seven people and injured four people.

Influence and sequel of the incident

Within one month after the incident, about 1,800 people sent a petition for sparing lives of Kanmuri and others to the prefectural government. Signatures of 15,000 people had been collected by the next year.

In May 1879, Torin MATSUMOTO, the chief priest of Kencho-ji Temple, submitted a petition for mitigation of a penalty to Yasushi NOMURA, the Governor of Kanagawa Prefecture, together with Kozen IMAKITA, the chief priest of Engaku-ji Temple, and Sonkei TAA, the chief priest of Shojoko-ji Temple (also known as Yugyo-ji Temple in Fujisawa).

In 1880, Korai TAKEDA published "Kamuri no Matsu Mado no Yoarashi."

In June 1881, Enshi RYUTEI (the first; Enshi DANSHURO [the first]) (also known as Chibun ARAGAKI, a disciple of Robun KANAGAKI) performed "Miyama no Matsukima Tsukikage" at Minato-za Theater in Sumiyoshi-cho, Yokohama City. The main actors were Tokizo NAKAMURA, Shiuka BANDO, Yoshigoro ARASHI and others. The theater was packed to capacity, and particularly Yaemon performed by Tokizo gained much popularity.

In July 1881, "Shindo no Matsuniwaki Uekae" was performed at Shimoda-za Theater (also known as Sano-za Theater) in Hagoromo-cho, Yokohama City. Performing actors were Hikojuro BANDO, Dengoro NAKAMURA, Suminojo ICHIKAWA and others. The theater was packed to capacity. Some say it was performed in 1880.

On February 15, 1882, Yaemon KANMURI was discharged from prison on condition that he would carry out shushoku (substitute by a forfeit), because he had a relative to look after.

On April 29, 1883, as the representatives of 61 villagers in Horiyamashita Village, Osumi County, more than ten people led by Shigejiro NANJO intruded on the house of Tahei YAMAGUCHI in the same village and threatened him.

On October 14, 1883, more than 40 peasants in Koyasu Village, Osumi County gathered at a place called Tanzawayama in that village and attempted to attack Kitaro OMORI, Sadaemon OTSU, Sanemon SUZUKI and others with bamboo spears.

At night on March 29, 1884, more than 40 people from Yoshigiwa Village and seven other villages in that county gathered at Yawatashita, Okami Village and consulted as to how they could repay debts from Hachiroemon OSHIO of Toda Village, and the talks ended in disorder.

In March 1884, Yaemon KANMURI became an ascetic of Komyo-ji Temple in Kamakura, and started pilgrimages to temples and shrines throughout the country.

On May 15, 1884, Jinzo KONDO and other 10 people in Yamashita Village, Yurugi County attacked Usaburo TSUYUKI, a usurer in Isshiki Village in that county, and his employee Kosuke TSUYUKI at an inn called Kawasakiya in Oiso-juku, and murdered them with a sword. The five ringleaders received capital punishment of decapitation in Oiso-juku. After that, incidents of this kind ceased to happen.

In 1888, Yaemon KANMURI returned home. He went to Chozen-ji Temple in Yawata, Hiratsuka City, and died on December 15.

On October 1, 1892, Kyoka IZUMI started serializing "Kanmuri Yazaemon" in 'Hinode Newspaper' published in Kyoto. The serialization ended on November 20 in that year. It was the first novel by Kyoka as a professional novelist.
He changed the name of 'Yaemon' into 'Yazaemon.'

[Original Japanese]