Kyoto Gakuren Jiken (京都学連事件)

Kyoto Gakuren Jiken (Kyoto Affair of the Student Federation) was a suppression incident occurring on and after December 1925 against the left wing student movement in the Kyoto Imperial University and so forth. It has been known as the first incident to apply the Maintenance of Public Order Law in Japanese mainland.

Background

From the first half of the 1910s, Shakai Kagaku Kenkyu-kai (Society for the Study of Social Science), or Shaken, has been organized in universities, high schools, vocational schools and so forth under the old system of education, and Gakusei Rengokai (Federation of Students), or Gakuren, in which Shaken from 49 schools participated, was inaugurated in September 1924. The Gakuren expanded rapidly to have 1600 members, advocated diffusion and studies of Marxism, as well as actively supported labor dispute and educational movement for laborers (Kyoto Rodo Gakko [Kyoto Labor School]) and so forth. In July, 1925, the 2nd national gathering was held at Kyoto Imperial University, in which 80 representatives were participated.

Suppression

In December, 1925, the Special Higher Police Division of Kyoto Prefectural Police Department mobilized the Higher Police Division of all the city police to attack and conduct domiciliary searches on the houses and lodgings of all the members of Shaken of Kyoto Imperial University and Doshisha University, and arrested 33 students. However, against this affair, the University authorities protested because the Police Division searched the dormitory of Kyoto University without witnesses. The governor of Kyoto Prefecture apologized for this and all of them were released.

After that, however, the Ministry of Justice and other authorities set ready for full-scale oppression. In the next year, on January 15, 1926, Isao HIRATA and others of the Tokyo prosecutor's office assumed command, suppressed news reports, and further mobilized the Higher Police Division of each prefectural police to arrest Shaken members all over the country over the following four months. At the same time, the houses of Hajime KAWAKAMI of Kyoto Imperial University, Senji YAMAMOTO and Mitsu KONO of Doshisha University, as well as Jotaro KAWAKAMI, Masamichi SHINMEI, and other teachers of Kwansei Gakuin University, who had been considered to have some relationships with Shaken, were searched. Because of this searching YAMAMOTO was dismissed from the University.

38 of the students who had been arrested were prosecuted for violation of the Maintenance of Public Order Law and publishing law, as well as lese majesty. At the first trial in May 1927, the Kyoto District Court sentenced amnesty for the violation of publishing law and lese majesty, while as for the violation of the Maintenance of Public Order Law, Kyoji KOREEDA who was in the Faculty of Letters at the University of Tokyo and three other people were sentenced to imprisonment for one year and 37 people were judged guilty. Both the defense counsel and the criminal prosecution appealed the court ruling. Under the influence of the Affair on March 15, the public trial underwent a complicated processes, and in the decision by Osaka koso-in (Osaka court of appeal) of December 1929, 18 criminals were sentenced to severe assessment of a case of imprisonment with hard labor less than seven years. At last, in May, 1930, daishin-in (predecessor of the supreme court of Japan) dismissed the final appeal to prove them guilty.

Influence

In June 29, 1926, in light of this affair, Ryohei OKADA who was the Minister of Education issued prohibition against the study of Social Science by students. Since April 17, 1928 when Tokyo Imperial University ordered Shinjin-kai (a student movement organization established at Tokyo Imperial University) to dismiss it, the Shaken of each Imperial University was ordered to be dismissed. The Shinjin-kai of Tokyo Imperial University declared disorganization on November 7, 1929.

Significance of the affair

This was the first affair to which the Maintenance of Public Order Law was applied. When this affair occurred, the Japanese Communist Party, which reconstituted as a result of the third meeting at Goshiki Onsen Hot Spring in December, 1926, had not yet been reconstituted. Therefore, applying this Law to Shaken, which was only a students' ideological group, was deemed too strict.
However, according to the decision in writing of a preliminary examination, Kyogizai (a crime of having conference) in the article 2 of the Maintenance of Public Order Law was applied for 'demolition of private property.'

Defendants

Yoshimichi IWATA: A graduate of Kyoto Imperial University. Later he became a party executive of the Japanese Communist Party, then was arrested and slaughtered by the police.

Eitaro NORO: A graduate of Keio University.
Later he became a Marxist Economist of Koza-ha faction

Yasuzo SUZUKI: A dropout of Kyoto Imperial University. Later he became a scholar of constitutional law. He conducted Kenpo Kenkyu Kai (Constitution Research Group) after the World War Ⅱ.

Fusao HAYASHI (Toshio GOTO): A student of Tokyo Imperial University. Later he became a proletarian writer but got converted. After the war, he wrote "Daitouasenso Koteiron" (positive view on the Greater East Asia War) and so forth.

Eiichiro ISHIDA: A graduate from Kyoto Imperial University.
Later he became a cultural anthropologist
He was a Baron at this time and sentenced to lese majesty because of a part of his impounded diary he had written when he was in junior high school under the old system of education.

Masanosuke AKISASA: A student of the second high school of Waseda University under the old system of education. Later he became a leader member of the Japanese Communist party and back-gate parole.

Tokusaburo TAN: A graduate of Kyoto Imperial University. After the war he became a teacher at Hosei University.

Shigeo HENMI: A student of Kyoto Imperial University. Later he became a leading member of the Japanese Communist party but got converted. After the war he became a teacher at Hosei University.

Marukusu MUTO: A student of Kyoto Imperial University. He was an Esperantist. Later he became a member of the Puroretaria Kagaku Kenkyujo (Proletarian Science Center).

Chronological table

December 1, 1925: Early in the morning, the Special Higher Police Division of Kyoto Prefectural Police Department attacked and conducted domiciliary searches on dormitories of Kyoto Imperial University, Doshisha University, and so forth as well as the houses and lodgings of members of the Shakai Kagaku Kenkyu-kai to seize a lot of seditious documents and arrest 33 students.

December 7, 1925: All the students were released this day.

January 14, 1926: The authorities took a measure against reporting newspaper articles.

January 15, 1926: Special High Police Division of each prefecture was mobilized to arrest Shaken members nationwide.

September 15, 1926: The press ban was lifted according to the decision of a preliminary examination.
A campaign against 'misconduct by students.'

September 18, 1926: 38 students were prosecuted for violation of the Maintenance of Public Order Law.

April, 1927: The first public trial was opened at the Kyoto District Court. There were eight counsels including Ichiro KIYOSE.

May 30, 1927: The verdict of the first hearing was delivered. 37 people were convicted guilty on violation of the Maintenance of Public Order Law. Both the defense counsel and prosecution appealed the court ruling.

March 5, 1928: The second public trial started at Osaka koso-in.

March 15, 1928: Affair on March 15. Since as many as 17 defenders were implicated in the case and impossible to appear in the court, the public trial was separated.

September 1929: The public trial which had been halted was resumed. The trial was closed doors.

December 1929: A judicial decision was made on 21 defendants who had not been involved in the Affair on March 15. 3 defenders were sentenced not guilty. The 18 guilty persons appealed to the daishin-in.

May 1930: The daishin-in dismissed the suit. The final decision was made.