Takigawa Incident (滝川事件)

The Takigawa Incident was a crackdown on freedom of thought that occurred at the Kyoto Imperial University in 1933. Also called the Kyodai (Kyoto University) Incident.

Beginning of the incident

The incident started when a lecture, 'Tolstoy's view on penal law through his novel, "Resurrection"' in October 1932 by Professor Yukitoki TAKIGAWA of the Faculty of Law, Kyoto Imperial University explained in his talk that 'Criminal offenses occur when organization of the national governmental is bad,' which was considered problematic by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Law as being anarchist. At this point, the dean of the Faculty of Law, Hideo MIYAMOTO apologized to the Ministry of Education and this was not a problem. However, in March 1933, the situation changed drastically when the 'Communist Judiciary Incident' occurred and Japanese Communist Party members and judges and court staff who were sympathetic to the party were arrested. Due to this incident, Muneki MINODA and others from the right wing group, Genri Nihonsha, Takeo KIKUCHI (army veteran) (House of Peers (Japan)), Yu MIYAZAWA (House of Representatives, affiliated with Rikken Seiyukai) and other Diet members proposed the exile of 'Red (communist) Professors' in the Faculty of Law in imperial universities as the cause of communist judges and accused Takigawa, who was a member of the bar test board.

The punishment of Takiwgawa and the resistance by the Faculty of Law, Kyoto University

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (Japan) ruled in April 1933 that Takigawa's books "Keiho Kogi" and "Keiho Dokuhon" were not allowed to be for sale because of his stance on insurrection crimes and adultery (which he criticized because it was only applicable to the wife). In May of the following year, Ichiro HATOYAMA, Minister of Education in the Saito Cabinet made a demand to Shigenao KONISHI, Dean of Kyoto University, to fire Takigawa. The board of professors at the Faculty of Law, Kyoto University and Dean Konishi refused the Minister of Education's demands and on the 26th of the same month, the Ministry of Education forced a decision on Takigawa's suspension from work through the Bunkanbungen law (ordinance on the status of civil servants).

At the same time as Takigawa's suspension, all law faculty staff, from 31 professors to the technicians, submitted their resignation as a sign of protest, but the University itself and other faculties did not support the stance of the board of law faculty professors. Dean Konishi was forced to resign and with the appointment of Motooki MATSUI as dean (D.Sc., later Ritsumeikan University dean), the incident quickly headed towards a conclusion. Dean Matsui accepted the resignation of six professors, Takigawa, Soichi SASAKI (later Ritsumeikan University dean), Hideo MIYAMOTO, Shigeji MORIGUCHI, Hiroshi SUEKAWA (later Risumeikan University dean) and Hidenaga MIYAMOTO, and rejected the resignation of all others.
He also submitted a 'solution' to Minister of Education Hatoyama that 'The punishment of Takiwgawa is an extraordinary case, and the suspension of professors is decided by the Dean with the guidance of the Ministry of Education.'
As a result, law faculty staff became divided into those who decided that their demands had been reached by the solution and retracted their resignations and stayed (Tamakichi NAKAJIMA, Shigeo SUEHIRO, Kenji MAKI, etc.), and those who resigned because they did not retract their resignations and refused the solution, who were the aforementioned six professors, two professors, Kyo TSUNETO (later the first president of Osaka Prefectural University) and Tokuji TAMURA, five associate professors and eight lecturers and the incident was concluded. (At the end of the year, Hidenaga MIYAMOTO, who was close to those who stayed, returned to work).

Support from within and outside the university

The students of the Faculty of Law in Kyoto University supported the board of professors and started a movement to protest the punishment by having all students submitting a leave from studies. The students in other faculties also followed (Masakazu NAKAI, Osamu KUNO, Kiyoteru HANADA, Yasumoto TAKAGI and others who were active in groups for graduate and undergraduate students in the Faculty of Letters). Other university students such as Tokyo University also supported the movement and the 'Daigaku Jiyu Yogo Renmei' (Association for University Freedom) with 16 participating universities and the 'Gakugei Jiyu Domei' (Arts Freedom Association) formed by 200 cultural leaders were established. General opinion magazines such as "Chuo Koron," "Kaizo," and newspapers such as "Osaka Asahi Shinbun" supported Kyoto University and published many editorials criticizing the Ministry of Education. However, with the summer break at university, the protest movement within the university ended and the Jiyu Yogo Renmei was dissolved because of pressure. The Gakugei Jiyu Domei also ceased its activities the next year but students such as the aforementioned Nakai and Kuno who participated in this movement started magazines supporting anti-fascism such as "Doyobi" (Saturaday), "Gakusei Hyoron" (Student Editorials), "Sekai Bunka" (World Culture), and even under 'emergency situation (war period),' the liberal cultural movement continued.

After the incident

Among the staff who quit Kyoto Imperial University over the Takigawa Incident, 18 of them transferred to Ritsumeikan University as professors, associate professors, etc. In the end, it led to the development of law faculties within the Kansai area other than Kyoto University such as Ritsumeikan. However, some staff members answered the call from staff who stayed at Kyoto University and returned (six members such as Satoru KURODA and Chihiro SAEKI) and this led to estrangement with Takigawa and those who did not return under principle (Hideo MIYAMOTO, Suekawa, Tsuneto, Tamura, etc).

This is said to have cast a dark shadow upon the rebuilding of the Faculty of Law in Kyoto University after World War II. In other words, the GHQ allowed Takigawa to return to Kyoto University but other staff who resigned did not return (however, Tsuneto returned for a short period with a joint appointment in the post-war years). There also was a secret pact that made Takigawa head of the Faculty of Law and have all the rights to rebuild the faculty, which led to Kuroda who was faculty head being fired and the staff who returned such as Saeki resigning.

It is said that the forced punishment of Takigawa was one of the reasons why Ichiro HATOYAMA was banished from official positions by the GHQ in the post-war years.

Meaning of the incident

Osamu KUNO recollects that the characteristic of this incident was 'Dangerous ideology was not only communism and Marxism, but started to include the content of thinking of academics who took a critical stance against the government' and emphasizes that this was a big step when the target of freedom of speech changed from communism to liberalism.

The decision for Takigawa's extended leave by the Bungen (change in employment status) board of the Ministry of Education without waiting for an explanation from the President of Kyoto University ignored the tradition of 'Ruling by the Board of Professors' that was established by the Sawayanagi Incident (1913-1914) at Kyoto University (the explanation of the president requires the consent of the board of professors) and may have possibly been against the Imperial University Rules. As Minoru SAITO and Minister of Education Hatoyama talked at that time, the reason why the government used force was to place Kyoto University, which was thought to be the 'stronghold of university freedom,' under the power of the government.

According to the Ritsumeikan University's "Gakuen Tsushin Koyu edition, Revisiting the 120 years of History," the ministry assumed that accusing Takigawa would put Suekawa in the opposition and that there is a theory that Suekawa was the real target of oppression.
Suekawa repeatedly said that 'This incident was not oppression of Takigawa as an individual but should be called the Kyodai Incident because this was oppression of academic freedom and university freedom in Japan.'

Second Takigawa Incident'
In June 1955, the 'attack' incident by students at the new system Kyoto University against President Yukitoki TAKIGAWA is sometimes called the 'Second Takigawa Incident.'
This incident occurred when Takigawa was Dean of Kyoto University (1953-1957) and the Dogaku-kai (student union) asked for a ceremony to commemorate the establishment of the university but discussions about the ceremony details between the two parties did not reach a conclusion. The students kept the President hostage demanding renegotiation and the police were introduced. As a result, the Dogaku-kai was forced to dismantle and two students who were considered the leaders were arrested and charged. At the first court hearing of the two defendants held in September of that year, 11 lawyers participated as the defendants' lawyers (including the aforementioned Chihiro SAEKI) along with 3 other law faculty staff such as Shigejiro TAHATA as special lawyers. Takigawa hinted that the three staff members could be fired and repeatedly criticized them in public, and in the end, all three declined the position of special lawyer. This led to an impression of Takigawa as a reactionary person in the post-war years because he was viewed as reversing his previous opinion of the board of professors having the right of deciding on personnel matters. Because there were unclear points in Takigawa's testimony of his capture during the hearing, the sentence was decided after an appeal to the Osaka Higher Court in 1959, with one of the two defendants being accused of assault (both were acquitted of forcible detainment and inflicting bodily injury).

Pieces of work that used this incident as a model

The movie "Waga Seishun ni Kuinashi" (No Regrets for Our Youth) (1946), which was Akira KUROSAWA's first piece after the war, used this incident (together with the Sorge Incident) as a model. Professor Yagihara, loosely based on Takigawa, was acted by Denjiro OKOCHI and his daughter Sachie was depicted by Setsuko HARA. Takakichi NOGE (played by Susumu FUJITA), who was Okochi's student and later marries Sachie was based on Hotsumi OZAKI, but of course the real Ozaki is unrelated to this incident. There is a scene involving a demonstration march by students, but a student demonstration in this pre-war period would not have actually been allowed.

In recent years, the manga work of Kaiji KAWAGUCHI "Jipang" set Mansaku KURATA (the model is thought to be the physicist Mitsuo TAKETANI, who was involved in developing a nuclear bomb in Japan during the war period at Rikagaku Kenkyujo who had also been arrested as a member of "Sekai Bunka") as a 'scientist who was working on the nuclear bomb plan of the Japanese army and was fired from the Faculty of Science at Kyoto University in relation with the Takigawa Incident.'
The punishment related to the Takigawa Incident was concluded within the Faculty of Law and has almost nothing to do with the Faculty of Science, and although this character setting is inaccurate historically, it shows that the 'incident was the oppression of thinking and ideology of pre-war university staff' has a figurative meaning to this day.