The Sumiya Incident (角屋での暴挙)

The Sumiya Incident refers to violent acts which Kamo SERIZAWA, head of Shinsengumi (a group who guarded Kyoto during the end of Tokugawa Shogunate), carried out during a party held in ageya (a restaurant where high-class harlots and geisha dispatched from a geisha house entertained guests) called Sumiya in Shimabara, Kyoto in June, 1863.


The incident began when koyokata (a section of a local domain which was in charge of dealing with all works related to the central bakufu government and the Imperial seat) of the Minakuchi domain complained about the acts by the Shinsengumi to koyokata of the Aizu domain at the Aizu domain residence.

Serizawa who heard the news sent four people, Shinpachi NAGAKURA, Sanosuke HARADA, Genzaburo INOUE, and Kanryusai TAKEDA to the Minakuchi domain and asked for a transfer of custody. Minakuchi domain was surprised at this and humbly begged for forgiveness, signing an apology to bring things under control.

If the signed apology were to become known to the lord of the Minakuchi domain, Koyokata would be doomed to be convicted according to the circumstances. The Minakuchi domain asked Shinsengumi to return the deed, through Einosuke TODA who had a swordsmanship training hall of Jikishinkage-ryu school in Nijo-dori Street. Then, Shinsengumi replied that they would return the deed if the Minakuchi domain were to prepare the place for the meeting. It was simply a polite way of requesting a party.


On the next day, a party was held at Sumiya. The deed was returned without incident at the party, but, at its height, SERIZAWA, a violent drunk, was angered at the service of the restaurant and went on a wild rampage.

He brandished his vaunted iron-ribbed fan, breaking and smashing all the tableware and fixtures as well as the small dining tables to pieces, and ended up breaking off a handrail in the corridor, slamming it down on the sake cask, and flooding the reception desk with sake.

Finally, SERIZAWA issued a suspension of business for seven days to Tokuemon SUMIYA, the owner of the restaurant, and left in high spirits.


On September 18 of the same year (old calendar), when SERIZAWA became severely drunk during a party held by the Aizu domain in Sumiya and returned to base, KONDO's faction surprise attacked SERIZAWA in his sleep and killed him. (SERIZAWA's mistress and Goro HIRAYAMA who were at the site were also killed during the night.
Jusuke HIRAMA and two geishas escaped.)

Sumiya started in 1641, and was designated as an important national cultural property as the only remaining structural element of ageya. The building is now open to the public as 'SUMIYA Motenashi Museum of Art and Culture'.