| 小栗上野介の顕彰（東善寺ＨＰ） ●● お首級（くび）迎え／『海軍の先駆者ー小栗上野介正伝』の錯誤
Honoring Kozukenosuke Oguri (Tozenji Temple) ●● Welcoming Lord's Head / Errors in the book "Pioneer of the Navy: The Authentic Biography of Kozukenosuke Oguri"
Honoring Kozukenosuke Oguri
The heads of Kozukenosuke Oguri and his son were buried in the precincts of a temple in Tatebayashi (in today's Gunma Prefecture) after the heads were examined. In the spring of 1869, farmers of Gonda Village stole the heads from the temple, carried Kozukenosuke's head to Tozenji Temple in Gonda Village and put it together with the body (his son's head will be mentioned about later). The villagers involved called it "Welcoming the Lord's Head."
Oguri's head was sent to Tatebayashi
- In the morning of May 27, 1868 (leap April 6, Keio 4 in Japanese calender), Kozukenosuke Oguri and three of his vassals were beheaded by the western forces of the Tosando Province Governor-General at Mizunuma River Bank on the Karasugawa River. The beheaded heads were pierced with green bamboo and exposed on a roadside bank and a sign reading, "Plotting high treason against the Imperial Court..." was erected, which was a completely innocent charge.
- The temporarily exposed head of Kozukenosuke Oguri was immediately sent to Takasaki. On the following day of May 28, 1868, it was delivered to the Governor-General of Tosando Province in Tatebayashi, together with the head of his adopted son Mataichi Oguri (Kainokami Komai's second son Tadamichi, age 21), who had been beheaded along with three of his retainers in Takasaki Castle on the day. This is supported by a "notification" from the Takasaki clan in the "Dajokan Nisshi" (May, Keio 4), which states, "Oguri Kozukenosuke and his son and weapons are to be escorted to the Governor-General's Office."
- On May 30, 1868 (leap April 9, Meiji 1 in Japanese calender), the heads
were examined by Tomosada Iwakura, Governor of Tosando Province, in Tatebayashi
Castle, and was temporarily handed over to Taian-ji Temple (now closed).
However, since Taian-ji Temple was the ancestral tablet temple of Akimoto, the lord of the Tatebayashi Castle, and did not have a cemetery,
the priest was in trouble and asked Myozan Okuda, the priest of Horin-ji
Temple, with whom he was close, to bury them in the cemetery west of the
temple's main hall.
Horinji Temple, Asahi-cho, Tatebayashi City
- Sanzaemon Nakajima
In the spring of 1869 (Meiji 2), Sanzaemon Nakajima went to Aizu as the leader of a convoy for Mrs. Michiko Oguri and her family, and returned to Gonda Village after escorting them to Aizu, Tokyo, and Shizuoka. Then, he and Fusakichi Tsukagoshi, a Gonda villager, went to Tatebayashi, worried that the head of the feudal lord Oguri was missing his body. Lord Oguri once jokingly said, "I may be killed someday like Naosuke Ii Tairo (Highest position that assisted the Shogun), but even if I die, I would like to keep my head and body together.
- Sobei Hitomi
Sanzaemon Nakajima obtained the cooperation of Sobei Hitomi, the head of Takahashi Village (today's part of Sano City, Tochigi Prefecture), the former domain of the Oguri family, and his uncle, Chushichi Watanabe of Hosonai (today's part of Tatebayashi City, Gunma Prefecture). The two men went to Horinji Temple, told the priest, "The first anniversary of the lord's death is coming up, so we want to build a grave," and found out where the head was buried.
After failing once to steal it, they succeeded a second time and brought it back to Gonda Village, where it was worshipped by a very few villagers and buried in a grave where Oguri's body was buried on the hill behind Tozenji Temple. The head of Mataichi Oguri was given to Tonazo Taguchi, the village headman of Shimosaida Village (in today's Takasaki City), a former domain of the Oguri family, who had previously taken possession of Mataichi's body, and was buried along with the body in the Shimosaida Village cemetery.
- Chushichi WatanabeAccording to "Tatebayashi City Magazine, History" (1969), Chushichi Watanabe was arrested by the Tatebayashi clan for helping to steal Oguri's head, but was released after writing an "answer (explanation)."
I introduced the following three related ancient documents in Kozukenosuke Oguri Memorial Society's journal "Tatsunami" No. 42:
(1) Chushichi's written answer: The full text of Chushichi's written explanation after being interrogated by the Tatebayashi clan is included, which states, for example, "Two villagers from Gonda came to me wanting to build a grave."
(2) A painstaking letter written by Chushichi's son, Kakusaburo: It says that after the burglary, two villagers of Gonda were given "one sender" to carry it away. In Gonda village, it is said that "Masagoro Inaoka of Takahashi Village, who also helped with the digging, accompanied the villagers to Gonda" ("Jomo and Jomojin" No. 70), so the "one sender" was probably Inaoka. (For details, see "Kozukenosuke Oguri" published by Miyama Bunko.)
(3) Story about Kozukenosuke Oguri
The villagers of Gonda, who were involved in the theft, have secretly passed this incident down to the next generations as the "Welcoming Lord's Head" incident.
- Kuniko Oguri Nakajima and his group's "Welcoming Lord's Head" was an act of righteousness. They protected Mrs. Michiko Oguri, her mother in law Kuniko and others from Gonda to Aizu and, in 1869 (Meiji 2) after the Aizu War, escorted them including Oguri's only child, Kuniko, born during the war (this "Kuniko" has different Kanji characters from those of "Kuniko," Oguri's mother) to Tokyo and Shizuoka. They then returned to Gonda, and went to Tatebayashi to perform the act of welcoming Lord's Head.
Oguri's daughter Kuniko later left Shizuoka for Tokyo with her mother Michiko
and they were taken into the custody of Rizaemon Minomura. When Minomura died, Kuniko
came of age under the protection of Shigenobu Okuma and his wife, and with
the help of Hisoka Maejima she took Sadao Yano (younger brother of writer
Ryukei Yano) in marriage and they took over the Oguri family.
The main grave where the head of Kozukenosuke Oguri is buried (Tozenji Temple)
It is located 3 minutes walk up the mountain from the memorial graves of Kozukenosuke Oguri, his son and the retainers.
Since the villagers had stolen the heads under the control of the new Meiji government, they did not talk about them, but only told the children and grandchildren of those involved and continued to hold mamorial service for Oguri.
When I (Taiken Murakami) was a child, every April 6, Tagenji Tsukagoshi (grandson of Genchu Tsukagoshi, the builder of the stone pagodas) of Oshintaira area of Gonda Village, would come to the temple with a stacked box filled with festive red rice, saying, "This is the anniversary of the lord Oguri's death, so I'd like to make an offering."
In the late 1950s, Tagenji confided one secret story to Shoken Murakami, the chief priest at the time, saying, "My grandfather and parents were very strict about not telling others about it, but I think it's safe now." According to Tagenji, Genchu Tsukagoshi later told the following story about the time when he, Sanzaemon Nakajima and Fusakichi Tsukagoshi buried the stolen head in Oguri's grave at Tozenji Temple. "When we dug up the body mound, we found the wooden head that had been attached to the body tilted up to the shoulder. I took it out and put the real head on, and cried out, 'I am sorry for your loss, but I hope you can rest in peace now.'"
Later, my predecessor Shoken Murakami said, "Tagenji is a very solid person." He was deeply moved by the fact that Tagenji had finally opened his mouth nearly 20 years after WWII.
- Kubizuka (Mounds where the heads of the dead of war and executioners are buried.)
Fumon-in Temple Theory: In the early Showa period (1926-1989), Dozan Abe, the chief priest of Fumon-in Temple in Saitama Prefecture, built a "kubizuka (head mound)" in 1934, claiming that "Kozukenosuke Oguri's retainer (Ginsuka Takegasa) had stolen Oguri's head from the Mizunuma Riverbank and buried it here." In 1941, Abe wrote a book titeled "Pioneer of the Navy: Oguri Kozukenosuke Shoden (The Authentic Biography of Kozukenosuke Oguri)" and publicized it extensively before the war.
Shimosaida Village Theory: There is a theory that people from Shimosaida village (Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture) stole the head from the temple in Tatebayashi.
- Dajokan Nisshi (Grand Council of State Diary)
What these theories have in common is that they originally said that they had stolen the exposed heads from Mizunuma River Bank. However, in 1937, a Tatebayashi historian confirmed that the "Dajokan Nisshi" stated that "the heads of Kozukenosuke and his son were sent to the Governor-General's Office (in Tatebayashi at that time) by the Takasaki clan." This gradually spread, and the theories became inconsistent. ("Dajokan Nisshi," 1868 Keio 4, No. 25, full text)
Then, the theories were changed to "It was stolen from Tatebayashi" (Fumon-in pamphlet, 2013) or "They cut his hair in Takasaki and delivered it to a temple (Fumon-in) before transporting it to Tatebayashi...so it is not a head mound but a mound of his dead hair." (Masao Kono, Secret Stories about Kozukenosuke Oguri). In other words, the theories have in common that the content of the stories is opportunistic and inconsistent, that there are no historical records or traditions to support the independent actions, and that there are no concrete stories passed down to the descendants of those who are said to have been involved, nor any actions taken to pass on the memorial service.
- The difference between historical fact and fabricated folklore
If someone carries and secretly buries the head of a person to whom he is indebted, it would be in good faith for the person who carried and buried the head to firmly tell his descendants to continue to make offerings, even if he does not tell others. This is exactly what Togenji Tsukagoshi did when he continued to offer festive red rice to Oguri's grave (above-mentioned). Here we can see the difference between historical fact and fabricated folklore.
(Extracted from and added to "Rekishi Dokuhon,"
As described above, the heads of Kozukenosuke Oguri and his son were safely buried together with their bodies. However, in 1941, "Pioneer of the Navy: Oguri Kozukenosuke Shoden (The Authentic Biography of Kozukenosuke Oguri" was published, which contained statements that were contrary to historical facts. Even today, we sometimes see texts written believing them. Therefore, I have summarized below the parts of the book that are inconsistent with historical facts.
Errors in the book, "Pioneer of the Navy: Kozukenosuke Oguri Shoden (authentic biography)"
Published in 1941 and written by Dozan Abe
This book was published in 1941 and written by Dozan Abe, the chief priest at the time of Fumon-in Temple, Saitama Prefecture, to recognize and honor the achievements of Kozukenosuke Tadamasa Oguri as a "pioneer of the navy," when the tendency to regard Kozukenosuke Oguri as a traitor remained strong since the Meiji period.
The book is a powerful work, a result of careful research and examination of related books by previous scholars, and is a landmark at the time, and a courageous publication that honors a man whose achievements had been considered treasonous by the Meiji government and had been erased from the public consciousness.
Regrettably, however, the book contains fundamental errors which diminish the value of the book, such as:
"The family temple of the Oguri family is Fumon-in Temple."
"Kozukenosuke Oguri's head is buried at Fumon-in Temple."
Furthermore, perhaps to reinforce the illusion, some parts of the book attempt to improve the relative image of Fumon-in by writing "Slanderous statements against Gonda Village and Tozenji Temple." That is unfortunate.
Since we still find articles and websites that seem to have been written based on the errors in this book, we point out some of the errors below. I hope you will refer to them when presenting your work on the burial of Kozukenosuke Tadamasa Oguri's head.
(The responsibility for the following text lies with Taiken Murakami.)
Reprint of "Kozukenosuke Oguri Shoden (authentic biography)" has been published
Matsuno Shoten, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan - The sale ended in July, 2013.
This book was reprinted and published by Matsuno Shoten in a limited edition of 300 pre-printed copies, and Taiken Murakami wrote the "Commentary" upon request.
In the book, I have pointed out the following errors (cited in blue).
* Pages in the text indicate reprinted pages.
Family temple of the Kozukenosuke Oguri family
In about 20 places in the book, there are references to "Fumon-in is the family temple of the Oguri family."
In Fumon-in Temple, there is the grave of Tadamasa Oguri, the fourth generation of the Oguri family (*Kozukenosuke Tadamasa Oguri was the twelfth generation of the Oguri family. The kanji characters for "Tadamasa" are different between the fourth and twelfth generations). However, all the other "Tombs of Oguri XX" at Fumon-in Temple are the graves of the successive generations of the Niemon Nobuyoshi Oguri family, who was the second son of Tadamasa Oguri (the second generation) and was a collateral family.
The family temple of the Oguri family is Hozenji Temple (Nakano Ward, formerly Ushigome Ward, Tokyo), a Soto sect temple, as stated in the "Kansei-Choshu-Shokafu" as "Hozenji Temple is the place of burial" for Masanobu Oguri (the fifth generation of the family) and later generations. (Note: "Kansei-Choshu-Shokafu" is a collection of family histories of feudal lords and hatamoto compiled by the Edo shogunate during the Kansei era.).
The Station Pole at the entrance of Fumon-in Temple: "Graves of Tadamasa (the fourth generation) Oguri family"
After the Meiji era (1868-1912), the head family of Oguri families adopted Shinto funeral service, so they moved away from Hozenji Temple and established a cemetery in Zoshigaya Cemetery.
Tozenji Temple, which is far from Edo, is not a "family temple of the Oguri family," although it is associated with the fifth generation Masanobu Oguri as the founder of the temple. It happened to be the family temple of Kozukenosuke Oguri and his son, who were beheaded in this area and buried at the temple.
Partial Omission in the Oguri Family Tree
On page 22 of the book, the family tree of the Kozukenosuke Oguri family is shown up to the following four generation:
1st generation - Tarozaemon Nobuyoshi Matsudaira
2nd generation - Tadayoshi Matsudaira
3rd generation - Yoshitada Oguri
4th generation - Tadamasa Oguri ... buried in Fumon-in temple
However, 5th generation Masanobu Oguri, who was buried at Hozenji Temple, and subsequent generations are not listed. Dozan Abe wrote that this description was based on "Kansei-Choshu-Shokafu." If that is the case, it means that he was aware that the "Kansei-Choshu-Shokafu" mentions "Hozenji Temple (formerly in Ushigome Ward, now in Nakano Ward) as the place of burial" for Masanobu Oguri 5th generation and later generations, but he omitted this information in this book. What is the reason for this omission?
"Fumon-in is the family temple of the Oguri family" is written in about 20 places throughout the book, and in the genealogy on this page, "buried in Fumon-in" is written in the explanation of Tadamasa IV, omitting Masanobu Oguri 5th generation and after, which gives an illusion that the fifth generation and after were buried in Fumon-in, since general readers would not check in "Kansei-Choshu-Shokafu." It may be seen as an omission intended to create the illusion that "Fumon-in is the family temple of the Kozukenosuke Oguri family" through arbitrary selection of historical documents.
Burial place of the head of Kozukenosuke Oguri
"Kozukenosuke Oguri's retainer Ginsuka Takegasa stole Oguri's head from the Mizunuma Riverbank, carried it to Fumon-in Temple and buried it in the cemetery." (Pages of 6, 162, 185, 360 and 363)
However, the historical facts are as follows: Ginsuke Takegasa followed Mataichi Oguri, the adopted son of Kozukenosuke Oguri, to Takasaki, and on May 29, 1868 (leap April 7, Keio 4), the day after Kozukenosuke Tadamasa Oguri was beheaded, Mataichi Oguri and three other retainers were beheaded in the Takasaki castle, but Takegasa was pardoned at the age of 16 and informed his father Yuzaemon Takegasa in Edo of the sudden deaths of his lord and retainers. Even if Ginsuke Takegasa had returned from Takasaki to Gonda Village, where the Western Army was still disposing of the family property taken from the Oguri family, there was no room for intervention by Ginsuke, who had just escaped beheading, since Kozukenosuke Oguri's head had been brought into Takasaki Castle by the Takasaki clan the previous day.
In 1937 (Showa 12), Keisuke Fukuda, the director of the library in Tatebayashi, discovered an entry in the "Dajokan Nisshi (Diary of the Grand Council of State)" that states, "The heads of the Kozukenosuke Oguri and his son were sent to the Governor-General (Tatebayashi) for examination," which completely disproved the Fumon-in theory.
Dajokan Nisshi (Diary of the Grand Council of State): "The heads of Kozukenosuke and his son and their weapons are to be escorted to the Governor-General's Office."
The Governor-General's Office of the Tosando Province had been moved to Tatebayashi at this time.
("Dajokan Nisshi," Keio 4, No. 25, full text)
About the Kubizuka at Fumon-in Temple
(Note*: A kubizuka is a mound where the heads of those killed in battle, those taken captive, or those beheaded are laid to rest.)
The kubizuka still standing at Fumon-in Temple was erected in 1934 (Showa 9) by Sadao Oguri (son-in-law of the deceased Kuniko Oguri and brother of the writer Ryukei Yano) at the recommendation of Master Dosan Abe. However, Professor Natsuo Shirayanagi of Senshu University wrote in "Kozukenosuke Oguri Ibun (Untold Stories about Kozukenosuke Oguri)" (Senshu University Articles No.43 1987) verified that "before 1934 (Showa 9), it was a small earthen mound (P358), and the mound was made between May 1932 and May 1933, and before that, there was nothing."
A stone called "Kubizuka" (in the precincts of Fumon-in Temple)
The villagers of Gonda, who stole the heads of Kozukenosuke Oguri and his son from Tatebayashi, have continued to make offerings, telling their children and grandchildren only that "as long as the heads are with the bodies, it is all right" since they had stolen something under the control of the Meiji government. (The following, I repeat, is the part where the villagers' feelings toward Kozukenosuke appear.)
When I (Taiken Murakami) was a child, every year on April 6, Tagenji Tsukagoshi came to Tozenji Temple with a stacked box filled with festive red rice, saying, "This is the anniversary of the Lord's death, so please offer this to the Lord Oguri. Tagenji is a grandson of Genchu Tsukagoshi, who built the tombstones of Kozukenosuke Oguri and his retainers, and who was unable to participate in the "Welcoming Lord's Head" robbery in Tatebayashi due to physical problems after returning from Aizu.
In the late 1950s, Tagenji confided one secret story to Shoken Murakami, the chief priest at the time, saying, "My grandfather and parents were very strict about not telling others about it, but I think it's safe now. According to Tagenji, Genchu Tsukagoshi later told the following story about the time when he, Sanzaemon Nakajima and Fusakichi Tsukagoshi buried the stolen head in Oguri's grave at Tozenji Temple. "When we dug up the body mound, we found the wooden head that had been attached to the body tilted up to the shoulder. I took it out and put the real head on, and cried out, 'I am sorry for your loss, but I hope you can rest in peace now.'"
Shoken Murakami, the former chief priest of Tozenji Temple, had heard from other villagers that the head had been taken from the temple in Tatebayashi and placed with the body in the grave at Tozenji. However, he was deeply impressed that the descendants of those directly involved had finally opened their mouths after nearly 20 years had passed since WWII, saying, "Tagenji is a very solid person."
It could be said that the villagers had felt such a strong pressure from the government to erase Kozukenosuke Oguri's achievements since the Meiji era.
"In Takasaki, there is a prominent local historian, Mr. Toyokuni, who has been making efforts for more than 20 years to promote the memory of the great Kozukenosuke Oguri. The people of Gunma are grateful for the efforts made by such a devoted person to promote the legacy of Kozukenosuke in the land of his unforgettable vengeance." (Page 188)
The man Toyokuni whom Abe praises is Gakudo Toyokuni (chief priest of Chozenji Temple in Ohgo Town), editor and publisher of "Jomo and Jomojin," a valuable local magazine in Gunma Prefecture before World War II. Toyokunki was praised by Abe for his efforts in researching Kozukenosuke Oguri.
However, Toyokuni, who was praised, conversely questioned the fact that Prime Minister Keisuke Okada, who believed in the Fumon-in theory, had visited Fumon-in (Jomo and Jomojin, No. 220, 1935 Showa 10). In 1937, Toyokuni introduced the discovery by Tatebayashi Library Director Keisuke Fukuda of an entry in the Dajokan Nisshi that "the heads of Kozukenosuke Oguri and his son were sent to Tatebayashi," and stated, "It is nothing short of a joy to see the phony style of the past suddenly unmasked (Jomo and Jomojin, No. 244, August 1937), dismissing the theory that the head of Kozukenosuke Oguri was buried in Fumon-in as "bogus."
Dominions of the Kozukenosuke Oguri Family
同 堀内村、大川村、田部村(香取市ほか) １５６石
同 下斉田村(高崎市) 170石
同 与六部（よろくぶ）村(玉村町) 88石
同 多野郡森村(藤岡市) ５６石
同 小林村(藤岡市) １００石
In this book, the following is written as the dominions of the Kozukenosuke Oguri family, but it is all incorrect:
"Ohnari Villate in Bushu (where Fumon-in is located), Ohra in Kozuke Province (today's Gunma Prefecture), and Tago in Kozuke Province..." (page 1)
The main dominions of the Oguri Family while Kozukenosuke was the family head were as follows:
Inaba Village, Musa County, Kazusa Province (today's Shibayama Town, Chiba Prefecture): 152 koku
Gotanda Village, Katori County, Shimousa Province (today's Tako Town, Chiba Prefecture): 117 koku
Horiuchi, Okawa, and Tabe villages, Katori County, Shimousa Province (today's Katori City, Chiba Prefecture, etc.): 156 koku
Takahashi and Onumada villages in Shimotsuke Province (today's Sano City, Tochigi Prefecture): 1,354 koku
Gonda Village, Gunma County, Kozuke Province (today's part of Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture): 375 koku
Shimosaida Village, Gunma County, Kozuke Province (today's part of Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecturey): 170 koku
Yorokubu Village, Gunma County, Kozuke Province today's (Tamamura Town, Gunma Prefecture): 88 koku
After returning from the Japanese mission to the U.S., the following villages were added:
Mori Village, Tano County, Kozuke Province (today's Fujioka City, Gunma Prefecture): 56 koku
Kobayashi Village, Tano County, Kozuke Province (today's Fujioka City, Gunma Prefecture): 100 koku
There were some other minor locations, totaling 2,700 koku at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate. As you can see her, Ohnari Village in Bushu, where Fumon-in is located, is not included.
The man who beheaded Kozukenosuke Oguri
"I asked him if he had beheaded Oguri. Hara onloy groaned "Hmmm.'" (Page 171)
The person who killed Kozukenosuke Oguri was traditionally said to be Yasutaro Hara (Refer to “Political Strife Before and After the Restoration and the Death of Kozukenosuke Oguri” by Arata Ninagawa). However, this is not accurate, and it is impossible for a person in overall command as military commander of the Tosando Army to directly act as beheader. According to "Tragedy of the Kozukenosuke Oguri Clan" by Ryohei Koitabash, Oguri researcher, the truth is that Gorosaku Asada, a kachimetsuke* of the Annaka Clan, was ordered to do the beheading.
(Note*: Kachimetsuke is a position in the Edo shogunate. Under the direction of the metsuke, the post was in charge of keeping watch in the Edo Castle, supervising the arrival of feudal lords at the castle, and scouting for the offices of various officials of the shogunate.)
About "Villagers turned into bandits..."
"While Kozukenosuke Oguri was retreating to Gonda, the villagers turned into bandits and attacked him. ......" (Page 50)
"Gonda villagers surrounded Kozukenosuke and plundered him. ......" (Page 173)
Taking advantage of the state of anarchy at the end of the Edo period and during the Meiji Restoration, a riotous revolt called the "Buchikowashi Riots" broke out at the instigation of gamblers, who entered Jyoshu from the Chichibu area (today's part of Saitama Prefecture), chanting "get out of debt" and "reform the world." The Oguri family arrived at Tozenji Temple in Gonda Village on March 24, 1868 (March 1, Keio 4), and the rioters followed them to the neighboring village of Sannokura, 4 km downstream along the Karasugawa River, the next day.
Oguri's vassals went out to negotiate, but negotiations broke down as they demanded a large amount of money and goods. Two days later on March 27 (March 4th, Keio 4) about 2,000 people stormed Gonda village, threatening and inciting neighboring villages. Kozukenosuke Tadamasa Oguri commanded his vassals and the farmers of Gonda Village to repel the attack (Oguri Diary, Gunma Prefectural Archives). It was not the Gonda villagers who turned into a mob. Rather, some houses in Gonda Village were attacked by rioters and set on fire. The rioters who attacked Gonda Village were neighboring villagers who were intimidated and incited by the gamblers.
This is a serious error that is not worthy of the title "Kozukenosuke Oguri Shoden (authentic biography)." The following description is based on this error.
The descriptions of "ungrateful villagers" and "atrocious people"
"The ungrateful attitude of the people of Gonda toward their former lord disheartened the bereaved families of the Oguri family. It is said that even Kuniko, Kozukenosuke's only child, said that she would never visit Tozenji Temple in Gonda for the rest of her life." (Page 32)
"Gonda Village in Gunma was the place that Mrs. Michiko (Oguri) hated the most. Sadao Oguri heard from his wife Kuniko that Gonda was the place of Kozukenosuke's death, but Mrs. Michiko believed that Kozukenosuke met his fate because the ungrateful villagers snitched on him to the Takasaki clan as if he were a traitor. (Page 187)
"Dr. Ninagawa later sent me a polite thank-you letter. He wrote that he still hated the ungrateful people of Gonda." (Page 188)
"I am concerned that there is something ominous about the Oguri exaltation movement in Gunma. First, the Karasugawa River monument was washed away. Recently, Tozenji Temple in Gonda Village was suddenly destroyed by fire. The document was meant to stop all such things, the lieutenant general said..." (Page 343)
"Mrs. Michiko lamented that the people of Gonda in Gunma were indeed ungrateful and unjust to their former lord, and she said that she would never go to Gonda again and never did. She is also said to have lamented that she did not have a favorable impression of Tozenji Temple, where Kozukenosuke temporarily resided." (Page 386)
It may be that the author was so enthusiastic about honoring Kozukenosuke Oguri that his writing slipped based on the misunderstanding and misconception of the "Uchikowashi Sodo (A form of popular movement during the Edo period that involved the destruction of houses and other property of those deemed to have committed wrongdoing)." However, I cannot help but feel a sense of wonderment at the persistent and even harmful intent that one can only assume is intended to create a negative image of Gonda Village.
If you read carefully, you will notice that every sentence is written in the hearsay form of someone else's words, "Mr. XX said...". Hearsay is a convenient style when one can escape responsibility by saying, "It was not me who said this, I heard it from Ms. XX...," but even if it is what one has heard, one cannot escape the responsibility of having chosen to write about it without showing any evidence.
Villagers Protecting Mrs. Michiko Oguri - An Act of Gratuitousness
Three days before Kozukenosuke Oguri was killed by the Western forces, the villagers of Gonda began to protect Mrs. Michiko Oguri, Kozukenosuke's mother Kuniko and others fleeing from Gonda and they arrived in Aizu a few weeks later. Some of the villagers later joined the Aizu forces to fight and two young men among them were killed in battle in Kitakata City (Kumakura and Takago).
Sanzaemon Nakajima and other villagers protected Michiko and her family through the winter during and after the Boshin War in Aizu. In the spring of 1869 (Meiji 2), they sent Michiko and her family including newborn Kuniko, only child between Kozukenosuke and Michiko, to Aizu, Tokyo, and Shizuoka and, after that, the villagers returned to Gonda. Nakajima and another villager then went to Tatebayashi, stole the heads of Kozukenosuke Oguri and his son, Mataichi, and buried the Kozukenosuke's head in the grave on the grounds of Tozenji Temple.
These historical facts were described in Arata Ninagawa's best-selling book, “Political Strife Before and After the Restoration and the Death of Kozukenosuke Oguri” published in 1928 (Showa 3) and Ninagawa praised the actions of the Gonda Villagers, saying, "The loyalty of the people who accompanied Mrs. Oguri in those days...." Abe also lists this book as a "reference book," so he must have been aware of it.
It is a deliberate misreading of the book to ignore the stories that are not convenient for creating a negative image of Gonda Village and Tozenji Temple, and to denigrate them as "ungrateful and inhumane" is intentionally misguided.
Gonda locals, whose ancestors escorted Michiko and her family to Aizu, have endured this baseless insult for 70 years, and the old-timers have hoped to "somehow counteract this ludicrous statement with a true story."
Exchange between Gonda villagers and the Oguri family
In fact, the exchange between Gonda villagers and the Oguri family continued after the Meiji era. Mataichi Oguri (Kuniko's son = Kozukenosuke's grandson, age 19) attended the 50th anniversary of the Lord Oguri at Tozenji Temple in 1917 (Taisho 6), where he said in his speech, "The mountains and rivers of Gonda and the mercy of the villagers are the same as in the past, and I am grateful to see my grandfather's memorial service held..."
Abe wrote, "even Kuniko, Kozukenosuke's only child, said that she would never visit Tozenji Temple in Gonda for the rest of her life" (Page 32) and "Gonda Village in Gunma was the place that Mrs. Michiko (Oguri) hated the most. Sadao Oguri heard from his wife Kuniko that ..." (Page 187). However, if Kuniko, Mataichi's mother, disliked Gonda as Abe says, it is inconceivable that Mataichi, the grandson of Kozukenosuke Oguri, would have come to Gonda and given such a greeting.
○昭和十四年元旦 ハガキ 市川亭三郎先生 小栗菊子 忠人（板橋区板橋町）
- For example, on New Year's Day in 1939 (Showa 14), Mrs. Kikuko, widow of Mataichi Oguri (grandson of Kozeukenosuke Tadamasa Oguri), wrote the following on a New Year's postcard addressed to Teizaburo Ichikawa (who later became the principal of Gonda Elementary School) of Gonda Village:
Postcard, New Year's Day, 1939, To Mr. Teizaburo Ichikawa, From Kikuko Oguri and Tadato Oguri (Itabashi-machi, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo)
Happy New Year! New Year's Day, Taisho 14)* (Note*: "Taisho 14" is a mistake and "Showa 14" or 1939 is correct.)
I am deeply grateful for your New Year's greeting card. I am very happy to hear that you and your family are in good health. Thanks to your kindness, my son Tadato is in good health. He is now seven years old and in the prime of his life. His father has passed away, and my son has few relatives whom he can truly trust, so I humbly ask for your kind guidance in the future. I pray that you will take good care of yourself in this cold season.
Teizaburo Ichikawa's house also preserves a letter sent by Mataichi Oguri (Kikuko's husband) two years earlier, in August 1937 (Showa 12), from Hachijojima Island, where he was living at the time, as well as the letter below, in which Kikuko consults him regarding the evacuation.
However, in contrast, Arata Ninagawa was asked by volunteers from Kurata and Ubuchi villages* to write an inscription for the memorial erected by Mizunuma River Bank in honor of Kozukenosuke Oguri, and he visited the village before and after the war to thank the people of Gonda for the hard work of escorting Mrs. Michiko to Aizu and for their activities to honor Oguri, leaving the words "I offer my respect to the people of Gonda." I would like to confirm this as well.
(Note*: Gonda Village merged with Sannokura Village to form Kurata Village in 1889, which later merged with Ubuchi Village to form Kurabuchi Village in 1955, which is now a part of Takasaki City since 2006.)
Arata Ninagawa made a hanging scroll with the following text.
Abe visited Tozenji Temple in Gonda in 1939 (Showa 14).
It is said, "When one main hall is built for a temple, the priest's life span is shortened by 10 years." Since the fire, Komagata had been working on the reconstruction of the main building despite his illness, so when he received a sudden visit and was asked questions about Kozukenosuke Oguri, he was probably "distracted" from his work at heart.
In September 1943 (Showa 18), four years after Abe's visit, Komagata was
able to finish the building of the main hall, but on the evening of the
dedication ceremony, he collapsed and died the following day. His disciple
Shoken Murakami rushed to the temple upon receiving the news, and after
completing the funeral service, he handed over the temple in Tone county
where he had been abbot to another monk, took his family, and entered Tozenji
Temple to take over the rebuilding project. He struggled with the rebuilding
project under the circumstances of shortage of funds during and after the
war, as well as difficulties in obtaining manpower, building materials,
and even tea leaves for the carpenters.
Although it is not clear what "incoherent" means here, it does not give a good image about Gonda villagers. I doubt that Komagata, who was "lacking concentration," would have said this kind of thing. The villagers' activities in honor of Kozukenosuke Oguri began when they escorted Mrs. Michiko Oguri and her family to Aizu. Even after the Meiji period (1868-1912), the villagers continued to hold memorial services in honor of Oguri, and they continued to do so on the anniversary of his death without fail even during the period when Kurata Village was merged into Kurabuchi Village.
Around the time when Komagata assumed the post of chief priest of Tozenji temple in 1935, Gonda villagers continued to do the following activities in honor of Kozukenosuke Oguri:
- In 1932 (Showa 7), Motokichi Ichikawa, the former mayor of the village,
organized a committee to erect a cenotaph on the banks of the Mizunuma
River and they erected it. (In 1935, the monument was washed away by a flood and was found. Chido
Komagata became the priest of Tozenji Temple in the same yaer.)
Abe also wrote that, on the bus ride to Gonda, a local soldier told him
According to an old local resident, by creating such an unfounded negative
image of Gonda, Master Abe was probably trying to improve the image of
Fumon-in relatively by saying, "There is no point in going to Tozenji
Temple in Gonda, Gunma Prefecture and you can just come to Fumon-in in
Other errors, etc.
"Ryotaro Ohto erected the tombs of Kozukenosuke Oguri and his retainers in Tozenji Temple with money of 2.5 ryo..." (Page 163)
Ryotaro Ohto did not erect the tombs.
According to history, Ryotaro Ohto, a patrolman who arrived after Yasutaro Hara and others killed Kozukenosuke Tadamasa Oguri and his followers, carried many household goods of the Oguri family, which had been brought from Edo to Gonda Village, to Takasaki and sold them through bidding at Shimaya, a wholesale shipping agent, to fund the army (It is unclear where Shimaya, the courier house, was located). Refer to the following Shibata Diary:
"On June 14, 1868 (leap April 24 of Keio 4), Lord Oguri's various household goods were forfeited and sold at bidding at Shimaya in the town." (Shibata Diary)
Ohto gave 25 ryo of the money to Toshichi Sato, the master of Gonda Village, and told him to "make a memorial service with it..." Ohto did not build the memorial tomb. The goods Ohto sold in thebidding were originally the property of the Oguri family, and Ohto simply left some of the money he had taken from them in a robbery and murder because he felt guilty about it. The villagers erected tombstones with this money and used the interest to pay for annual memorial services every year. In 1885 (Meiji 18), the family of Kanjuro Sato, the master of the village at the time who had been entrusted with the funds, went bankrupt, so the funds ran out, and the priests of Tozenji Temple has been conducting the memorial services. Refer to the following "Jomo and Jomojin":
"Ryotaro Ohto brought 25 ryo of the mourning money for Jyoshu (a nickname for Kozukenosuke Oguri) and personally came to Gonda Village and deposited it at Tozenji Temple on June 5, 1868 (leap April 15, Meiji 1 in Japanese calender... or leap April 28, according to one theory). The 25 ryo was entrusted to Toshichi Sato, the master of Gonda Village, who paid annual interest of three ryo and held a memorial service for Kozukenosuke Oguri on April 6 and 7. After Toshichi's son Kanjuro went bankrupt in the fall of 1878, the chief priests of Tozenji Temple conducted the memorial service for Oguri year after year."
("Jomo and Jomojin," November 1917 issue).
Click here to see the graves of Oguri's retainers.
- The value of this book is not diminished by the above-mentioned errors.
- As mentioned at the beginning of the book, the author's passion to honor Kozukenosuke Tadamasa Oguri with conviction in those prewar days when the Satcho government (a form of politics in the new government after the Meiji Restoration, in which cliques were formed mainly by people from Satsuma and Choshu) was still lingering is filled in this book, and together with many related books and historical materials cited in the book, it is a valuable light for later researchers on Kozukenosuke Oguri.
- However, it is also true that local residents of Gonda Village have endured the unjustified slander of this book for the past 70 years since its publication. An old man who read the above remarks in the "Commentary" which I wrote in the reprint of "Oguri Kozukenosuke Shoden (The Authentic Biography of Kozukenosuke Oguri)" said, "This is still lukewarm." I would like to add that the villagers had to endure such frustration.
(Written by Taiken Murakami in 2013 or Heisei 25)
|参考資料 Reference materials|
| 普門院境内の 小栗上野介招魂碑
Kozukenosuke Oguri Invocation Monument in Fumon-in Temple precincts
Unveiling ceremony of the invocation monument
November 25, 1934
The ceremony was performed by Zen Master Esho Hata.
From "Soto Shuho No. 908," April 12, 1935 (Showa 10)
■ Oguri camellia: The famous flower that blooms every spring at the tombs of Oguri and his followers, is a black camellia."Kateba Kangun (If you win, you are the loyalist army)" is the victor's arrogance.
■ Escorting the exodus to Aizu was the Beginning of Oguri Commendation: Gonda villagers escorted Mrs. Michiko Oguri and her family to Aizu
■ Errors in the common theories about Kozukenosuke Oguri: The extension of the Meiji government's treatment of Oguri Uenosuke as a renegade gave rise to various common theories.
◇Investigation of the route of intrusion by Chushichi Watanabe, who assisted in the theft of Oguri's head (link)...Investigation report by Shigeo Tanaka of the "Association for the Rebuilding of Tatebayashi Castle" and the chief priest of Tozenji Temple
◆ Reference books: "Tatebayashi City Magazine, History" (1969 Showa 44) / "Dajokan Nisshi, Keio 4 (1868)"
Also, Miyama Bunko's "Kozukenosuke Oguri" and "Tatsunami" No. 42 (2009, Heisei 29) have detailed descriptions of the circumstances surrounding the theft of the heads.