15. Then 1/4
Rojo (Hold-the-Castle) Incident

The first floor of Towada Restaurant seems a little busy with guests.
The famous hostess is now in the meeting as a temporary member without their knowing.

Tsubune has been waiting for an opportunity to express his opinion.
"In the year Showa 6 (1931) when the moving ceremony of the campus was held, the Rojo (Hold-the-Castle) Incident occurred in October, didn't it? Would it be OK for us to skip it here because it occurred four years after the completion of Kanematsu Auditorium?"
Eriko joins.
"I heard about the name of this incident on the way back from Shibusawa Museum. But I haven't heard its detail yet."
Suga answers, remembering that day.
"Well, it is true. As I am afraid to spend another long time to refer further to it, I have thought it should be picked up at another chance. To be honest, it was one of the most serious incidents just as same as Shin-yu Case for our school."
During Suga's comment, Kawaji is taking a book out of his bag. It is "The History of Shin-yu and Rojo Incidents".

He says to elderly Suga, "The spirit of the Four Gods lives on in this incident, too. Am I right, sir? Let me explain this incident, won't you?"
Getting the elderly's acceptance, he begins to talk about it in a serious look without any reaction of the others.

"Looking back on the beginning of Showa period, our country was gloomy. It was when the Great Depression was caused in Showa 4 (1929) and a series of corporate bankrupcies were arousing a fear in society. In addition, the depression of the agriculture, the financial callapse and the high-handed military action accelerated the country to the Manchurian Incident... Japan was in a situation to have put its feet into a bottomless swamp."
The ladies broke into a smile with the way of his talk and gestures.
"Osachi Hamaguchi, Prime Minister, and Junnosuke Inoue, Finance Minister, devoted themselves to the economic recovery at the risk of their lives. It was the extreme fiscal restraint and the decisive realization of lifting the gold embargo. In fact, Prime Minister Hamaguchi was shot at Tokyo Station in Showa 5 (1930) and died the next year at the halfway point. Inoue, on the other hand, continued his job without flinching under the successive Wakatsuki Cabinet, but was assassinated in Showa 7 (1932) after all.

The 5.15 Incident occurred three months after Inoue's death. It was May 15, Showa 7 (1933).
Armed young naval officers burst into the prime minister's official residence, and the then prime minister Takeshi Inukai was shot to death, saying "Let me talk, and you will understand."

Kawaji introduces the then period backgound and goes on to the main subject.
"Rojo Incident of Tokyo Commercial College (TCC) happened in the previous year of this incident. It was in autumn of Showa 6 (1931) when Finance Minister Inoue was still alive."
The elderly senior is nodding slowly. The ladies have got back to the usual appearance. Now all of them are serious again.
The street lamps are probably lit quite early, so it is bright over the window.
Kawaji talks in a baritone voice.
"Among the concrete plans of each ministry under the order of austerity by the Government, the item "the abolition of unnecessary schools" was included in the plans of Education Ministry. This matter was proceeded secretly. In this situation perhaps as a natural result, the target was TCC and Hokkaido Imperial University (HIU) as follows.

The preparatory course of a university is unnecessary because there are senior high schools in Japan. Therefore those in HIU and TCC will be abolished in the future.

"Apart from HIU, this plan was an official excuse for TCC. There was a scenario on the back that the remaining regular course would be annexed by Tokyo Imperial University (TIU), and it was obvious for the Education Ministry to scrap TCC. It just brought up again the Shinyu Case of 20 years before because the cost reduction in the Government was actually very small. For TCC, since its education system developed historically would fundamentally be collapsed, this case was brought up in such situation to the college that it had to prepare to close in the future."
Suga is enjoying Kawaji tune, totally leaving everything to him.

"It was in the midnight of September 30 that a young reporter of Tokyo-nichinichi Paper (presently, Mainichi Paper) informed president Sano of this top-secret information. But regretfully, Sano was ill in bed that time. The next morning the newspapers reported it together on such a large scale that the concrete plan of the abolition of the educational system by the Government was known well all over Japan."
"How did TCC deal with it?"
For Eriko's question in a low voice, Kawaji nods and replies.
"The next day, president Sano, in spite of illness, with prof. Keikichiro Kimura, chief of the preliminary course and Prof. Mitsuki Hori, chief of the special course, visited Education Ministry and Finance Ministry for negotiation. However both of the ministries were without the Minister respectively, so he was unable to fulfill his purpose. He just left there the paper 'the flat refusal against the abolition plan' reluctantly. Starting on this October 1, the case was escalating into the Rojo Incident."
Suga adds one word realizing something.
"From this day in light of Sano's condition, Ueda and Hori, actual chieves, came to the surface."
Kawaji: "The professor meeting declared the resolution of the absolute objection against the abolition of the preliminary and special cources, and settled the objection headquarters in the college branch office at Kanda-Hitotsubashi. The semester examination was postponed for an indefinite period as a matter of fact."
Midori Yamabe, besides busy in a memo, is now watching the young-looking senior, flinched from his energy. Mutsumi Iwaida may understand a rough detail, but looks serious. Eriko is in a surprising face, while Mari is enjoying his way of talking more than the contents.
"The Josui-kai of the college alumni was not quiet. The chief director Yoshinae Fujimura visited Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa at his home in Takinogawa of Kita Ward and complained to him about the miserable situation of their alma mater. I honestly think this behavior was too much, thinking of Old Shibusawa's age and his physical condition then..."
Kawaji is proceeding the story with his opinion not knowing.
"The advice of the Viscount in bed in a weak but steady voice was 'This is the outrage of the people who don't know the real state of education. I will send Baron Nakajima in place of me and let him make an approach to the Government authorities and such others.' His remark became a large spiritual support to the whole school as well as Josui-kai. Regrettably, Old Shibusawa passed away forty days after this visit at the age of 91."
Kawaji continues his talk after taking a little rest and looking at serious eyes of the attendants.

On October 3, two days after president Sano visited two ministries for the protest, the student convention was held at the old school building in Kanda-Hitotsubashi, where young professors gave pep-talks saying "Fight with your best just at the edge of legal and illegal borders", "Don't fear your expulsion from school. We professors will protect all of you with our responsibilities", ... The professors themselves were ready for the hard time inside.
In the evening there was a skirmish between the students heading for Finance Ministry and policemen, and ten some students were arrested.
Just after that they met Finance Minister Junnosuke Inoue who was a cut above them. They had to withdraw due to the minister's determination. However, it never ended that way.

On October 4, the next day, the full-scale struggle began.
In the morning, with pouring rain, most of the TCC students, about 1,500, gathered to the Kanda old school building and swore to "unite together to beat the violent bill." And immediately after that, the leaders of the students invited themselves to the Prime Minister Wakatsuki's house guided by the reporter of the Tokyo-nichinichi Paper.
It was two weeks after the outbreak of the Manchurian Incident, so the Prime Minister must not have minded such a matter that time. But why? He appeared in front of them and said, "As you know, Japan is now at a crucial stage. Fiscal restraint is an urgent issue. But as I also understand your complaint, I will direct the involved ministers to take the necessary measures suitably."
Whether did he tell his real intent or did he just stall for time?

For Kawaji's ambiguous way of talk, attendants have their comments.
"Didn't Wakatsuki have unspoken communication?"
"He made light of the students, because they were young."
"He seemed moderate and sincere, though."
"Wasn't this man the prime minister called Liar Reijiro?"
"It was a time when the high-handedness of the military reached the extreme, ..."
"Wakatsuki Cabinet resigned en masse in conclusion, right?"
The elderly senior admires their lively atmosphere, saying, "All of you know well."
Kawaji talks.

This day also tens of students were arrested during the demonstration march from the Prime Minister's house to their old school building. The professors had a meeting at night and resolved to aim to carry out their purpose with serious decision. They determined the temporary no-class for 3 days from October 5. That was the beginning of the Rojo (hold-the-castle) of students.

Kawaji suspends the talk for a little while. The ladies including Mari are listening in a serious eye.

In the morning the leaders of the students met Education Minister Ryuzo Tanaka who was a bluff man. He only threatened them not dealing with them seriously. They did not find any points of compromise and the negotiation was broken as a matter of fact.
In the afternoon they concluded that the previous comment of Prime Minister was untrustworthy. Then the student conference decided that all of them would shut themselves up in the old school shack building in Kanda-Hitotsubashi from the day.
That meant the start of holding the castle by all the students staying up all night. The students barricaded themselves in the school building.
Although it might be lumped together as holding the castle, it is not easy to do it.
There are several things to have to be prepared for like a space, mattresses, food, water and sewage services, ...
All were well done unexpectedly. 2,500 mattresses, 700 straw mats, various foods, rice and bread enough for the 1,600 students holding the castle, candles, ...
The outline of this events for four days is:

The second day of holding the castle, October 6.
At the student conference the following statement was declared.
"We have made a tragic but brave resolution. Rather than to live under humiliation, we will die with the glorious traditions of our alma mater."
During the street demonstration, 60 students and several professors were injured with 3 students of serious injury. 114 people were arrested.

The third day, October 7.
Almost all the students stayed up all night to hold the castle and the number became over 2,000.
The press interviews got overheated.

The fourth day, October 8.
The chair of the conference made the following statement, which was approved unanimously.
"Politicians are crafty and professors are indecisive. Both of them are untrustworthy. No more delay would be admitted. So, I propose all the students' withdrawal from college."
All of them signed with a brush on the compact under joint signature and sealed a petition with their bloods.
During the time prof. Ueda negotiated with the Government again and again at the risk of the job and got the definite statement of Education Minister, "The preliminary and special courses are excluded from the resolution plan of administration and finance."
The doubt about the minister's character was cried strongly among the students, but the chair appealed that the castle-holding longer than this moment was not a good idea, saying "I take all responsibilities at the risk of my life."
All the students had to accept him, so the castle-holding was released and the notice of withdrawal from college was kept by the chair.

The note of a certain leading student.
"I invited the most trustworthy Y, and told him. If the Education Minister breaks his promise, we will meet him and immediately you get him in a full nelson. I will dash to him and thrush a knife into his body. Then we will appologize to our 2,000 students by killing ourselves. What do you think about it? Y accepted. I bought a switchblade with a 20-centimeter blade at a cutlery store in Kanda-jimbo Town."
- - - - -

Tsubune talks to the lively speaker in a rather dampened look.
"I admit they did well in the middle of the turbulent affairs in Japan, ..., but were those acts due to their school spirit?"
Kawaji changes his expression with something sticking in his mind, and is about to say. Mutsumi Iwaida watches Tsubune openly showing her emotion. Goroji Suga interrupts them and opens his mouth in a slow tone.
"You say, 'school spirit', ... It's not the words you like, is it? Though I have no strong objection to what you say, I would like to think that they first had a desperate sense of crisis for the learning place to be lost, not with such defensive instinct of favoritism like their place in peace getting threatened. They were pure no doubt. Therefore they banded together. In the straight line toward militarism similar to an avalanche, there was something not to yield to in their mind. Such accumulation of a common recognition may have been the foundation of their solidarity."

Kawaji does not dare to complement anything, though apparently not knowing how to vent his pent-up indignation. On the other hand, Tsubune is hesitatingly assertive to his idea.
"I sympathize with them up to the explosion of their purity not to be held back, ... Anyway, I wonder how the people blinded by the militarism took this case. Apart from Tokyo-nichinichi Paper the young reporter played an active role, what about the other media? They did not seem to have treated it as a big news, and I am afraid such views as Soseki Natsume took at the Shinyu Case were superior."
One guy is still not mingling well with them.
15-1 Reading: 26'51"
If the above does not open by chance, Reading: 26:51
< 14. Four-God Statues 3 15. Then 2 >
15. Then
1 2 3 4
Frontcover @  8. Birth of College
1. Old Cox  9. Great Earthquake
2. Monsters  10. To Musashino
3. Begin to Search  11. Okura Museum
4. Chase  12. Architect
5. Shibusawa  13. Romanesque
6. Dawn  14. Four God Statues
7. Shinyu Case  15. Then
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