Date : Oct. 28, 2021 - Jan. 30, 2022
Special Exhibition: The Taigyaku Incident
On January 18, 1911, 24 individuals, including Shusui Kotoku, were sentenced to death for allegedly conspiring to assassinate the Meiji Emperor. The so-called “Taigyaku Jiken (High Treason Incident),” also known as the “Kotoku Incident,” ended a week later on January 24 with the execution of 11 people including Shusui Kotoku, Seinosuke Oishi and Gudo Uchiyama, and the following day on January 25 with the execution of Suga Kanno.
In 1989, Iri and Toshi Maruki collaborated on The Taigyaku Incident, which they had felt for a long time they had to depict somehow, along with a series of works on the Ashio Copper Mine Poisoning Incident. Shisui Koutoku was known as a great writer, and when Shozo Tanaka appealed directly to the Meiji Emperor about the problems of contamination in the Ashio copper mine, Shisui drafted the letter of appeal. The Taigyaku Incident was likely painted along with The Ashio Copper Mine Incident because of this connection.
Iri Maruki wrote the following in “Maruki Gallery News” (No. 31, March 1989).
It was not really a significant event, yet it has been written and described later as an incident caused by an overly dramatic and deliberate act. Nothing will change, no matter how much is said or thought now. So much has been thought and told by many people. That shows how much more power people have gained. Anyway, I don’t know how you will respond to this work at all, but I would like to invite you all to together consider even once or twice the High Treason Incident of Shusui Kotoku as an issue of today.
This year marks 110 years since the High Treason Incident and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Shusui Kotoku. As in the words of Iri Maruki, the incident in which people who spoke out against social inequality and irrationality were eliminated represents the starting point of history when considering modern society.
This is the first time in four years that The Taigyaku Incident is shown to the public.