Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The High Treason Incident and the Yangmingism of
Mori Ogai as Compared with that of Inoue Tetsujiro


Department of Japanese Studies,
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies)

Key words:

Mori Ogai, Oshio Heihachiro, High Treason Incident, Yangmingism, Inoue Tetsujiro, socialism

The aim of this paper is to show how Mori Ogai thought about the relation between Yangmingism and the 1910 High Treason Incident through a comparison of his thought with that of Inoue Tetsujiro’s. Whereas Inoue stated that the Incident, a socialist-anarchist plot to assassinate the Emperor, was related to Yangmingism, Mori wrote no texts that dealt specifically with the treason incident. However, his novel Oshio Heihachiro, a key Japanese Yangmingist, includes certain allusions to socialism, and through reference to this novel, Mori’s thought on Yangmingism and socialism will be examined.

Before the High Treason Incident, Inoue believed that Oshio’s Yangmingism was the cause of the socialist rebellion that he led. For Inoue, Yangmingism could be connected with socialism. Mori also adopted a critical view of Oshio, but did not straightforwardly link Oshio’s rebellious acts with his Yangmingism. According to Mori’s interpretation, Oshio’s Yangmingism and the violence of the rebellion should be separated. Mori termed Oshio’s brand of socialism “still unawakened” and criticized its violence. On this point, his ideas about Yangmingism, socialism and Oshio different from Inoue’s, which connected them all. How the High Treason Incident then influenced Mori’s literary production is a subject for subsequent research.