Vol. LXXXII      Aug. 1973       No. 8    Articles                                    SHIGAKU-ZASSHI

A Criticism on the Theory of Falsification
of the Tombstone of King Kwang Kae-to

By Takehiko Furuta

     Last year, Mr. Rih Chin-hi, a Korean archaeologist in Japan published a book titled 'A study of the tombstone of King Kwang Kae-to' and in it he presented a daring hypothesis which naturally aroused great public attention, concerning the tombstone which had long been made much of as the first-rate material for the history of the conflict between Ko-Ku-Rie and the country of Wa in the latter half of the fourth century as well as for other events.
     He maintains that the copy which was brought in about the 17th year of Meiji by Captain Sako (then a lieutenant) of the General Staff Office and which is now in the possession of Tokyo National Museum is a falsified copy which was made by means of soko method from the tombstone after the captain had made a partial amendment on its surface, and that the General Staff Office carried out twice about the 30th year of Meiji operations of plastering the face of the stone with lime in order to destroy the proofs of the afore said crime of Captain Sako.
     I inspected the very copy, other rubbed copies and photographs and reconsidered this problem from all angles and arrived at the following conclusions.

(1)   The 'History of the inscription' now in the possession of the archives section of the Imperial Household Agency is a document of Captain Sako's own making and handwriting.   So we can give credit to the reality of his narrative that he coerced a rubbed-copy artisan of the Ch'ing dynasty into making the copy, when we consider its being a restricted document to the circles of the General Staff Office.

(2)   Mr. Rih's treatment of Chinese historical materials raises grave doubt.   It is well known that a lot of Chinese scholars and copy artisans made copies of the tombstone by rubbing or by means of soko method before the 17th year or so of the Meiji period.   Mr. Rih, however, calls them fabrications and eliminates all of such documents as do not fit into his own hypothetical chronology.

(3)   There are many inappropriate points in Mr: Rih's interpretation of the Chinese literature. As the result the incipient age of those copies is much postdated.

(4)   Resting on these unwarrantable assumptions, his chronology utterly lacks in objectivity.

(5)   His presumption that lime covers thick the surface of the tombstone up to now does not accord with two reports of investigation made before and after the last war (the latter in 1963)

     After all we can assert that although his collection of materials given in the book is very serviceable, his hypothesis itself is quite untenable.

( The Historical Society of Japan)
     Faculty of Letters
     University of Tokyo

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