HOME > Hijiridaki Problem
Hijiridaki Cave Site Committee
Dec. 1, 2004
The Hijiridaki Cave Site Committee established by the JAA completed its substantive activities with the publication of "A Report on the Investigations of the Hijiridaki Cave Site" on October 25, 2003. This does not mean, however, that the problems surrounding the Hijiridaki Cave site have been resolved.
The most outstanding issue was the trial to restore the honor of Mitsuo Kagawa who committed suicide over the allegations of a hoax. The results of the trail were decided upon unusually quickly after the publication of the investigation report: on February 23, 2004 the Fukuoka High Court decided on publication of an apology and damages of ¥9,200,000; not accepting this result, the Bungei Shunju Company appealed to the Supreme Court which supported the decision in a ruling of July 15, 2004. Bungei Shunju was able to conclude the affair with the payment of damages and the publication of an apology. Information regarding this trial and its result were not confined to Japan, with "Science" (Vol. 305) publicizing the results to the world.
The Bungei Shunju journalists and management apologized, writing that "it was reported in a series of articles that the stone tools collected at the Hijiridaki Cave site in Oita Prefecture in the thirties of the Showa era were faked and that Mitsuo Kagawa, emeritus professor of Beppu University, was suspected of being involved in that hoax. However, the statements in those articles that the tools were faked and that Professor Kagawa was involved in the hoax were not true." The Fukuoka High Court and the Supreme Court both clearly rejected a hoax.
In fields of academic research, objective third-party evaluations are currently widely used to referee journal articles and to assign scores to the research output of universities and other institutions. That some researchers had doubts over the results from Hijiridaki based on particular evidence is not a problem, but objective data are necessary for such debate to occur. On this occasion, the Supreme Court, a highly objective third party, declared that there is no proof of any hoax. We should take strong heed of this fact.
The Supreme Court found against the Bungei Shunju Company, but the basis for the original articles was the doubts held by some researchers. These doubts should not have been transmitted to the mass media, but first debated and investigated in an academic context. Neglect of this process brought about unfortunate results. Society is asking whether archaeology is currently an academic discipline that searches for the truth or a pseudo-science that swaggers along relying on the mass media and basing itself on doubtful speculation.
An Apology to the Late Mitsuo Kagawa, Emeritus Professor of Beppu University
Mrs Toshiko Kagawa,
Mr. Hiroshi Kagawa,
Mr. Makoto Kagawa,
In the January 25, February 1 and March 15, 2001 issues of Shukan Bunshun it was reported in a series of articles that the stone tools collected at the Hijiridaki Cave site in Oita Prefecture in the thirties of the Showa era were faked and that Mitsuo Kagawa, emeritus professor of Beppu University, was suspected of being involved in that hoax. However, the statements in those articles that the tools were faked and that Professor Kagawa was involved in the hoax were not true.
We apologize for harming the reputation of Professor Kagawa and for the trouble caused by these articles.
Toru Ueno, Managing Director
Seigo Kimata, Former Chief Editor, Shukan Bunshun
Kiichi Kawasaki, Reporter
Bungei Shunju, Co. Ltd.