Photo/IllutrationOfficials of Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin apologize at a May 10 news conference announcing the results of fabrication and plagiarism by the head of the educational institution. (Yosuke Fukudome)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

A private educational institution famed for instilling Christian values into its curriculum fired its own head for what was described as egregious fabrication of materials used in a book about Weimar Germany.

Tomoaki Fukai, who has published a number of well-regarded scholarly works on Protestant theology that have won awards, came under a cloud of suspicion when another scholar raised doubts last year about materials he used in a book published in 2012 about the relationship between German nationalism during the Weimar Republic and Protestantism.

Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, an educational institution headquartered in Tokyo's Minato Ward that operates a range of schools for girls and women from kindergarten through university and graduate school, then established an internal investigative committee to look into the allegations.

The committee announced on May 10 that it found numerous examples of fabrication and plagiarizing in the 2012 book.

In particular, one scholar quoted by Fukai, 54, in the book was found to be made up. Instead, Fukai simply made up an article to use as reference material for his book. The committee also found 10 instances of plagiarism from another scholar who actually did exist.

The committee described these actions as "extremely egregious" and said the academic and social effects of Fukai's behavior were "extremely large."

Satomi Sato, the vice president of Toyo Eiwa University who headed the committee, called what Fukai did "pure fabrication." She also expressed exasperation over the way the committee had to repeatedly reconfirm information because Fukai flip-flopped in the materials he presented to support his case. The committee viewed this as a stalling tactic by Fukai to interfere with the investigation.

Fukai was also found to have fabricated materials he used as evidence for a 2015 magazine article about a German theologian.

Iwanami Shoten Publishers, which published both the 2012 book and 2015 magazine, has already stopped shipment of the book. Company officials said they would decide on whether to publish a correction and apology for the magazine article after thoroughly perusing the committee report.

Another Fukai book on Protestantism that won the Yomiuri Yoshino Sakuzo Prize in 2018 prompted an official with the Yomiuri Shimbun Group, which sponsors the award, to say, "We will ask the committee of outside experts who select prize winners to determine what action should be taken."

Fukai submitted a letter of resignation and retirement dated March 11 to Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin. In line with the latest announcement, he issued a statement that said, "I sincerely accept the results of the investigation and intend to make the necessary revisions and corrections as soon as possible."

(This article was compiled from reports by Kentaro Isomura and Yusuke Miyata.)