Otoya Yamaguchi Assassin October 1960

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Otoya Yamaguchi Assassin October 1960

Postby Masato » Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:46 pm

Assassination of Inejirō Asanuma

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(*from wikipedia)

On 12 October 1960, Inejirō Asanuma (浅沼 稲次郎, Asanuma Inejirō), chairman of the Japan Socialist Party, was assassinated at Hibiya Public Hall in Tokyo. During a televised debate, a 17-year-old right-wing ultranationalist named Otoya Yamaguchi charged onto the stage and fatally stabbed Asanuma with a wakizashi[1] (a type of traditional short sword).

The assassination weakened the Japan Socialist Party, inspired a series of copycat crimes, and made Yamaguchi an enduring hero to the right wing in Japan.

BACKGROUND

Asanuma was a charismatic figure on the Japanese Left. In 1959, Asanuma had sparked outrage in Japan by visiting Communist China and declaring the United States "the shared enemy of China and Japan" during a speech in Beijing.

Upon returning to Japan, Asanuma became one of the key leaders and main public faces of the massive Anpo protests against the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, leading a number of mass marches on the Japanese National Diet. Right-wing groups and individuals, such as Bin Akao and his Greater Japan Patriotic Party (大日本愛国党, Dai Nippon Aikoku Tō), became convinced that the massive leftist protests were a sign that Japan was on the verge of a communist revolution and mobilized to prevent such an eventuality.[2]

Akao and the Greater Japan Patriotic Party were part of a sizable segment of the Japanese Right who were extremely pro-American and thus strongly in favor of the U.S.-Japan military alliance. Akao and others who shared his worldview were thus doubly upset with Asanuma for portraying the U.S. as Japan's main enemy on his trip to China and for so actively opposing the Security Treaty.

THE ASSASSIN

Otoya Yamaguchi, the son of a high-ranking officer in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, had joined Bin Akao's Greater Japan Patriotic Party in his mid-teens after being radicalized by his older brother.[3] During the Anpo protests, he had participated in a number of the group's right-wing counter-protests and had been arrested and released 10 times over the course of 1959 and 1960.[4]

According to his later testimony to police, Yamaguchi claimed that over the course of the Anpo protests, he became further radicalized and disillusioned with Akao's leadership, which he felt was not radical enough.[5] In May 1960, he resigned from Akao's group in order to be free to take more "decisive" action.

YAMAGUCHI'S IMPRISONMENT AND 'SUICIDE'

Following the assassination, Yamaguchi was arrested and imprisoned awaiting trial. Throughout his imprisonment, he remained calm and composed and freely gave extensive testimony to police. Yamaguchi consistently asserted that he had acted alone and without any direction from others. Finally, on November 2, he wrote "Long live the Emperor" and “Would that I had seven lives to give for my country” (七生報国, shichisei hōkoku) on the wall of his cell using toothpaste, the latter a reference to the famous last words of 14th-century samurai Kusunoki Masashige, and hanged himself with knotted bed sheets.

DECLINE OF THE JAPAN SOCIALIST PARTY

The Japan Socialist Party had been an unhappy marriage between far-left socialists, centrist socialists and right socialists who had been forced together in order to oppose the consolidation of conservative parties into the Liberal Democratic Party in 1955. Asanuma was a charismatic figure who had been able to hold many of these mutually antagonistic factions together through the force of his personality.[10] Under Asanuma's leadership, the party had won an increasing amount of seats in the Diet in every election over the latter half of the 1950s and seemed to be gathering momentum. Asanuma's death deprived the party of his adroit leadership, and thrust Saburō Eda into the leadership role instead.[10] Eda rapidly took the party in a more centrist direction, far faster than the left socialists were ready to accept.[10] This led to growing infighting within the party and drastically damaged its ability to present a cohesive message to the public. Over the rest of the 1960s and going forward, the number of seats the socialists held in the Diet continued to decline until the party's extinction in 1996.[11]

YAMAGUCHI BECOMES A MARTYR

Yamaguchi immediately became a hero and martyr to Japanese right-wing ultranationalists.[9] On December 15, 1960, a large number of right-wing groups gathered in the very same Hibiya Public Hall where the assassination has taken place to hold a "National Memorial Service for Our Martyred Brother Yamaguchi Otoya."[9] Right-wing groups have continued to hold an annual memorial service for Yamaguchi every year on November 2, the anniversary of his suicide, with an especially large event being held on November 2, 2010, the 50th anniversary of his death.




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Postby Masato » Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:46 pm

The sword was a slightly undersized replica of a famous sword forged in the Kamakura Period by the swordsmith Rai Kunitoshi, and thus is better considered a wakizashi than a full-sized tachi or katana.

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Postby Masato » Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:09 pm

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Postby Masato » Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:10 pm



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