Inejiro Asanuma

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Inejiro Asanuma
Inejirō Asanuma 1955.jpg
3rd Chair of the Japan Socialist Party
In office
March 23, 1960 – October 23, 1960
Preceded by Suzuki Mosaburō
Succeeded by Jōtarō Kawakami
Member of the Japanese House of Representatives from Tokyo's 1st district
In office
April 11, 1946 – October 23, 1960
In office
February 21, 1936 – April 30, 1942
Personal details
Born (1898-12-27)December 27, 1898
Miyake-jima, Izu Islands, Tokyo
Died October 12, 1960(1960-10-12) (aged 61)
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Political party Japan Socialist Party
Alma mater Waseda University

Inejiro Asanuma (浅沼 稲次郎 Asanuma Inejirō?, December 27, 1898 – October 12, 1960) was a Japanese politician, and leader of the Japan Socialist Party. A noted public speaker, Asanuma was unusual in postwar Japan for his forceful advocacy of socialism, and his support of the Chinese Communist Party was particularly controversial.

Asanuma was assassinated by an extremist nationalist while speaking in a televised political debate in Tokyo. His violent death was seen in graphic detail on national television, causing widespread public shock and outrage.

Early life[edit]

Inejiro Asanuma's mother died during his birth, leaving him to be raised by his father, who later died of cancer at the age of forty-two.[1]

Political career[edit]

In the 1930s, Asanuma became a socialist and served in the Diet from 1936. However, he withdrew his candidacy from the 1942 election and retired from politics until after the war.[1]

He was widely criticized for a 1959 incident where he went to Communist-controlled Mainland China and called the United States "the shared enemy of China and Japan". When he returned from this trip he wore a Mao suit while disembarking from his plane in Japan, sparking criticism even from Socialist leaders.[1] At that time, Japan and many other countries recognized the Republic of China (Taiwan) as the rightful government of Mainland China.

Assassination[edit]

Pulitzer Prize winning photograph by Yasushi Nagao.[2] The photo was taken directly after Yamaguchi stabbed Asanuma and is here seen attempting a second stab though he is restrained before that happens

On October 12, 1960, Asanuma was assassinated by 17-year-old Otoya Yamaguchi, a militant nationalist, during a televised political debate for the coming elections for the House of Representatives. While Asanuma spoke from the lectern at Tokyo's Hibiya Hall, Yamaguchi rushed onstage and ran his wakizashi through Asanuma's abdomen, killing him. Japanese television company NHK was video recording the debate for later transmission and the tape of Asanuma's assassination was shown many times to millions of viewers.[3][4]

The Japanese public was deeply shocked by the Asanuma assassination. In its wake, a spate of mass demonstrations for peace and order ensued across the country. The assassin Yamaguchi was captured at the scene of the crime, and a few weeks afterwards committed suicide while in police custody.[5] After Asanuma's death, the Japan Socialist Party further divided between politicians on the left and right, ultimately disbanding and reconstituting itself as the Social Democratic Party in 1996.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 鶴崎友亀『浅沼稲次郎小伝』(たいまつ新書、1979年)1998年に新時代社より復刻。 ISBN 4167209047(復刻版)
  2. ^ Zelizer, Barbie (2010). About to Die:How News Images Move the Public. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 183. ISBN 0199752133. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ Makoto Chun, Jayson (2006). A Nation of a Hundred Million Idiots?: A Social History of Japanese Television, 1953 - 1973. Routledge. pp. 184–5. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Langdon, Frank (1973). Japan's Foreign Policy. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. p. 19. ISBN 0774800151. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Leftist's Killer Suicide in Japan". The New York Times. 3 November 1960. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 

External links[edit]