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Yamaguchi withdraws his Japanese long knife (dosu) after attacking Inejiro Asanuma

Otoya Yamaguchi (山口 二矢 Yamaguchi Otoya ?, February 22, 1943 - November 2, 1960) was a Japanese ultranationalist, a member of a right-wing Uyoku dantai group, who assassinated Inejiro Asanuma (a politician and head of the Japan Socialist Party) by wakizashi on 12 October 1960 at Tokyo's Hibiya Hall during a political debate in advance of parliamentary elections.

Less than three weeks later, while being held in a juvenile detention facility, Yamaguchi mixed a small amount of tooth paste with water and wrote on his cell wall, "Seven lives for my country. Ten thousand years for His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor!" Yamaguchi then knotted strips of his bedsheet into a makeshift rope and used it to hang himself from a light fixture.[1]

A photograph taken by Yasushi Nagao immediately after Otoya withdrew his sword from Asanuma would later go on to win the Pulitzer Prize and the 1960 World Press Photo award. The video recording of the incident can be seen from here. [1]

Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburō Ōe based his 1961 novella "Seventeen" on Yamaguchi.


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