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Shosei Koda

Shosei Koda shortly before his beheading
Born November 29, 1979(1979-11-29)
Died November 3, 2004 (aged 24)
Cause of death Beheading

Shosei Koda (Japanese: 香田 証生, Kōda Shōsei; November 29, 1979 – November 3, 2004) was a Japanese citizen who was kidnapped and later beheaded in Iraq on November 3, 2004 while touring the country. His parents were members of the United Church of Christ.[1] Koda ignored advice not to travel to the country and entered Iraq on October 19, 2004 because he wanted to know what was happening there.[2][3]

The captors demanded that Japan withdraw its forces from Iraq, but the Japanese government refused. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi firmly rejected that demand, saying he would not give in to terrorists.[4]

In the video of his murder, his three captors stand while Koda sits on the American flag. Koda has his hands tied behind his back and is blindfolded while a captor, behind him, reads a speech which lasts for two minutes and ten seconds. After that, the captors place him on the ground and hold him down as they begin to behead him. Throughout the beheading, the captors chant, "Allāhu Akbar," which is a common Arabic religious expression meaning "God is Great". The video ends with shots of Koda's blood-covered, severed head on top of his body and a few seconds of shots with the banner of al-Qaeda in Iraq. His headless body was placed on top of a blood-soaked American flag.

Koda's body was found in Baghdad near Haifa Street several days later. His death prompted mixed response in Japan, with most of the country angered and appalled by the murder, but some criticizing the victim and some blaming the government of Koizumi.[5]

Kōda Shōsei's name literally means "proof of life" in Japanese.


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