Otoya Yamaguchi

Japanese ultranationalist who assassinated Inejiro Asanuma
In this Japanese name, the family name is Yamaguchi.

Otoya Yamaguchi (山口二矢, Yamaguchi Otoya, February 22, 1943-November 2, 1960) was a Japanese political activist and assassin. He killed the head of the Japanese Socialist Party (JCP).[1] On October 12, 1960, the killing was broadcast live by NHK television.[2]

Blurry image of assassination by 17-year-old Otoya Yamaguchi in October 1960


Yamaguchi was an assassin because he killed a politically active man. His reasons for the murder were political.

Yamaguchi was a member of a radical group. In 1960, he killed Inejiro Asanuma when he was at a public meeting. Soon after, Yamaguchi killed himself in a juvenile center. He wrote on the wall of the room in which he hung himself. His last words were written using a paste made from tooth powder and water.[3] He wrote "Seven lives for my country ..." which was a reference to the last words of 14th century samurai Kusunoki Masashige.


Yasushi Nagao captured the assassination in a dramatic photograph.[4] The Japanese photographer was the first non-American to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize.[5] The image won the 1960 World Press Photo award.[6]

Nobel Prize-winning writer Kenzaburō Ōe based his book Seventeen on Yamaguchi.[7]

Related pagesEdit


  1. Socialist Leader is Slain in Tokyo; Asanuma, Who Led Agitation Against U.S. Treaty, Is Stabbed at a Rally," New York Times. October 12, 1960; retrieved 2012-3-15.
  2. TokyoReporter.com, "Assassin of Inejiro Asanuma remembered by right-wing groups on 50-year anniversary," October 14, 2010; retrieved 2012-3-15.
  3. "Leftist's Killer Suicide in Japan; Young Rightist Who Stabbed Asanuma Hangs Himself in Detention Center," New York Times. November 3, 1960; "Assassin's Apologies," Archived 2012-03-20 at the Wayback Machine Time. November 14, 1960; retrieved 2012-3-15.
  4. Benjamin, Philip. "'All Way Home' Pulitzer Play; Novel Is 'To Kill a Mockingbird'; Mosel Play Wins Pulitzer Prize," New York Times. May 2, 1961; May 02, 1961, ; Wordfamousphotos.com, "Assassination of Japan Socialist Inejiro Asanuma [1960]; retrieved 2012-3-15.
  5. Iconicphotos.com, "Tokyo stabbing"; retrieved 2012-3-15.
  6. 1960 World Press Photo by Yasushi Nagao; retrieved 2012-3-15.
  7. Remmick, David. "Reading Japan," New Yorker. February 6, 1995; retrieved 2012-3-15.

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