|Wednesday, 05 November 2008 11:02|
Born: February 22, 1943
Died: November 2, 1960, Tokyo.
Cause of death: Hanged himself while in prison.
Notable because: A very intense 17 year old, took a Japanese long knife (dosu) to execute a liberal politician who offended his right wing beliefs and the honor of his Emperor. The moment was captured on film, becoming a Pulitzer prize winning photo of the year - 1960.
Otoya Yamaguchi 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.
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.
Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe based his 1961 novella "Seventeen" on Yamaguchi.
The uyoku dantai are deranged right-wingers who ride around in black jeeps, play marching music and yell imperialist slogans.An embarrassment which most people ignore, they possess a surprising amount of political influence through yakuza connections and bribery.Their campaigning centers monotonously around increasing Japan’s military, kicking foreigners out, and making the Emperor the boss again.In 1990, Nagasaki’s mayor was shot by an uyoku group after he publicly suggested that Japan take responsibility for WWII. In 1993, another group killed the parents of a magazine editor whose publication criticised Empress Michiko.
The first uyoku dantai are said to have their origins in the late 19th century, in the wake of the 1868 Meiji Restoration which ended Japan's centuries-old feudal system and national seclusion. Dramatic and drastic changes to society resulted in widespread movements throughout the nation against the newly formed Meiji government, consisting mainly of disgruntled former samurai and the rural poor, known collectively as the Freedom and People's Rights Movement, often resulting in bloody clashes such as the 1884 Chichibu Incident. The authorities frequently resorted to use of hired gangs to suppress these movements.
As the socialist movement spread to Japan in the early 20th century, the authorities in turn used similar tactics to suppress or intimidate unions and the socialist movement. Some more violent groups or groups tied to organized crime, having close contact with the conservative elements of Japanese politics at the time, formed ultranationalist secret societies and militias that went on to develop extensive espionage networks throughout Korea, Manchuria, Russia and China. Ultranationalists gradually gained influence in the military and mainstream politics, and increasingly used political violence--see Imperial Way Faction. The groups not only helped the authorities fight a covert war against socialism, but often ran prostitution and drug-smuggling rings throughout continental Asia and agitated for conflict.
After the defeat of Japan in the Pacific War, the ultranationalist societies were disbanded and socialism was decriminalised. However, as the Cold War set in, the Allied Occupation authorities soon started to suppress the growing socialism movement. They frequently resorted to seeking the help of leading pre-war right-wing and organised crime figures, some of whom were war criminals who were pardoned in exchange for this help, and this formed the basis of post-war, anti-communist fringe groups with close links to both organized crime and the conservative Japanese establishment.
Throughout the Cold War, the groups, known as uyoku dantai, generally carried a philosophy of anti-leftism and advocated solidarity with the United States and South Korea against communist nations such as the USSR, North Korea and the People's Republic of China. The 1970s, however, also saw the emergence of the shin-uyoku ("new right wing")--nationalist organizations that viewed the post-war Japanese conservative establishment as a puppet of the US and sought to break away from the traditionally pro-American stance of the post war rightist movement.
Uyoku dantai are well known for their highly visible propaganda vehicles, known as gaisensha (街宣車)--converted vans, trucks and buses fitted with loudspeakers and prominently marked with the name of the group and propaganda slogans. The vehicles are usually black, khaki or olive drab, and are decorated with the Imperial Seal, the flag of Japan and the Japanese military flag. They are primarily used to stage protests outside organizations such as the Chinese, Korean or Russian embassies, Chongryon facilities and media organizations, where propaganda (both taped and live) is broadcast through their loudspeakers. They can sometimes be seen driving around cities or parked in busy shopping areas, broadcasting propaganda, military music or Kimigayo, the national anthem.
Political beliefs differ between the groups but the three philosophies they are often said to hold in common are the advocation of kokutai (extreme nationalism), hostility towards communism and hostility against the Japan Teachers Union. Traditionally, they viewed the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China and North Korea with hostility over issues such as communism, the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands and the Kurile Islands.
Most, but not all, seek to justify Japan's role in the Second World War to varying degrees, refute the war crimes committed by the military during the first part of the Shōwa era and are critical of what they see as "self-hate" bias in post-war historical education. Thus, they do not recognize the legality of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and other allied tribunals, consider the war-criminals enshrined in the Yasukuni shrine as "Martyrs of Shōwa" (昭和殉難者 Shōwa junnansha), support the censorship of history textbooks and the historical revisionism
However, Uyoku dantai especially groups affiliated to Yakuza syndicates have many foreigner members involved Zainichi Korean. It is because Yakuza groups include many Zainichi Korean, and insistences of Uyoku dantai that uplift nationalism become their source of money. Moreover, it is difficult to arrest Uyoku dantai because a freedom of ideology is protected by Constitution of Japan. Then, it is one of the reasons why Yakuza camouflages Uyoku dantai.
Below is a list of some groups usually considered uyoku dantai.
Groups affiliated to yakuza syndicates
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 April 2009 13:57|