Using a traditional blade, 17-year-old Yamaguchi assassinates politician Asanuma in Tokyo, 1960

This photo was taken directly after Yamaguchi stabbed Asanuma and is seen here attempting a second stab, though he was stopped before it could happen. Otoya Yamaguchi was a member of a right-wing extremist Japanese group.

Inageiro Asanuma was the leader of the Socialist Party in Japan. He was unusual for his vigorous advocacy of socialism in post-war Japan, and his support of the Chinese Communist Party was particularly controversial.

Asanuma was assassinated during a televised political debate for the upcoming election to the House of Representatives. When Asanuma spoke from the lecture at Hibiya Hall in Tokyo, Yamaguchi ran to the stage and fired his yoroidoshi (a traditional samurai sword) through Asanuma's ribs to the left, killing him.

The Japanese television company NHK was video-recording the debate for later broadcast, and tapes of Asanuma's murder were shown several times to millions of viewers.

The footage of the incident was captured live by a Japanese television company. The picture in the slow-motion video was taken at around 0:27. You can even see the camera flash and the killer pose in the picture as everyone runs towards him.

He was pushed or dragged, so even if he enters from the right, in this photo of the second stab attempt he is on the left a few seconds later. Below this is a helpful diagram.

The killer, Otoya Yamaguchi, was a member of a group that, among other things, wanted to get rid of Western influence and restore the traditional culture of Japan. He chose a weapon that best suited his purpose, and that meant getting up close and attacking with confidence, knowing full well that there was no way he could get away.

The blade of the sword used by the assassin is called yoroidoshi and is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (nihonto) worn by the samurai class in feudal Japan. The Yoroidoshi armor was made for piercing and stabbing when in close quarters melee. Weapon sizes ranged from 20 cm to 22 cm, but some examples may be less than 15 cm.

Less than three weeks after the murder, while in juvenile custody, Yamaguchi mixed a small amount of toothpaste with water and wrote on his cell wall: "Seven lives for my country. Long live your Majesty, Emperor! ,

Yamaguchi then tied the strips of her bedsheet to a makeshift rope and used it to hang herself from the light fixture. The phrase "seven lives for my country" was a reference to the last words of the 14th-century samurai Kusunoki Masashige.

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