Inejiro Asanuma (浅沼 稲次郎, Asanuma Inejirō, December 27, 1898 – October 12, 1960) was a Japanese politician and leader of the Japan Socialist Party. Asanuma became a forceful advocate of socialism in post-war Japan. He was noted for his support of the Chinese Communist Party, and his criticism of U.S–Japanese relations, which were particularly controversial.
Asanuma in 1948
|1st General Secretary of the Japan Socialist Party|
October 13, 1955 – March 23, 1960
|Preceded by||Position created|
|Succeeded by||Jōtarō Kawakami|
|3rd Chairman of the Japan Socialist Party|
March 23, 1960 – October 12, 1960
|Preceded by||Suzuki Mosaburō|
|Succeeded by||Jōtarō Kawakami|
|Member of the Japanese House of Representatives from Tokyo 1st district|
April 11, 1946 – October 12, 1960
February 21, 1936 – April 30, 1942
|Born||December 27, 1898|
Miyake-jima, Tokyo, Japan
|Died||October 12, 1960 (aged 61)|
Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
|Cause of death||Assassination|
|Resting place||Tama Cemetery,|
|Political party||Japan Socialist Party|
|Alma mater||Waseda University|
Asanuma was assassinated with a yoroi-dōshi, a traditional sword, by ultranationalist Otoya Yamaguchi while speaking in a televised political debate in Tokyo. His violent death was seen in graphic detail on national television, causing widespread public shock and outrage.
Asanuma was born on the island of Miyake-jima, a remote volcanic island that is administratively part of Tokyo, on December 27, 1898. His mother died during his birth, leaving him to be raised by his father, who later died of cancer at the age of 42.
He served in the Diet from 1936. He grew dissatisfied with the direction World War II was taking and withdrew his candidacy from the 1942 election and retired from politics until after Japan's defeat. He later returned to politics as a socialist and left-wing activist.
Asanuma was widely criticized for a 1959 incident in which he visited Communist China and called the United States "the shared enemy of China and Japan" during a speech in Beijing. When he returned from this trip he wore a Mao suit while disembarking from a plane in Japan, sparking criticism even from Socialist leaders. At this time, Japan, its ally the United States, and many other countries recognized the Republic of China (Taiwan) as the legitimate government representing Greater China.
On October 12, 1960, Asanuma was assassinated by 17-year-old Otoya Yamaguchi, a nationalist, during a televised political debate for the coming elections for the House of Representatives. While Asanuma spoke from the lectern at Tokyo's Hibiya Hall, Yamaguchi rushed onstage and ran his yoroi-dōshi (a traditional samurai sword) through Asanuma's ribs on the left side, killing him. Japanese television company NHK was videorecording the debate for later transmission and the tape of Asanuma's assassination was shown many times to millions of viewers. The photograph of Asanuma's assassination won its photographer Yasushi Nagao both the Pulitzer Prize and World Press Photo of the Year.
Yamaguchi was captured at the scene of the crime, and a few weeks afterwards committed suicide by hanging while in police custody.
- "Using a traditional blade, 17-year-old Yamaguchi assassinates politician Asanuma in Tokyo, 1960". rarehistoricalphotos.com. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
- Newton 2014, p. 234.
- 鶴崎友亀『浅沼稲次郎小伝』（たいまつ新書、1979年）1998年に新時代社より復刻。ISBN 4167209047（復刻版）
- Michael Y.M. Kao, "Taiwan's and Beijing's Campaigns for Unification," in Harvey Feldman, Michael Y.M. Kao, eds., Taiwan in a Time of Transition (New York: Paragon House, 1988), 188.
- Zelizer, Barbie (2010). About to Die: How News Images Move the Public. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 183. ISBN 0199752133. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- Chun, Jayson Makoto (2006). A Nation of a Hundred Million Idiots?: A Social History of Japanese Television, 1953–1973. Routledge. pp. 184–185. ISBN 978-0-415-97660-2. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
- Langdon, Frank (1973). Japan's Foreign Policy. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. p. 19. ISBN 0774800151. Retrieved 2012-08-18.
- "Leftist's Killer Suicide in Japan" (PDF). The New York Times. 3 November 1960. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
- Newton, Michael (2014). "Inejiro Asanuma (1898–1960)". Famous Assassinations in World History: An Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. pp. 234–235. ISBN 978-1-61069-286-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the Japan Socialist Party
| General Secretary of the Japan Socialist Party|
| General Secretary of the Farmer-Labour Party