The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Aftermath: Japan #5

Original Caption:

Tokyo -- Seventeen-year-old Yamaguchi Otoya uses a foot-long sword to kill Japan Socialist Party leader Asanuma Inajiro on a public stage in Tokyo. Yamaguchi was upset with Asanuma's support of a U.S.-Japan mutual defense treaty. (1960)


Stu said...

and then he killed himself a few days later, this guy really loved his Emperor didn't he.

Derek said...

This photo also won the Pulitzer Prize, and was one of the last to do so that was not taken with an SLR camera, but instead with the then-standard one-sheet-of-film-at-a-time press camera.

eagleapex said...

Great photo and great comments Stu and Derek. Thanks!

Preacher #671 said...

According to a Time Magazine article November 14, 1960:

"In a bleak cell at a Tokyo juvenile detention home one night last week, a mop-haired teenager mixed a palmful of tooth powder with a few drops of water and scrawled a message on the wall: "Seven lives for my country. Ten thousand years for His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor!'' Then Otoya Yamaguchi, 17, tore his bed sheet into strips, knotted them into a rope, stood up on a toilet bowl and hanged himself from the light fixture in the ceiling. Yamaguchi, who last month stabbed Socialist Chairman Inejiro Asanuma to death at a political rally, had lived his bloody samurai tradition to the end. His suicide was an act of owabi—apology to those inconvenienced by his murder of Asanuma. ",9171,711952,00.html

swac said...

There's actual footage of this incident on YouTube...but it doesn't capture the moment quite as vividly as this single image.

sleepless said...

There is also a book modeled roughly around this event. Oe Kenzaburo's "Seventeen". Still it is kind of impressive how nationalism and emperor worship in Japan at that time took on such proportions. Not only with extremists but also with the masses. Think only of the protest marches in Tokyo at the same time.