Containing Multitudes Since 2004
and then he killed himself a few days later, this guy really loved his Emperor didn't he.
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.
Great photo and great comments Stu and Derek. Thanks!
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. "http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,711952,00.html
There's actual footage of this incident on YouTube...but it doesn't capture the moment quite as vividly as this single image.
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.
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