Did You Know that Tokyo Station has a Dark History of Assassinations?

  • Tokyo JR station is located in the Marunouchi business district of Chiyoda, Tokyo, and is one of the busiest stations in the city, always packed with busy businessmen and excited tourists. However, did you know that apart from being the main intercity rail terminal, the station also has a dark history of assassinations behind it?

    Osachi Hamaguchi

    Nicknamed ‘Lion Prime Minister’ due to his noble manner and mane-like hair, Osachi was the minister of Japan from 2 July 1929 to 14 April 1931. On 14 November 1930, he was shot by a member of the ultranationalist secret society (Aikoku-sha) inside Tokyo station on his way to Okayama.

    The spot where he was shot can be identified by a brown brick (pictured above) inside the station. Although he managed to survive the assassination attempt, he eventually died the following year as a result of the injuries from the shot wounds.

    A more detailed explanation of the event on a nearby pillar

    Surprisingly, a few meters away, another assassination took place.

    Hara Takashi

    This assassination involves the 19th Prime Minister of Japan, Hara Takashi, whose in-office period was from 29 September 1918 to 4 November 1921. He was the first commoner appointed as minister, and as a result, he was given the informal title of ‘commoner prime minister’.

    Takashi’s assassination took place next to the southern ticket machines of Marunouchi today. Hara Takashi was stabbed to death by a right-wing fanatic on 4 November 1921, on his arrival to board a train to Kyoto.

    So if you get a chance to travel through Tokyo Station, take the time to stop and reflect on the meaning behind the odd-colored bricks in these two areas of the station. There is so much history in Japan, and it’s great to see that not all of it is displayed in museums. What a creative way to incorporate a piece of dark political history into a place that sees so much foot traffic day in, and day out!


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