Tokyo Trivia : Two Prime Minister assassination spots at Tokyo Station

Operating for well over 100 years, Tokyo Station is one of the two railway stations designated as an Important Cultural Asset in Japan. It underwent extensive renovation work until 2014, when the original design was restored. The station has seen enough history through all these years, survived earthquakes, two world wars and witness to two assassinations of Japanese Prime Ministers. YES TWO.Assassination spot at Tokyo StationThis is the Marunouchi side exit of the Tokyo Station. The extreme right you can see the ticket counters. The snaps is taken on a new year night and that is why the station is eerily quiet, on a regular day it is an extremely busy terminal. I walked over to the ticket terminal oblivious of the fact that it was one spot where a prime minister was assassinated. Tokyo Station January 1 12:00 a.m.To the left side of the ticket windows is a black plate fixed on the wall. It says that  in 1921, the then Prime Minister Takashi Hara was stabbed to death by an ultra-rightist in front of the south wing as he arrived to board a train for Kyoto. The first Japanese Christian Prime Minister Mr. Hara pursued a conciliatory policy towards colonies, particularly Korea. He permitted a degree of cultural freedom, including (for the first time) a school curriculum that featured Korean language and history. Neither left, nor right, the liberal prime minister however, won few supporters either among Koreans or Japanese. The Koreans considered the measures inadequate, the Japanese considered them excessive. Assassination spot at Tokyo StationThis marks the site where Prime Minister Hara, famous as the “Commoner Prime Minister,” was assassinated by a knife-wielding man on a train journey to Kyoto on November 4, 1921. He was stabbed to death by a right-wing railroad switchman, Nakaoka Konichi.
Assassination spot at Tokyo StationThe bullet trains were running with early no passengers on. This location is the place where the late prime minister Osachi Hamaguchi fell victim to an assassination attempt on 14 November 1930 when he was shot inside Tokyo Station. Access the South Exit on the Marunouchi side to visit the location.

The other one is inside the Tokyo Station. Walk over to the Shinkansen Gates numbered 20-23. 
Tokyo Station on New Year DayThe most easy landmark is to find the statue “Nakama-no-Zo” or Statue of Friends. It is a sculpture of three friends, is a wooden sculpture by the Hiroshima-born sculptor, Katsuzo Entsuba, and is located in the central passage. Just next to it look down on the floor and you will see a marking.Assassination spot at Tokyo StationThe spot marked with a special tile on the station is the spot where Prime Minister Hamaguchi fell victim to an assassination attempt on 14 November, 1930 when he was shot inside Tokyo Station as he was walking towards the express train “Tsubame.” It is just a span of nine years when two prime ministers were assassinated. Mr. Hamaguchi was on his way to Okayama to observe special large-scale military manoeuvres.Assassination spot at Tokyo StationOna a pillar close by,  a plaque inside Tokyo Station commemorating the assassination attempt on Prime Minster Osachi Hamaguchi nearby on 14 November 1930. The same liberal policies towards colonies like Korea due to which Prime Minister Hara was assasinated and the failure of Hamaguchi’s economic policies played into the hands of right-wing elements. Same location, nearly same reason, Hamaguchi’s initial popularity quickly waned, and he fell victim to an assassination attempt on 14 November 1930 when he was shot inside Tokyo Station by Tomeo Sagoya, a member of the Aikoku-sha ultranationalist secret society. Assassination spot at Tokyo StationJust to lighten up things from assassinations, here is some diversion. Tatsuno Kingo was the famous designer who made a rather European style construction. Not much known however is the fact that architect Franz Baltzer of Germany created the original design plan for the Tokyo Station. The plan was rejected because the design was “too Japanese.”!!Assassination spot at Tokyo StationThe beautiful station is undergoing further renovation work in the front part of the station and will be completed before the Olympics. For a photographer in me, a few years wait to the Olympics before the retro-modern location once again becomes the spotlight for my photography hobby. Tokyo station panorama shot


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