Francis Pike

Shinzo Abe and the long history of Japanese political violence

Assassinations, ambushes, and ritual suicides remain embedded in the country’s idea of itself

Shinzo Abe, perhaps the most significant Japanese politician of the last 50 years, has been assassinated. The killing was carried out by Tetsuya Yamagamu, a youngish and apparently disgruntled former employee of the Japan’s Maritime Self Defence Force. 

It was a brutal and sordid end to what was an important if not uncontroversial life. Shinzo Abe was the dominant politician of his era.

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Written by
Francis Pike
Francis Pike is a historian and author of Hirohito’s War, The Pacific War 1941-1945 and Empires at War: A Short History of Modern Asia Since World War II.

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