Asanuma Yasushi Nagao Analysis

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! Yasushi Nagao is perhaps most well known for his “Tokyo Stabbing” piece, taken in 1960 and winning two global words shortly after. He himself humbly claimed that his sudden rise to fame was because he was at the right place at the right time. In other words, it was all just luck. However, I beg to differ. Was it really just luck?! ! Let’s take a look. Nagao, born on May 20, 1930, had stumbled into a world still in the developing, or even premature, stages of photography. Skipping ahead two or three decades, there was still little variety in the cameras professional photographers used. In fact, between 1942 and 1954, all Pulitzer Prize winning photographers used the same camera - the Speed Graphic Camera. But nothing discouraged Nagao. Though…show more content…
Yet, the fame of the piece outran the fame of Nagao himself. New York Times author, D. Dominick Lombardi answered this question flawlessly by simply commenting “Yasushi Nagao's ‘Assassination of Asanuma,’ (1960) with its ceremonial assailant and writhing victim continues to stun. Both historically and aesthetically, it is a great show.”! ! Well, aesthetically, sure. But what exactly is the historical significance of this image? It is not merely because it captured the assassination of a political figure, but the fact that it depicted a moment in time when diverging political beliefs called for extreme and drastic measures where both parties - the assassinated and the assassin - sentenced themselves to death row. The assassin was captured and later committed suicide (on November 2nd) in the Tokyo’s Nerima Ward jail cell he was detained in. He did so by hanging himself with the bedsheets. Before committing suicide, Yamaguchi wrote the message “Seven lives for my country. His Imperial Majesty the Emperor, banzai!” on the cell walls with toothpaste. As for Asanuma, he died within an hour, never making it to the

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