Wednesday, September 28: Billionaire Zenjiro YASUDA was stabbed to death.

1921 (Taisho 10) Wednesday, September 28: Zenjiro YASUDA (82) was stabbed to death by Heigo Asahi (31) in Juraku-an, his second residence in Oiso-cho. The Asahi also committed suicide on the spot. He brought a zankanjo (document of zankan (conspiracy of an assassin)) to inflict punishment on a cunning man. Workers and supporters throughout the country treated the morning sun as a hero, which is said to have triggered the assassination of Takashi HARA two months later.

Asahi was born in Saga Prefecture in 1890 (1890) and was 31 years old at the time. Zenjiro and I are 51 years apart in age. Since he was called Judo shodan (first dan in judo), he seems to have had a strong physique. He moved to Tokyo after graduating from a prestigious Fukuoka Junior High School under the old education system (present-day Prefectural Fukuoka High School). He temporarily enrolled in Nihon University, but later went to Manchuria and lived with bandit for a while.

In March of the previous year (Taisho year 9), when the plan was to commit suicide by jumping from Nishikigaura of Atami due to a big loss in the stock market, Shichigoro ISHIWATARI, a large landowner in the neighborhood persuaded him not to do so. Later, when Ishiwatari heard that the morning sun had stabbed Zenjiro to death, he felt sorry for him, saying “If I had not dissuaded the rising sun from committing suicide, this incident would not have happened. I’m sorry to have troubled Mr. Yasuda.”.

Shortly before he visited Zenjiro, he visited Eichi SHIBUSAWA to ask for donations. When SHIBUSAWA was refused, he was about to commit seppuku (suicide by disembowelment), so SHIBUSAWA was surprised and gave him 100 yen and sent him home. He was in danger, too.

The morning sun was suffering from tuberculosis, a disease that had been feared to be fatal. The collected donation disappeared into medical expenses, etc., and he became pessimistic again, and began to wander around seeking a place to die.

Yasutoshi Kita, “Bankuo YASUDA Zenjiro – Intoku wo tsumu” Shincho Bunko, 2013, pp322-323

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