Okamoto Kōzō

This week, we explore a hapless revolutionary group’s failed attempts to start the Communist revolution with pachinko ball bombs, a one-way flight to North Korea, and random attacks on civilians. Why did a group of Japanese students end up deciding that the best way to kick-start the revolution was getting involved in a war in the middle east? And how does an idealistic young student end up believing that mass murder is morally justified?

Content note: This episode is about various acts of terrorism, culminating in a mass shooting. We don’t go into graphic detail about the shooting but a recounting of the facts may be distressing.

Featured image: Okamoto Kōzō with the leader of the Japanese Red Army at a press conference. (Image source)


1 thought on “Okamoto Kōzō”

  1. Great episode, that was quite a trial… for the defense lawyer, it must have been a trial in multiple senses of the word. I recommend the book “Destiny: The Secret Operations of the Yodogō Exiles” for some excellent insight on the thought process of Okamoto’s brother and the other hijackers to North Korea, which will probably give people insight into Okamoto’s motives as well.

    My basic conclusion is that these radicals were completely earnest and committed, but were not very skeptical thinkers and had a vastly overinflated idea of what they could accomplish through hijackings/terrorism. It really only makes sense in the context of the time (and a second book just came out about that context: “The Red Years: Theory, Politics, and Aesthetics in the Japanese ’68”. Yes, I own too many books about this).

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