Episode 444 – The Crysanthemum Taboo

This week: how did a spate of right wing violence in the early years of the 1960s help to fundamentally reshape public discourse around the emperor (and thus around politics and history more generally) up to the present day? And what does all of this have to do with one of the most bizarre short stories that has ever been published?


Kapur, Nick. Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise After Anpo

Treat, John Whittier. “Beheaded Emperors and the Absent Figure in Contemporary Japanese Literature.” PMLA 106, No 1 (January, 1994).

A New York Times obituary for Akao Bin, the right-wing politician whose ideas radicalized many of the assassins of the 1960s.


Fukazawa Shichiro, whose short story kicked off the Shimanaka Incident.
Page 1 of Furyu Mutan as published in Chuo Koron in the fall of 1960. It’s VERY hard to find a copy now because nobody would reprint the story and Chuo Koron yanked the issue from circulation.
Yomiuri Shinbun coverage from the day after the assassination attempt (Feb 2, 1961).
Akao Bin and his followers doing a gesture that is in no way problematic.


1 thought on “Episode 444 – The Crysanthemum Taboo”

  1. Wow, talk about relevant…
    I literally listened to this the night before the Abe assassination.

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