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Formosan aborigines, Ikebukuro: ‘Tokyo’s cleanest district,’ students storm Diet, journalists watch as company chairman murdered

by Edan Corkill

100 YEARS AGO

Thursday, June 30, 1910

The Formosan aborigines

At the decisive encounter with the Formosan [Taiwanese] aborigines on the 21st of last month, Cpt. Kawada, Lt. Nozawa and Lt. Fujinami were killed after severe fighting. They died glorious deaths, commanding their men to the last. Cpt. Kawada in his last moment commanded that his head should not be abandoned to the enemy.

75 YEARS AGO

Friday, June 21, 1935

Ikebukuro thehealthiest district

The Ikebukuro district has been recognized as the healthiest in the capital to live in, as a result of experiments carried out by the City Health Experimental Section of the Tokyo Metropolitan Office. Tests show that the air in this district has a smaller percentage of dust, soot, smoke and other extraneous matter than any other part of the capital.

The average amount of dust in the air of the metropolis is 2.39 mg per cu. meter. Ikebukuro has the least dust, with only 1.33 mg per cu. meter, while Kaminumata, Adachi Ward, has the most with 3.32 mg of dust per cu. meter.

The investigation has also brought to light that factory districts, such as Fukagawa, Mita and Mukojima, are in a better state than shop districts such as Asakusa and Omori, the air of the former having 2.43 mg of dust and the latter 2.46 mg. This is attributed to the heavy amount of traffic in the latter areas.

50 YEARS AGO

Thursday, June 16, 1960

2 students feared dead in Diet attack

Two lives were believed lost yesterday evening as about 12,000 fanatic Zengakuren [All Japan Federation of Students' Self-Government Associations] students stormed the national Diet grounds and engaged in a bloody, club-swinging, stone-throwing battle with police.

Outnumbered police after midnight threw teargas grenades to finally disperse the Zengakuren mob, which had gathered for another assault against the police lines in front of the Diet building. It was the first time since 1952′s May Day riots that teargas was used to quell a mob.

The only death confirmed by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) was a woman identified as Miss Michiko Kamba, eldest daughter of Toshio Kamba, a professor at Chuo University. Zengakuren and the Socialist Party claimed that five had died.

The Zengakuren students had gathered in front of the Diet Building from about 1 p.m. in a demonstration against Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and the forthcoming visit of U.S. Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

At 6:30 p.m., the first wave of 2,000 students surged against the 800 police guarding the rear gate of the Diet. The students tore down the Diet gates with ropes, and knocked down the police lined up inside with long, heavy poles. The scuffles continued until after midnight.

At least 312 students and 278 police were injured, according to the MPD. Police arrested 112 Zengakuren members on charges of trespassing and violent actions.

25 YEARS AGO

Wednesday, June 19, 1985

Firm’s chief slain in front of media

Two men, one armed with what appeared to be a bayonet, Tuesday forced their way into the apartment of the board chairman of Toyota Shoji Co., which is under fire for allegedly fraudulent gold deals. Both emerged a short time later saying they had killed the board chairman.

Kazuo Nagano, Toyota’s board chairman, was later pronounced dead in a hospital.

The murder took place under the eyes of about 30 newsmen and cameramen who were staking out the apartment where Nagano had been holed up to avoid newsmen. Nagano had been confining himself in the apartment since it was searched by police Monday in connection with his company’s alleged fraudulent gold deals.

The two men were arrested outside by policemen who reached the condominium on an emergency call from newsmen. There were no policemen around at the time of the incident, though they came to the apartment on patrol every three hours.

The men were identified as Atsuo Iida, 57, owner of a steel works, of Osaka’s Higashi Ward, and Masakazu Yano, 30, a construction worker. They appeared before Nagano’s apartment shortly before 4 p.m. The older of the two men said he had been asked to kill Nagano by six persons and shouted that he would do so.

The older man snatched a collapsible chair that had been used by one of the newsmen and began banging the door with it. After smashing a window, the two forced pushed their way inside. A scream was heard from inside and viewers saw blood splattering.

Nagano, stabbed in the head, abdomen and elsewhere with what appeared to be a bayonet, was rushed to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead at 5 p.m.

Toyota Shoji is supposed to have collected an estimated ¥200 billion by purportedly selling gold bars to consumers. However, it never delivered any gold to purchasers; instead it gave them contracts, saying the company would keep the gold bars to earn interest for them.

The company’s questionable operation was under investigation by the police, who had first searched its head office on Saturday. Nagano’s death will make it difficult for police to clear up the case.

In this feature, which appears in Timeout on the third Sunday of each month along with our regular Week 3 stories, we delve into The Japan Times’ 113-year-old archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity.