Yuko Tojo, the granddaughter of convicted Class-A war criminal Prime Minister Gen. Hideki Tojo, died of interstitial pneumonia Wednesday. She was 73.
Tojo, whose real name was Yoshie Iwanami, was born on the Korean Peninsula in May 1939 to Hidetaka Tojo, the eldest son of Hideki Tojo, while the peninsula was under Japan’s colonial rule.
Following his conviction by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East over war crimes committed during his 1941-1944 prime ministership, Hideki Tojo was executed in December 1948.
His granddaughter is widely known for unsuccessfully running as an independent candidate in the 2007 Upper House election, in which she based her controversial campaign “on regaining the pride and honor of Japan.”
“Japan did not fight a war of aggression,” Tojo said of the country’s past militaristic aggression during an interview with The Japan Times in 2007, claiming the Imperial Japanese Army was fighting to prevent the colonization of Asia by Western powers.
One of her campaign vows included demanding that prime ministers and the Emperor visit Yasukuni Shrine, where the nation’s war dead are enshrined — as well as her grandfather and other Class-A war criminals. She also pledged to submit a resolution to the Diet condemning the August 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States.
During a speech in Tokyo in July 2007, she denied that the Imperial army had coerced Asian women and girls to work as sex slaves at frontline brothels during the war, and also dismissed the Nanjing Massacre, which historians estimate killed up to 300,000 Chinese, as “a lie.”
Her campaign, however, only garnered around 60,000 votes — or 1 percent of the total ballots cast.
Tojo, who had 12 grandchildren, also authored several books that mostly focused on her family and her grandfather, Hideki Tojo. She also took part in environment conservation efforts arranged by nongovernmental organizations, as well as projects to recover the remains of Japan’s war dead, according to her website.