Archive for October 5th, 2009

1949: Yoshio Kodaira, soldier turned serial killer

1 comment October 5th, 2009 Headsman

Sixty years ago today, Yoshio Kodaira counted himself “fortunate to be able to die on such a calm and peaceful day.”

For the year after Japan’s wartime surrender to the World War II Allied powers (beginning slightly before that surrender), former Imperial Navy soldier Yoshio Kodaira terrorized Tochigi and Tokyo with a rape-murder binge believed to have claimed ten victims.

Even our monsters — especially our monsters — are creatures of their own milieu.

For Kodaira, that was the Japanese occupation of China, where he slew an unknown number of Chinese soldiers and civilians in his official capacity under the banner of the rising sun … followed by the “anarchy of the postwar years.”

(In between the two, he served a jail term in the 1930’s for killing his father-in-law in a berserk rage when his wife left him.)

Expat author David Peace novelized the 1945-46 Kodaira crime spree in Tokyo: Year Zero, musing (in the voice of the killer),

You know, none of it makes much sense to me … they give us a big medal over there for all the things we did, but then we come back here and all we get is a long rope.

(Here’s an interview with the author.)

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Cycle of Violence,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,History,Japan,Murder,Occupation and Colonialism,Rape,Serial Killers,Soldiers

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