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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2007: A factory manager in a packed stadium

2 comments October 5th, 2008 Headsman

Last year on this day, six people were reportedly trampled to death when a massive crowd stampeded after watching the execution of a 75-year-old factory manager in North Korea.

The man, who is not named in English-language sources I’ve perused, had fabricated his father’s past as a good Communist when in fact dad worked to suppress the reds. That con kept the family among North Korea’s privileged elite for years.

According to the South Korean nonprofit Good Friends, he faced a snap tribunal and immediate execution in Suncheon this day, in a stadium with 150,000-plus* onlookers, part of a campaign of stepped-up public executions that Good Friends says (.doc) has been driven by the insular country’s decade-long famine. (See another one — illicitly filmed graphic video included — here.)

And he wasn’t the only one to depart the premises in a body bag. The stampede is said to have occurred after the proceedings as spectators were leaving; the cause, if there was one, is sketchily described, although some news reports call it a “melee.” Thirty-four others were reportedly injuried in the crush.

* The figure 170,000 is also cited.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Known But To God,Korea,North Korea,Public Executions,Ripped from the Headlines,Shot,Summary Executions

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