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Tue Feb 18, 2020, 08:58 AM

Charlie Chaplin narrowly escaped assassination by Japanese 'terrorists' in 1932

From https://japantoday.com/category/features/kuchikomi/charlie-chaplin-narrowly-escaped-assassination-by-japanese-%27terrorists%27-in-1932

Charlie Chaplin narrowly escaped assassination by Japanese 'terrorists' in 1932

June 12, 2017 06:00 am JST
TOKYO

Hollywood silent film star Charlie Chaplin passed away 40 years ago this coming December. This year is also happens to mark the 85th anniversary of the Little Tramp's first visit to Japan.

Chaplin's sojourn, recalls Yukan Fuji (June 10), coincided with an anti-government uprising by ultranationalist officers in the Imperial Japanese Navy that resulted in the assassination of Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai. It was later learned that Chaplin had also been targeted for assassination.

In late March 1932, a naval officer named Kiyoshi Koga learned that Chaplin, on a round-the-world cruise, planned to stop over in Japan and attend a VIP reception at the invitation of Inukai. In Koga's warped way of thinking, killing a world-famous actor in the presence of so many important political and economic figures might go so far as to cause a break in Japan-U.S. relations, possibly even leading to war, which Koga -- when testifying in court -- said he believed was inevitable.

The plotters -- reactionary elements of the Imperial Japanese Navy, aided by Army cadets and former members of a civilian ultranationalist group that called itself the League of Blood -- were foiled by Chaplin's inability to keep to his travel schedule. While visiting Bali in the former Dutch East Indies, Chaplin contracted a tropical disease and became indisposed. His ship was due to arrive in Kobe on May 16, but Koga and his co-conspirators were bent on attacking the prime minister's residence the day before, Sunday May 15, a day when security tended to be lax. Chaplin was therefore dropped from the assassins' plans.

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