Tojo Hideki Executed

Tojo Hideki Executed

During WW2, Japanese war criminal Tojo Hideki attempted suicide after the surrender. He was saved and resuscitated by Allied forces, who then hanged him.

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When his arrest was ordered in September, Tojo tried to commit suicide. According to one story, he got a doctor to put a charcoal mark on his chest to indicate the right place to shoot himself in the heart and fired a shot into his body, but somehow the bullet missed his heart and ended up in his stomach.

According to another, he fired four shots at himself without success. Lying bleeding profusely when the military police and accompanying journalists burst in, he was heard to murmur a polite apology for taking so long to die. The press photographers put the gun back in his hand and told him to hold on to it before snapping their pictures of him. He was taken to hospital and patched up, before being moved to the Sugamo Prison in Tokyo. He was bitterly condemned by some Japanese for failing to kill himself as honor demanded.

Later, Tojo and the six others were hanged in the Sugamo Prison. On the scaffold, they wore American army work clothes with no insignia of any sort. It was a few days before Tojo's sixty-fourth birthday. His remains were buried in the Yasukuni Shrine with those of more than two million Japanese war dead, including more than 1,000 convicted war criminals.

Visits to the shrine by Japanese prime ministers and leading politicians still cause controversy. The Sugamo Prison was demolished in the 1970s and all that is left of it is a stone inscribed in Japanese with the words, 'Pray for eternal peace'.


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