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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines a “terrorist tradition” in Japan. Driscoll briefly describes the birth of this tradition—the assassination in 1860 of members of the Tokugawa leadership, an event later memorialized as the heroic establishment of Japan’s nation-state. He then focuses on Japan’s “Age of Terror,” which began with the assassination of Prime Minister Hara in 1921. Driscoll analyzes Lieutenant Masahiko Amakasu’s murder of two Japanese anarchists, his trial (the nation’s first media spectacle), and his prison notebooks, which played a crucial role in the emergence of a Japanese philosophy of terror. This philosophy and the terrorist acts perpetrated in its name targeted European imperialism in East Asia and Western influences inside Japan. This analysis of the Amakasu incident and its aftermath challenges the simple binary of “top-down versus bottom-up” terrorism, a disciplinary paradigm that Driscoll shows is largely inapplicable to terrorism in East Asia.

Keywords: terrorism, Japan, Age of Terror, Masahiko Amakasu, anarchists, family-state

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