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On this day in 1947… (September 25)

This post is a part of continuing series on the Censored Newspaper Articles (CNAs).

Toru Shimizu (清水澄, 1868-1947), the last chair of the Privy Council of Japan (枢密院), committed suicide in Atami on September 25, 1947.  The news was reported in many newspapers in Japan, but not before articles about the suicide were censored by the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD).

Asahi Shimbun (47-loc-1017) attempted to publish the entire suicide note, but the last sentence was deleted by the CCD.  In Japanese, the sentence reads, “小生の水死したるは楚の名臣屈原にならいたるなり”.  It refers to the Chinese vassal Kutsugen, who (according to a note by the CCD examiner that accompanied Mainichi Shimbun article 47-loc-1017a) lived in the age of “So” and was exiled from his country on a false charge.  During his exile, he continued to be loyal to the Emperor.  Upon hearing of the Emperor’s death, he drowned himself.  Shimizu wrote that he was emulating Kutsugen when he took his own life.

The same sentence was also deleted in other articles submitted by Mainichi Shimbun (47-loc-1017b, 1017c), Chubu Nihon Shimbun (47-loc-1017d), and Kyodo Tsushin (47-loc-1017g).  Articles submitted by Jiji Shimpo (47-loc-1017e) and Yomiuri Shimbun (47-loc-1017h) did not mention Kutsugen and were passed without deletions.  An article by Kyodo Shashin Tsushin (47-loc-1017f) included a photograph of Shimizu and his suicide note.  It also included deletions.  The Japanese galley proofs of the articles are available in digital form onsite in the Prange Collection.


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