Charlie Chaplin Was Once Nearly Assassinated In Japan

Grace Higgins | November 4th, 2019

Charlie Chaplin was seen as a comedian that pioneered the movement throughout the 20th century. His 75-year career spanned through the years of silent films into the 1950s and of course, his film A King in New York. This celebrity also had quite a turbulent life off-screen, nearly as crazy as his on-screen adventures. At one point during the 1930s, he narrowly escaped death in Japan.

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The year was February 1931, and there was a treaty being signed between the Empire of Japan and multiple Western nations such as the United Kingdom, France, the United States, France, and Italy. It was a treaty that was designed to limit the countries’ focus on expanding their naval military forces of the countries that signed it. This is because most of these countries were involved in a naval arms race during the whole of World War I.

Japan decided to follow the rules of the treaty, however, there were quite a few ultra-nationalistic members high up the Japanese navy and they were not at all happy with the terms of the treaty. Their belief was it weakened the democracy and military power of Japan, which to them was unacceptable. As a result, this group of nationalists planned to assassinate the Japanese Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi. They planned to assassinate the Prime Minister and stage a coup d’etat, replacing the government with military rule.

The conspirators planned to storm the Prime Minister’s house to kill him and his son, they were being aided by civilian members of one of the nationalist parties in the government to ensure the success of their coup. At this time, Chaplin was visiting Japan, and the Prime Minister thought it was a good idea to receive him at his home as a guest of honor. The conspirators believed this would be the perfect moment to strike, and also kill Chaplin, hoping to start a great war between the United States and Japan.

On May 15th, 1932, they stormed Truyoshi’s house and shot him. Luckily for Chaplin, he was not there. The reception had been postponed because he decided to go watch a sumo match with the Prime Minister’s son. This allowed him time to escape and return safely to the United States. He almost certainly escaped death, as the assassins were ruthless in their executions, not only did they kill Tsuyoshi they threw many grenades into pro-government businesses such as Mitsubishi Bank.

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