May 15 - 1932 - The May 15th Incident

During the 1920s and 1930s, Japan was fairly beset by conspiracies, assassinations, and attempted coup d'etats. Largely, these were undertaken by military officers who sought a "Showa restoration," a new granting of power to the Emperor that would elevate the military over the elements of liberal democracy in Japan. Only once did such an attempt manage to kill a Prime Minister, when on May 15th, 1932, Inukai Tsuyoshi was killed by twenty young naval officers in his own residence. The plot was still relatively unsuccessful, as the attempt sought to kill the American film star Charlie Chaplin as well while he was visiting the Prime Minister. Instead, he was at a sumo match. The plot also did not actually overthrow the structure of the Japanese government. Yet people throughout Japan largely supported the plotters, with a large petition asking for clemency. No one was executed for killing the Prime Minister, and the more radical nationalist elements of the Japanese military continued to increase its influence. Although more plots would occur and were unsuccessful, by 1936 the Emperor finally did assert his authority over the government with the aide of the military.

William Floyd