May 2007: Otoya Yamaguchi - A REAL Ninja
Our Badass of the Month section has been up and running since December 2006 and we've compiled an illustrious group of individuals who have accomplished feats of badassery.
And with the exception of the controversy surrounding "Bloody Bill" Anderson, all of the people on the list have been men (and potentially women, down the road) that you can look up to.
But badassery is not always a judgement of one's moral fiber as much as it is their character, and not even so much that as it is a judgement of their actions. So with that said, and May being "Ninjas Suck" month, we're going to award the Bad ************ Wallet, posthumously, to Otoya Yamaguchi.
For using a freaking sword to assassinate someone
Now we're not talking about feudal Japan here folks, where people got stabby with it all the time as a matter of business. We're talking about 1960 in the age of broadcast television, mini skirts, jet aeroplanes, and Tang. The Beatles were just a few years shy of exploding all over the face of American pop culture, and monkeys were orbiting the planet in space. Not the Monkeys, who were a rip-off of the Beatles, but they should have sent those bastards into space too. I digress.
So when the 17-year-old, ultranationalist Yamaguchi decided to off the japanahippy Socialist party leader Inejiro Asanuma, he could have chosen to use a gun to shoot him from several hundred yards away. Or he could have run him over in a car. Or he could have crash-landed a rocketship on him.
But instead of those high-tech assassination methods, Otoya (known by his friends as "Otto"1) decided to "Keep it Real" and stick to his roots. He chose to use a shortened version of a Katana (dosu), to prick the prick, in front of a live studio audience. And thus, the first reality TV show was born: Who Wants to Be a Ninja? It was a short-lived series (all of 30 seconds), but Otoya was the clear winner and got to vote his rival, Asanuma, off the island of life.
We here at Bullshido do not condone murder, or assassination, or even drowning puppies in the lake in a taped-up shoebox. But what we do endorse is people finding creative uses for their Martial Arts skills. And after all, what could be a more creative way of using the Martial Arts than to actually employ a katana for something other than decorating your room next to your Sailor Moon posters or playing out your fantasy of being a 400 year old Scot with a ponytail?
In the end, he was sent to a juvenille detention facility, where he used toothpaste to blog on the wall of his cell a poem about the emperor, before hanging himself. How emo.
So here's to you Otto Yamaguchi. The atomic bomb might have changed the landscape of Japan, but you kept true to its roots. At least with the whole using-swords-to-stab-people bit.
1. Completely pulled out of my ass. Hell, they probably called him "teeny winky" which caused his compulsion for sticking objects into people.
2. You think we're lying about this? Here's the damn video!
It even features a cameo by Mickey Rooney reprising his character of Mr. Yunioshi from Breakfast at Tiffany's.