The journal of an Imperial Army officer was found in a century-old liquor shop in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture. It is said to contain details of the “Feb. 26 Incident,” a failed coup d’etat that took place in 1936.
Written by Imperial Army major and acting sergeant Hakaru Yano, the journal recorded events taking place from February 26 to March 2 over nine pages. It chronicles how Yano became the intermediary between the Ministry of War and high-ranking officials of the general staff office to arrest rebels so they would not kill themselves. At that time, the Imperial Army was divided on how to address the issue of the rebels, with one group seeking to settle it in a peaceful manner while the other wanted a stricter punishment for repressing them. The entry on Feb. 29 noted that chief martial law administrator Kohei Kashii wanted the rebels to kill themselves when they were arrested. Yano, on the other hand pushed for the lives of the rebels to be spared so they may act as witnesses and be useful in revamping the system. It records the rebels as all being arrested, with one committing suicide.
The discovery will be essential in shedding light on the incident, as there are hardly any material or documents about it. It was found along with other 70 historical documents in the liquor shop, which opened in 1905 and had army officers as usual patrons. Yano was also born in Chiba, which is probably why he had connections in the local community. Yoko Kato, professor from the University of Tokyo noted that the discovery would be useful in the study of the incident. “By learning that the senior military police officer tried to arrest the rebels alive while opposing the martial law command, we can now see the incident more structurally,” he noted.
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