Prince Ito’s Tairen Speech –The next day (pg2) explains further:
The Kokumin’s Tokyo Letter (Oct. 22) discusses four important points in Prince Ito’s speech at Tairen which may be taken as a manifesto of Japan’s Chinese policy. The Prince emphasises, in the first place, the importance of the maintenance of peace in the Far East to the welfare of the Japanese Empire and the heavy responsibility falling on Japan for maintaining that peace. Secondly, the prince points out the close relations Manchuria has with that peace, and insists on the necessity of maintaining the principles of open door and equal opportunity in that field. Thirdly, the Prince alludes to the serious consequences of the success or failure of Chinese reforms upon the Far Eastern situation, and expressed Japan’s willingness to give direct and indirect aid to China’s success in that work. Fourthly, he declared the development of Manchuria must be effected by the co-operation of Japan, China, Russia, and all the Powers who have interests there. The paper is anxious that Americans should bear these words in mind as being Japan’s own declaration through Prince Ito’s mouth. Thus, although the noble visitor to Manchuria himself avows no other object for his tour other than mere personal observations, yet the paper is hopeful of beneficial results coming from the trip. His meeting with the Russian Finance Minister at Harbin and with native officials in Manchuria is bound to enhance these results.
There is both advantage and disadvantage in being great, so that when a man of international eminence, like Prince Ito, goes abroad, the public both abroad and or [sic] home will insist upon reading into his travels some significant mission, which he generally ends in accomplishing, sometimes even in spite of himself. The advantage or disadvantage of greatness, which may be personal, national, or international, will, however, depend almost altogether on the estimation the public has come to form of the characteristic attributes of the man. These remarks, borne out by experience and observation, as we believe, would justify us in saying that the present trip of Prince Ito on the continent, though any political object of it has been disavowed by himself, has by the force of circumstances, assumed the character of a mission of its own, the importance of which cannot be over-estimated, as it is, all in favour of international good understanding and of dissipating many misconceptions formed about this country.This also appears on the same page:
As we write we are in receipt of a Harbin dispatch, conveying a most disastrous piece of news which suddenly robs us of the train of thought we have been persuing. It says that Prince Ito is in a serious condition as a result of an attempted assassination by a Korean miscreant at Harbin. Dumbfounded we stop, only to express our most fervent hope that particulars to follow will prove His Excellencies injuries to be not so dangerous as reported, and also to add our sorrow that the blood spilt of Korea’s best and sincerest friend will forever remain a dark stain on her, to say nothing of the heavy veil of gloom that now hangs over Japan and the Japanese nation.
This appears on page 3:KOREAN NEWS
THE WORK OF THE PUNITIVE
EXPEDITION TO SOUTH KOREA
A Seoul Dispatch states that the punitive force under command of Major-General Watanabe has withdrawn from South Korea after a very successful campaign. The troops have taken 1,055 prisoners and killed 334 insurgents who made resistance. Ninety-five muskets and 33 swords were also taken. There are no signs now of insurgents except one or two ringleaders.
PRINCE ITO SHOT
ONE OF THE BULLETS TAKES EFFECT.
An official despatch received from Harbin says that Prince Ito was shat at several times by some Koreans, just as the His Excellency landed at the platform of Harbin Station at 9 o’clock Tuesday morning. One of the bullets took effect. The telegram does not say how serious the wound is or who the Koreans were.HIS EXCELLENCY SUCCUMBS AT LAST.
A later dispatch received at the Mitsui Bussan Kaisha yesterday states that Prince Ito was shot by a Korean at Harbin station that morning at eleven. His Excellency died on the spot. Mr. Kawakami, Consul General, and Mr. Tanaka, Director of the South Manchurian Railway Co., sustained slight injuries. The ruffian was arrested on the spot.
An article the next day notes that Kawakami was hit in the right arm, Tanaka in the foot, and “Private Secretary Mori was hit by a bullet that passed through his arm and shoulder.”
We find more in this Oct 28 article (pg2):
On the next page:THE LATE PRINCE ITO
“I have given my life to the state and to my country; I shall not regret when, where, or by whose hands I fall.” These are the words which Prince Ito oft repeated whenever warned of personal danger. The great man is now no more. He is gone a victim of Korean fanatics. The nation, high and low, universally and most profoundly mourns over the loss of this world figure so unexpectedly taken away from it. […]
Now this noble-minded man, the greatest of our statesmen has met a cruel death at the hands of a Korean assassin. The thought will no doubt rankle in the nation’s mind for a long, long time to come. But nothing would be more ill-timed for our compatriots than to be carried away by the passion of the moment. The assassin may have accomplices, but they are no doubt of a class ignorant and blinded by prejudice that can no doubt be found in any country, and we must not regard them as representative of Koreans and the Korean nation. If Prince Ito had a voice now to speak, we feel quite certain that he would resent most strongly any suggestions to avenge his death on Korea. The Prince really had the best wishes for Korea and for the promotion of sincere friendship between the two countries. Nothing would be more desecrating to his memory, therefore, than to contemplate acts that would tend to undo the plans the Prince left behind for the guidance and regeneration of Korea. We cannot help warning our countrymen, especially those in Korea to be mindful of how they act and what they say about that country at this juncture. Large heartedness shown at a moment like this will bear fruit that will never be reaped by any harsh, vindictive action. To be thus disposed will be another way of paying the highest tribute to the departed Prince.
Detailed reports published by the Kokumin say: - When the special train carrying Prince Ito arrived at Harbin, the Prince held a conversation with M. Kokovtsoff for about 20 minutes, after which he alighted on the platform and exchanged greetings with the officers and officials. By the request of the Russian Finance Minister, the Prince then passed in front of the line of Russian troops. He had just come to the end of the line when a Korean in European clothes fired at him with a pistol. The Prince was taken into the carriage, and due measures were immediately taken to attend to his wounds but he expired at about 10. The culprit was at once arrested by Russian soldiers.On page six the assassin is described when speaking ofTHE PRINCE’S WOUNDS
One shot pierced the upper right arm and grazing the side near the arm pit entered horizontally at the seventh rib. Another bullet piercing the right elbow on the outer side, and, passing along the upper arm on the inside, and turning slightly inward, entered at the ninth rib, piercing the lung and diaphragm and lodged in the left ribs. The third shot entered the abdomen just above the peritoneum and lodged in the muscles. Two of these wounds were mortal and no help could be rendered.THE ASSASSIN
The assassin is about 24 years old and goes by the name Shi Mei-shou (though this is still uncertain). He is not a native of Fusan, but he left that place for Vladivostok, whence he came to Harbin on the 25th. That night he slept out of doors near the station, and next morning he mixed himself with the waiting Japanese. He claims that he recovered the honour of Korea which was dishonoured by the Prince. He declares that he committed the act solely on his own initiative, and that he had no accomplice, but the authorities do not credit his word on this point. On the day previous, two Koreans were seized at Seikakang (?) in Sungari and when searched, both were found to be armed with pistols. They were consequently taken under escort to Harbin. These two stated on the morning of the 26th that their companions were 30, one of whom had attained their common object. On the morning of the 25th, an unsigned telegram was sent to a Korean in Harbin which was suspiciously worded. These incidents prompted the Russian authorities to exercise on strict vigilance, but in spite of this the regrettable incident occurred.[...]THE PRESS ASSOCIATION’S RESOLUTION
Despatches from Seoul dated Oct. 27 state that the Press Association sat far into the night on the 26th and made the following resolutions: - That Prince Ito’s assassination was the result of anti-Japanese feeling in Korea and in order to dissipate such errors and avoid the repetition of the horrible crime, the final resolution should be adopted by the Japanese authorities; That the Korean Emperor proceed at once to Japan to apologize to the Emperor.
the unnatural death of Prince Ito, who fell a victim to the hand of an assassin, a reckless Korean miscreant …. A Korean named Un Chi-an … the bloodthirsty…heinous assassin.The next day, October 29, describes him further (pg2):
The assassin, who gave the name Un Chi-an, was arrested on the spot by Russian guards and was handed over to the Japanese authorities. He is now under examination and says that he is from Phyongyang . As to his accomplices, no definite report is as yet to hand.On the same page we find this:
On page 3 the same day, we find responses from the foreign press.KOREAN NEWSThe Emperor was really shocked by the news of the terrible end of Prince Ito on Tuesday and did not retire to bed until three o’clock the following morning. The Retired Emperor learned the sad news while taking supper and was so shocked that His Majesty dropped a dish from his hand. Lady Om, being anxious for the Crown Prince in Tokyo, was in tears.
THE COURT SORROW STRICKEN
Speaking of the Times [of London] it said “the paper wished that Japan’s Korea policy inaugurated by the enlightened hero of heroes should not be changed at this perilous juncture.[...]On October 30, more is written (pg2):
Some papers referred to the ungrateful attitude of Koreans towards Japan, saying it was comparable to that of Indians towards Great Britain. The policy with which the Late Prince had been guiding Korea with indefatigable zeal and yet he had become the victim of the dastard Koreans.[...]
Among the unanimous regrets with regard to the death of Prince Ito throughout the press in Europe, the Ross is the only exception in attributing the death to the Japanese oppression of Korea.[...]
“The New York Sun has stated that the Prince was one of best friends to Korea[.]”
The World stated that the Korean question had been settled and nothing could now change the fate of the peninsula. But the consequence will be only the prolongation of a more high-handed policy in Korea. The Tribune has said that the outrage was not the fault for Koreans in general, as it was perpetrated by a fanatic, admitting that the progress in Korea was due to the efforts of Prince Ito.
We also find out more about the killer:THE SORROW OF THE KOREAN CROWN PRINCE
[T]he Korean Crown Prince is sorrow-stricken by the untimely death of his Grand Tutor. The young Prince is especially sad at heart because of the fact that the ruffian who has perpetrated the crime is one of his own people.[...]THE KOREAN EMPEROR
The Emperor of Korea, accompanied by his suite went on Thursday afternoon to the Residency General and expressed his deep sympathy with the tragic end of Prince Ito, saying that His Majesty was prepared to take any steps which might be best adapted to show his sympathy. The Emperor of Korea intends to confer a posthumous name on the late Prince. His Majesty has also decided to contribute a sum of 30,000 towards the funeral fund. Prince Wi Hoa left yesterday for Japan with the above mentioned name and the gift.
A Seoul report says that it is stated that the assassin belongs to the Syo Peuk Hak Hoi and has been leading a vagrant life. […] According to a later report, the pistol used by the assassin was a Browning pistol. […] With regard to the trial of the criminal who shot Prince Ito at Harbin, Count Komura, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, on Wednesday issued an instructions to the Kwantung Government to try the case in its court.The same day, on the next page, was a telegram written to the Russian minister in Tokyo by the Russian Minister of Finance M. Kokovtseff, who of course witnessed the attack:
Harbin, Oct. 26th.Within a year, there would be no need to distinguish Japanese from Korean subjects, as they would be one and the same (though they certainly weren't treated the same).
Today at 9 a.m. at the arrival of Prince Ito in Harbin, when His Excellency, having alighted from his car, together with myself and the local Russian authorities, passed before the front of a guard of honour, came up to the group of civil authorities and foreign Consuls, a man with a Browning pistol fired several shots from behind the backs of the latter by which the Prince was mortally wounded. At the same time Mr. Tanaka was slightly wounded in the leg, Consul General Kawakami severely but not dangerously wounded, and Mr. Mori slightly wounded.
The murderer who appears to be Korean was arrested, and during the inquest stated that he had come to Harbin specifically to kill Prince Ito, to avenge the wrongs done to his country, and also because Prince Ito had sentenced to death several of his relatives; he also said that he was happy he that he succeeded to carry out his criminal intention. The plot was evidently prearranged. Yesterday at the station Dziadziagow (?) our police arrested three suspicious Koreans armed with Browning pistols. Consul General Kawakami asked the Russian railway police to let all Japanese subjects freely enter the Harbin Station, and it was absolutely impossible to distinguish the murderer, as a Korean, from the Japanese.
Also, it was thirty years ago today that Park Chung-hee was killed by Kim Jae-gyu, the head of the KCIA. I've written about it a bit here and here.
Here is Kim Jae-gyu re-enacting the murder.
Sitting next to him is Kim Gye-won, the Blue house chief secretary, who Kim didn't kill and who eventually revealed he was the killer. He also appears in the back, second from right in this photo, taken in the late 1970s:
In the front row we have the Park family - Geun-hye, Geun-young, Park Chung-hee, and Ji-man, as well as Jeong Seung-hwa (army chief of staff); in the back row is Chun Doo-haan (head of Defense Security Command), Cha Ji-cheol (Blue House security chief), and Kim Gye-won (Blue house chief secretary). None of his family was present the night he died, though everyone else, other then Chun, was. Jeong was in a separate part of the compound, and had been supposed to dine separately with Kim Jae-gyu that night before the dinner with Park was announced, so Kim entertained Chung separately. Kim killed Park and Cha, though left Kim Kye-won unharmed. At the cabinet meeting when prime minister Choi Gyu-hwa was made president, Chun Doo-hwan would be chosen to investigate the assassination. From there lies the path to the 12.12 coup and the Kwangju Uprising.
To get a better sense of what happened that night, watching The Presidents Last Bang would likely help, as it stays quite close to the known facts about that night, and is a great film, unlike 'An Jung-geun' or '2009 Lost Memories', which are not.