This week in Beijing, the trial began for a 45-year-old man accused of killing a man with a samurai sword after he picked a fight with the man’s 23-year-old son. The incident occurred on October 19 last year and started over an argument on the bus.

The father and son from Hebei Province were staying in Beijing as migrant workers. According to the son, he was riding on the bus when the person sitting behind him began kicking the back of his chair. He complained and the argument escalated. He says the man and his friends began hitting and kicking him, until they were separated by the driver and other passengers.

The son then phoned his father, asking him to wait at the bus stop. He said, “I was afraid they would follow me off the bus and start something again, so I wanted my father and some others to meet me at my stop.”

The father went to the bus stop, bringing a samurai sword along with him. When his son alighted, the other men from the bus did as well, surrounding the pair.

According to the father, he didn’t intend to use the sword, but since he’d heard there were a lot of men in this group, he thought he could use it to scare them off. He scolded the men, saying “What do you go around hitting people for?”

One of the men responded, “Because we want to,” and punched the father in the stomach. Then there was a scuffle, during which several of the men produced knives and the son grabbed a discarded stick. During the melee, the father struck one of the men with the sword, who later died from his injuries.

According to his deposition, the father brought the sword but it never occurred to him that the men might try to rush him. However, witnesses reported seeing the father stab the man with intend. In the courtroom, the parents of the deceased asked why he hadn’t tried to stop the fight, rather than participating. He responded, “I made a mistake. I was upset because they had hit my son.”

In a bizarre footnote to an already bizarre story, when the incident was reported in one Japanese media source, it was accompanied by a very long editor’s note about the terminology used to describe the sword. It reads:

In the Chinese media, the sword in question was referred to not just as a “Japanese sword”, but as a “Japanese samurai sword.” There are some people in China who have authentic samurai swords and keep them as valuable artworks. However, the swords in China are for the most part not samurai swords, but rather swords previously belonging to Japanese military. These swords were forged in the Showa era (starting 1926) and are not valuable.

It is unknown whether the sword used in the incident actually came from Japan or if it was a replica.

In the West, references to “samurai” often have a positive connotation with chivalry or a martial spirituality. However, in China, the term is often associated with Japanese cruelty and militarism. This rash of articles talking about “bloodshed with a Japanese samurai sword,” regardless of whether the sword is actually even Japanese, is likely to further exacerbate anti-Japanese feeling in the region.

Well, I’m glad we cleared that up…

Source: Niconico News