12. A Japanese Porn Actor Protested Political Corruption by Kamikaze Diving a Plane Into a Yakuza Boss’ Home
Lockheed had a problem with its F-104 fighter: it was a poorly designed airplane, that tended to spin out of control. Rather than fix the problem, Lockheed figured that it would be easier to simply bribe foreign government officials into buying the F-104, despite its defects. So Lockheed hired Yoshio Kodama, a Japanese war criminal who became a Yakuza boss after WWII, as a “consultant”, to broker bribes for Japanese government officials. About $3 million in bribes were paid to the office of a Japanese Prime Minister, and millions more went to Japanese defense officials. Japan duly inked deals to buy Lockheed airplanes.
When corruption was revealed, it rocked Japan, and protesters picketed the offices and homes of those involved. On March 23rd, 1976, throngs of news reporters covered protesters surrounding Kodama’s mansion in Tokyo, amidst a heavy police presence. While that was going on, a porn actor named Mitsuyasu Maeno took off from a nearby airport in his private airplane, determined to fly the first Japanese kamikaze mission in over three decades. His target: Yoshio Kodama’s home. After circling the neighborhood and sending a final radio message, “Long live the Emperor! Banzai!“, he dove his airplane into Kodama’s home. Maeno was instantly killed, but the Yakuza boss was in another part of the mansion, and escaped unharmed.