Tsuda Sanzo (津田三蔵)

Sanzo TSUDA (February 15, 1855-September 29, 1891) was a Shiga Prefecture police officer and an army sergeant. He was also the assailant in the Otsu Incident - an assassination attempt on Russian Crown Prince Nicholai II.

Personal History

TSUDA was born in Shitaya, Toshima District, Musashi Province, the son of a samurai from Ueno, Tsu Domain, Iga Province. He later migrated to Iga-Ueno in Mie Prefecture. In 1877 he fought in Seinan War and was recognised for his great achievements with an Order of Merit.

On May 11, 1891 TSUDA tried to assassinate the Russian Crown Prince, Nicholai II during a trip to Japan. This became known as the Otsu Incident. Following the incident TSUDA was dismissed from his police duties and stripped of his Order of Merit. Although there was no supporting testimony, one of the many rumours was that, upon accepting as truth the rumour that 'Takamori SAIGO was actually alive and being protected by Russia, returning to Japan with the Russian crown prince,' TSUDA feared if SAIGO was alive the deeds of valour he performed in the Satsuma Rebellion would be retracted, so committed the crime. He had a history of mental illness.

As a result, he was imprisoned indefinitely, and transferred to jail in Shibecha Town, Hokkaido where he was to serve his time, but died in jail on September 29 of the same year. The cause of death was acute pneumonia as detailed in the journal of the Shibecha Prison medical chief, which is kept at Asahikawa Prison. Because of certain questionable points on the cause of death there is a theory that he was killed intentionally by the government.