The Oyama Incident 1937

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Peter H
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The Oyama Incident 1937

Post by Peter H » 25 Jul 2005 12:57

Lt Isao Oyama's death at Shanghai in 1937 has been called the 'breaking point' in escalating the China Incident beyond the confines of the Peking region in that year.

http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/timeline/144chap2.html

There still is a possibility of peacefully settling the present conflict between China and Japan, provided that the latter be ready to accept the former's proposal for negotiations. So long as diplomatic relations between the two countries have not been formally severed, negotiations could be started soon. Now that the situation has become extremely tense, it is imperative to give an immediate answer to the question of war or peace. This, however, does not necessarily mean that it is too late to begin negotiations for a peaceful settlement. It is believed that the present difficulties will be surmounted only if leaders of the Japanese Government show statesmanship supported by courage.

The time seemed to have at last arrived when there would be peace between the two countries. Formal negotiations were about to be commenced. However, the Oyama Incident in Shanghai caused the peace move to end in total failure....

....At about 1830 on 9 August, Lt Isao Oyama, commander of the Western Detachment, Shanghai Special Naval Landing Force together with Seaman 1st Class Saito, the driver, were murdered by the Chinese Peace Preservation Corps while riding in an official car on the road outside Hung-Chiao Airfield in the western part of Shanghai. Diplomatic negotiations, as usual, made no progress. The incident was used as an excuse by both sides, however, and a sharp increase was made in the forces. Eventually this resulted in the clash in Shanghai.


Can anyone verify the importance of this incident?

Photo of Oyama from Corbis.com.
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Lawrence
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Post by Lawrence » 03 Jan 2006 03:56

I too am interested in this under reported incident. According to Frank Dorn, who was a Military Attache in China in 1937, Lieutenant Oyama shot and killed a Chinese soldier in Shanghai after an argument. This led to Oyama and Saito being killed by the Chinese. Can anyone answer, who fired first? Was it the Chinese or Oyama?

Also, what was the extent of the Chinese-Japanese negotiations in July 1937? Were they making progress in declaring a ceasefire?

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Post by Tycoon2002 » 03 Jan 2006 12:34

Is this the Marco Polo bridge incident when Japan invaded? Because in Shanghai in 1937 all out war broke out as you know from the Battle of Shanghai etc.

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Post by Lawrence » 03 Jan 2006 17:16

Tycoon2002 wrote:Is this the Marco Polo bridge incident when Japan invaded? Because in Shanghai in 1937 all out war broke out as you know from the Battle of Shanghai etc.


Well, the Oyama Incident is often considered a pretext to the battle of Shanghai. Apparently, Marine Lieutenant Oyama was killed in Shanghai on August 9th, 1937. Japanese and Chinese officials were in negotations to mediate the fighting in North China.

There have been theories on what happened. Some say that Chiang wanted the Japanese to attack Shanghai, hoping that British, French and American property and civilians would be killed and damaged, thereby bringing the Western powers into the war against Japan. Some say it was a Communist mole under orders from Mao Tse Tung.

I'm just trying to find out exactly what happened. Why was Lieutenant Oyama killed? Did it cause Japanese-Chinese negotiations to break off?

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Post by Tycoon2002 » 03 Jan 2006 18:20

Kingsley wrote:
Tycoon2002 wrote:Is this the Marco Polo bridge incident when Japan invaded? Because in Shanghai in 1937 all out war broke out as you know from the Battle of Shanghai etc.


Well, the Oyama Incident is often considered a pretext to the battle of Shanghai. Apparently, Marine Lieutenant Oyama was killed in Shanghai on August 9th, 1937. Japanese and Chinese officials were in negotations to mediate the fighting in North China.

There have been theories on what happened. Some say that Chiang wanted the Japanese to attack Shanghai, hoping that British, French and American property and civilians would be killed and damaged, thereby bringing the Western powers into the war against Japan. Some say it was a Communist mole under orders from Mao Tse Tung.

I'm just trying to find out exactly what happened. Why was Lieutenant Oyama killed? Did it cause Japanese-Chinese negotiations to break off?


Im not too sure about this incident, but I probably think the Japanese used this as an excuse to wage war against Shanghai, this is also similar to the Marco Polo bridge 'Incident' where the Japanese made up a pathetic lie saying that a Chinese soldier killed a Japanese and hence waged all out undeclared war.

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Lawrence
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Post by Lawrence » 03 Jan 2006 19:19

Tycoon2002 wrote:Im not too sure about this incident, but I probably think the Japanese used this as an excuse to wage war against Shanghai, this is also similar to the Marco Polo bridge 'Incident' where the Japanese made up a pathetic lie saying that a Chinese soldier killed a Japanese and hence waged all out undeclared war.


The Marco Polo Bridge incident is another mystery. To this day, there seems to be no agreement between historians on exactly what happened. Some say the Chinese fired first, some say the Japanese. Some say a Japanese soldier was killed by the Chinese, others say the Japanese murdered one of their own to invade. Still others say a Japanese soldier went out to urinate, and that the Japanese thought the Chinese had kidnapped him, leading to the skirmish.

To be honest, it's doubtful the Incident was premeditated. It was likely a minor skirmish that escalated and exploited by the Kwantung Army to invade North China.

However, it's clear that throughout July the fighting was concentrated mainly in North China and was fought mainly by the Kwantung Army. I'm curious, when exactly was the China Expeditionary Army, which invaded Shanghai under General Matsui, formed? Was it a result of the Oyama Incident or was it in the process already?

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Post by simplicity » 07 Jan 2006 12:51

To Kingsley

One important factor is that Japanese economy is quite weak compared to US or UK. So it needs colony badly to get materials and markets. China is a perfect target.

Since Japanese seized the northeast part of China easily it is really natural to invade the whole China. Previous experience tells the Japanese army that the Chinese army can be wiped out easily. So why don't we take China if we can get it? In this way plans are made.

In my opinion Oyama Incident is just an excuse. Japanese action later can not be organized in the haste. It is obvious that at least they have plans for such kind of incidents. The situation is quite like Poland and Germany.

I will post something on China Expeditionary Army later.

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Post by Peter H » 17 Mar 2007 14:33

From Travels in China,Claude Farrere,1938:

Apparently Oyama sustained fatal wounds from bullets that entered the back of his head, and died instantly. After his death, the Chinese Peace Preservation Corps inflicted further injuries: “His head was split in two, half of his face had been obliterated, and his intestines were protruding".

The Japanese soldiers maintained a surprising degree of calmness. They followed the example set by the Roman police force — the best in the world. Not one of the Japanese laid a hand on either the automobile or the bodies. They summoned the Chinese mayor of Shanghai, and the British, French, and American police authorities, who arrived promptly.The authorities began their investigation. A Chinese soldier had been killed, and his body was lying on the road about 100 paces away. The unanimous conclusion reached after the on-site inspection was as follows.The unfortunate Chinese soldier had been shot in the back with an automatic pistol by one of his comrades. His body was then dragged to a location where it would create the impression that there had been a confrontation, setting the stage for the assassination of the Japanese.

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Post by Peter H » 17 Mar 2007 14:37

A young Oyama as presented in the Japanese press.
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Post by Peter H » 17 Mar 2007 14:38

The car of death
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Post by Peter H » 17 Mar 2007 14:44

According to Jung Chang's Mao.

...Zhang staged an incident outside Shanghai airport,where a Chinese army unit,which he himself specially stationed there,shot dead a Japanese marine lieutenant and a private.A Chinese prisoner under sentence of death was then dressed in Chinese uniform and shot dead at the airport gate,to make it seemed the Japanese had fired first.

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Re: The Oyama Incident 1937

Post by Peter H » 10 Oct 2009 02:08

The car involved,and the scene under Japanese investigation
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Re: The Oyama Incident 1937

Post by Peter H » 10 Oct 2009 02:15

Close up
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Re: The Oyama Incident 1937

Post by Peter H » 10 Oct 2009 02:31

Body removed
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Re: The Oyama Incident 1937

Post by tigre » 27 Jan 2016 17:49

Hello to all :D; many years and still the truth is out there; hence sorry for bumping up this thread.........................

The incident on Aug 09, the spark of Shanghai in 1937.

Lt. Isao Oyama (27 years old), commander of the 1st Company of the Shanghai Special Naval Landing Force and 1st Seaman Yozo Saito were killed by (allegedly) members of the Chinese Peace Preservation Corps on Monument Road in the extension of the common concession at about 18:30 hours on 9 August 1937 (fact). It is still unknown whether Oyama attempted to enter the military airport there. But as it was told in Peter Harmsen’s book “Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze” Zhang Fakui, the commander of the Chinese right wing, said the Japanese marines fell in a Chinese ambush and were killed, after that in order to simulate it was self-defense action, they brought a Chinese convicted to death dressed in military clothing and executed him with a shot in his neck.

Then two versions raised here:

First scenario, Chiang decided to establish a second front in Shanghai, with the intention of drawing enemy troops to the East and Central China Theater, and to seek the support of foreign powers.

Second scenario, General Zhang Zhizhong, the Commander of the Chinese left wing, was a Communist Party sympathizer and staged the Oyama Incident at Mao's behest (with the Soviets behind).

But in the end it is still not clear (for me) whether Oyama drove near the military airport on his own or following orders.

Sources: China Area Operations Record. 1937-1941.
A MILITARY ANALYSIS OF THE BATTLE OF SHANGHAI. 13 AUGUST - 8 NOVEMBER 1937

Any thoughts? Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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