Japanese cameraman killed in Myanmar

During a demonstration on September 27, Japanese photojournalist Nagai Kenji was killed while reporting on the ongoing unrest in Myanmar.

Initially, news reports were that Nagai had likely been struck by a “stray bullet” when security forces opened fire on protestors. However, as written by Hosaka Nobuto, an opposition politician, in his blog entry:

昨日の夜、日本人ジャーナリスト長井健司さんが死亡したというニュースが飛び込んできた。当初は、「流れ弾にあ たったのか」とも言われたが、1メートルの至近距離からビデオ撮影中に銃撃されたという情報も出てきており、軍事政権兵士によるジャーナリスト殺害であっ た可能性も高い。

Last evening, it was reported that Japanese journalist Nagai Kenji had died. Initially, it was said that he had been “struck by a stray bullet,” but information has emerged that he was shot from a distance of one meter while taking video images, and it seems likely that this was the murder of a journalist by soldiers of the military government.

Needless to say, there are a number of bloggers who have written that Nagai brought this on himself by exposing himself to the line of fire. And many others have condemned the Myanmarese military regime for its violations of human rights.
One interesting part of this drama was the use of pictures. The morning and evening editions of Asahi Shimbun carried the same picture, but the photo in the morning edition was trimmed to avoid showing Nagai lying on the ground after being shot. As described by blogger coral_island,


Look at the two pictures. They are absolutely identical. In the morning edition, they deliberately trimmed the picture to avoid showing Nagai Kenji and the soldier who shot him. The pictures give a totally different image.

What is particularly interesting about this case is that in general, the Japanese media do not show pictures of bodies. But in the evening edition of Asahi, Nagai is shown on the ground, still trying to film despite being fatally wounded.

Blogger Kyo no My News gives an idea of why, in the Nagai case, this principle might have been waived.


In any case, the TV stations had no problems with showing pictures of a person who had been shot. This wasn't a soap opera. It was something real. But in Nagai's case, he had been shot in the picture, but was still alive. I guess they would say it was OK, because it was not yet a “dead body”.


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  • More needs to be published about this on the internet and in the media relating to this. It is sad that a member of the news media is murdered, intentionally shot from 1 meter, and the news media hardly follows the story in the US. You would think that the news media would realize this is an assault not on this individual but on freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

    Those who condemn him for “getting what he deserved” by putting himself in harms way are not defenders of freedom of speech and may soon lose that right if they don’t defend it.

  • minaung

    not only that person. A lot of myanmese was killed in myanmar.you know that why was he killed ? in our country very difficult to get news.so he chase for real news.myanmar solder after he shoot the person if he die that dead body should send to cematery.but now our goverment told their solder to send to cematery haven’t die yet who is after was shoot by gun.how will you get that nwes. world media how they can show that news.

  • geald

    Noakz is absoulty correct when sayin more needs to be reported about the murder of reporter Nagai kenji. First and more foremost, mr.Kenji was a human being murdered in coldblood with the vast majority of humanity viewing it from their television screens. Secondly, all respectable media and news journalists have a professional duty to report this story as much as possibe. I pray mr Nagai and all the other brave burmese people that have died have not died in vain.

  • Steve

    This is indeed a very sad, sad tragedy. Where might makes right the people are suppressed, oppressed – crushed! Long live the true Myanmar people! Long live the true Myanmar people that love their country and stay for that reason. Our prayers are with you. Our protests are with you! Be it in your heart or in the streets, do not give up. They can kill the body but not the soul!

    God be with you!

  • Thomas

    This is such a sad state of affairs I feel horrible for the people of Burma who have to endure the ruthless tyranny of the evil men that presently control their country. Burma could be a wonderful nation with a huge tourist industry if it had a stable civilian government. Burma has some of the most beautiful beaches in SE Asia and a culture just as rich as Thailand’s. I pray the U.N. or the U.S. steps in and does something to remove these wicked, evil generals from power.

  • seng

    Do not listen to China and any other country who are just looking for their incomes not on people. We should stop the greedy action of them. Because they have been much benefitted by this horrible government who only concern for their pocket money. As long as this government rules, there would be more bloodsheds, tears and trumbling among people. There have been enough bloodshed to judge this government. We need to think of those who are in prisons, suffering in this government’s hand. We need to take action as soon as possible before it is too late.

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