The stunning assassination of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shook Japan and its identity as a peaceful country where violent crime is rare.
The graphic videos and photos of Mr Abe being shot during a lunchtime campaign rally in western Japan had stunned the nation on Friday. The shock turned to grief when the former prime minister was pronounced dead early in the evening.
“You never hear about gun violence here. You hear about it on TV all the time in the US, but not here,” said Ayane Kubota, 37, who was on her way home from work and on her phone to the news of Mr. Abe looked. “This is so not Japanese.”
Erika Inoue, a 25-year-old designer, said the day’s events felt more like a Hollywood script than real life in Japan, where one person was killed in a gun-related incident in 2021.
“I’m shocked by this,” she said. “The shooting part is confusing. Are there guns? in Japan?”
After news of his death, a makeshift memorial began to appear at the intersection of the train station where Mr Abe was shot. People dropped flowers, slices of watermelon, candies and bottles of juice as the crowd gathered to take photos and pause for a moment.
When news of Mr. Abe was announced ahead of Friday’s game between the Yomiuri Giants and the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, screams and stunned voices erupted from the stands. Then the audience fell silent and a 30 second minute of silence was observed.