The second in a series of articles which recognises real-life Outlaw Heroes.
The Japanese bandit who was boiled alive
Goemon (1558-1594), was a legendary Outlaw hero who stole gold and valuables from wealthy people and gave them to the poor.
There is very little historical information on Goemon’s life, (outside of what is found in Wikipedia) thus he has become a Japanese folk hero, whose background and origins have been widely speculated upon.
He is, however, remembered for being boiled alive after a failed assassination attempt on the civil war-era warlord TOYOTOMI HIDEYOSHI.
A large iron kettle-shaped bathtub is now named in his honour ‘Goemon-Buro’ (Goemon-bath).
In one version of the story, Goemon tried to assassinate Hideyoshi to avenge the death of his wife and capture of his son, Gobei.
He entered Hideyoshi’s room but knocked a bell off a table.
The noise awoke the samurai guards and he was captured.
He was sentenced to death by being boiled alive in an iron cauldron.
He was executed in front of the main gate of the Nanzenji Temple in Kyôto.
His young son was also put in the cauldron but it is said that Goemon held his child above the boiling water right up to the moment of his own death.
The boy survived, and was duly pardoned.