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[The Incredible Japanese Prison Break]
Aomori, Japan. 1936. Prisoner Yoshie Shiratori had had enough.
He was forced to confess to a murder he did not commit, falsely imprisoned in Aomori Prison, beaten and tortured every night by prison guards, and, now worse, prosecutors were seeking the death penalty. In his mind, it was time to go; but Aomori Prison wasn’t the easiest to escape.
Regardless, Yoshie Shiratori had nothing to lose, and so at 5:30 am he made his move. He knew there would be a 15 minute gap in the patrol time as he had studied the guards’ routine for months; and when the coast was clear, he pulled out a metal wire (which he had smuggled in from the bathhouse) and started to pick the lock. (This was originally the metal support ring that was wrapped around the bathing buckets inmates used to wash themselves).
His hands were stiff from the wintry cold, but after a few minutes of picking, he had success, and his cell door swung open. But he wasn’t out of the woods yet, because there were more locked doors ahead. He knew he only had a few minutes left before the guards would return, and so he wasted no time attempting to pick his way through the remaining security doors.
Now fortunately for him, he was able to make it out of the facility, but the bad news was that he was only halfway to freedom. You see, he was still well within the search perimeter, which meant at any moment the alarm could go off and he’d still be caught.
At 5:45am the guards returned, peering into his cell; and this is what they saw – Shiratori sound asleep in his futon bed. …