Shooting to kill

September 28, 2007

In this Reuters picture reproduced on newspaper front pages all round the world today, Japanese videojournalist Kenji Nagai lies dying in the street, still trying to record the scenes of violence after he was shot through the chest when soldiers fired live rounds at protestors in Yangon yesterday.

 Kenji Nagai of APFKenji Nagai of APF

 It is a chilling image and yet another reminder, as if any were needed, of the risks faced by the thousands of journalists whose  job it is to bring us the news from areas of conflict and instability. At least Kenji Nagai had chosen to be there. He lost his life putting faces to what without pictures are just numbers.

My condolences to Kenji Nagai’s family, friends and colleagues.


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It looks like the soldiers wear flip-flops, that’s strange.

Posted by GDB | Report as abusive

Thank you to all of the Journalists who put your lives in harms way in order to bring the truth to the world. We appreciate you dearly. Thank you.

Posted by Steven Dowling Jr | Report as abusive

I think that this is just bad.The person who killed them should have been punished. God don’t like ugly. But like the bible said you will reap just what you sold.

Posted by Eleanora Smith | Report as abusive


來自avaaz.org所發出的訊息: 經過幾十年軍隊的獨裁專政, 緬甸人民開始起義-他們需要我 們的幫助.僧侶與尼姑開始遊行

Posted by 無差別格逗留 | Report as abusive

Truly a horrible image and yet also one of bravery in the line of fire that rivals any service person. People often low brow journalists, however, without their contributions, the people would not know many of the things that are going on in this world.

The images above show the violence and the atrocities of a cruel and unjust regime.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

This is a sad case..I understand that the job of a journalist is to observe and report and not interfere….but I’m just wondering if the other journalist that had the opportunity to take this picture of their fellow journalist dying in the street tried to do anything to HELP HIM…..

Posted by lisa | Report as abusive

Thanks God for the men and women who go to the edge for the story. My condolences go out to the family of Kenji Nagai. May he rest in peace!

Posted by A.C | Report as abusive

Quite disturbing. However, it’s not so much the risk they face as it is the risk they put thmeselves into. People need to realize that, and don’t’twist words.

Posted by Ryan | Report as abusive

My condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Kenji Nagai. It breaks my heart to see him trying to capture that violent scene at his last moments. And as a Burmese my self, I am ashamed of what that ruthless Burmese regime did to innocent people. How brave of them to shoot at those peaceful protestors. May peace be with Mr. Kenji Nagai and others who lost their lives.

Posted by myo | Report as abusive

it is not surprising that china & russia block any UN action by the security council —

they themselves stand four-square for the unfettered right of the state to conduct extra-judicial murder.

it is so sad that america did not get of iraq quickly after the liberation — because it would now still have the political capital required to conduct regime change on the the ‘Butchers of Burma’.

alas, the lunatics running american foreign policy have botched things up so much that the world might have to wait another generation before the west has regenerated the moral authority to stop (or pre-empt) crimes against humanity by capturing or killing the kind of demons we witness in burma.

sadly, the japanese – as usual – will also do nothing when their citizens are murdered … just like the canadians did nothing when the iranian prosecutor-general murdered with his own hands a journalist by slamming her head against a prison wall.

it is just astonishing how effective the insidious fifth columnist have been – the “pc” crowd, the fellow-travelers, and the ‘useful idiots’ – in undermining the will power of the civilized world to fight against tyranny.

with jihad all through the muslim world, junatas like this one in asia, dictatorships in russia & china —- if the pacifists have their way, then all liberal democracies will be able to fit inside a telephone booth!

i hope that the family of Kenji Nagai appreciates that he did not die in vain … somethings _are_ worth dying for: and getting the truth out is definitely one of them. Mr. Nagi was brave & noble man, and his family should be very proud of him.

This reuters blog should have done three things differently:

1) it should have suggested that reuters create a scholarship at a journalism school in his name (dedicate to studying how pictures can undermine totalitarian regimes).

2) it should have used a bit of elbow-grease & found out the financial information required for readers to send financial contributions to the family.

3) it should have had the decency to stop using the collaborationist words ‘myanmar’ and ‘yangoon\': the elected parliament has NEVER authorized any name-change! …

do you not recall the 1930’s Stimson Doctrine?! (america would not recognize any change effected by political force – eg japanese invasion of manchuria).

the name of the country is BURMA.

and that fact of history can not be changed by all bullets in their army! (which is supplied mostly by china to prop up a puppet regime in order to obtain favourable access – read: corruption – to burmese resources).

it is positively shameful for a reuters blog to pat itself on the back with consolations for the murdered journalist — all the while being co-opted by the very language (‘myanmar’) used by the regime to legitimize its brutal government!


Posted by zahadum | Report as abusive


Posted by KAREN | Report as abusive

Sorry myanmar, you don’t have oil, so the US is somehwat out of this one,

Posted by Honest Abe | Report as abusive

Bless you Kenji Nagai and may peace be with you eternally as the stars in the darkest of nights..

Posted by robert wiedenfeld | Report as abusive

oh my goodness! I hate control freak society.

Posted by tina | Report as abusive

I am so sad to see these pictures. These troops are like animals. They have no qualms in gunning down their own countrymen and fellow humans. Shame on the dictators in Burma. I hope the UN can intervene and help democracy in that country and free the people.

Posted by kishor | Report as abusive

I would like to disagree with Tina on the oil. Burma has substantial oil reserves along with large reserves of natural gas that are now being tapped into by French oil company Total along with PTTEP (Thai owned company).
But she is right about the U.S. staying out of this one. This oil will flow to China, Thailand and India but not to the U.S. Would anyone care to take a guess which two countries on the U.N. Security Council haven’t been receptive to more substantial sanctions to the Burmese junta?
Let us hope that the democracy movement will succeed in Burma. For the death of Kenji Nagai along with the many other Burmese who have died won’t be in vain.

Posted by Vinh | Report as abusive

A sad and stunning picture, indeed. He died doing what he wanted, and in the end, he said more about his life and the dedication he had to his work with that one picture than all the photographs he ever took personally…

Robert M Blevins

Posted by Robert M Blevins | Report as abusive

[…] Shooting to killHe flies through the air…Come in Rangoon…The Special OneWhen is the price too high?Lift and SeparateA Postcard from Singapore IIIPostcard from OsakaPlenty of sand but no seagulls – Labor Day with the PresidentNo Second Chance […]

Posted by » Blog Archive » Shooting to kill | Report as abusive

Mr Kenji Nagai was shooting to reveal truth and the soldiers to supress it. Truth has the tradition of taking lives and the rulers of barbarism. It’s shame to humanity what is going on in Myamaar. My condolences to the family of Mr Nagai.

Posted by prabhat singh | Report as abusive

Japanese life is not cheap. A bullet is cheap. Myanmar life is cheaper. Thatmadaw (Myanmar army) may be a type of parasitic alien that born to eat its nation.

Posted by Khin Ko Ko Ko | Report as abusive

My condolences to Kenji Nagai’s family.

Posted by Shamsul Ismin | Report as abusive

What is the world happening now??? …getting worst and worst…Affect to population, environments and economy around the world. People who have power want to control the world become corruption…Look at now what is going on!!!
God where is peace???

Why not just be peace and quite why? Why?
The world not long to stay beautiful anymore…will end up…not long to go…so sad

What about this?
Power, Corruption, economy, population, environments, many religion, democracy and communist doesn’t matter. Should not be like this in the beautiful world.

Solder Myanmar-governments. Why so so cruel …Life has just one life only, must think of this more. If you are in this situation, wonder how do you feel?

I(Pikki)so proud of you Kenji-San. You done your job and end of your job.
Kenji’s family please be proud of him.

Kenji Nagai-San, God bless you and may peace be with you. Be at peace.

Pikki (Pikkinu)

Posted by pikki | Report as abusive

Armed with a loaded camera. Armed with a loaded rifle. Pointing a lens. Pointing a barrel. Shooting.

Posted by Holly D. | Report as abusive

Kenji San,

I light the candles every night and pray for all those who sacrificed their lives for freedom and for supporting that fight, including you.
I have made up my mind to fight suppression against pro democracy and YOUR LIVES MAY NOT BE WASTED FOR NOTHING.

May your soul rest in peace.

Posted by HOM | Report as abusive


great post

Posted by link | Report as abusive

[…] , inmitten der Unruhen in Rangoon aufgenommenes Bild , welches Ende September 2007 via Reuters um die Welt gegangen ist […]

Posted by BLOG 4 BURMA : Pulitzer- Prize für Foto aus der Kampfzone . Was erzählt uns das ? at in|ad|ae|qu|at | Report as abusive

[…] como afrontó el conflicto. Desgranando foto a foto, la secuencia en la que el periodista nipón, Kenji Nagai, es […]

Posted by » Blog Archive » La historia detrás de un Pulitzer | Report as abusive

[…] Two of the frames showed the man’s face. A few hours later his colleagues in Japan had identified him as Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai. […]

Posted by The story behind the Pulitzer picture « Nepal on Photo News | Report as abusive

This means a Real Journalist…

Posted by Iulian | Report as abusive

[…] Reuters photo blog has a brief on the image of Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai who was killed in Myanmar last week. ‹ Previous Post UGA Magazine Club › Next Post Workshops of […]

Posted by Reuters on Kenji Nagai | Visual Journalism | Report as abusive

Adrees explains the chaos and the sudden gunfire that he was able to zoom in on. No idea who he was photographing or his fate until later. 7/the-story-behind-the-pictures/

Posted by cirrus7 | Report as abusive