FAMOUS MURDERS IN JAPAN
Isse Sagawa, a Japanese serial killer knows as the Bois de Boulogne in France, killed and ate his girlfriend in France in 1981. He kept the body parts in a freezer and said he killed her because he had grown tired of her and wanted to eat her.
In December 2007, a cross dresser was arrested for the murder of a woman in 1994 after DNA taken from women’s underwear he wore was matched with the DNA on articles found at the scene of the murder.
In June 2010, a disgruntled former temporary employee went on a car rampage, driving a car through the grounds of the Mazda factory in Hiroshima where he used to work, killing one and injuring 10 others. The worker, 42-year-old Toshiaki Hikiji, had only worked at the factory for eight days. After he was caught he said he intended to kill to people out of frustration. Later her said he had a “grudge against Mazda” and intended to “randomly stab people like the Akihabara rampage.” A cooking knife with an 18 centimeters blade was found in the car he used in the attack.
Good Websites and Sources: Wikipedia List of Serial Killers by Country Wikipedia ; Wikipedia article on Tsutomu Miyazaki Wikipedia ; Cannibal Issei Sagawa francesfarmersrevenge.com ; Issei Sagawa Story on TruTV.com trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers ; BBC Report on Lucie Blackman’s Murderer bbc.co.uk ; Blog Report on the Akihabara Killer xorsyst.com/japan/tomohiro-kato ; Dismemberment Crimes on the Rise associatedcontent.com
Links in this Website: CRIME IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; THEFTS AND ROBBERIES IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; JUVENILE CRIME IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; FAMOUS MURDERS IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; FAMOUS MURDERS IN JAPAN INVOLVING CHILDREN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; YAKUZA AND ORGANIZED CRIME IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; YAKUZA ACTIVITIES AND VIOLENCE Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; AUM SHINROKYO CULT AND THE TOKYO SUBWAY SARIN GAS ATTACK Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; SECURITY, GUNS AND POLICE IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; LEGAL SYSTEM IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan ; DEATH PENALTY AND PRISON IN JAPAN Factsanddetails.com/Japan
In February 2008, Kazuyoshi Miura—a Japanese citizen and former president of an imported goods trading company—was arrested on the Pacific island of Saipan for the murder of his 28-year-old wife in Los Angeles in 1981, a crime he had been acquitted of in a Japanese court. The arrest warrant was issued by the Los Angeles police.
Miura and his wife were shot in a parking lot in Los Angeles in 1981 allegedly after Miura gave a hand signal to a hired hitman. His wife, who had been shot in the head, died a year later. Miura had taken out a $1.5 million life insurance policy on her. He was given a life sentence by a Tokyo District court but the verdict was overtured in 1998 by a Tokyo high court because the wife’s killer has unknown. The Supreme Court dismissed the prosecutors appeal in March 2003. Miura was the chief suspect in another murder, involving a 33-year-old woman in 1979.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles said that double jeopardy rulings did not apply to the Miura case because the defendant was charged in two different countries, and the charges in each country were different. Miura hired expensive and high profile lawyers, including Mark Geragos, the lawyer who represented Michael Jackson in his child abuse case in the mid 2000s.
In October 2008, Miura was sent to Los Angeles after a Los Angeles county court ruled that Miura’s arrest warrant was valid. Less than 17 hours after he arrived in the United States he was found dead in his cell. The Los Angeles coroner concluded he committed suicide by hanging. Police said he hung himself with a piece of his shirt. There was no suicide note.
Everyone was shocked. People that met with Miura in his cell said he was calm, requested some books to read. and gave no hints of wanting to commit suicide. The defense conducted its own autopsy and they said their doctor found evidence of beating on Miura’s back and marks on his throat that could have been caused by choking and said “all of this is consistent with murder.” The Los Angeles Police Department said there was no evidence that Miura was murdered.
In December 2008, the L.A. coroner concluded that Maura’s death was a suicide, saying that he strangled himself with a shirt tied to a bunk bed.
Video of Miuru boarding and getting off the plane from Saipan to Los Angeles show him wearing a black baseball cap with the words “PEACE POT MICRODOT” written around it in white letters. “Pot” is thought to refer to marijuana and “microdot” is a kind of LSD. The Phrase “Peace Pot Microdot” is used by some drug users to say goodbye.
Lucie Blackman Murder
Lucie Blackman, a 22-year-old British citizen, who worked at a hostess bar, disappeared in July 2000. In February 2001, her remains were found in cave in Miura in Kanagawa Prefecture. Her body had been dismembered into 10 pieces and her head was found inside concrete. She is believed to have died from a sleep-inducing drug and was dismembered after she died with an electric saw. When the body was dug up the remains were so decomposed that it was impossible to determine the cause of death.
Joji Obara, a president of a middle-size company, was charged with Blackman’s murder. He was seen with Blackman at a hostess bar in Tokyo. The cave where Blackman's body was found is 200 yards from a condominium owned by Obara. Obara denied the charges against him. Nothing with Obara’s DNA was found on Blackman’s body. No blood, where the dismemberment is thought to have taken place, was found.
Obara raped and drugged 10 women—six foreign, including Blackmen and four Japanese—and killed two of them between March 1996 and April 2000. The victims included four Japanese women and five foreign including Blackman. One of these victims, a British woman named Carita Ridgeway, was found dead in July 2000 with a chloroform-induced liver disorder (a kind of of severe hepatitis) after she was drugged and raped by Obara. In most of the cases Obara lured the women to his condominium, gave them an alcoholic drink with a sleep-inducing drug such chloroform or Rohypnol., before raping them as they slept.
Book about Blackman's death: Tokyo Hostess by Clare Campbell
Trial for the Lucie Blackman Murder
In a trial that lasted for six years and five months. Obara pleaded non guilty to rape and other the charges brought against him in the Blackman murder and the nine other cases and refused to appear at the hearings.
In April 2007, Obara was acquitted of all charges involving the death of Blackman, while Blackman’s father’s looked on, but was given life in prison for raping and drugging nine women. On the Blackman case the judge said, “It cannot be determined from evidence Obara committed the crime alone, and there is no direct evidence.”
In December 2008, Obara was convicted by a higher court. of abducting, dismembering and burying Blackman but acquitted of actually killing her due to lack of evidence.
The evidence against Obara in the rape and drugging cases included videotapes made Obara that showed him raping the women as they slept; cholorofm and other sleep-inducing drugs found in condominium. One video tape confiscated by police showed Ridgeway, who was 21 at the time of her death.
The evidence against Obara in Blackman case included: 1) chain marks found on Blackman's bones matched marks made by a chain saw Obara had purchased two days before Blackman disappeared; 2) sightings of Obara with cement on his clothes and hands and on the Blackman she disappeared; 3) sent letters sent by Obara pretending t be a living Lucie Blackman; and Obara’s scanning of websites that described how to dispose of dead bodies with sulfuric acid. But in the end the judge ruled there was no smoking gun and all the other evidence was circumstantial.
Blood Money and the Lucie Blackman Murder
The Blackman murder and trial got a fair amount of coverage in Britain. The press was critical of the ¥100 million “condolence fee” given by Obara to Blackman’s family, which some called blood money. Obara also gave several million yen each to his eight living victims. All eight of the women who survived accepted as did the family of Carita Ridgway after initially saying they would not take it.
The only person that did not accept it was Jane Steare, Blackman’s mother, who was outraged that her ex-husband and Lucie father, Tim Blackman, accepted roughly $1 million in 2006. She told one newspaper, “As far as I’m concerned Tom accepted 100 million pieces of silver. Judas was content with just 30.”
Lindsay Ann Hawker Murder
Lindsay Ann Hawker, a popular, attractive 22-year-old British English teacher, was murdered in March 2007 by a 28-year-old man, Tatsuya Ichihashi, who paid to have a private English lesson with her. Hawker’s naked body was found on a balcony buried in sand in a bathtub near Tokyo in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. Her hands and ankles had been bound with the kind of plastic chord used to bind plants. She had been strangled.
Ichihashi had a previous conviction for wallet snatching. A man who studied with him at the horticulture faculty of Chiba University said he "didn't stand out and didn't have many friends." Ichihashi had stalked Hawker. A security camera caught images of him in the elevator of Hawker’s apartment. A security camera at a coffee shop caught Ichihashi and Hawker together on the day she was murdered.
The Hawker family complained about the investigation. In a documentary made by Britain’s Channel 4, Hawker’s sister said the family had to beg police to investigate the suspect’s apartment hours after Hawker disappeared and said the investigation itself was “pathetic.” Hawker’s mother said, “There’s nobody to help you. You become your own child’s murder investigation.’ Her father sought help from the yakuza who said they would do all they could to find his daughter’s killer, to which father was thankful. He promised to give the gang members a tour of Shakespeare’s hometown.
Hawker died of asphyxiation and the cartilage in her throat was broken. Bodily fluid taken from Hawker contained DNA that matched Ichihashi’s. One of Ichibashi’s lawyers said that Ichibashi told police, “She shouted, so I choked her by putting my arm around her neck from behind. I didn’t intend to kill her.” He said she was alive until the morning and he tried artificial resuscitation to revive her.
Hawker Murderer on the Run
Ichibara was able to elude nine police officers when he escaped in his stocking feet. Police were unable to catch him even though his picture is displayed at nearly every post office and local neighborhood police station in Japan. Many think he committed suicide is some remote place where his body would never be found.In June 2009, the reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer in Hawker murder—Tatsuya Ichihashi—was raised from $100,000 to $1 million.
In November 2009, Ichihashi was finally caught. He had been in Japan since the crime, working construction some of the time. He was captured by police after a picture of him taken at a cosmetic surgery clinic, where he had facial reconstruction work done, was released and widely shown on television and an employee for a ferry company recognized him as he prepared to take a ferry to Okinawa.
Ichihashi escaped from his apartment while police were questioning him. He was able to flee from eight policemen in bare feet. He eluded police for 2½ years and later said in a book he wrote he didn’t intend to turn himself in. During his time on the run he traveled almost the entire length of Japan. The Yomiuri Shimbun reported: “As police searched for him, Ichihashi went on a pilgrimage tour of temples in Shikoku and worked at an engineering company in Kobe and a construction company in Osaka. In Nagoya, he had plastic surgery to give himself a narrower nose with a more prominent bridge.” [Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, July 6, 2011]
After his arrest, Ichihashi wrote a book, "Taiho Sareru Made: Kuhaku no Ninen Nanakagetsu no Kiroku" (Until I was arrested: Record of a two-year seven-month blank), published by Gentosha Inc. in January 2011. The book has been reprinted and sold 100,000 copies. Royalties on the book have reached about 11 million yen. Ichihashi, who has received 9 million yen after taxes, has decided to give the proceeds to Hawker's family. However, Hawker's father, William, said he was disgusted by Ichihashi's offer.
In the book, Ichihashi details how he traveled from place to place by bicycle and train and camped out while on the lam. He said he used a needle and thread to alter the shape of his nose and removed a mole on his face with a knife before undergoing professional cosmetic surgery. He spent some time living a self-sufficient lifestyle on remote Ohajima island in Okinawa Prefecture. "I didn't have the courage to commit suicide, but I didn't intend to turn myself in," Ichihashi wrote.
On his life on the run, Ichihashi wrote in the letter to Hawker’s parents, “When it was hard, I thought her pain was much more greater than this...[I was] working in asbestos, dust particles and excrement. The harder and dirtier the work is, the harder I worked...As I thought this was a punishment for what I did to her I wondered if this would be a repentance of my sins.”
Hawker Murder Trial
In July 2011, Ichihashi was charged with murder in Japan’s first high profile lay-judge trial under Japan’s fledgling lay judge trial system. He pleaded not guilty to murder while admitting he caused her death, saying "I didn't intend to murder her. But I caused her death. I'll take responsibility for it. I'm really sorry about that."
Ichihashi’s lawyer earlier had said he will plead guilty to rape and unlawfully disposing of the body but denies he intentionally committing murder. The lawyer said Ichihashi said he inadvertently crushed her windpipe when he was trying to prevent her from crying out. In his letter to Hawker’s parents he wrote, “I didn’t understand it was real or not at the time. [I imagined] she would come back as if nothing had happened....But when I realized that she would never come to life. I came back to the real world.”
Before the trial Ichihashi wrote a letter to Hawker’s parents—which they refused to accept and regarded as a ploy for leniency— in which he admitted responsibility for Hawker’s death. “I was evil,” he wrote, “There is no one to blame but me...I will take the responsibility. I will never forget about her and what I did to her and what I did to her and you. And I will carry my cross to the moment of my death...I am sorry. I am very sorry. I am very sorry. I am very sorry. I not only destroyed her life but I also changed your lives. What I did to her and you will never be forgiven.”
Reporters from British newspapers and wire agencies such as AP were present in court to cover the trial. Six hearings, including a final session on July 12, will be held before a ruling is handed down on July 21. On the first day of the trial at the Chiba District Court, Ichihashi entered the courtroom and made a surprise move, prostrating himself in the direction of Hawker's parents. He denied he intended to kill Hawker and apologized, saying: "I scared her and caused her death. I'm deeply sorry about that." [Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, July 6, 2011]
The nine lay judges selected for Ichihashi's trial, including three in reserve, are all men. One of his lawyers said: "A number of women declined, citing reasons such as needing to look after their family members. And some [lay judge candidates] were rejected [by the defense lawyers]. As a result, only men were left."
In July 2011, Ichihashi was sentenced to the Japanese equivalent of life in prison by professional and lay judges for murdering and raping Hawker. A presiding judge said: “The defendant’s deed was vicious and committed for an extremely selfish motive...The defendant ran away for a long time and that hampered the work to get to the bottom of the case. His criminal responsibility is very heavy.” Ichihashi will be available for parole in 2021.
Details of the Hawker Murder Revealed in the Trial
The Yomiuri Shimbun reported: “In their opening statement, prosecutors claimed that Ichihashi saw Hawker on a train and ran after her as she cycled home at night on March 20, 2007. He then asked her for a glass of water and convinced Hawker to let him into her home. He obtained her contact information by pleading with her to teach him English. It was then agreed via an e-mail that Hawker would give him an hourlong lesson for 3,500 yen. On March 25, Ichihashi plotted to entice Hawker to his apartment after an English lesson at a coffee shop in front of Gyotoku Station in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. He intended to sexually assault her, the prosecutors said.” [Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, July 6, 2011]
“According to the prosecutors, Ichihashi told Hawker at the lesson he had forgotten the payment and persuaded her to collect it from his apartment, after which he assaulted and killed Hawker by strangling her for about three minutes. "[Ichihashi's] motive to murder Hawker was to prevent the assault from coming to light," a prosecutor said.” [Ibid]
:Meanwhile, Ichihashi's lawyers claimed the two went to his apartment by taxi as Ichihashi did not have money to pay the lesson fees. Ichihashi asked the taxi driver to wait for five to six minutes, but the driver refused to do so. The lawyers said that after raping Hawker, Ichihashi felt regret. When he began thinking how he could get her home, Hawker screamed and tried to flee. This prompted him to seize her to stop her from screaming, the lawyers said, adding that she then stopped moving. They also claimed Ichihashi should be only accused of rape and injury resulting in death as he performed artificial respiration on her.” [Ibid]
“Hawker's parents--William and Julia--covered their eyes with handkerchiefs when a photo showing their daughter's body was displayed on a monitor. Holding photos of the victim, Lindsay's sisters also shed tears, patting each other on the shoulders and arms.” [Ibid]
Random Killings in Japan
Random killings, mostly stabbings, are one of he most disturbing crimes committed in Japan. According to the National Police Agency there were 67 multiple stabbing rampages between 1998 and 2007, with eight cases in 2007, twice as many as in the previous year.
In January 2008, a 16-year-old male student a private high school slashed a passerby in the Ginza district of Tokyo and was arrested for attempted murder. The youth told police, “I wanted to massacre people, I didn’t care who they were.” In May 2008, a 40-year-old man assaulted two boys and a woman in Osaka and Kyoto and was later arrested in Saitama Prefecture.
In July 2009, a pachinko parlor fire that killed five and injured 19 was set by an arsonist who poured gasoline in the parlor and lit it. The arsonist turned himself and told police he did so after he saw reports of the fire on television and felt satisfied that “I’ve done what I’ve needed to do.” He said he committed the crime because he was intent on carrying out mass murder. “It could have been anyone. I didn’t care...I’d grown tired of life,” he said.
In September 1999, a 35-year-old man killed five people and injured another 10 after driving his car into a train station in Shimonoseki. The man told police, “No matter what I did, it never turned out well, which made me bitter toward society.” The same month a 23-year-old man stabbed eight people, taking two lives, on a street in Ikebukuro in Tokyo.
In June 1981, a 29-year-old man stabbed to death four people, including young children, in Fukugawa, Koto Ward, Tokyo in an incident known as the “Fukagawa street stabbings.’
Knife Attacks in Japan
In August 2004, a 47-year-old man stabbed to death seven relatives with a knife and seriously injured another in Karogawa, a town west of Kobe. Among the dead was an 80-year-old woman. The man set fire to the house where the murders took place and was arrested after he crashed his car. According to police the man was unemployed and said he carried out the crime because he had a deep-seated grudge.
In September 2008, a 42-year-old man went on rampage during a shrine festival in Kanazawa and slashed people indiscriminately with a sickle, killing a 30-year-man and injuring six others. The killer worked a s vendor selling children’s toys and reportedly snapped after being teased by children.
In September 2008, a 48-year-old man was fatally beaten in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture by two men on motorcycles who the man had scolded for nearly running him over when they ran a red light. According to witnesses the man and the bikers got into an argument and one the bikers got off his motorcycle and struck the man in the head, the man died o a brain hemorrhage,
In September 2009, a man was arrested in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture after stabbing his sister death “because her room was noisy.”
Man with Knife Injures Five at a Train Station in Fukuoka
In October 2012, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported: “A man armed with a kitchen knife attacked six people randomly and injured five of them at JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka at about 1:25 a.m. police said. "I just wanted to slash anybody," said the man, who identified himself as Kimitaka Nakano, 26, unemployed, of Hakata Ward, after he was arrested at the scene, according to the police. [Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, October 21, 2012]
Nakano allegedly slashed six men, aged between 20 and 40. Five of them were rushed to nearby hospitals. A 20-year-old vocational school student sustained a severe cut on his back, while the four others sustained light injuries on their arms and abdomens. Nakano was arrested on suspicion of assault and violating the Firearms and Swords Control Law. Questioning whether he was truly a random slasher, police are interrogating Nakano to find a motive behind the slashings and other details. [Ibid]
According to the police and witnesses, Nakano suddenly stabbed the male student in the back when he passed a group of seven vocational school students near the Hakata-guchi exit at the west side of the station. They were visiting Hakata on a graduation trip from Hiroshima. Then Nakano entered the station and slashed a 36-year-old company employee from Hakata Ward and another 36-year-old company employee from Kagoshima on their arms and abdomens, police said. [Ibid]
Nakano then allegedly walked to the east side of the station and slashed a 37-year-old company employee from Nishi Ward, Fukuoka, and a 40-year-old company employee from Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, on their abdomens and other areas. The two were chatting with another man near the rotary at the station's Chikushi-guchi exit on their way home after work. Another 30-year-old company employee was also attacked by Nakano, but he was not injured, escaping with cuts to his clothing. [Ibid]
Nakano had long, brown shoulder-length hair and wore what appeared to be a red sweat suit, according to witnesses. Shortly before the incident, Nakano squatted near the station close to the Hakata-guchi exit. He suddenly stood up and began attacking people without saying a word, witnesses said. Noboru Tanaka, a 68-year-old taxi driver, tried to help one of the victims by stanching his bleeding with a towel. According to Tanaka and other witnesses, Nakano stood still with a knife in his hand after attacking the people. [Ibid]
Two police officers who rushed to the scene ordered Nakano to drop the knife. But Nakano walked toward the officers with the weapon. One of the police officers knocked the knife from Nakano's hand with his baton and subdued Nakano with a two-pronged stick. Witnesses said they heard the officers shouting, "We've got him" at about 1:30 a.m. Nakano was quoted as admitting he went to the station with a kitchen knife and slashed a passerby in the arm. When the incident occurred, there were only a few people in the station as it was shortly after the last train departed. However, after the incident, the station was abuzz as dozens of police cars and ambulances rushed to the scene. [Ibid]
Two Killed in Osaka in Indiscriminate Stabbing
In June 2012, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported: “A 36-year-old man was arrested after two people were fatally stabbed with a kitchen knife in a random attack on a crowded street in Chuo Ward, Osaka, police said. Kyozo Isohi, unemployed and of no fixed address, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. The Osaka prefectural police set up a task force at Minami Police Station to investigate the case as one of murder. The two victims, Shingo Minamino, 42, of Higashi-Kurume, Tokyo, a music producer at computer software company Digiturbo Co., and Toshi Sasaki, 66, an Osaka bar owner, were stabbed repeatedly and were pronounced dead at a hospital. [Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, June 12, 2012]
Isohi allegedly stabbed Minamino several times in the neck, abdomen and other places with a kitchen knife on a street in the Higashi-Shinsaibashi district at about 1 p.m., the police said. He then allegedly stabbed Sasaki in her back and abdomen about 40 meters from the first attack. Sasaki was riding her bicycle when she was attacked. According to police, Isohi started looking around, but he then allegedly stabbed Sasaki again as she was lying on the ground.He then returned to Minamino, who was lying on the ground, climbed on him and allegedly started stabbing him again. [Ibid]
Isohi was quoted by police as saying: "I bought a kitchen knife in the area to kill myself. But I couldn't do it. I attacked them because I thought I would be executed if I killed someone." Police said Isohi told them he did not know the two victims. Police officers overpowered him at this point and Isohi did not offer any resistance. The attacks occurred in the center of Minami, the largest business and entertainment district in western Japan, when the area was crowded with shoppers. The district is located southeast of Shinsaibashi Station of the Osaka municipal subway.
According to the police, Isohi bought a kitchen knife with an 18-centimeter blade about an hour before the attack at the nearby Shinsaibashi outlet of Daimaru department store. The knife is believed to have been used in the stabbing spree. Isohi, originally from Tochigi Prefecture, was quoted by police as saying he lived in the prefecture after he was released from Niigata Prison in late May. He apparently came to Osaka to meet an acquaintance, they said. "I've no place to live and no job. After withdrawing 200,000 yen from my bank account, which was all I had, I wondered how I could live. I then thought of killing myself," the police quoted him as saying. "I found my way to the Minami district and bought a kitchen knife because I thought I could kill myself with it.” [Ibid]
A 32-year-old man who works in Chuo Ward, Osaka, said while he was waiting for a friend, he heard someone screaming, "Help me!" many times. When he looked around, he saw someone to the west lying on the street about 30 meters away, underneath Isohi, who was wielding a kitchen knife. Isohi held the knife above his head and repeatedly stabbed downward, the man said. He said, "[Isohi] seemed to have stabbed the victim 20 to 30 times as if he got caught up in the act." While the man was stunned at the sudden incident, he saw Isohi was moving toward him as if searching for a new target. The man, who fled to the east, saw Sasaki on a bicycle going the opposite direction. [Ibid]
He shouted at Sasaki, warning her to turn around, "No! A killer is over there. Run away!" However, Sasaki, who apparently did not understand the situation, had a puzzled expression on her face as she passed him. When the man looked back, Sasaki was trying to turn her bicycle around, he said. The man said Isohi began attacking Sasaki, repeatedly stabbing her back and side while she was still on the bicycle. This happened about 40 meters east from where Minamino was stabbed. [Ibid]
A male company employee, 54, who was on the fifth floor of a nearby building, heard a woman screaming. When he looked down the street, he saw Isohi swinging down with a knife several times while above a woman who was lying on the ground. The man said Isohi left Sasaki, but returned soon after and stabbed her again near her head. Witnesses said Isohi continued his brutal rampage, running back to Minamino, who was lying in a pool of blood while groaning in pain, and started stabbing him again. [Ibid]
A male shop clerk, 45, at a nearby jewelry store, said Isohi's hands were covered with blood. Police officers rushed to Isohi and seized him, arresting him at 1:05 p.m. The man said it all happened in a short time. The shop clerk said in a nervous voice: "[Isohi] did not resist the police at all. He looked vacant as he put his hands on the ground. I was really scared [by Isohi], who was silent the whole time.” [Ibid]
Stabbing in Shibuya
In May 2012, Yomiuri Shimbun reported: “A 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder over the stabbing of a man at Tokyo's Shibuya Station evening, police said. The Metropolitan Police Department identified the suspect as Tomohiro Watanabe, a part-time worker from Asaka, Saitama Prefecture. Watanabe allegedly used a survival knife to stab a 53-year-old newspaper deliveryman in his neck and right side while they were on the escalator going to the Fukutoshin subway line platform on the station's fifth basement floor at 6:10 p.m., police sources said. [Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, May 25, 2012]
"I bumped into the man and got annoyed," Watanabe was quoted as saying. He reportedly told the police he did not know the victim, from Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, and denied intending to kill the man. After the stabbing, Watanabe told police he went to a toilet in the station to wash off blood, took the Hanzomon subway line, changed to the Yurakucho subway line at Nagatacho Station and got off at Asakadai Station at about 7:30 p.m. [Ibid]
According to police, Watanabe said he used a survival knife that had a blade about 30 centimeters long, which he purchased in January and carried for self-defense. Police confiscated a knife that was in a bag at Watanabe's home. The Firearms and Swords Control Law prohibits people from carrying knives with blades of 6 centimeters or longer. Police suspect Watanabe violated this law. [Ibid]
In an effort to identify the attacker, police released video footage of the suspect taken by a security camera. After being contacted by people who said they recognized the attacker as Watanabe, investigators were dispatched to his home in Asaka and followed him when he took the train to Shibuya, where he works. At about 5 p.m., they detained him on a street near the train station. When asked by a police investigator, "Do you know why we're here?" Watanabe reportedly said, "It must be because of the case in Shibuya," and agreed to questioning. [Ibid]
Watanabe lives alone in his apartment in Asaka. The building's owner said Watanabe moved in about 10 years ago. "He seems to be a quiet man. He quit one job about a year ago, and I heard he's been working part-time," the owner said, appearing surprised by the arrest. A 57-year-old man living in the same apartment block said: "About five years ago, he stormed into my home, accusing me of making too much noise. He seems high-strung." Watanabe's next-door neighbor said, "He didn't have visitors, and I rarely heard noise from his room."
Running Amok With Knives in Japan
In March 2008, a 24-year-old man, Masahiro Kanagawa, killed one person and injured seven others after running amok, shouting and wielding knives in both hands, in and around a supermarket near Arakwaoki Station on the JR Joban Line in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture. After he was arrested the man told police, “I wanted to kill seven or eight people . I didn’t care who they were.”
Large amounts of blood were visible at the scene, a testament of the ferocity of the attacks. One witness said he saw Kanagawa attack a man in his 60s, running towards him and shouting loudly. A station master said that after hearing screams he saw people lying on the ground covered in blood. He said he saw one woman helping a man with neck wounds. The man was barely conscious and did not respond when spoken to. Kanagawa was wanted by police in connection with the murder if a 71-year-old man four days before. He had made taunting calls to police, saying “You better catch me soon.”
Kanagawa late told police “I’m unrepentant. I don’t feel regretful.” He had just quit a job. He seldom left his home and is said to have spent much of his time playing ninja video games. He lived with his parents and a younger sister and brother. They family rarely ate together, The father said that it had been some time since he or other family members spoke to his son. Before the stabbing he cut his hair and donned glasses to outwit police who looking for him for the murder of the 71-year-old man.
In November 2008 a man named Takeshi Koizumi killed a 66-year-old vice minister in the health and welfare ministry and his 61-year-old wife in a knife attack at their home on Saitama outside Tokyo and seriously injured the 72-year-old wife of another health ministry bureaucrat in another attack in Tokyo. The apparent motive for the attack was to avenge the loss of a pet dog, which had been put to sleep at a public health center 34 years earlier. One police official said, , “I never imagined someone would have such an unusual motive .”
Koizumi turned himself in to police, saying “I killed the vice minister.” . Afterward police found a knife with a 20-centimeter-long blade in the bloodstained backseat of a minicar he had rented. Evidence such as knife marks in the victims arms indicated that the people that were attacked put up a struggle.
In the first attack the two victims were found side by side inside the entrance to their house. Blood that spilled outside the door alerted neighbors that something was wrong. In the second attack the killer posed as a delivery man and stabbed the 72-year-old victim after he handed her a box and searched for the 76-year-old bureaucrat but could not find him.
Koizumi later said, “I wanted to let the bureaucrats know that if they treated life no respect, they’d reap what they sowed, It was retribution.” He was reportedly unaware that municipal governments rather than the central government—to which the bureaucrats worked —had jurisdiction over public health centers involved with pet and animal control.
Cell Phone Chat Line Killers
In August 2007, three men—Tsukasa Kanda, Yoshitomo Hori and Kenji Kawagishi—who met using a cell phone chat line—abducted and killed a 31-year-old woman Rie Isogai in Nagoya. The three men, two of them unemployed at the time of the murder, met an underground mobile phone bulletin board known as “black-market job center” and discussed their plan to abduct a female passerby, get her to turn over her ATM card and pin number and then kill her.
The three men stole ¥62,000 from the victim using her cash card and ignored her pleas for mercy and bludgeoned her with a hammer and strangled her too death with adhesive tape and a rope and dumped her body in a forest in Gifu Prefecture. Kanda and Hori were give the death penalty. It was one of the few times that the perpetrators were given the death penalty for killing one person. Kawagishi was given a life sentence in part because he turned himself in shortly after the crime was committed.
Dismembered Bodies in Japan
In January 2007, a 21-year-old student in Tokyo murdered and dismember his younger sister with a knife and saw. The student, who had just failed exams to enter dental school, said he was angry when his sister, an aspiring actress, accused him of not having any dreams. The mother found the body parts and the dismembered head in a closet when she returned from visiting her family for the holidays and the murderer was off at a juku camp.
The victim was first bludgeoned with a wooden sword and then held underwater. In the shower in the bathroom the killer cut his sister into 10 pieces and placed them in three plastic bags and hid them under newspapers in his closet. The killer cleaned up the shower so well that there was not evidence if any blood. His plan was to dump the body parts when he returned from his juku trip. He told his parents not to go in the room where the body parts were kept because there was a dead shark in there.
In December 2006, a male torso was found in a garbage can on a narrow street in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo. The body had been hacked in half at naval level and beheaded. The left arm was missing from the elbow down. The right had was cut of the wrist. The man who found it told the Asahi Shimbun, “The area around the neck was severed straight across. At first I thought it was a mannequin.” Later a head was found in a park and the lower half of the body was found at private residence that matched the torso.
Kaori Mihashi, the 32-year-old wife of the victim, an employee of Morgan Stanley, admitted killing her husband. The woman killed her husband by clubbing him with a wine bottle while he was sleeping after having returning home drunk, dismembered him with a say and dumped parts of his body in different parts of Tokyo. Even though psychiatric experts forb both the prosecution and defense determined that she was unable to tell right from wrong when she committed the crime Mihashi was found guilty of murder and sentenced to prison for 15 years,
In 2006, a 21-year-old university student admitted that he buried two other students alive in Okayama in a dispute over a girlfriend.
More Dismembered Bodies in Japan
In May 2008, a severed head was found on the shore of Lake Biwa near Kyoto by a fisherman. The head matched up with a right leg that was found nine kilometers away a few days earlier.
In January 2007, the upper half of a body was found near the Yagigawa River in Ibaraki Prefecture. Thirteen days later the lower half was found distance away in Saitama Prefecture in a mountain forest near Ishioka. In June the wife of the victim admitted murdering her husband and chopping his body into two pieces. Police identified the victim—who appeared to have been suffocated—using dental records and records of medicines found in his body. The wife filed for divorce two months after her husband was murdered.
In January 2009, a 19-year-old boy was arrested fro murdering his 43-year-old mother, 15-year-old brother and 13-year-old sister. The killer had tried to slice off the heads of his victims but was unsuccessful. He did manage to slice open the abdomen of his mother and place a foreign object inside it.
In May 2007, a 17-year-old high school student in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, killed his mother, cut off her right arm and head and went to a karaoke with her head in a school bag in the front basket if his bicycle, Later he visited an Internet café and watched a music video and then turned himself at a police station, saying “I cut of the arm with a saw, just like the head.”
The boy regular underwent treatment for a developmental disorder that made it difficult for him to establish interpersonal relationship. The boy told police, “I was hoping that a war or terrorist attack would occur,...I killed her myself at home...while she was asleep. I wanted to kill somebody, whoever it was. ...I killed my mother as she happened to be the one there. I wanted to kill someone, so it didn’t matter if they were family.” Manga with graphic violence were confiscated from the boy’s house.
In April 2008, a Filipino woman returned to her apartment in Minato Ward looking for her female room mate. In the house was a man in his 40s holding a body part. When asked the man said he didn’t know where her room mate was. When he left she called police. A paper bag containing part of a woman’s lower torso and an arm bone was found on a paper bag in the apartment along with a blood-soaked mattress. The roommate is believed to be to have been cut up with a sharp knife on the mattress.
In November 2009, the torso of 19-year-old Miyako Hiraoke, a student at Hiroshima University, was found near the top of a mountain, A couple days later her head was found. That murder was never solved.
Body Parts in Cans in Osaka
In July 2011, a big deal was made when dismembered body parts were found in cans at several location in Tennoji Ward, Osaka. One can contained a severed foot. In another can—an 18-liter rectangular can doubled sealed with adhesive tape— a human head and two right feet with the ankles were found in three black plastic bags wrapped in newspapers printed around 2006. The remains of a right hand, a left hand, thighbone, shoulder bone, pelvis and backbone were found in another can, which had been left on a street near a parking lot about 100 meters west of Higashi-Kozu park, where the first can had been found. This first can was found by a person cleaning the park.
In August 2011, a few days after he was arrested, a 57-year-old unemployed man admitted he killed and dismembered his wife and son and placed their remains in metal drums that were found in Osaka. Kyodo reported that Yasutaka Fujimori, who was arrested on suspicion of abandoning the body of his wife Atsuyo, was quoted as telling police investigators that he cut up the bodies of his wife and son with an electric saw and kept them in the 18-liter drums until dumping them recently. He earlier said he didn't dispose of any containers and had no knowledge of the whereabouts of his wife, who he said had left him. He had asked the police in May 2006 to search for Atsuyo, who was then 47, and son Nobuaki, then 21. [Source: Kyodo, August 26, 2011]
According to his recent statements to police, after dismembering the bodies, he kept them in four drums chiefly at the home where he lived until August last year and threw them away recently at a park and other places near his current home, both in Osaka's Tennoji Ward. The police have already seized the saw, which is believed to come from a drugmaker for which he worked until 2009. They have recovered three of the drums but believe the fourth has already been collected and disposed of as trash, they said.
Image Sources: You Tube, exorsyst blog
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Daily Yomiuri, Times of London, Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO), National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
© 2009 Jeffrey Hays
Last updated January 2013