“‘The woman isn’t breathing’
October 20, 2019. A car parked in an internet cafe parking lot in Dazaifu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, called 119. When firefighters rushed to the scene, they found a woman dead in the car. This was the moment when the so-called “Dazaifu housewife assault and death case” came to light.
Kishi, who was imprisoned for 15 years, revealed in a letter the full extent of his “reign of terror.
The body of Rumi Takahata, 36, of Saga Prefecture, was found with multiple bruises on her stomach and legs. The Fukuoka Prefectural Police arrested Miyuki Yamamoto (42) and Tsubasa Kishi (26), who were riding in the car, as well as a former gang member X from Chikugo City on suspicion of dumping the body. Yamamoto and Kishi were later charged with manslaughter and abandonment of a corpse, while X was charged with extortion and abandonment of a corpse. The investigation revealed that Ms. Takahata had been forced by Yamamoto and others to move from her family home in Saga Prefecture to live with them in their apartment in Dazaifu City, and that they had been extorting money from her for various reasons.
Miyuki Yamamoto, 42, and Tsubasa Kishi, 26, were sentenced to 22 years in prison (23 years required) and 15 years in prison (16 years required) respectively at the Fukuoka District Court in March this year. At X’s sentencing hearing held at the same district court on a different date, he was found guilty only of extortion and not guilty of abandoning a corpse, and the prosecution’s appeal was dismissed. Yamamoto and Kishi filed an appeal against the first trial decision, but the appeal hearing at the Fukuoka High Court was concluded in just five minutes in September this year.
In the first trial, the Fukuoka District Court ruled that “the series of assaults were committed with the intent of Yamamoto to subjugate Ms. Takahata and control her as he wished.
Yamamoto let Ms. Takahata live in his apartment while he accompanied her to a host club at night and paid for it. However, the defendant took the liberty of increasing the amount of this “debt,” and also pressured X, who smelled a relationship with a gang, to demand money from Ms. Takahata repeatedly.
In order to comply with these demands, Mr. Takahata was forced to go to his parents’ house to ask for money. Yamamoto and others isolated Ms. Takahata not only from her parents’ family but also from her husband, and took care of her food, clothing, and housing in the apartment.
In the process, Kishi was found to have assaulted Ms. Takahata at the behest of Yamamoto.
“He also seemed to enjoy assaulting Ms. Takahata, so it is unlikely that he was forced to do so under Yamamoto’s orders.
“They carried out a series of assaults through mutual intentions with the purpose of assaulting and subjugating each other.”
(From the first trial ruling)
However, the defendant, Kishi, disagrees with this. In his letter, he wrote that he, like Ms. Takahata, had been taken in and controlled by Yamamoto’s manipulations. I have been corresponding with Kishi since the beginning of this year. He talks about the same kind of “fear-mongering” that Yamamoto and others have been doing to Ms. Takahata.
He said, “Until I was arrested in this case, I thought Mr. X was an active gang leader and believed that Mr. Yamamoto was the daughter of a gang member. At the hands of Mr. Yamamoto, I have been separated from my family and friends, isolated, monitored, and robbed of my money.
I was so scared that the only time I felt safe was when I was sleeping. I thought I was going to die many times.
After four years of living like this, I learned to suppress my emotions and never let them show on my face. Mr. Yamamoto would threaten me and demand money from me if I showed even the slightest displeasure.
According to Kishi, the two men flirted with the shadows of the gang and demanded money from him at every turn. Forcing them to write an IOU was also a common practice. Kishi said that there were others who were blackmailed for money, just like Mr. Takahata. One of them was Mr. Takahata’s brother. One of them was Mr. Takahata’s older brother, who was also being blackmailed about the cost of eating and drinking. When Kishi saw what was happening, he was terrified and stopped defying Yamamoto and the others.
He said, “My brother was being pushed in front of me, and I felt sorry for him, so I said something to him. I was 20 years old at the time, and I had no idea what to do.
I was 20 years old at the time, and I really thought that Yamamoto and X were gangsters, and I was desperately trying to find the money to pay them, saying, ‘If I don’t find the money and pay them, they will kill me.
In the midst of all this, I regretted that I shouldn’t have interfered, and I promised myself that I would never interfere with what they were doing, no matter what.
The letter stated, “The death of Mr. Takahata’s brother’s former boyfriend.
Another person is Ms. S., who, like Mr. Takahata, was forced to live together in an apartment in Dazaifu City. She was a former boyfriend of Mr. Takahata’s brother, and when defendant Yamamoto intervened in the case to solve a problem between Mr. Takahata and his brother, he began to demand money in the name of a settlement.
The apartment where Yamamoto and the others lived was the one where Ms. S. originally worked as a receptionist at a hospital, but Yamamoto forced her to quit. According to Kishi, this is also her usual method. Then, as with Ms. Takahata, he had her accompany him to a host club and pay his bills so that he could get into debt.
Mr. Yamamoto called Ms. S a “housekeeper,” but no matter how you look at it, she was a “slave. The only place she could move freely was a corner of the living room (about half a tatami mat), and she was not allowed to use the bathroom or toilet. He was forced to eat 2-3 kg of carbohydrates a day, sometimes even vomit, in order to “fatten him up to 120 kg and put him in a soap specializing in fat people.
Mr. S, who continued to spend his days like this, became overweight and had an enlarged heart and an irregular pulse. The doctor told her that if she didn’t lose weight, she would die, and sometimes she would hold her chest in pain, but Mr. Yamamoto knew this and ignored her, forcing her to eat carbohydrates. Six months later, Ms. S died of ‘heart failure'” (April letter from defendant Kishi).
After S-san’s death in 2017, the two continued to live in the apartment, with Yamamoto impersonating S-san and Kishi continuing to pay the rent. After witnessing the behavior of Mr. Yamamoto toward Ms. S and Mr. Takahata’s brother, Kishi began to think that if he disobeyed the defendant, the blame would fall on him. In 2019, Ms. Takahata was forced to live with him in his apartment. He was kept on a carbohydrate-based diet by the defendant Yamamoto, just like Mr. S., and died after a horrific assault.
“Mr. Yamamoto is very good at finding out what people and things are most important to them, or what they don’t want people to know about their past. He is a genius at finding out what people want to know. Then, they exploit the weakness they have learned, threaten the person to get money from them, and make the person commit a new crime, making the act a new weakness.
He also threatens, “If you mention my name when you get caught by the police, ……,” and makes himself look like a gangster while cooperating with X.
It’s scary because I see it up close.” (from defendant Kishi’s September letter)
Kishi recalls that what Mr. S and Mr. Takahata, who passed away in 2017, cherished was their “family.
“Mr. Yamamoto’s cliché was, ‘If you want to live with your family, you have to pay back your debts.
As far as I know, there are more than 10 people who have been targeted by Yamamoto and taken money from. Kishi himself was one of the people who were forced to write IOUs.
At the time, Kishi thought about reporting the incident to the authorities, but was afraid that “the name of the person who reported it would become known. Instead, he told his acquaintances that he was the one who was violent and hoped they would report him. ……, he said at the first trial. Was he “enjoying assaulting Ms. Takahata” as the Fukuoka District Court admitted, or was he himself being manipulated by Yamamoto, as Kishi wrote? It seems that the investigation has not unearthed all the details of what Yamamoto and the other defendants did.
Interviewed and written by： Yuki Takahashi
Observer. Freelance writer. She is a freelance writer, and has written many books, including "Tsukebi no mura: rumor killed five people? (Shobunsha), "Runaway Old Man, Crime Theater" (Yosen-sha Shinsho), "Kanae Kijima: The Secret of Dangerous Love" (Tokuma Shoten), "Kanae Kijima Gekijo" (Takarajima-sha), and in the past, "Kasumikko Club: Daughters' Court Hearings" (Shinchosha).