When I saw the news report about the incident, I immediately realized, “It’s Hanamori! I was surprised. The reason why I remembered him was because he was a notorious bully in school. He would sneak around and relentlessly bully the kids he didn’t like. He once forced a child to eat caterpillars and slugs.
So said a person who knew the suspect, Hirotaka Hanamori, 25, when he was in elementary school. On August 28, Hanamori was arrested by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on suspicion of injury after he sprayed sulfuric acid on the face of a man he knew at Shirokane-Takanawa Station.
“On August 24, Hanamori followed Mr. A, a junior at the University of the Ryukyus who worked at a real estate company in Akasaka (Minato-ku), and committed the crime. Mr. A suffered burns that will require six months to heal, including skin sores on his face and chest. Although she did not go blind, she also suffered burns on her cornea and will be hospitalized for two months. The day after the crime, Hanamori headed for Okinawa Prefecture, and on the 28th, the Okinawa Prefectural Police secured him in a park in Nakagusuku Village, near his hiding place.
Mr. Hanamori and Ms. A belonged to the University of the Ryukyus Film Club. In July this year, Ms. A met Hanamori on the street in Tokyo, and he told her that he had called her names in a tame manner when they were in college, and that he had a grudge against her. After that, she was followed by Hanamori many times until the incident occurred.
Hanamori is from Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture. He had a father who was a famous local osteopath and a mother who was a Chinese medical worker. Although he was well-off, he was kept at a distance from those around him. A classmate from elementary school recalls, “My father was busy with work.
“Her father was very busy with his work, so she didn’t have much contact with him. He was good at studying, but not good at sports, and didn’t participate in many school events such as athletic meets. I was floating in the class and was always alone. There were times when I would destroy every single exhibit made by everyone in the class, or stuff live grasshoppers into the pencil sharpener shared by the class. I had a quick temper, and people thought I was creepy.
He was also relentlessly bullying his classmates, as mentioned earlier. The mother of one of Hanamori’s classmates said.
“The bullying of Hanamori was a big issue at the parent-teacher conferences, and the content made us want to turn a blind eye. Not only was there violence, such as throwing rocks and beatings at the targeted children, but there were even stories of him being fed insects and cow dung. He was said to have grabbed the weakness of the bullies and mentally cornered them, saying things like, ‘If you tell anyone about this, I’ll kill you.
After graduating from elementary school and entering a local junior high school and a private high school, Hanamori became even more isolated. He changed his environment at university, and that’s when he met Ms. A.
“The suspect, Hanamori, committed the crime for the incomprehensible reason of “talking to her. There is a high possibility that there was another target besides Ms. A. Before the crime, Hanamori had visited the University of the Ryukyus to obtain a list of graduates, and in April, he contacted another acquaintance who was also in the same circle and hinted at the crime with words of resentment.
“In April, he contacted another acquaintance who was also in the same circle and hinted at the crime with words of resentment. In the future, he will probably be placed in appraisal detention to determine whether he is criminally responsible or not,” said journalist Ryo Imai, author of “The Front Line of Forensic Science in the Metropolitan Police Department.
The suspect, Hanamori, committed the crime out of one-sided resentment. He was so selfish.
From “FRIDAY” September 17, 2021 issue
Photography： Shinji Hasuo Photo： Asahi Shimbun