Ikeda Elementary School, Akihabara… “The Fearful Flesh of the Perpetrators” Who Caused Mass Murder | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ikeda Elementary School, Akihabara… “The Fearful Flesh of the Perpetrators” Who Caused Mass Murder

Nonfiction writer Kota Ishii delves into the depths of the heinous incidents.

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Mamoru Takuma is sent to the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office in June 2001.

I wanted to be executed after a case like that. I have no remorse.”

This is the testimony of one murderer.

The indiscriminate murders that occur every few years in Japan are not occurring individually, but rather in a chain of beads.

Individually, the killers’ mental illnesses or disabilities often play a major role, but there is also the aspect that they are inspired by past incidents and, as if imitating them, pick up a knife and head for the streets, train stations, or schools to indiscriminately slash and take lives.

What are the effects of each of these indiscriminate killings in Japan, and what kind of incidents are they causing?

I’m disgusted! I’ll kill you!”

Among the indiscriminate murders that have occurred since the Heisei era, one that left a strong impression was the “Ikebukuro Street Incident” in September 1999.

The assailant, Hiroshi Zoda (age 23 at the time of the incident), chose to commit the crime near the entrance to Tokyu Hands, a particularly busy shopping area in Ikebukuro. He grabbed a kitchen knife and said, “Whoa! I’m disgusted! I’ll kill you!” They attacked passersby, yelling “I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you!

The first attackers were a couple in their 60s and 70s, followed by a woman in her 20s. Zoda also attacked three high school students and a middle-aged man and woman. He took the lives of two people and injured six others before he was subdued by several men.

Another shocking aspect of this incident to people was Zoda’s motive for the crime, which he stated after his arrest.

He was “disgusted by the fact that there were people of status who could play and have an easy life while serious people suffered even more.”

Zoda has been tormented by debt collectors since he was young because of his father’s debts, and after giving up his college education, he repeatedly changed jobs while leading a miserable life. In the process, he gradually developed resentment toward society, which exploded into a series of incidents.

At the time, Japan was in the midst of the “lost 20 years,” a period of dramatic social change. Globalization was advancing, meritocracy was becoming more pronounced, and disparities were widening. The disadvantaged were increasingly being ostracized by society, and a structure was created in which they were more disadvantaged. It was around this time that the terms “hikikomori” and “irregular employment” became widespread.

Coincidentally, Zoda’s motive for committing the crimes he described represented the heartrending cries of those who were marginalized by society. Hence, his murderous act caused social controversy and warped sympathy among some people.

Only three weeks after this incident, a person inspired by Zoda committed another indiscriminate murder. This was the “Shimonoseki Street Murder Case” of Yasuaki Uebe (35).

Although he graduated from the prestigious Kyushu University, he was unable to get along with others due to interpersonal phobia, failed to find a job, and bounced from one job to another. Eventually, he borrowed money and started a private transportation business, but this too did not go well, and his wife confronted him with divorce.

As his sense of self-denial swelled, the thought of suicide crossed his mind. However, it was a rarefied thought that was tinged with anger toward society. He thought: “I’m not going to kill myself.

I can’t just die. I will do severe damage to the society and make up for the bitterness and hatred I feel toward it.

He developed a hatred that it was society’s fault that he, an elite person, could not live a decent life.

He rented a car and broke through the doors of Shimonoseki Station to enter the station. He jumped seven people with the rental car, jumped out of the driver’s seat, and slashed at people with a kitchen knife in his hand. The incident resulted in five deaths and ten injuries.

Although the mental pathology that Ube was suffering from was different from Zoda’s, they shared the same paranoia that society had wronged him, and they both used indiscriminate murder to clear their minds of it. This became one of the models of indiscriminate murder from then on.

Takuma’s prison diary. Takuma’s diary in prison, in which he described his depressing thoughts and feelings along with strange drawings.

Three years after the two incidents, a brutal incident unparalleled in the history of indiscriminate murder in Japan occurred in Hyogo Prefecture: the “Affiliated Ikeda Elementary School Incident,” which took place in 2001.

Mamoru Takuma, 37, grew up in an abusive home with an abusive father. He abused animals, molested his classmates, and was even violent. In high school, he was forced to drop out due to assaulting a teacher.

Even after reaching adulthood, Takuma continued to attend psychiatric treatment and committed violent acts against various people, including a woman he was dating. For more information on his pathology, please refer to the book “Mamoru Takuma: A Psychiatric Certificate” (written by Akira Okae, who conducted the psychiatric evaluation), but his ferocity is evident in the fact that he had more than 10 prior convictions before the incident. The difficulty he faced in living gradually led him to develop resentment toward society and a desire to die.

It was around 10:00 a.m. in June when Takuma entered Ikeda Elementary School, which was known as a high-level school. He picked up a pointed knife and attacked students and teachers who were taking classes in the classroom. The death toll rose to eight elementary school students and 15 injured, including teachers.

Killing an intellectual child is punishable by death.

Takuma’s prison diary. Takuma’s diary, in which he described his depressing thoughts and feelings along with strange drawings.

During an interrogation after his arrest, he stated the following.

I thought that if I killed a lot of elite, intelligent kids, I would surely get the death penalty.”

In his eyes, the children of the attached Ikeda Elementary School must have appeared to him as people who were on a completely different elite path than he was. He unilaterally wanted to take revenge on society by murdering these children and leave this world with the death penalty. Such an act came to be known as “extended suicide.

This process, which is similar to the Ikebukuro and Shimonoseki street riot murders, had a major impact on society in two ways: First, it was not a random killing of adults, but of elementary school students at a progressive school. The second is that the murders were committed in order to die.

Until then, indiscriminate murder was a way for marginalized people to take out their warped anger on society. From the Ikeda Elementary School incident, however, the murders were committed in order to get the death penalty (or to live in prison).

The Tsuchiura serial murder case in 2008 was influenced by Mamoru Takuma’s case.

The perpetrator, Masahiro Kanekawa (24), grew up with a father who worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Although he seemed to have been highly capable to begin with, he had difficulty integrating into school life and relationships, as he was later diagnosed with “narcissistic personality disorder.

He abruptly canceled his desire to go on to higher education in his senior year of high school and failed in his attempts to find a job. This was a major emotional trauma. After that, he began a life at home, playing video games and occasionally working part-time to earn money. Lost in a cul-de-sac, Kanekawa despairs of his life, and his suicidal thoughts begin to grow.

–I want to die already.

The Ikeda Elementary School incident had an impact on him. He becomes obsessed with the delusion that he wants to leave this world by committing indiscriminate murders like Takuma.

His first incident was on March 19. He decided to attack the elementary school from which he had graduated, as if he were imitating Takuma.

However, he decided to give up the idea because there were many people at the school for the graduation ceremony on the day of the attack. He then changed his target, pressing the intercom of a private house and stabbing to death a man in his 70s who lived there with a kitchen knife. Four days later, on the 23rd, he entered Arakawaoki Station and indiscriminately killed or wounded eight people there. In total, two people died and seven were injured in the catastrophe.

During his interrogation, Kanekawa stated.

I committed the crime in order to get the death penalty.

Tomohiro Kato was seized by police and other authorities immediately after the incident.

In the same year, Mamoru Takuma’s influence shook society with an even more indiscriminate incident: the “Akihabara Street Incident” in June. The perpetrator of the tragedy, sometimes called the “Akihabara Incident,” was Tomohiro Kato (25).

Kato was brought up under his mother’s abusive and spartan tutelage. He studied hard, but his mind seemed to have collapsed. He managed to enter one of the best preparatory schools in the prefecture, but his grades were not good enough to keep up with his excellent classmates, and he dropped out of school. It is not hard to imagine that this was a major setback for him.

After graduating from high school, he went on to junior college, but things did not go well there either. His work also did not continue. The future that Kato had envisioned for himself as a boy and the reality at that time must have been 180 degrees different.

Kato’s thoughts of death grew worse, and as he attempted suicide several times, he began to post various messages on the Internet.

I got into the top prep school in the prefecture, and the rest of my life I’ve been at the bottom of the class. I’ve been on a losing streak for the past eight years since I left high school.

I want a friend. But I can’t. I don’t know why.

If you get too involved with people, you kill them out of resentment, and if you’re lonely, you kill indiscriminately.

Shuddering posts on the Internet

Kato in high school, when he attended one of the best preparatory schools in the prefecture.

He also wrote posts with obvious murderous desires and murderous threats, but they were rarely taken seriously. This only made Kato even more paranoid. He began to think as follows. After his arrest, he made the following statement.

I became lonely both in the real world and on the Internet. I wanted to make people in the Internet world aware of my existence, so I thought of committing the crime.”

Early in the morning on the day of the incident, he posted the following message on the Internet.

I’m going to kill someone in Akihabara, I’m going to drive my car into it, and if I can’t use my car, I’m going to use a knife… Good bye everyone!

He then got into a borrowed 2-ton truck and headed for Akihabara. When Kato thought he had jumped a string of people walking on the street, he got out of the driver’s seat, ran into the panicked crowd, and slashed them one by one with a knife. The death toll from the incident rose to seven dead and 10 injured.

It is clear that Kato was influenced by the attached Ikeda Elementary School incident and the Tsuchiura serial murder case. Conversely, Kanekawa, who had already been arrested, seemed to be upset when he learned of the Akihabara street riot case. He is said to have said, as if jealous of Kato: “I am very jealous of Kato.

He killed more people than I did.”

He may have felt ashamed that he had lost out to Kato, who had killed seven people, because he had only killed two.

Thus, indiscriminate killings do not occur in isolation, but are influenced by something.

After the Akihabara street riot incident, there have been similar incidents, this time influenced by this one. Just to mention a few representative cases, they are as follows.

The “Mazda Head Office Factory Serial Murder Incident” in 2010 (1 dead, 11 injured)

The Aeon Mall Kushiro Showa Street Fraud Incident in 2004 (1 dead, 3 injured)

Sagamihara facility for the disabled murder case in 2004 (19 dead, 26 injured)

In 2006, one person was killed and two others were injured in the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train accident.

In 2007, two people were killed and 18 others were injured in the Noborito Street Incident in Kawasaki City.

Whenever such incidents occur, the media desperately tries to find out the “dark side” of the perpetrator’s mind, the Internet is rife with bashing of the perpetrator, and the elderly shudder at the thought of what a dangerous world we have become.

I have covered many of these incidents, and what they all have in common is that they have entered the “black box” of society at some point in their lives.

When I went to interview them after the incident, not only their friends but even their family members testified that they did not know him these days and that they had not heard from him in the past few years. It is not unusual to find that the only photos they have of him are those from his elementary or junior high school graduation albums. It is not uncommon for a person to disappear from society for a few years, only to suddenly appear in the world in the form of a random murder.

What we need to consider is the fact that there are still many people in society’s black box. Of course, only a handful of them will ever commit a crime. However, if even a small number of people are influenced by the indiscriminate incidents of the past and may fall into a similar mindset, it is not a problem that can be left unaddressed.

It would be almost impossible to shed light on all the black boxes and solve the problem. But if there is what we should call a chain of indiscriminate killings, there are a number of things to consider, including the way the media reports, the way the incidents are perceived, and the way experts comment on them.

*Honorifics omitted in the text

Takuma’s prison memoirs. Takuma’s inner thoughts and feelings are described.
Kato is taken into police custody immediately after the incident, covered in blood.
Kato enjoyed playing tennis as a student.
  • Interview and text Kota Ishii

    Born in Tokyo in 1977. Nonfiction writer. Graduated from Nihon University College of Art. He has reported and written about culture, history, and medicine in Japan and abroad. His books include "Kichiku" no Ie - Wagakko wo Kajiru Oyasato Tachi" ("The House of 'Demons' - Parents Who Kill Their Children"), "43 Kichiku no Kyoi: In Depth in the Case of the Murder of a Male Student at Kawasaki Junior High School 1", "Kessan Poverty", "Rental Child" and "Vagrant Child 1945-".

  • Photography Hiroyuki Komatsu Soichiro Koriyama Kei Kato

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