Wife Killed by Criminal Psychologist Husband Writes: “Anger at Husband”
Why did Tadashi Asano, a former associate professor at Bunkyo University who met the defendant at the Ministry of Justice, and his wife have to end up like this?
The Saitama District Court (presided over by Kenji Koike) is holding a jury trial against Tadashi Asano, 53, a former associate professor at Bunkyo University, who was charged with murder and other crimes for stabbing his wife, 53, to death on a street in Saitama City in 2020.
On March 16 of the same year, the defendant ambushed his estranged wife, who worked at the Saitama Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, near her government building. As soon as he saw her riding a bicycle toward Urawa, he allegedly grabbed the rear of the bicycle, knocked her down, and stabbed her in the chest with a kitchen knife, killing her.
At the time of his arrest, it was reported that an investigation was underway, with marital problems believed to have been behind the incident. At the trial, however, it was revealed that the defendant had developed a “delusional disorder” prior to the incident. He had been harboring one-sided hatred toward his wife and family under the influence of delusions.
There is no doubt that I killed them. My wife and second daughter were trying to make me kill myself.
Asano said at his arraignment in his first trial on May 13. The story that his family was trying to make him commit suicide is a delusion. There is no dispute about that. At trial, the prosecution argued that the defendant was suffering from delusional disorder at the time and was in a state of diminished mental capacity. The defense, on the other hand, argued that the defendant was under the overwhelming influence of a delusional disorder and was insane at the time, and pleaded not guilty.
According to his opening statement and the evidence, the defendant originally worked for the Ministry of Justice, and met and married his wife, who worked for the Ministry as a legal technical officer. They have three daughters. The defendant later retired and went into research. At the time of the incident, he was an associate professor specializing in clinical and criminal psychology. However, the couple gradually became “dissatisfied with each other in terms of their attitude toward life and child-rearing, and their relationship deteriorated” (from the prosecution’s opening statement).
In the spring of 2019, the family moved to a government housing complex in Saitama City due to a change in his wife’s place of employment. In September of the same year, only the defendant and their second daughter moved to Kanagawa Prefecture, leaving the couple living separately. The couple moved to a new location because it was convenient for their second daughter, who was a student at the time, to commute to school.
In October of the same year, the defendant began to feel unwell and visited a psychiatrist, where she was diagnosed as “depressed” and prescribed medication. His symptoms did not improve, and “by January 2020 at the latest, he began to believe that his wife and second daughter were driving him and trying to rob him of his property due to mental anxiety and stress” (from the prosecution’s opening statement).
The following month, the defendant moved alone to Saitama Prefecture, and his second daughter returned to his wife, but it was around this time that he began to harbor murderous thoughts toward her. He made repeated preparations, including purchasing a kitchen knife, and in March, he committed the crime.
According to the opening statement by the defense, the defendant began to feel a mental disorder because “his wife stopped talking to him after they moved to Saitama City.
I wrote to her many times, saying that my words and actions might have hurt her, but she never took any notice of me. My anxiety increased. I thought that if I moved out with my second daughter and stayed away from my wife, my anxiety would subside, but even after we moved out, I never felt at ease” (opening statement by the defense).
When a credit card used by his wife was debited from the defendant’s account, he thought that his property might be taken, and when the phone he left at home was misplaced, he began to suspect that his second daughter might be looking at his phone.
During questioning of the accused on May 24, Asano also spoke of this “perception of himself.
One time, the day after I attempted suicide, the door to my room was left open. …… I thought that my second daughter was probably telling my wife that I had tried to kill myself. Then I left the door open and told her to do it and get it over with, and I thought my wife was …… accordingly and my second daughter was doing so. I felt fear like I had never felt before.”
The defendant, who was trapped in the “delusion” that his second daughter, who lived with him, was working for his wife and pushing him into a corner, thought that every casual word and action of his second daughter was “a message from his wife and second daughter,” and was terrified of her.
Of course, she had no intention of doing so. The second daughter, who appeared as a witness at the trial on the 17th of the same month, stated, “At the time, I was at school and working part-time, so I didn’t pay attention to my father’s condition, so I didn’t think anything of it at all. She was not aware that the defendant was delusional, nor did she seem to realize that her own words and actions were making him suspicious.
Not only his second daughter, but also his workplace and other family members were unaware of his delusions. Even the psychiatrist that the defendant attended diagnosed him as “depressed,” and the delusional disorder went unnoticed, and the incident occurred.
Furthermore, the defendant still harbors delusions, and he describes his feelings toward his second daughter and wife in a questioning of the defendant: “I heard my second daughter’s testimony, and it was like a whole new world.
When I heard the second daughter’s testimony, overall, I thought she was lying, that she was speaking so as not to arouse suspicion against her. I thought she was protecting my wife and saying things that were not true. I still have anger toward my second daughter, and I still feel like I want to kill her.”
The trigger for the defendant’s mental illness was his feeling that “my wife stopped talking to me one day. Although he could no longer hear his wife’s thoughts at that time, there was only one piece of evidence that showed his wife’s feelings toward the defendant. It was a text left in the “notepad” of his wife’s smartphone. It was made in the middle of the night seven months before the incident.
She was always closing the sliding door with a loud noise, complaining and berating me for not doing the housework. She got angry when I didn’t take her daughter to daycare, and said she felt ‘suffocated’ when I was home. If I was in a position to leave, I would always leave. …… You always say, ‘I don’t have time to write papers,’ and then go to bed, go to the swimming pool, learn English conversation, and do whatever you want. This is the government building where I live, and yet, I have never had my own room……I complain all night long that I don’t get my way……” (part of his wife’s text read into evidence).
During questioning, the second daughter was asked by the prosecutor what kind of father the defendant was, and she stated.
She said, “It’s hard to put it in one word, but if I had to, he was kind of a strange guy. If he didn’t get his way, he would get sick of everything. When he gets angry, he shouts or goes to bed in a huff. He often blamed others.”
The defendant felt that his wife “suddenly stopped talking to him.” However, according to the testimony of his family members, it is possible that the defendant was the only one who thought it was “sudden. When asked about his wife’s note that was read to him, the defendant stated.
I thought it was something like this. I mean, the reason why she wouldn’t talk to me, it’s weird to say, but it’s just the usual stuff. I was honestly surprised, because I thought there was some deeper-seated resentment or something, and that she wouldn’t talk to me.
Perhaps it was because he dismissed his wife’s anger over his life with the defendant as “nothing like this” that he did not understand why she had stopped talking to him.
The prosecutor is seeking 10 years in prison for the defendant, who still has clear intent to kill his second daughter. The verdict will be announced shortly.
Interview and text by： Yuki Takahashi
Bystander. Freelance writer. Author of "Tsukebi no Mura: Did a Rumor Kill Five People?" (Shobunsha), "Runaway Senior Citizen, Crime Theater" (Yoizensha Shinsho), "Kanae Kijima, Dangerous Love" (Tokuma Shoten), "Kanae Kijima Theater" (Takarajimasha), and many other books based on interviews and trial hearings of murder cases, including the older "Kasumikko Club: Daughters' Trial Hearing Diary" (Shinchosha). Confessions of Escaped Criminals" (Shogakukan) was newly published.