Criminal Psychology Professor Who Murdered His Wife Sent to Rehabilitation | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Criminal Psychology Professor Who Murdered His Wife Sent to Rehabilitation

No.3 Appeal against a 7-year prison sentence! The "crazy world" into which the cornered elite escaped

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On June 22, the day the verdict was handed down, there was a line in front of the Saitama District Court demanding a ticket to the hearing

Tadashi Asano, a former associate professor at Bunkyo University who stabbed his wife to death in front of the Saitama Prefectural Office at 18:02 on March 16, 2020, was sentenced to seven years in prison on June 22 after six deliberations. This was three days before the defendant’s 54th birthday.

Asano and his wife were classmates when they began working for the Ministry of Justice in 1995; they met during their second year of training, fell in love, and married in 1998. His wife, Hoyo, could never have imagined that 22 years later she would be murdered by her husband, who was two years younger than her.


The couple was blessed with three daughters, and the period of their harmonious life together passed. Asano began consulting a lawyer about divorce, rented an apartment in Noborito, Kawasaki City, where their second daughter could easily commute, and chose to live separately.

Soon his relationship with his second daughter deteriorated, and he said, “My wife and my second daughter are colluding to take away my property. They are trying to force me to commit suicide.” He felt that “a serious game of kill or be killed had begun,” and he decided to commit the crime.

At the time of the incident, Asano was in the hospital suffering from depression and had been suffering from delusional disorder. The prosecution stated , “Although he was mentally weak, he was not so urgent that he directly came to kill his wife and second daughter. He committed the crime in a selfish and self-centered manner,” and sought 10 years in prison.

On the other hand, Asano’s lawyer said, “There is no doubt that a delusion exists. It is precisely because the delusion developed mysteriously that it led to the incident. There is a large discrepancy between the defendant’s personality, who was regarded as a “perfect teacher” at Bunkyo University, and his actions. It was the delusion that led a mild-mannered man to murder his wife. If he had been able to control his behavior, he would not have bought a kitchen knife (as a murder weapon) or made a note. Mr. Asano needs to be treated under medical observation. He needs treatment, not punishment,” he said, pleading not guilty.

Saitama District Court Judge Kenji Koike emphasized the findings of Dr. Nei Nishikawa, who appeared before the court for the fifth time. Dr. Nishikawa’s findings were : “Due to the effects of delusional disorder, Asano’s vision became narrowed and he committed the crime, but he hesitated to kill his second daughter once and was able to make a logical judgment. He had a certain amount of thought left in his head. We do not find that he was under the overwhelming influence of delusions,” he said.

After reading the main text, Judge Koike turned to the defendant and asked, “Mr. Asano, do you understand the verdict?” When Tadashi Asano responded, “Yes,” the judge said.

“The court’s judgment is that you were capable of making normal judgments. I believe that you will receive medical treatment in the future. When you are able to think about the act of murdering someone you once felt affection for, I am sure you will suffer, but I hope you will reconsider what you have caused by serving the sentence. As for your future, please consult with your lawyer very carefully.”


Tadashi Asano always wore the same clothes, both during the six rounds of deliberations and on the day he was sentenced. He wore a white mask that covered more than half of his face and a head of gray hair that looked like it had grown out of a sports crop. He wore a light brown jacket with prominent wrinkles, a black and white checked shirt, and brown slacks. The jacket, black and white checked shirt, and brown slacks were out of place in the early summer, let alone in March, the month of his wife’s murder.

I attended the entire trial on the case, and Asano’s eyes were vacant and vacant throughout, indicating that his illness was serious. On the other hand, during the fourth questioning of the accused during the deliberations on May 24, he spoke with surprising clarity, explaining his history and the circumstances of the murder. In particular, he responded in a bouncy voice when he talked about his time studying at Southern Illinois University while working for the Ministry of Justice.

The sheer transformation left a lasting impression on me. And Asano’s statement, “Even now, I can’t stop myself from wanting to kill my second daughter,” was startling.

Defendant Asano being sent to prosecution
I recently asked the opinion of attorney Jiro Makino, who has handled numerous civil and criminal cases and has taught at Chuo University, University of Yamanashi, Ryukoku University, and the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo. Attorney Makino prefaced his opinion by saying, “I have not met the defendant himself directly, so this is only an inference based on the scope of the news report.

“Criminals and murderers are often thought of as barbaric people, but I don’t think that is the case with Mr. Tadashi Asano. He must have studied incredibly hard and have a strong sense of elitism, but I feel that he has developed a world of madness, a mixture of malice, obsession, and hatred.”

“That’s why we have to do a thorough medical appraisal and figure out what kind of treatment is most desirable. It’s not just about whether he had the mere capacity to will or not, but deeper than that, whether he should be put in jail or not. In short, it’s fine if he is someone who can understand pain, but there is no denying that if you give him pain, he may become more insane and come out as a more dangerous person. I think that because he is an elite, he may have a factor that makes him even more dangerous than a regular criminal when he goes insane. We really need to be very careful.”

“He won’t be cured in a regular prison unless he is given medical treatment in a medical prison or something so that his personality can be properly restored to normality and objectivity. That’s why I think it’s so important for doctors to be properly objective.”

During questioning of the defendant, when Asano’s lawyer mentioned that Asano had passed the entrance exam for the sociology department of Hitotsubashi University from Gifu Prefectural High School, Asano replied, “I chose Hitotsubashi because the deviation score was just right and it looked like I could do many things there.” However, his mother said, “I wanted him to go to a university at least as far away as Nagoya, where our family can commute, instead of Tokyo, which is far away and where I don’t know anyone.”


Asano’s mother, concerned about her son’s depression, moved to Tokyo from Gifu for a short time to live with her granddaughter (Asano’s second daughter) and the three of them in Noborito. This is where the character of the defendant, who received plenty of parental love, emerges. Makino said,

“He is a prominent local figure, and I think he has a strong sense that he is the elite of the elite. I think it’s a reflection of the fact that he feels that his wife, who ignores his superiority, doesn’t recognize him. Perhaps the second daughter, too, has no ability to look at things objectively, because she identifies with her mother and responds to her coldly, which turns into hatred and makes her feel that there is something wrong with her. It seems to me that his personality has been broken by his elitist consciousness, and the reaction is directed toward his wife and children. If you don’t figure that part out properly, no matter how much you chastise him, you will only feel hatred. If he is on parole, he will be out in 5 years. The elites are smart enough to know how to pander to the prison guards so they can get out sooner.”

If you are a model prisoner who lives a disciplined and diligent life, you will be out in four to five years. At that time, will Asano still have the desire to kill his second daughter? Or has he come to his senses?

Asano appealed the verdict handed down by the Saitama District Court. Will the day ever come when he will be able to think about the act of killing someone he once felt affection for?

(Honorifics omitted in the text)

  • Interview and text by Soichi Hayashi

    Born in 1969. Passed the professional boxing test as a junior lightweight, but suffered an injury to his left elbow. After working as a reporter for a weekly magazine, he became a nonfiction writer and educator, teaching at a public high school in the U.S. He graduated from the Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, the University of Tokyo in 2014. He is the author of "Minority Fist," "America Lower Level Education Site," and "America Problem Child Regeneration Classroom" (all Kobunsha e-books), "God's Ring," "The Door to the World: Forward! Samurai Blue" and "Hohoite to Nurture Coaching" (all published by Kodansha).

  • Photography Shinji Hasuo

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