From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Akihabara massacre (秋葉原通り魔事件 Akihabara
Tōrima Jiken, lit tran Akihabara phantom killer
incident) was an incident of mass murder that took place on Sunday, June
8, 2008, in the Akihabara shopping quarter for electronics,
video games and comics in Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan.
At 12:33 p.m. JST, a man hit a crowd with a
truck, eventually killing three people and injuring two; he then
stabbed at least 12 people using a dagger (initially reported as a survival
killing four people and injuring eight.
The Tokyo Police
arrested Tomohiro Katō (加藤 智大 Katō
Tomohiro), 25, on suspicion of attempted
The suspect, dressed then in a black T-shirt with a jacket and
off-white trousers, was a
resident of Susono, Shizuoka.
He was held at the Manseibashi Police Station. Two
days later on June 10, he was sent to the Tokyo District Public
He was later re-arrested by the police on June 20 on suspicion of
On October 10, 2008, he was indicted.
The rented truck used to run into the crowd.
Makeshift memorial set up at Akihabara for mourning.
The suspect Katō drove a two-ton rented truck into a crowd at
the crossing of Kanda Myōjin-dōri and Chūō-dōri streets in
Kanda Myōjin-dōri was open to traffic, Chūō-dōri was closed to
vehicular traffic for the convenience of shopping pedestrians,
a practice observed every Sunday and during holidays.
Police concluded it was at 12:33 P.M. when he hit five people with
the truck, after
ignoring a red light earlier that morning.
As some people gathered to care for the victims, he
then left the truck and stabbed at least 12 people, a witness told,
he was screaming.
Police chased him, cornered him into a narrow alley, and a police
officer pointed a gun at him; he dropped his knife and was held
down by the police at 12:35 P.M., about 170 meters
(600 ft) away from the truck.
At least 17 ambulances rushed to the scene as passersby tried to
revive the victims. Five of the victims reportedly went into
cardiac arrest at the scene. It
was initially reported two people died from the attack, and during
the day the death toll increased to seven. Later it was determined
through autopsies that three victims died as a result of being hit
by the truck while the other four were fatally stabbed.
According to police and hospital officials, six of the seven who
were killed were men, including Kazunori Fujino and his friend
Takahiro Kamaguchi (both 19), Katsuhiko Nakamura (74), Naoki
Miyamoto (31), Mitsuru Matsui (33), and Kasuhiro Koiwa (47). A
woman, Mai Mutō (21), was also killed.
Communication records showed that Mutō probably made an emergency
call for police from her mobile phone, though she left
no message. Later
that day, a makeshift memorial was created by a passersby.
life and education
Tomohiro Katō (加藤智大 Katō
Tomohiro) (born 1983) grew up in a suburban
home in Aomori, Honshu.
His father was a top manager in a financial institution. Katō's
grades were considered to be exceptional in elementary school and
was a top track athlete.
He entered Tsukuda Junior High
and became president of the tennis club in middle school. He
started to act violently at home after enrolling at Aomori Prefectural
High School, an elite high school.
Katō was unpopular with his classmates and his class academic
ranking fell to 300 (of 360 students). He failed entrance
examinations for the prestigious Hokkaido University, eventually
training as an auto mechanic at Nakanihon Automotive College.
He was hired as a temporary worker at an auto parts factory in
central Shizuoka Prefecture, though he was
recently told that his job was going to be cut at the end of
Katō reportedly did not get along well with his parents, and
seldom returned home.
An interview with Katō's brother revealed that his parents had put
immense pressure on their studies and performance,
ordering that their homework be redone to standards in order to
impress teachers in school and recalling one incident where Katō
was made to eat scraps of food from the floor.
Another neighbour described Katō being punished by his parents, who
made him stand outside for hours in deep cold during winter.
Previous online postings before his announcement of the attack
contained sharp criticisms towards his own upbringing.
Deeply in debt and believing that his family had given up on him,
Katō unsuccessfully attempted suicide in 2006 by ramming his car
into a wall.
Three days before the attack, on June 5, Katō accused people at
his workplace of hiding his work clothes, and left work immediately
afterwards. Apparently he believed at this point he was going to
lose his job, though this was not actually the case. This
may have triggered the attack.
The suspect apparently posted messages from his mobile phone to
a Web site "Extreme Exchange, Revised",
revealing his intentions through his final message via his mobile
phone 20 minutes before the attack. A
police official stated the first message read, "I will kill people
in Akihabara." Other messages he is alleged to have posted include,
"If only I had a girlfriend, I wouldn't have quit work," "I would
never have become addicted to my mobile phone. Anybody with hope
couldn't possibly understand how I feel," and
"I don't have a single friend and I won't in the future. I'll be
ignored because I'm ugly. I'm lower than trash because at least the
trash gets recycled."
It also referred to "a stabbing spree in Tsuchiura."
Commentators referred to the incident, based on the messages, as
another case with the phenomenon of Hikikomori or Internet suicide. Later
messages revealed his plan to use a vehicle until it became
inoperable, and then to use a knife to continue the attack on
waited out for Chūō-dōri to close at noon to vehicular traffic
before commencing the attack.
The 35-year practice of closing Chūō-dōri avenue to vehicular
traffic on Sundays and holiday afternoons was discontinued after
the attack. The Japanese text on the sign translates in English to
"Pedestrian precinct shall be discontinued for the time being from
June 15." 
The suspect Katō was arrested red-handed on suspicion of
attempted murder after a police officer spotted him stabbing a
On June 10 the police sent him to Tokyo District Prosecutor's
The police on June 20 arrested him again on suspicion of murder
of the seven victims.
On the same day the Prosecutor's Office withheld action on him for
the first suspicion.
While being positive about his capacity to hold the criminal
the Prosecutor's Office decided by June 20 to demand that his
detention for a psychiatric test be authorized by the Tokyo
Katō was cooperative during the inquiry but unapologetic, and
cried at times. Police seized from his apartment empty packages of
knives, their receipts, and one club.
Katō erased all contacts and communication records from his
mobile phone just prior to the attack, the purpose of which he
confessed was to avoid annoying those around him.
Katō later said that he posted the online messages hoping that
police would take notice and stop him.
The knives were reportedly purchased two days before the attack
from a military supply shop in Fukui at about 12:40 p.m.
Katō spent about 20 minutes in the store, purchasing a telescopic
baton and a pair of leather gloves while the store closed-circuit television
captured him talking to and laughing with the salesman and
demonstrating stabbing motions.
Katō came to Akihabara a day before the attack to sell his personal
computer and some software to raise money to rent the truck.
The attack made global headlines and sent shock waves across
shaking public confidence in what is traditionally considered a
society safe from violent crime.
The Government of Japan is now reviewing laws regulating
Tokyo Metropolitan Public Safety Commission announced that the
35-year old practice of closing Chūō-dōri on Sundays and holidays
was to be suspended until safety measures were reviewed.
Konami canceled three
launch events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
in Tokyo, with the "safety of participants in mind" as a result of
Katō's parents gave an apology to the victims in a television
The massacre also sparked many conversations in Japanese blogs
when it was discovered that two Ustream users (Lyphard and kenan) had broadcast
live video streams of the tragedy, attracting a viewership
estimated at between 1000 and 3000 people. No recording has been
saved of the videos, although the event has been written about in
many Japanese blogs and online IT magazines.
The current Super
Sentai series at the time of the attack, "Engine Sentai Go-onger"
(2008) featured transforming daggers as part of the heroes'
standard personal sidearms, called Switch Funshaken Rocket
Dagger(s) (in reference to their rocket-shaped themes). After
the attack, which occurred the day immediately after the Rocket
Daggers made their debut in the series, both Bandai [the company that makes the toy versions
of the weapons] and Toei [the company that produces the TV
series] changed their names to "Switch Funshaken Rocket
Booster(s)" and re-designated them as "swords" rather than
"daggers" out of respect for the victims of the attack, and to
lessen any trauma toward the 6-8yrs audience that the tokusatsu franchise
On 17 June 2008, Tsutomu Miyazaki was executed by
hanging, which was suspected to be a reaction to Katō's
Related or similar
The stabbings occurred exactly seven years after the Osaka
school massacre, where eight elementary school students were
2008, there has also been another random knife killing by Masahiro
though on a smaller scale. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who
visited the site a week after the massacre to offer prayer to the
that he "is worried that similar cases occur about 10 times a year
According to the National Police Agency,
67 similar random attacks have taken place between 1998 and
It was reported that Katō's massacre was "the worst case of its
kind" since World War II "in terms of the number of deaths."
A few days after the attack, police arrested several people who
stated their intention to make copycat killings elsewhere in Japan,
including one case who made his intentions known to popular message
board 2channel. On
June 22 three women were injured by a female attacker at Ōsaka
38-year-old woman later confessed to attacking two of the victims
with a razor. A
19-year-old man who made an Internet threat to go on a June 15
stabbing spree at Tokyo Disney Resort was arrested by
Between June 8 and June 23, 12 people were arrested, and five
people warned, for making threatening messages. The 17 people
involved in the threats ranged from 13 to 30 years old. On 26
June 2008, police overpowered and arrested a man who was found to
have a knife in possession in Akihabara.
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7 dead in Akihabara stabbings
[UPDATE] - Japanator.com - anime blog, anime podcast, manga, anime
wallpapers, pictures, games, movies, and more!
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threatening singer's agency to go on 'Akihabara-like' killing
spree)" (in Japanese). THE MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS.
2008-06-15. http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20080615k0000e040014000c.html. Retrieved
"書き込み：「空港駅で人を刺す」…２４歳男逮捕 愛知(Man arrested over random
stabbing threat at airport railway station)" (in Japanese). THE MAINICHI
NEWSPAPERS. 2008-06-17. http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20080617k0000e040084000c.html. Retrieved
arrested over mass murder threat in Shibuya)" (in Japanese). THE MAINICHI
NEWSPAPERS. 2008-06-20. http://mainichi.jp/select/today/news/20080620k0000e040063000c.html. Retrieved
"ネット殺人予告：１６歳少女を家裁に書類送致 警視庁(Girl posts
'Akihabara-style' mass murder threat on Internet)" (in
MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS. 2008-06-23. http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20080623k0000e040066000c.html. Retrieved
"秋葉原殺傷：犯行予告の書き込み、事件後に１７件 警察庁(Flood of
'Akihabara-style' murder threats posted on Internet: NPA)" (in
MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS. 2008-06-24. http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/akihabara/news/20080624k0000e040058000c.html. Retrieved
"偽計業務妨害：秋葉原事件まねた書き込み男逮捕 池袋署(Akihabara copycat
arrested for threatening Toyko street attack)" (in Japanese).
NEWSPAPERS. 2008-06-16. http://mainichi.jp/select/jiken/news/20080616k0000e040072000c.html. Retrieved
"4 arrested in Japan for Web
posts warning of more bloody attacks". International Herald
Tribune (Associated Press). 2008-06-17. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/06/17/asia/AS-GEN-Japan-Web-Threats.php. Retrieved
"Japanese police search for
female stabber". The
Hindu. 2008-06-23. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200806231110.htm. Retrieved
"Woman arrested over Osaka
Station attacks admits slashing 2 victims with razor". Mainichi
Shimbun. 2008-06-26. http://mdn.mainichi.jp/national/news/20080626p2a00m0na005000c.html. Retrieved
"Japanese police arrest man
over Internet stabbing threat". International Herald
Tribune (Associated Press). 2008-06-23. http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/06/23/asia/japan.php. Retrieved
Sankei Sports. 2008-06-24. http://www.sanspo.com/shakai/news/080624/sha0806241245007-n1.htm. Retrieved
Arrested man identified after knife scuffle with police in
Akihabara" (in Japanese). THE MAINICHI NEWSPAPERS.
2008-06-27. http://mainichi.jp/select/today/news/20080627k0000e040067000c.html. Retrieved