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Airi Kinoshita (木下 あいり?)
Born April 10, 1998
Kumamoto Prefecture
Died November 22, 2005 (aged 7)
Hiroshima Prefecture
Parents Kenichi and Miwako
Jose Manuel Torres Yake
Born February 1972
Guadalupe, Peru
Charge(s) Illegal entry into Japan, Sexual assault, Murder and Abandonment of corpse
Children 2

In 2005, Airi Kinoshita (木下あいり Kinoshita Airi?, April 10, 1998 - November 22, 2005), was a seven year old first-grade student from the Japanese city of Hiroshima, was sexually assaulted and murdered by Jose Manuel Torres Yake (born February 1972). He assumed a false name Juan Carlos Pizarro Yagi. Yake was wanted for a child sexual abuse charge at that time in Peru.[1]



An autopsy revealed that she had been murdered within 90 minutes of leaving school at lunchtime on Tuesday, November 22, 2005. She died of suffocation caused by pressure to the neck. A local resident spotted the tape bound cardboard box in which her body was found in a vacant lot in Hiroshima's Aki Ward. The box had been used as packaging for an oven sold in Higashi. Police said they suspected her killer lured Airi away as she was walking home and strangled her soon afterwards. Her schoolbag was found alongside a road about 300 meters away. She had been carrying a 'crime prevention buzzer' but it was missing when her body was found.

300 people attended her funeral in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture, her father Kenichi's hometown. The mourners included Ground Self-Defense Force members who served with Kenichi. "I was deeply shocked when I was told by police that she was probably murdered," Kenichi said in an address during the funeral. "I feel animosity toward the person who committed the crime. I hope the culprit is caught soon."

Arrest and trial

Japanese police arrested Yake on November 30, 2005. He insisted that he was Peruvian of Japanese descent. Japanese mass media suspected that the criminal was an Otaku before his arrest, but it was completely denied by the arrest.

At first Airi's real name was reported on Japanese mass media. However when it was revealed that she had been sexually assaulted the Japanese media stopped reporting her real name. In many child murder cases where a young child has also been sexually assaulted the victim's real name is usually taboo for the bereaved. For example, the name Kaede Ariyama was hidden by Japanese mass media, though the bereaved announced her name and picture in September 2006.

Despite this, Airi's relatives wanted her real name to be reported. On June 26, 2006, her father Kenichi said:

"Airi is not 'a Hiroshima first-grader.' She lived here. It is all right to use her name."[2]

After this speech, Japanese mass media resumed reporting Airi's real name. The speech made the name Airi Kinoshita famous in Japan.

On July 4, 2006, the Hiroshima District Court sentenced Yake to life imprisonment for sexually assaulting and killing the girl, citing his haphazardness.[3] He had dumped the girl's body close to his apartment. Prosecutors appealed against the leniency of the sentence, demanding the death penalty. On December 9, 2008, the Hiroshima High Court reversed and remanded the original verdict.[4]


Kinoshita's death caused parents to panic in Japan which had been claimed a "safe society".[5]

105 children under 13 were murdered in Japan in 2005, a fall of six from 111 in 2004 and down from a record 121 in 1998 but still one of the highest levels of the last decade. There were 72 reported rape cases of child rape in 2005, down from 74 the previous year. Overall crime rates declined for the third consecutive year in the year of her death, with the number of penal code offences known to police falling by 8.8 percent, to 3,125,216 cases among Japan's 127 million people. The ministry said it remained concerned by the recidivism rate of sex offenders. Of those released in 1999 and followed for five years, 39.9 percent were arrested again on some charge.

Yake faced a child sexual charge in Peru, and so the incident also gave influence on Latin America. A journalist Kent Paterson indicated him into debates of femicides in Latin America.[6]

See also


External links

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