Thursday, March 30, 2006

Serial Killer - Tsutomu Miyazaki


Japanese serial killer, Tsutomu Miyazaki was born August 21, 1962, he is also known as, The Little Girl Murderer, Dracula and The Otaku Murderer. In English, Otaku are a variety of geeks or nerds or overly obsessed fanboy/fangirl types focused on anime and manga.


While in Japanese the term otaku has negative connotations, in English the term is more flexible; some fans believe it has positive connotations, while other fans believe it has negative connotations. But back to our Serial Killer…

Tsutomu’s pre-mature birth left him with deformed hands, which were permanently gnarled and fused directly to the wrists, necessitating him to move his entire forearm in order to rotate the hand. Due to his deformity, he was ostracized in elementary school, and consequently kept to himself and began to read manga almost obsessively.

Although he was originally a star student, his grades in high school dropped dramatically. Instead of studying English and becoming a teacher as he originally intended, he attended a local junior college, studying to become a photo-technician.

Between 1988 and 1989, Miyazaki mutilated and killed four girls, ages four to seven; he then raped their corpses and ate portions of his third and fourth victims. The crimes — which, prior to Miyazaki's apprehension and trial were classified "The Little Girl Murders" — shocked Saitama Prefecture, which had a long-standing record of low occurrences of crimes against children.

During the day, Miyazaki was a mild-mannered, quiet, obedient employee — who randomly selected children to kill. He terrorized the families of his victims, sending them letters recalling in graphic, yet mechanical, detail what he had done to their children. To the family of victim Erika Namba, Miyazaki sent a morbid postcard assembled using words cut out of magazines, spelling out: "Erika. Cold. Cough. Throat. Rest. Death."

He allowed the corpse of his first victim, Mari Konno, to skeletonize in the hills near his home, then chopped off the hands and feet, which he kept in his closet, and which were recovered upon his arrest. He charred the remaining bones in his furnace, ground them into powder, and sent them to her family in a box, along with several of her teeth, photos of her clothes, and a postcard reading: "Mari. Cremated. Bones. Investigate. Prove."

In 1989, Miyazaki, while attempting to insert a zoom-lens into the vagina of a grade school-aged girl in a park near her home, was attacked by the girl's father. Miyazaki fled on foot, but returned to the park to retrieve his car, whereupon he was promptly arrested. A police search of his two-room bungalow turned up a collection of over six thousand pornographic anime and slasher videotapes in his apartment, along with videos and pictures of his victims. The centerpieces of his collection were the first five Guinea Pig films; The Guinea pig films were a series of 1980s Japanese horror films with extremely detailed special effects. They later became infamous when the actor Charlie Sheen mistook one for a snuff film and contacted the FBI to report it. They have since been reissued on DVD in the United States and in the Netherlands. Miyazaki used the second film in the series as a template for one of his killings, thus the films were catapaulted to a new level of infamy in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Miyazaki's crimes fueled a moral panic against otaku and anime in Japan; Miyazaki, who retained a perpetually calm and collected demeanor during his trial, was indifferent to his apprehension. In 1989, he was convicted of what became known as "The Otaku Murders."

Following his son's conviction, Miyazaki's father, who had refused to provide his son money to pay for his legal defense, committed suicide.

Throughout the 1990s, Miyazaki remained incarcerated while Saitama Prefecture put him through a battery of psychiatric evaluations, ending with the 1997 conclusion by a team of psychiatrists from Tokyo University that Miyazaki, though suffering from multiple personality disorder and extreme schizophrenia, was still aware of the gravity and consequences of his crimes, and was therefore accountable for them.

Shortly thereafter, Miyazaki was sentenced to death by hanging.

He has remained on death row for many years, appealing to have his sentence reduced to life imprisonment. His life is essentially the same as when he committed his murders, spending his days reading manga and comic books and watching anime on a small television in his cell.

On January 17, 2006, the Supreme Court of Justice upheld the original death sentence. The date of his execution has not been decided yet.

In an interesting cultural shift from the time the murders were originally committed, the news reports of the court decisions upholding Miyazaki's sentence refer to him only as a child murderer, omitting all references to his hobbies. This can be seen as reflecting the changing attitudes in Japan towards otaku in general.

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