Japan is among the most peaceable nations in all the world. Final yr, the nation hit a report low variety of crimes, with simply 915,111 in whole.[1] A lot of this decline was primarily based on a shrinking variety of thefts. It due to this fact appears that almost all of Japan’s crime is related to some type of larceny.

Means again in 2000, theft may need been the motivation for an much more disturbing crime—the homicide of a complete household. In a rustic the place mass homicides are uncommon, the homicide of the younger Miyazawa household shocked Japan to its core. Regardless of an enormous manhunt and numerous hours of investigation, the Japanese police by no means managed to apprehend the person accountable for the brutal slayings.

The following record discusses in-depth one of many Far East’s most puzzling homicide mysteries.

10 The Murders

On December 30, 2000, the Miyazawa household loved a quiet night at dwelling. It was the time of the New Yr, which is a really, very huge deal in Japan. The father, 44-year-old Mikio Miyazawa, briefly surfed the Web whereas his spouse, 41-year-old Yasuko, watched tv. Yasuko was joined by her daughter, eight-year-old Niina. The household’s different youngster, six-year-old Rei, was by himself upstairs.

The household’s dwelling was positioned within the Setagaya part of Tokyo. Whereas Tokyo is among the largest and busiest cities on the planet, Setagaya is considerably reclusive and undoubtedly quiet. The Miyazawa household solely had two neighbors.

The subsequent day, on December 31, Yasuko’s mom known as upon her daughter and grandchildren. When nobody answered her repeated calls on the house’s intercom system, she used a key to let herself into the house. To her horror, she discovered Mikio’s corpse. He had been stabbed to dying.[2] The different family members had been additionally discovered lifeless by the traumatized grandmother.

9 The Forensic Proof, Half 1

At 10:38 PM on the night time of the murders, Mikio Miyazawa opened up a piece e-mail whereas utilizing the household’s pc. Since this e-mail was password-protected, police investigators deduced that Mikio was undoubtedly the person who opened it. That is the final identified time that Mikio Miyazawa was nonetheless alive.

Round that very same time, an eyewitnesses strolling by the park that ran straight behind the Miyazawas’ home claimed to have heard the sounds of a household argument. The sounds, the eyewitness mentioned, had been coming from the Miyazawa home. One other eyewitness mentioned that they noticed some unidentified man run behind the Miyazawa home.[3]

As soon as the Tokyo Metropolitan Police entered the Miyazawa dwelling on December 31, they found that the killer or killers had reduce the household’s cellphone traces and had entered the house through an upstairs window. In addition they famous that Mikio had been strangled and stabbed a number of occasions and was discovered mendacity on the foot of the staircase resulting in the house’s second flooring. On the second flooring, the our bodies of Yasuko and Niina had been discovered. Each had died from a number of stab wounds. Investigators famous that Yasuko and Niina’s wounds had been extra “savage” and plentiful than the stab wounds discovered on Mikio’s corpse. This make them suspect that the killer harbored a hatred towards girls.

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Not like the others, Rei had been strangled however not stabbed. The killer probably murdered Rei first, for the grandmother discovered him lifeless in his personal mattress.

8 Forensic Proof, Half 2

Not like different unsolved murders, the person accountable for the Setagaya murders left behind lots of proof. At the start, in the home’s lavatory, police discovered feces that the killer had left behind. This feces contained traces of sesame seeds and string beans. This meals was thought-about a sign of a “momma’s boy,” and a few detectives suspected that the killer was somebody who lived together with his mom.[4]

Investigators additionally found the startling indisputable fact that the killer spent hours within the household’s dwelling after committing the murders. He ate meals from the household’s kitchen, he checked out web sites bookmarked on the household’s pc, and he left behind garments. Police discovered that the killer’s garments had been bought in Kanagawa Prefecture however had been washed in a fashion that was not frequent in Japan. This latter reality led many to consider that the killer was a international nationwide.

7 The Killer’s Profile

Since 2000, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police have dealt with 12,545 items of data regarding the murders. A big portion of this info has involved the looks of the killer. Presently, police in Japan are providing a reward of three million yen for any info that results in the seize of the assassin.

Thus far, that is what is understood in regards to the suspect: On the day of the homicide, the one eyewitness who reported seeing an odd man close to the Miyazawa home mentioned that the person wore a grey, woven yarn hat that includes a black line, a fanny pack, a shawl that includes a inexperienced, crimson, black, orange, and darkish blue sample, a black Uniqlo jacket, black gloves, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and white Slasenger footwear that had been made in South Korea.[5] The killer had additionally carried a sashimi knife into the home to be able to perform the murders.

One of many extra attention-grabbing information in regards to the case considerations the DNA proof recovered from the crime scene. The killer had type-A blood, which, upon additional evaluation, confirmed that he had a mom of European origin. Particularly, forensic testing confirmed that the mom was from Southern Europe, probably someplace across the Adriatic Sea. The killer’s father, nevertheless, was from Northeastern Asia. The father’s DNA was discovered to be shared with one in 4 or 5 Koreans, one in ten Chinese language, and one in 13 Japanese.

6 The Story Of The Cab Driver

One of many strangest tales related to the homicide of the Miyazawa household comes from a cab driver who picked up a number of middle-aged males on December 30. The unnamed driver instructed the Tokyo Metropolitan Police that he picked up three males in whole, and all of them had been above the age of 30. Certainly one of these males, the motive force mentioned, left behind traces of blood in his automotive’s again seat.[6] The driver additionally mentioned that not one of the males talked throughout all the drive.

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Regardless of blood proof discovered on the crime scene (the killer by some means managed to obtain a wound to his hand throughout his assault), and regardless of blood discovered within the again seat of this taxicab, the Tokyo police have but to attach anybody to the murders.

5 Idea 1: Skate boarders

Previous to the murders, Mikio Miyazawa had engaged in a number of heated arguments with younger skate boarders who frequented the skate park behind the household’s home. Specifically, eyewitnesses mentioned that Mikio usually confronted the teenage skate boarders for making an excessive amount of noise. One eyewitness additionally mentioned that Mikio had carried out the identical factor to members of an area bike gang who had been hanging out within the skate park.[7]

Some detectives suspected that considered one of these aggrieved skate boarders could have taken revenge on the Miyazawa household. In any case, the outline of the suspect does match the stereotypical picture of a skateboarder. Nevertheless, regardless of this, some have a tough time believing that a couple of arguments within the weeks previous to December 30 would result in such a grotesque end result.

4 Idea 2: American Serviceman

Proper now, there are some 50,000 US army personnel stationed in Japan. The American army presence in Japan has been fixed because the finish of World Warfare II, and sadly, throughout that point US troopers, Marines, sailors, and airmen have dedicated rapes and murders.[8] Given this ugly historical past, and given the suspect’s mixed-race heritage, some have advised that the killer was both an American soldier or some contractor engaged on a close-by American army set up.

It will not have been laborious for an American serviceman to succeed in the Miyazawa home from Tokyo, for the household’s home was positioned near a number of prepare stations, most of which had service to downtown Tokyo.

3 Idea 3: Killer Drifter

In 2018, the Japanese authorities launched extra details about the prime suspect within the Setagaya murders. To start with, the killer’s fanny pack contacted hint quantities of sand, indicating that he spent lots of time exterior. Additionally contained in the fanny pack was a fluorescent pen. Lastly, the police have concluded that the assassin was someplace between 15 and 20 years previous.[9]

Whereas Japan is usually upheld for example of restrictive immigration, the nation has had an issue with unlawful immigration, most of it coming from Northeast and South Asia, because the Nineteen Eighties. It’s doable that the killer was an unlawful immigrant or a drifter who utilized Japan’s glorious prepare service to be able to commit crimes after which escape elsewhere, possibly even one other nation.

There’s additionally the chance that the killer was an unemployed younger man. In the course of the Nineties, Japan entered its “Misplaced Decade,” a interval of financial despair that noticed an increase in youth unemployment. Within the yr 2000, Japan’s total unemployment fee was above 4 p.c and remained so all through the last decade. Nevertheless, the crash of a number of Japanese banks and the imposition of heavy debt burdens on Japanese firms meant that getting credit score grew to become more durable for the common Japanese citizen. Wages additionally stagnated, and consumption ranges declined. All of because of this some unknown and underpaid or unemployed younger man could have carried out the murders out of a need for revenge.

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2 Idea 4: South Korean Soldier

There’s lots of circumstantial proof indicating that the assassin could have been a South Korean citizen. To start with, most individuals who share the killer’s paternal DNA are ethnically Korean. Additionally, forensic testing of the garments left behind by the killer on the crime scene indicated that they’d been washed with mineral-rich laborious water, a sort of cleansing water frequent in South Korea however unusual in Japan.

In 2015, Japanese true crime creator Fumiya Ichihashi launched a ebook claiming that he had uncovered the killer’s identification. The creator famous that police detectives had discovered soil on the crime scene that was traced again to the province of Gyeonggi in South Korea. Additionally in his ebook, Ichihashi, who calls his essential suspect “R,” says that the killer had as soon as served within the South Korean army.[10] Ichihashi’s ebook says that R’s fingerprints, which had been obtained by the creator, are a match with the fingerprints left behind by the killer on the crime scene.

1 Motive


One of many extra aggravating features of this case is its seemingly random nature. That being mentioned, some have provided motives for the crime, from the private to the monetary. Tokyo detectives have argued that the killer could have been a sexual predator and a misogynist, given the bloodlust evidenced within the murders of Yasuko and Niina. Others have argued that the killer was motivated by revenge, both as a result of Mikio had dressed him down up to now or as a result of he hated the household for his or her monetary success.

Fumiya Ichihashi has claimed that the Miyazawa household had been killed due to cash. Particularly, as a result of the municipal authorities deliberate on increasing a close-by park, every household within the space was provided as much as 100 million yen to maneuver.[11] Whereas this concept is tantalizing, the killer didn’t steal a lot from the Miyazawa household’s dwelling. Moreover, the killer’s choice to linger within the household’s dwelling for hours, and the truth that he discarded a number of private gadgets there, means that theft was not his motive.


Benjamin Welton

Benjamin Welton is a West Virginia native at present dwelling in Boston. He works as a contract author and has been revealed in The Weekly Customary, The Atlantic, Listtopick, and different publications.

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