By now the rest of the world has probably heard about the latest stabbing spree in Akihabara. It’s the very nature of the place, its popularity, that makes it worthy of worldwide attention. As of this writing, there have been seven confirmed dead. Supposedly killed by a man who indiscriminately stabbed people because he “was tired of life.” The suspect is only 25 years old.

This brings to mind another incident about two months ago. In almost the same manner, someone ran amuck ala Rambo at Arakawaoki Station (Joban line). So, no, it’s not as popular as Akihabara, and it didn’t get covered much except for the local news. But just the same, it was where 8 people were tragically killed stabbed at random by a man, and at least one person died. That station is just about five kilometers from where we live, but when that incident actually happened, we were just 5 minutes away from the station. When we heard the news, it sent shivers down our spines.

Prior to the incident at the station, a few days before the same suspect apparently stabbed to death an old man who lived near his place. I forgot how old he was exactly, but I think he is also in his twenties (someone correct me if I’m wrong!). That initial murder sent waves of fear throughout the schools and daycares. On the day it happened, I remember that evening when I fetched Aya from the daycare, and I noticed that all the lights in the rooms were turned off, save for the wing where the remaining children were. We were immediately told to go home and be wary of any suspicious-looking persons.

And what about that other incident some time ago, involving a minor this time, who pushed someone to his death on the train tracks at the station? The victim was a salary man, and was just waiting at the tracks for the train to take him home. He had a family. He had wanted to buy a house of their own in the future.

In the minor’s own words, “Dare de mo yokatta…” He didn’t give a damn who he killed. He just wanted to kill someone, it didn’t matter who. He is only 17 years old. No history of drugs or alcohol. Kept mostly to himself and played a lot of video games in his room.

These are very, very disturbing incidents. In my country, from time to time there would also be news reports of people killing several people at the same time, but there always seemed to be a motive: revenge, money, love, you name it. Or if there were no clear motives, perhaps it was because the suspects were either 1) under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or 2) simply deranged.

But what about those people, like the ones involved in the stabbing sprees here in Japan, who are level-headed, thinking straight, and clearly in control of their actions? What about them? They just got tired of their lives and decided to make themselves a blip in the history of time. The unfortunate thing is that just because they thought their lives were worthless, they considered other people’s lives to be just as worth trashing.

It’s a tragic thing when you have your whole life ahead of you, and suddenly some whacko decides that he wants to punctuate your existence on earth with a swipe of a knife. And everything else that you’ve ever done, all your accomplishments, all your being, ends senselessly on a clear day on the streets of Akihabara. Outrageous.

So, folks, what exactly is happening here in Japan? You tell me.

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12 Responses to Disturbing

  1. andrew says:

    what is happening is the rush away from faith in the God of immaculate revelation and the moral absolutes derived therefrom to a nihilistic , scientific rationalist, hedonistic , post modern relativism that provides no foundation for the purpose of one’s existence , justice , mercy or even love : when Christ said the greatest commands are to Love God with all your body , soul and mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself – he thereby indicated that true love first all of commences towards God , there it receives its definition , its sensibilities and the bounds for its manifestation , this follows with a love for oneself as God’s creation , and thus the love of other men : when people have no direction or even source or purpose for love they do not love themselves and thus they love no one else truly and literally either – lastly the alternative reality of video games which focus pleasure singularly on immediate gratification often through coarse , vigorous violence , the playing of which diminishes and even decimates interaction with other people leads to a narcissistic mind set which naturally mimics the behavior advocated in the games themselves – gratuitous , pitiless , pleasure inducing violence – the inhumane, and utterly pointless, passionless murders of complete strangers in Japan reflects the attitude of suicide bombers the increasing manifestation of which portend an international crisis of morally vacuous consumerism and , as stated, scientific rationalism

  2. Sexy Mom says:

    really disturbing. we really do not want to be paranoid, but how can these things just happen. how can minds be distorted, how can minds be senseless?

    do take care, Cathy! prayer! prayers! prayer! and none other.

  3. bingskee says:

    here in the Philippines, the news always include similar incidents. the other day, a gruesome killing happened in one of the subdivisions near our place. the killers were not content stealing, they had killed five in the house by stabbing after binding them with cords, then set the house on fire. tsk tsk really, really disturbing.

  4. dimaks says:

    be always on guard.. this is a country where everything can happen in just a snap for no apparent reasons as you have hinted.

  5. annamanila says:

    Not only in Akibara … in Pinas, in the US, every place has its own desperado, wacko, amocko. Remember the Korean student who terrorized a whole campus and who didn’t stop until dozens (i think) lay dead or wounded. Who knows what darkness, hate, desperation lies in the hearts of troubled men? The sad thing is they could have been helped — theres effective medicine for the chemically imbalanced — but sometimes it’s too late before their families get alerted and get professional intervention.

  6. julie says:

    Killing spree/incidents make headlines almost daily in the news. One would really think how come the supposedly only Catholic country in Asia is home to people who kidnap, maim, massacre, rob, rape, burn and do all other major crimes existed.


  7. bw says:

    Young people involved in gangs are usually the victims of these stabbings but random knifings, those without motives are truly dreadful. Problem is the authorities are quick to send psychos back to the streets, when they should remain for treatment in mental institutions. It’s one less headache when people don’t get stabbed in robberies which I hope is not that prevalent in Japan being a developed country.

  8. caryn says:

    this just reinforces my dislike of akihabara. but i also read of a case of a grandmother stabbing her 16 yr old grandson because he would not listen to her; that’s scary.

  9. kathy says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think that the cultural norm that permeates Japanese society (i.e., emphasizing group over individual) is likely to be blamed for causing repressed feelings and loss of self-esteem for some individuals, which can escalate to extreme cases like Kato san. But then again, who could really tell what exactly goes on in someone else’s head? We can only guess. I could only hope that the authorities would try their best to spot these individuals and help protect the general public from harm. Easier said than done.

    Sexy Mom, I’ve asked myself those questions as well. And you’re right about the paranoia. At least as far as I’m concerned, I’m staying away from Akihabara from now on.

  10. kathy says:

    Bingskee: Every country has its share of gruesome crimes. Worse, sometimes the perpetrators even manage to get away with it.

    Dimaks: It does really make one paranoid, doesn’t it? I pray nothing like that ever happens in Tsukuba!

    Annamanila: That’s a very interesting point – seldom do we look at these stories from the angle of the perpetrators of the crime. They are people who need help, if only there was a way to identify and treat them before they could harm others and themselves.

  11. kathy says:

    Julie: I always shudder whenever I look at the tabloid newspapers (when I was in the country). There is always some gruesome murder, killing, rape and other heinous crimes. Clearly, this is in contradiction to the supposedly deep-rooted religiousity in our country.

  12. kathy says:

    BW: Japan does have a very low crime rate, probably the lowest in the world. There are also robberies, but since I came here I’ve not yet heard of anything that involved anyone getting killed. I think that it’s crimes like this one in Akihabara that really makes the public cringe in fear. It’s the ones with no obvious motives except to kill for the sake of killing that makes us all paranoid.

    Caryn: Akihabara has been a special place for Tsukuba residents, as it is readily accessible using the Tsukuba Express train line. But with this latest incident, I would most likely stay away from Akihabara and do all my shopping online, heheh. 😉 Btw, I haven’t heard about that granny stabber. Not only scary; it’s sick!

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