November 30, 1968|
|Died||February 21, 2013
Osaka Detention Center
Cause of death
|Death penalty (Hanging)|
|Kidnapping, Sexual assault, Homicide (2 counts of murder and sexual assault resulting to death), Theft and Intimidation, Guilty to corpse (2 counts of damage and abandonment)|
|Death by hanging|
Kaoru Kobayashi (小林 薫 Kobayashi Kaoru?, November 30, 1968 – February 21, 2013) was a local newspaper delivery man who kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered Kaede Ariyama (有山 楓 Ariyama Kaede?), a seven-year-old first-grade student from the Japanese city of Nara. Kobayashi already had a record as a sexual offender at that time. Kobayashi was tried and convicted of his crimes. He was executed by hanging at Osaka Detention Center on February 21, 2013.
Kobayashi was born in 1968, in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka. Because his family was poor, he worked as a paperboy since his childhood. His mother died in 1978. In 1989, he was convicted of sexually assaulting eight children. He received a suspended sentence of 2 years imprisonment. In October 1991, he attempted to kill a five year old girl and was sentenced to 3 years in prison. He was paroled on November 9, 1995 and officially released on July 23, 1996.
Kobayashi had worked at a newsstand for Asahi Shinbun in the Tomio area, between March and July 2000, and was very familiar with the Ikoma-Tomio area. At the time of the murder, he was employed as a newspaper deliveryman for Mainichi Shimbun in the Ikoma district of Nara Prefecture.
Kidnapping and murder
On November 17, 2004, in the Tomio section of Nara, Kobayashi kidnapped Kaede Ariyama, a student at Tomio North Elementary School, while she traveled from her school to her home. The kidnapping occurred in close proximity to Nara Prefecture's west-side police station. Using the girl's cellular phone, he sent Kaede's photograph to her mother with the message: "I've got your daughter".
Kobayashi murdered Kaede and dumped her body in the town of Heguri in the Ikoma District of Nara Prefecture. Her body was found that night. The autopsy revealed the cause of death to be drowning. The water collected in Kaede's lungs was not dirty, so it was assumed that Kobayashi had drowned her in a sink or bathtub. Also, it appeared that he had undressed Kaede before murdering her, and then re-dressed her after she was murdered.
There were abrasions on Kaede's hands and feet, and several of her teeth were missing. It was assumed that the abrasions had been made post-mortem by the suspect. The removal of the teeth was also performed post-mortem.
On December 14, 2004, Kobayashi sent an email from Kaede's cellular phone to her mother's cellular phone, saying "I'll take her baby sister next." An image of Kaede was included in the e-mail.
He had shown off a photograph of Kaede to a waitress and customers in a local bar, claiming to have gotten the photograph from a website.
On December 30, 2004, Kobayashi, who lived in the town of Kawai in Kitakatsuragi District in Nara Prefecture, was arrested for kidnapping. The suburbs of Kitakatsuragi along with Tomio and Ikoma are all in the northwest area of Nara Prefecture.
Kobayashi had sent the victim's photograph from her cellular phone to his own. His use of the victim's phone helped speed his arrest because the local cell phone towers logged the messages sent from the phone.
He was arrested after he had finished his morning paper route, distributing the news that the suspect would be arrested soon.
The police confiscated from his room a video and a magazine, containing child pornography. In addition, Kaede's cellular phone and randosel were discovered. In his room, there was a considerable amount of underwear, which had been stolen by him between June and December 2004.
A witness saw Kaede walking to Kobayashi's car, which suggested that they knew each other. However, Kobayashi said "I would have kidnapped anybody."
On January 19, 2005, Kobayashi was prosecuted for kidnapping. Because he had previous sexual offenses involving girls, public attention turned to passing a law in Japan similar to Megan's Law in the United States.
In the wake of the arrest, it came out that the manager of the newspaper delivery agency in Higashisumiyoshi Ward had made a report to the police that a newspaper subscription fee of 230,000 yen had been stolen. Afterwards, the manager discovered that the thief was Kobayashi, now working in Kawai. On November 17, 2004, the day of the kidnapping, a judge had issued an arrest warrant for Kobayashi for the embezzlement reported by the manager. However, the manager did not inform the police of this, because he was promised that the suspect would repay him for the stolen money with monthly payments. Therefore, the police were not able to arrest Kobayashi, and he was free to commit his attack.
Effect on Otaku
Japanese journalist Akihiro Otani suspected that Kobayashi's crime was committed by a member of the figurine collector sub-culture, even before his arrest. Although Kobayashi was not an otaku, and did not even own any figurines, the degree of social hostility against otaku seemed to increase for a while, as suggested by increased targeting of otaku by law enforcement as possible suspects for sex crimes, and by calls from persons in local governments for stricter laws controlling the depiction of eroticism in materials which cater to some otaku (e.g. erotic manga and erotic videogames). Nobuto Hosaka criticised a lot of the hype.
Trial and verdict
His trial began on April 18, 2005. Kobayashi said:
|“||I want to be sentenced to death as quickly as possible, and leave a legacy among the public as the next Tsutomu Miyazaki or Mamoru Takuma.||”|
However, both Miyazaki and Takuma killed many children and were regarded as insane murderers.
Miyazaki claimed that "I won't allow him to call himself 'the second Tsutomu Miyazaki' when he hasn't even undergone a psychiatric examination."
Kobayashi's psychiatrist diagnosed him as suffering from antisocial personality disorder and pedophilia, but sane enough to be responsible for his actions. In fact, he might have been gnawed by a sense of guilt.
Kaede's identity had been withheld by the Japanese media when the media learned of his sex crime, but the bereaved released her name and photograph in September 2006.
His new lawyer claimed in June 2007 that the withdrawal was invalid, which was declined by the Nara district court on April 21, 2008. On May 22, 2008, the Osaka high court upheld the decision. On July 7, 2008, the Supreme Court of Japan upheld the decision.
Kobayashi was executed by hanging at Osaka Detention Center on February 21, 2013.
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