Kaoru Kobayashi (murderer)

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Kaoru Kobayashi
Born (1968-11-30)November 30, 1968
Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka
Died February 21, 2013(2013-02-21) (aged 44)
Osaka Detention Center
Cause of death Execution by hanging
Criminal charge 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)
Criminal penalty Death by hanging

Kaoru Kobayashi (小林 薫, Kobayashi Kaoru, November 30, 1968 – February 21, 2013) was a newspaper delivery man who kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered Kaede Ariyama (有山 楓, Ariyama Kaede), a seven-year-old girl from the Japanese city of Nara on November 17, 2004.[1] 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.[2]

Early life[edit]

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.[3] 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 Shimbun 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[edit]

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 close to Nara Prefecture's west-side police station. Using the girl's mobile phone, he sent Kaede's photograph to her mother with the message: "I've got your daughter".[4]

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. It appeared that he had undressed Kaede before murdering her, and then re-dressed her afterward.

There were abrasions on Kaede's hands and feet, and several of her teeth were missing. It was assumed that the abrasions and removal of the teeth were made post-mortem by the suspect.[5]

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".[6] An image of Kaede was included in the e-mail.

Kobayashi had shown off a photograph of Kaede to a waitress and customers in a local bar, claiming to have got 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.[7]

The police confiscated from Kobayashi's room a video and a magazine containing child pornography.[8] Kaede's cellular phone and randosel were also discovered. In his room, there was a considerable amount of underwear[9] which Kobayashi had stolen between June and December 2004.[10]

A witness saw Kaede walking to Kobayashi's car, which suggested that they knew each other. However, Kobayashi said, "I would have kidnapped anybody."[11]

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.[12]


Mainichi Shimbun[edit]

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.[13] Therefore, the police were not able to arrest Kobayashi, and he was free to commit his attack.

As a result of this, Mainichi Shimbun announced on January 19, 2005, that it would terminate its contracts with two delivery agents in Kawai and Higashisumiyoshi Ward in Osaka on January 31.[14]

Effect on otaku[edit]

In Japan there has been some negativity towards otaku and otaku culture. Tsutomu Miyazaki became known as "The Otaku Murderer" in 1989. His bizarre murders fuelled a moral panic against otaku.

Japanese journalist Akihiro Ōtani suspected that Kobayashi's crime was committed by a member of the figurine collector sub-culture, even before his arrest.[15] 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 video games).[16] Politician Nobuto Hosaka criticised much of the uproar.[16]

Trial and verdict[edit]

Kobayashi's trial began on April 18, 2005. He said:

Both Miyazaki and Takuma killed many children and were regarded as insane murderers.

Miyazaki stated, "I won't allow him to call himself 'the second Tsutomu Miyazaki' when he hasn't even undergone a psychiatric examination."[18]

Kobayashi's psychiatrist diagnosed him as suffering from antisocial personality disorder and pedophilia, but sane enough to be responsible for his actions, believing he might have even been gnawed by a sense of guilt.[19]

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.

On September 26, 2006, Kobayashi was sentenced to death by hanging by the Nara district court. The defense made an appeal on the same day, but retracted it on October 10, 2006.[20]

Kobayashi's new lawyer claimed in June 2007 that the withdrawal was invalid, which the Nara district court declined on April 21, 2008.[21][22] On May 22, 2008, the Osaka high court upheld the decision.[23] On July 7, 2008, the Supreme Court of Japan upheld the decision.[24][25]

Kobayashi was executed by hanging at Osaka Detention Center on February 21, 2013.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Man held in Nara girl's slaying". The Japan Times. 2005-01-08. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  2. ^ a b "Japan executes three inmates". The Japan Times. 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  3. ^ "Nara girl's murder spotlights sex-crime recidivism". Asahi Shimbun. 2005-01-05. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  4. ^ Kite, Hanna (2006-02-06). "A Burning Mystery". Time. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  5. ^ "Grisly details of Nara girl's murder emerge". Japan Today. 2004-11-30. Retrieved 2008-01-05. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Man held in girl's slaying". The Japan Times. 2004-12-31. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  7. ^ "NARA SLAYING/ Caught". Asahi Shimbun. 2004-12-31. Retrieved 2008-01-05. 
  8. ^ "Police: Killer forwarded photo of slain girl to his own phone". Asahi Shimbun. 2005-01-03. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  9. ^ "Nara suspect collected girls' underwear". Asahi Shimbun. 2005-01-04. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  10. ^ 女児誘拐殺人の捜査終結 下着窃盗容疑で追送検 (in Japanese). 47 News. 2005-02-28. Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  11. ^ Mainichi Shimbun (2005-01-01). "Schoolgirl's killer says 'anybody would have done'". Japan Addicted. Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  12. ^ "Arrest spurs debate on naming sex offenders". The Japan Times. 2005-01-01. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  13. ^ 奈良小1殺害、誘拐の日に逮捕状 前勤務先での横領容疑 (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 2005-01-14. Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  14. ^ 毎日新聞社が販売所2店との取引解約 女児殺害事件 (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 2005-01-19. Archived from the original on 2008-04-21. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  15. ^ 公開質問状. NGO-AMI (in Japanese). 2004-12-09. Archived from the original on 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  16. ^ a b "Otaku harassed as sex-crime fears mount". The Japan Times. 2005-02-06. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  17. ^ "Defendant admits abducting and killing schoolgirl in Nara". The Japan Times. 2005-04-19. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  18. ^ "Miyazaki unrepentant to the last / Serial child killer goes to execution without apologizing or explaining his thinking". Yomiuri Shimbun. 2008-06-18. Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  19. ^ "Parents reject letter from Nara killer". The Japan Times. 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  20. ^ "Nara kidnap-murderer drops gallows appeal". The Japan Times. 2006-10-11. Archived from the original on 2009-01-12. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  21. ^ 本人の控訴取り下げ認める 女児誘拐殺人で奈良地裁 (in Japanese). 47 News. 2008-04-25. Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  22. ^ 「控訴取り下げ無効」請求を退ける 小1女児誘拐殺人事件で奈良地裁 (in Japanese). Sankei Shimbun. 2008-04-25. Archived from the original on October 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  23. ^ 控訴取り下げは有効=奈良小1女児誘拐殺人-大阪高裁 (in Japanese). Jiji Press. 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2008-06-17. [permanent dead link]
  24. ^ 奈良女児誘拐殺害、小林死刑囚の特別抗告棄却 最高裁 (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 2008-07-09. Retrieved 2008-07-10. [dead link]
  25. ^ 控訴取り下げは有効 女児誘拐殺人の小林死刑囚 (in Japanese). 47 News. 2008-07-09. Archived from the original on 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2008-07-10.