Tsutomu Miyazaki

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Tsutomu Miyazaki
Tsutomu Miyazaki.jpg
BornAugust 21, 1962
DiedJune 17, 2008(2008-06-17) (aged 45)
Tokyo Detention House, Tokyo, Japan
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
Other namesThe Otaku Murderer
Criminal statusExecuted
(June 17, 2008; 13 years ago (2008-06-17))
Conviction(s)Murder (4 counts)
Criminal penaltyDeath
Span of crimes
Location(s)Saitama Prefecture and Tokyo
Date apprehended
July 23, 1989; 32 years ago (1989-07-23)

Tsutomu Miyazaki (宮﨑 勤, Miyazaki Tsutomu, 21 August 1962 – 17 June 2008) was a Japanese serial killer, cannibal, child rapist, child murderer, and necrophile who murdered four young girls in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture between August 1988 and June 1989.[1] He was termed by the Japanese media as the "Otaku Murderer".

Miyazaki abducted and killed the girls, aged from four to seven, in his car before dismembering and sexually molesting their corpses. Miyazaki's crimes included not only kidnapping, murder, and necrophilia, but also vampirism, the preservation of body parts as trophies, and taunting the families of his victims.[2][3] Miyazaki was arrested in Hachiōji in July 1989 after being confronted while taking nude photographs of a young girl. Miyazaki was diagnosed as having one or more personality disorders, but was determined to be sane and aware of his crimes and their consequences. Miyazaki was sentenced to death in 1997 and was executed by hanging in 2008.[4][5]

Miyazaki's extensive collection of pornography and horror videotapes was misrepresented by the media as being primarily anime and manga, which triggered a widespread moral panic against otaku in Japan.[6]

Early life[edit]

Tsutomu Miyazaki was born on 21 August 1962 in Itsukaichi, Tokyo, the eldest son of a wealthy family. Miyazaki was born premature and suffered from a rare birth defect that caused his hand joints to be fused together, preventing him from being able to bend his wrists upwards.[7] Miyazaki's family operated a regional newspaper company and were well known in Itsukaichi, where his grandfather and great-grandfather had served on the town council. Due to his parents being busy, Miyazaki was mainly raised by his grandfather and an intellectually disabled man the family hired as a nanny. Miyazaki was ostracized when he attended Itsukaichi Elementary School due to his deformity, and consequently kept to himself. Miyazaki attended Meidai Nakano High School in Nakano, a prestigious high school associated with Meiji University, and was a star student until his grades began to drop dramatically. Miyazaki was ranked 40 out of 56 in his class, and did not receive the customary admission to Meiji University for students of the school. Instead of studying English and becoming a teacher as he originally intended, Miyazaki attended a local junior college and studied to become a photography technician.[7]

In the mid-1980s, Miyazaki moved back into his parents' house in Itsukaichi near his father's print shop, sharing a room with his elder sister. Although Miyazaki's family was highly influential in Itsukaichi, he expressed no desire to take over his father's job. After his arrest, Miyazaki would say that what he really craved was "being listened to about his problems" but believed that his parents, more worried about the material than the sentimental, "would have not heard [him]; [he] would've been ignored".[8] In the same confession, Miyazaki said that by this period in his life he had begun to consider suicide. Miyazaki felt he only received support from his grandfather, to whom he was close, and was rejected by his two younger sisters. In May 1988, Miyazaki's grandfather died, which served to deepen his depression and isolated him even further.[8] In an attempt to "retain something from him", Miyazaki ate part of his grandfather's ashes. A few weeks later, one of Miyazaki's sisters caught him watching her while she was taking a shower, and when she told him to leave, he attacked her. When Miyazaki's mother learned of the incident and demanded that he spend more time working, and less time with his videos, he attacked her as well.[8]


Between August 1988 and June 1989, Miyazaki mutilated and killed four girls between the ages of four and seven, and sexually molested their corpses. He drank the blood of one victim and ate a part of her hand.[9] These crimes—which prior to Miyazaki's apprehension were named the "Little Girl Murders" and later the Tokyo/Saitama Serial Kidnapping Murders of Little Girls (東京・埼玉連続幼女誘拐殺人事件, Tōkyō Saitama renzoku yōjo yūkai satsujin jiken)—shocked Saitama Prefecture, which had few crimes against children.

During the day, Miyazaki was, by all accounts, a mild-mannered individual. Outside of work, he randomly selected children to kill. He wrote to the families of his victims, sending them letters recalling the details of his murders. Police found that the families of the victims had something else in common: all received silent nuisance phone calls. Miyazaki would not speak a word during these calls, instead simply breathing heavily. If they did not answer Miyazaki's calls, he would call repeatedly; sometimes their phones would ring up to 20 minutes.[citation needed]

On 22 August 1988, one day after Miyazaki's 26th birthday, Mari Konno, a 4-year-old girl, vanished while playing at a friend's house. After failed attempts to find her, Konno's father contacted the police. Miyazaki had led Konno into his black Nissan Langley then drove westward of Tokyo and parked the car under a bridge in a wooded area. There, Miyazaki sat alongside Konno for half an hour before murdering her, then engaged in necrophilia with her corpse. Miyazaki dumped Konno's body in the hills near his home, departing with her clothes. Miyazaki allowed Konno's corpse to decompose for a while before later returning to remove her hands and feet, which he kept in his closet at home. Miyazaki burned Konno's 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 which read: 「真理さん、骨、火葬、調査して、証明して」 ("Mari. Cremated. Bones. Investigate. Prove.")[10] Konno's hands and feet were found in Miyazaki's closet after his arrest almost a year later.

On 3 October 1988, Miyazaki abducted 7-year-old Masami Yoshizawa after spotting her while driving along a rural road. Miyazaki had offered Yoshizawa a ride, which she accepted, then drove her to the same place he had killed Konno. Miyazaki killed Yoshizawa then engaged in sexual acts with her corpse, and took her clothes with him when he departed.[11]

On 12 December 1988, Miyazaki abducted 4-year-old Erika Namba as she was returning home from a friend's house. Miyazaki had forced Namba into his car then drove to a parking lot in Naguri, Saitama, where he forced her to remove her clothes in the back seat and began to take pictures of her. Miyazaki then killed Namba and tied her hands and feet behind her back, covered her with a bed sheet, and placed her body in his car's trunk. Miyazaki disposed of Namba's clothes in a wooded area and left her body in the adjoining parking lot, where it was discovered three days later. On 20 December, Namba's family received a postcard sent by Miyazaki with a message assembled using words cut out of magazines: 「絵梨香、かぜ、せき、のど、楽、死 」 ("Erika. Cold. Cough. Throat. Rest. Death.")[11]

On 6 June 1989, Miyazaki convinced 5-year-old Ayako Nomoto to allow him to take pictures of her. Miyazaki then led Nomoto into his car and murdered her, covered her corpse with a bed sheet and placed her in the trunk of his car. Miyazaki took Nomoto's corpse into his apartment and spent the next two days engaging in sexual acts with it, taking pictures of it in various positions, and filming it.[11] When Nomoto's corpse began to decompose, Miyazaki dismembered it, abandoning her torso in a cemetery and her head in the nearby hills. Miyazaki kept her hands, drinking blood from and cannibalizing them. Fearing that the police would find Nomoto's body parts, Miyazaki returned to the cemetery and the hills two weeks later and carried the remains back to his apartment, where he hid them in his closet.[citation needed]


On 23 July 1989, Miyazaki saw two sisters playing in a park in Hachiōji, Tokyo, and managed to separate the younger of the sisters from the older one, who stayed behind. Miyazaki was taking photographs of the younger daughter, who he had convinced to strip nude, when he was caught by their father, who attacked Miyazaki but was unable to restrain him.[12][11] After fleeing on foot, Miyazaki eventually returned to the park to retrieve his car, whereupon he was arrested by police responding to a call by the father. A search of Miyazaki's two-room bungalow produced 5,763 videotapes, some containing anime and slasher films (later used as reasoning for his crimes). Interspersed among them was video footage and pictures of his victims. Miyazaki was also reported to be a fan of horror films, of which he had a collection. Miyazaki, who retained a perpetually calm and collected demeanor during his trial, appeared indifferent to his capture.[13]

Moral panic[edit]

Miyazaki's arrest and publication of his crimes led to the media dubbing him "The Otaku Murderer", in reference to otaku culture.[14][better source needed] His killings caused a moral panic against otaku, accusing anime and horror films of making him a murderer. Various newspapers claimed that Miyazaki had retreated into a fantasy world of manga as a result of his neglected upbringing.[15][better source needed] Keigo Okonogi, a psychoanalyst at Tokyo International University, told the Shūkan Post that:

The danger of a whole generation of youth who do not even experience the most primary two- or three-way relationship between themselves and their mother and father, and who cannot make the transition from a fantasy world of videos and manga to reality, is now extreme.[15]

These reports were disputed. In Eiji Ōtsuka's book on Miyazaki's crimes, he argued that Miyazaki's collection of pornography was probably added or amended by a photographer in order to highlight his perversity.[16] Another critic, Fumiya Ichihashi, suspected the released information was playing up to public stereotypes and fears about otaku, as the police knew they would help cement a conviction.[17] Sharon Kinsella asserts that large collections of manga and videos were typical in the rooms of youths living in the Tokyo area at the time.[15]

Trial and execution[edit]

Miyazaki's trial began on 30 March 1990. Often talking nonsensically, Miyazaki blamed his actions on "Rat Man", an alter ego who Miyazaki claimed forced him to kill; he spent time during the trial drawing "Rat Man" in cartoon form.[18] Miyazaki's father refused to pay for his son's legal defense and committed suicide in 1994.[2]

The seven-year trial focused on Miyazaki's mental state at the time of the murders. Under Japanese law, people of unsound minds are not subject to punishment, and the feeble-minded are entitled to reduced sentences. Three teams of court-appointed expert psychiatrists came to differing conclusions about Miyazaki's ability to tell right from wrong. Two teams determined him to be feeble-minded—one team concluding that he was schizophrenic, the other that he had multiple personality disorder. A third team found that although Miyazaki had a personality disorder, he was still capable of taking responsibility for his actions.[19]

The Tokyo District Court judged him aware of the magnitude and consequences of his crimes and therefore accountable. He was sentenced to death on April 14, 1997.[19] His death sentence was upheld by both the Tokyo High Court, on June 28, 2001, and the Supreme Court of Justice on January 17, 2006.[20]

He described his serial murders as an "act of benevolence".[21][22] Child killer Kaoru Kobayashi described himself as "the next Tsutomu Miyazaki or Mamoru Takuma".[23] Miyazaki stated, "I won't allow him to call himself 'the second Tsutomu Miyazaki' when he hasn't even undergone a psychiatric examination."[24]

Minister of Justice Kunio Hatoyama signed his death warrant and Miyazaki was hanged at the Tokyo Detention House on June 17, 2008.[25][26] The unusual swiftness of his execution as well as its timing soon after the Akihabara massacre prompted questions regarding the two incidents;[27][28] the Ministry of Justice had no comment.[29] Ryūzō Saki said, "His trial was long" and that he was "not willing to criticize Hatoyama".[30]


  1. Mari Konno (今野真理, Konno Mari): Four years old
  2. Masami Yoshizawa (吉沢正美, Yoshizawa Masami): Seven years old
  3. Erika Namba (難波絵梨香, Namba Erika): Four years old
  4. Ayako Nomoto (野本綾子, Nomoto Ayako): Five years old

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""The man, Tsutomu Miyazaki, kidnapped and killed four girls aged between four and seven in Tokyo and Saitama, north of Tokyo..."". Asian Recorder. Vol. 43. Google Books: K. K. Thomas at Recorder Press. 1997. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Japan executes notorious cannibal killer". ABC. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Miyazaki unrepentant to the last / Serial child killer goes to execution without apologizing or explaining his thinking". Yomiuri Shimbun. Tokyo. 18 June 2008. Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  4. ^ Matsutani, Minoru (2008-06-18). "Serial killer Miyazaki, two others hanged". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  5. ^ "Nerd cult murderer executed". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  6. ^ Galbraith, Patrick W. (2019). Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 67–68. ISBN 978-1-4780-0509-4. JSTOR j.ctv1220mhm. OCLC 1148100778.
  7. ^ a b Charles T. Whipple. "The Silencing of the Lambs". Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 5 March 2008.
  8. ^ a b c Lyon, Samantha; Dr Daphne Tan (2015). Supernatural Serial Killers: What makes them murder?. Arcturus Publishing. ISBN 978-1784281328.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Serial child-killer hanged as Japan steps up death penalty". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  10. ^ McQueen, Victor (2015). The World's Worst Serial Killers: Monsters whose crimes shocked the world. Arcturus Publishing. ISBN 978-1784281489.
  11. ^ a b c d Keller, Robert (2016). Beyond Evil. ISBN 978-1536507645.
  12. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-06-18/japan-confirms-execution-of-cannibal-killer/2475810
  13. ^ Schoenberger, Karl (9 September 1989). "Sordid Serial-Killing Case Exposes the Other Side of Innocence in Japan". Los Angeles Times.
  14. ^ Oliviera, James (3 January 2010). "The Otaku Killer: Miyazaki Tsutomu". Archived from the original on 7 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  15. ^ a b c Kinsella, Sharon (1998). "Amateur Manga Subculture and the Otaku Panic" (PDF). Journal of Japanese Studies. Washington University Press. 24 (2): 308–9. doi:10.2307/133236. JSTOR 133236.
  16. ^ Kousetsu Kamiya. 大塚英志『「おたく」の精神史』~ぼくが中学時代につくった「偽史」について [Hideshi Otsuka "Psychical History of Otaku"-"About the "fake history" I made during junior high school"] (in Japanese). Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Miyazaki Tsutomu Jiken". Japanese Literature Webring. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  18. ^ Lewis, Leo (17 June 2008). "Japanese 'cannibal killer' executed in Tokyo". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
  19. ^ a b "Serial child-killer Miyazaki gets death sentence". The Japan Times. 14 April 1997. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Japan's Supreme Court upholds death penalty on child killer". People's Daily. Beijing. Xinhua. 17 January 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  21. ^ 異常な犯罪、遺族への謝罪もなく…宮崎死刑囚 (in Japanese). Tokyo. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  22. ^ Ryall, Julian (17 June 2008). "Nerd cult murderer executed". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Defendant admits abducting and killing schoolgirl in Nara". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. 19 April 2005. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Miyazaki unrepentant to the last / Serial child killer goes to execution without apologizing or explaining his thinking". Yomiuri Shimbun. Tokyo. 18 June 2008. Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  25. ^ Yamaguchi, Mari (2008-06-17). "Japan executes 3, including serial killer who mutilated young girls". Houston Chronicle. Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. Associated Press. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  26. ^ Harden, Blaine (2008-06-17). "Japan Hangs Three Killers As Pace of Executions Rises". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  27. ^ Foster, Martin (17 June 2008). "Japan Hangs Three Convicted Murderers". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  28. ^ 無差別殺人への抑止効果?宮崎勤死刑執行. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). Tokyo. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  29. ^ 宮崎死刑囚に「スピード」死刑執行 囁かれる「秋葉原事件」の影響? (in Japanese). J-CAST. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  30. ^ 作家佐木隆三さん「長い裁判だった」. Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). Tokyo. 18 June 2008. Archived from the original on 19 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.