Tsutomu Miyazaki

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Tsutomu Miyazaki
Tsutomu Miyazaki.jpg
BornAugust 21, 1962
DiedJune 17, 2008(2008-06-17) (aged 45)
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
Other namesThe Otaku Murderer
The Little Girl Murderer
Rat Man
Criminal statusExecuted
Parent(s)Katsumi Miyazaki (father)
Criminal penaltyDeath
Span of crimes
State(s)Saitama, Tokyo
Date apprehended
July 23, 1989

Tsutomu Miyazaki (宮﨑 勤, Miyazaki Tsutomu, August 21, 1962 – June 17, 2008), also known as the Otaku Murderer or the Little Girl Murderer, was a Japanese serial killer, cannibal, child rapist and necrophile who abducted and murdered four young girls—and sexually molested their corpses—in the Saitama and Tokyo prefectures between August 1988 and June 1989.[1] His crimes included not only kidnapping, murder, and necrophilia, but also vampirism and the preservation of body parts as trophies.[2][3]

Miyazaki was arrested in 1989 in Hachiōji, Tokyo after being confronted by a father who had found Miyazaki taking nude photographs of one of his young daughters. After Miyazaki was apprehended, it was discovered that he had an extensive collection of anime and horror videotapes, causing a moral panic against otaku. Though psychiatrists diagnosed Miyazaki as having one or more personality disorders, he was determined to be aware of his crimes and their consequences, and was sentenced to death by hanging in 1997. He was executed in 2008.


Tsutomu Miyazaki was born premature and had a birth defect where his hand joints were fused together, preventing him from being able to bend his wrists upwards.[4] Due to his deformity, he was ostracized when he attended Itsukaichi Elementary School, and consequently kept to himself. He attended Meidai Nakano High School in Nakano, Tokyo, and was a star student until his grades dropped dramatically. He was ranked 40 out of 56 in his class, and did not receive the customary admission to Meiji University. Instead of studying English and becoming a teacher as he originally intended, he attended a local junior college and studied to become a photo technician.[4]

In the mid-1980s, Miyazaki moved back into his parent's house near his father's print shop, sharing a room with his elder sister. Although Miyazaki's family was highly influential in Itsukaichi, where his father owned a newspaper, Miyazaki 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".[5] In the same confession, he said that by this period in his life he had begun to consider suicide.

Miyazaki was rejected by his two younger sisters, and felt he only received support from his grandfather. In May 1988, his grandfather died. This served to deepen his depression and isolated him even further.[5] In an attempt to "retain something from him", Miyazaki ate part of his grandfather's ashes. A few weeks later, one of his sisters caught him watching her while she was taking a shower. When she told him to leave, Miyazaki attacked her. When his mother learned of the incident and demanded that he spend more time working, and less time with his videos, he attacked her as well.[5]


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.[6] 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.

On August 22, 1988, one day after Miyazaki's 26th birthday, Mari Konno, a four-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 and abducted her. He drove westward of Tokyo and parked the car under a bridge in a wooded area. There he sat alongside the girl for a half-hour before murdering her. He then engaged in sexual acts with the corpse and left her corpse in the hills near his home. He took her clothes with him and departed. He allowed Konno's corpse to decompose for a while before later returning to remove the hands and feet, which he kept in his closet. These were recovered upon his arrest. He charred her 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: "Mari. Cremated. Bones. Investigate. Prove."[7]

On October 3, 1988, Miyazaki was driving along a rural road when he spotted seven-year-old Masami Yoshizawa. He offered her a ride, and she accepted. He then drove to the same place he had killed Konno, and killed Yoshizawa. He engaged in sexual acts with the corpse, and took the girl's clothes with him when he departed.[8]

On December 12, 1988, four-year-old Erika Namba was returning home from a friend's house when Miyazaki kidnapped her, forcing her into his car. He drove to a parking lot in Naguri, Saitama, forced her to remove her clothes in the back seat, and began to take pictures of her. After killing her, he tied her hands and feet behind her back, covered her with a bed sheet, and placed the body in his car's trunk. He disposed of the girl's clothes in a wooded area and left the body in the adjoining parking lot. Miyazaki sent a postcard to her family, assembled using words cut out of magazines: "Erika. Cold. Cough. Throat. Rest. Death."[8]

On June 6, 1989, Miyazaki convinced five-year-old Ayako Nomoto to allow him to take pictures of her. He then led her into his car and murdered her. He covered the corpse with a bed sheet and placed her in the trunk of his car, taking the body to his apartment. He spent the next two days engaging in sexual acts with the corpse, taking pictures of it in various positions, and filming it.[8]

When the body began to decompose, Miyazaki dismembered it, abandoning the torso in a cemetery and the head in the nearby hills. He kept the hands, from which he drank blood and ate part of them. Fearing that the police would find the corpse, he 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.


On July 23, 1989, Miyazaki saw two sisters playing in a park in Hachiōji, Tokyo. He managed to separate the younger of the sisters from the older one, who stayed behind. The sisters' father arrived shortly after to find Miyazaki taking photographs of the younger daughter, who he had convinced to strip nude. The father attacked Miyazaki, but was unable to restrain him.[9][8] 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. He 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.[10]

Moral panic[edit]

The media called him "The Otaku Murderer".[11] 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.[12] 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.[12]

These reports were disputed. In Eiji Ōtsuka's book on the crime, he argued that Miyazaki's collection of pornography was probably added or amended by a photographer in order to highlight his perversity.[13] 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.[14] 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.[12]

Trial and execution[edit]

The trial began on March 30, 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.[15] 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.[16]

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.[16] 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.[17]

He described his serial murders as an "act of benevolence".[18][19] Child killer Kaoru Kobayashi described himself as "the next Tsutomu Miyazaki or Mamoru Takuma".[20] Miyazaki stated, "I won't allow him to call himself 'the second Tsutomu Miyazaki' when he hasn't even undergone a psychiatric examination."[21]

Minister of Justice Kunio Hatoyama signed his death warrant and Miyazaki was hanged on June 17, 2008.[22][23] The unusual swiftness of his execution as well as its timing soon after the Akihabara massacre prompted questions regarding the two incidents;[24][25] the Ministry of Justice had no comment.[26] Ryūzō Saki said, "His trial was long" and that he was "not willing to criticize Hatoyama".[27]


  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. ^ a b Charles T. Whipple. "The Silencing of the Lambs". Archived from the original on 18 August 2007. Retrieved 5 March 2008.
  5. ^ a b c Lyon, Samantha; Dr Daphne Tan (2015). Supernatural Serial Killers: What makes them murder?. Arcturus Publishing. ISBN 1784281328.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Serial child-killer hanged as Japan steps up death penalty". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  7. ^ McQueen, Victor (2015). The World's Worst Serial Killers: Monsters whose crimes shocked the world. Arcturus Publishing. ISBN 1784281484.
  8. ^ a b c d Keller, Robert (2016). Beyond Evil. ISBN 1536507644.
  9. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-06-18/japan-confirms-execution-of-cannibal-killer/2475810
  10. ^ Schoenberger, Karl (9 September 1989). "Sordid Serial-Killing Case Exposes the Other Side of Innocence in Japan". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Oliviera, James (3 January 2010). "The Otaku Killer: Miyazaki Tsutomu". Archived from the original on 7 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Miyazaki Tsutomu Jiken". Japanese Literature Webring. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ a b "Serial child-killer Miyazaki gets death sentence". The Japan Times. 14 April 1997. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Japan's Supreme Court upholds death penalty on child killer". People's Daily. Beijing. Xinhua. 17 January 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Ryall, Julian (17 June 2008). "Nerd cult murderer executed". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Defendant admits abducting and killing schoolgirl in Nara". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. 19 April 2005. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Harden, Blaine (2008-06-17). "Japan Hangs Three Killers As Pace of Executions Rises". The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  24. ^ Foster, Martin (17 June 2008). "Japan Hangs Three Convicted Murderers". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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.