New Details: Behind the Ahkihabara Killer

New Details: Behind the Ahkihabara Killer

by June 9, 2008

MSM Already Probing Game Link

New information is surfacing on the man behind the massacre in Tokyo’s Ahkihabara district on Sunday.

Paul Street first reported that 25 year old Tomohiro Kato was apprehended by police after he allegedly rented a truck, rammed it into pedestrian traffic in the heart of the district, then exited the vehicle and stabbed numerous people.

In all, seven are dead, and at least ten more are injured, including a local police officer.  Some reports put the number injured at 11.  The attacks appeared to be random.

This morning, the Washington Post reports that Mr. Kato perpetrated the act chiefly because he was sick of it all:

“I am tired of life,” police said Kato told them later. “I came to Akihabara to kill people. It didn’t matter who they were. I came alone.”

Japanese and global media alike are now probing into Mr. Kato’s past, trying to find any rationale for why such mass murder can occur in such a safe country, where gun laws are tight and violence as a whole is minimal.

Some media are pointing to this sketch, a drawing reportedly from the RPG Tales of Destiny, made by Namco.  You’ll note in the photo that the writing to the side of the drawing is in English.

There were reports that Mr. Kato warned in online postings of a “Disaster in Ahkihabara” on June 5th.  It turns out those reports were in reference to the June 5th launch of Ninja Gaiden 2.  Despite this flub, many gamers worry that on the ANIME style drawing alone and its connection to Tales of Destiny, not to mention the specific target of Ahkihabara as opposed to the other prefectures in Tokyo, there will be yet another black mark on gaming culture as catalysts for this behavior.

Perhaps the most disturbing find thus far is Mr. Kato’s chronicle of the massacre.  What follows are reportedly posts on a Japanese bulletin board that he made via text messaging in the hours leading up to the attacks, and they are a bit disturbing:

am 5:21 I’m going to kill people in Akihabara. I’ll crash into them by
car, and when the car is down, I’ll use my knife. Goodbye everybody
am 5:21 sleepy
am 5:34 I still have headache
am 5:35 weather man says it’s a rainy day. Worst.
am 5:44 The worst case is that I’ll get caught during(the killing spree)
am 6:00 I’m not being cheated, maybe I am the one who cheats
am 6:02 I’m used to play a good guy. Everybody believe it so easily.
am 6:03 Adults liked me, since I am “a good kid”.
am 6:03 Couldn’t make any friends
am 6:04 still, there were few who got along with me
am 6:05 Some of them kept me in their mailing list, that makes me feel
good a bit
am 6:10 The road I was to take is sealed. Everything is against me
am 6:31 It’s time. Let’s go
am 6:39 I have to fight my headache
am 6:49 and the rain
am 6:50 and the time
am 7:30 I did my homework perfectly and look at this rain
am 9:41 I hope the weather gets better
am 9:48 Now I’m in Kanagawa. resting. Everything is fine so far
am 10:53 Heavy trafic jam. Dunno if I get there on time
am 11:07 Shibuya sucks
am 11:17 It is sunny around here
am 11:45 arrived on Akihabara
am 11:45 Hokoten today, isn’t it?
pm 0:10 Now it’s the time

You can’t help but wonder why nobody reported these threatening posts to local police, as they had many hours to do so.

Other reports suggest that Mr. Kato may have brought a knife into his high school on at least one occasion while in attendance.

There are still many unanswered questions stemming from the Ahkihabara murders.  Police are still questioning Mr. Kato, and the impact on the district and its security remains to be seen.  We will continue to monitor developments.