10 Japanese Police/Crime Cases That Are Worthy of Their Own Movie

Several of the top crime and thriller films are based on real incidents. And that makes them so captivating. It’s simple for writers to create horrific scenarios but something equally thrilling that happened in real life has more emotional impact and curiosity. There are numerous real police and criminal situations in Japan. If these incidents are portrayed in a movie, people who do not know would assume it as a fictional movie. So, here are ten such criminal cases that possibly could be turned into a movie:

1. Teigin Bank Robbery (1948)

In Tokyo, a guy broke into Teigin Bank and stole 160,000 yen, killing twelve people in the process. To contain a local dysentery outbreak, the man reportedly pretended to be a representative of the health authority and distributed medication to the bank workers. He gave me a cyanide-laced drink.

Famous Japanese painter Sadamichi Hirasawa was detained a few months later and given the death penalty. Since there was no actural evidence against him, there are strong indications that he was not the perpetrator. Even the composite sketch of the offender did not resemble Hirasawa.

Hirasawa initially admitted to the crime but later changed his mind, saying he had been forced into confessing by torture. Due to doubts about Hirasawa’s innocence, the Justice Ministers assigned to the case declined to sign his death warrant. Sadamichi Hirasawa penned his memoirs while serving 33 years in prison. In the end, he passed away in 1987 from natural causes.


2. The assassination of Inejiro Asanuma (1960)

Asanuma was the leader of the Japan Socialist Party and a well-known politician. At the time, many Japanese were critical of him for his ardent advocacy of socialism and his outspoken backing of the Chinese Communist Party.

On October 12, 1960, a young militant nationalist named Otoya Yamaguchi rushed to the stage during a televised political debate for the upcoming House of Representatives election. He fatally stabbed Asanuma with a wakizashi (a small sword typically worn in combination with a katana on one’s side). Yamaguchi attempted a second stab, but security stopped him.

Millions of Japanese people were able to witness the assassination since the debate was being recorded by the TV network NHK. Yamaguchi was apprehended at the crime scene, but while in police custody, he killed himself.

3. 300 Million Yen Robbery (1968)

On December 10, 1968, 300 million yen (equivalent to around 800,500 US dollars at 1968 exchange rates) were transported from the Nihon Shintaku bank office in Kokubunji, Tokyo, using the trunk of the company car. The money, which is kept in metal crates, was intended as a bonus for the workers of Toshiba’s Fuchu factory.

A composite portrait of the suspect, released in 1968. Photo: AFP

A police officer in a uniform riding a police motorbike stopped the bank employee’s car in the roadway near Tokyo Fuchu prison. Then the employee informed them that the branch manager’s home had been bombed and received information that there was a bomb in the company car as well.

crime scene

The four bank employees hid behind the security of the jail walls when the policeman checked beneath the hood of the automobile and saw smoke coming out of it. The police officer then boarded the vehicle and drove away, taking all the cash with him.

Site of the 300-million-yen robbery

Further research revealed that the motorcycle is a common one that has been painted white rather than a genuine police motorcycle. Many people have been arrested, but none of them have been found to be guilty; one arrest was even made under pretenses, and the arresting officer was charged with power abuse.

The offense’s statute of limitations ran out in December 1975, yet no one was ever caught or convicted of it. The thief is now free of any civil liabilities as of 1988. Therefore, he can come forward without worrying about legal penalties. Nobody has yet had the courage to speak up.

4. Shinjuku Bus Attack (1980)

In 1980, a mentally ill 34-year-old man set a bus on fire by hurling a pail of gasoline and a lit newspaper at it. The ensuing fire left 14 passengers injured and killed 6.

The individual said that he committed the act out of frustration after growing up in a violent, low-income environment. Despite expecting the death penalty, the man received a life sentence. In 1997, he committed suicide.

One of the victims, a woman who barely made it out alive with third-degree burns all over her body, forgave the man. Also, she expressed regret that she couldn’t save him in a book she wrote about the incident.


5. Concrete-Encased High School Girl Murder Case (1989)

On November 25, 1988, after class, Junko Furuta, a 16-year-old Japanese high school student, was last seen making her way to her after-school job. She failed to return home.

Junko and her captors

Four young males under the age of 18—Miyano Hiroshi, Minato Nobuharu, Watanabe Yasushi, and Jo Kamisaku—were proven to be responsible for her kidnapping

Junko was held captive for 44 days at the home of one of her captors, where she endured multiple rapes, beatings, torture, and being made to consume cockroaches and urine. After hours of additional torture, during which she reportedly begged her captors to kill her now, she passed away by herself on New Year’s Eve 1989.

The kidnappers put Junko’s body in a concrete-filled oil barrel, then dumped it on reclaimed territory in Tokyo’s Koto Ward.

Jo Kamisaku was freed in August 1999, but because to his connections to the criminal underworld, he continued to run into legal issues. By 2004, he had been charged with attacking a friend and given a 7-year prison term. Although they were all adolescents at the time of the incident and were all tried as adults, the three other boys’ identities were kept secret by the court.


6. Gangland Slaying of Policemen in Okinawa (1990)

In Okinawa, two thugs named Hideo Zamami and Takeo Matayoshi shot and killed two police officers as well as five civilians. Zamami and Matayoshi mistook the police officers for rival gangsters, which led to the shooting incident.

Zamami was detained and given a life sentence. Matayoshi has disappeared and was never detained.


7. Murder of Masaru Takumi (1997)

Masaru Takumi, the second-in-command of Yamaguchi-gumi, the biggest Yakuza gang in Japan, was shot and killed in a coffee shop on the fourth level of the Oriental Hotel in Kobe in 1997.

The atrocities were committed by the Nakano-kai, a rival gang and splinter group of the Yamaguchi-gumi. They are all comprised of the gangsters Kouji Ishihara, Nakaho Kiyohara, and Toriyabara Kiyoteru.

The incident also resulted in the death of an innocent bystander, and the subsequent inquest ultimately resulted in the Nakano-kai’s destruction.


8. Roppongi Hostess Murders

Following the discovery of the dismembered remains of British hostess Lucie Blackman in 2000, prominent Osaka businessman Joji Obara was promptly detained and accused of the murder.

Joji Obara

Obara was also accused of killing Australian hostess Carita Ridgeway and assaulting six other women sexually. She was found guilty of the other crimes, but he was not found guilty of the murder of Lucie Blackman due to a lack of evidence.


9. Sasebo Slashing Incident (2004)

Satomi Mitarai, a 12-year-old elementary school student, was slashed to death with a box cutter by a classmate. Because she was a minor, the suspect’s identity was kept a secret, but a Fuji TV coverage of the incident unintentionally gave away her name: Natsumi Tsuji (the station displayed some of the suspect’s drawings, which she signed with her name).

The photo of Natsumi Tsuji

When Natsumi Tsuji admitted to the deaths, she said Mitarai had made derogatory remarks about her beauty on her website. Since her released photo shows her sporting a Nevada sweatshirt, the suspect became the focus of the internet joke known as “Nevada Tan.”

Tsuji ought to have been made available in 2013 since that year marks the legal adulthood age in Japan of 20.


10. The assassination of Mayor Iccho Itoh (2007)

Iccho Itoh, the mayor of Nagasaki at the time, was shot twice in the back while running for a fourth term. Outside of the Nagasaki train station, the incident took place.

Tetsuya Shiroo

Tetsuya Shiroo, a high-ranking yakuza from the Yamaguchi-gumi gang, committed the crime.

According to reports, Shiroo had a personal animosity towards Nagasaki municipal officials when they disagreed with him after he drove his automobile into a hole at a construction site in 2003. He allegedly harbors resentment about his construction company not receiving any contracts from the regional administration.

The Sushin-kai, Shiroo’s gang, voluntarily separated following the incident, and the Yamaguchi-gumi leadership denied ordering the execution.

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