Kaoru Kobayashi (murderer)

Kaoru Kobayashi (小林 薫, Kobayashi Kaoru, November 30, 1968 – February 21, 2013) was a Japanese newspaper deliveryman who kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered 7-year-old Kaede Ariyama (有山 楓, Ariyama Kaede) in Nara, Nara Prefecture, on November 17, 2004.[1] Kobayashi, an ex-convict and pedophile with a record as a prolific sex offender, was sentenced to death for the murder of Ariyama and was executed by hanging at Osaka Detention House on February 21, 2013.[2] Ariyama's murder caused a surge in the moral panic against otaku culture in Japan.

Kaoru Kobayashi
Born(1968-11-30)November 30, 1968
DiedFebruary 21, 2013(2013-02-21) (aged 44)
Osaka Detention House, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
OccupationNewspaper deliveryman
Conviction(s)Kidnapping, sexual assault, homicide (2 counts of murder and sexual assault resulting in death), theft and intimidation, two counts of damage and abandonment of a corpse
Criminal penaltyDeath
Date apprehended
30 December 2004

Early lifeEdit

Kaoru Kobayashi was born on November 30, 1968, in the Sumiyoshi-ku ward of Osaka, Osaka Prefecture. He worked as a paperboy since his childhood as his family was poor, and his mother died in 1978. In 1989, Kobayashi was convicted of sexually assaulting eight children, receiving a suspended sentence of two years imprisonment.[3] In October 1991, Kobayashi attempted to kill a five-year-old girl and was sentenced to three years in prison, for which he was paroled on November 9, 1995, and officially released on July 23, 1996.

Kobayashi had worked at a newsstand for Asahi Shimbun in Tomio, a neighborhood in the west-side of Nara, Nara Prefecture, between March and July 2000. At the time of the murder, he was employed as a newspaper deliveryman for Mainichi Shimbun in the Ikoma District of Nara Prefecture, adjacent to Tomio.

Kidnapping and murderEdit

On November 17, 2004, Kobayashi kidnapped seven-year-old Kaede Ariyama at random while she travelled from Tomio North Elementary School to her home, near the west-side police station in Tomio. Using Ariyama's cellular phone, Kobayashi sent a photograph of the girl to her mother with the message: "I've got your daughter".[4] Kobayashi then murdered Ariyama and dumped her body in the town of Heguri in the Ikoma District of Nara Prefecture, which was found that night. The autopsy revealed the cause of Ariyama's death to be drowning; the water collected in her lungs was not dirty, so it was assumed that she had been drowned in a sink or bathtub. Several of her teeth were missing and abrasions were found on her hands and feet, which were assumed to have been done by Kobayashi after her death.[5] It also appeared that Kobayashi had undressed Ariyama before murdering her and then re-dressed her afterwards.

On December 14, 2004, Kobayashi sent an email from Ariyama's cellular phone to her mother's cellular phone, saying, "I'll take her baby sister next" with a photograph.[6] He had shown off a photograph of Ariyama to a waitress and customers in a local bar, claiming to have gotten the photograph from a website.


On December 30, 2004, Kobayashi was arrested for kidnapping after he had sent a photograph from Ariyama's cellular phone to his own, which helped speed his arrest because the local cell phone towers logged the messages sent from the phone. Kobayashi lived in the town of Kawai in Kitakatsuragi District, located in the northwest area of Nara Prefecture along with Tomio and Ikoma, and was arrested after he had finished his morning paper route distributing the news that the suspect would be arrested soon.[7] During a search of his room, the police discovered Ariyama's cellular phone and randoseru, a video and a magazine containing child pornography, and a considerable amount of girls' underwear which Kobayashi had stolen between June and December 2004.[8][9][10]

A witness reported seeing Ariyama 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 ShimbunEdit

In the wake of the arrest, it was revealed that the manager of the newspaper delivery agency in Osaka's Higashisumiyoshi Ward had made a report to the police that a newspaper subscription fee of JP¥230,000 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 otakuEdit

Ariyama's murder fueled an increased hostility towards otaku culture in Japan, which had already been the subject of a moral panic since the killing spree of serial murderer Tsutomu Miyazaki in 1989. Miyazaki became known as the "Otaku Murderer" due to his strong interest in anime and horror films, sparking negative stereotypes of otaku leading people to become violent criminals, particularly against young girls. Kobayashi's crime was associated with otaku in Japanese society due to its similarity to Miyazaki's crimes.

Japanese journalist Akihiro Ōtani suspected that Kobayashi's crime was committed by a member of the figure moe zoku sub-culture, which Ōtani associated with lolicon even before Kobayashi's 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] Social Democratic Party politician Nobuto Hosaka criticised much of the uproar.[16]

Trial and verdictEdit

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

I want to be sentenced to death as quickly as possible, and leave a legacy among the public as the next Tsutomu Miyazaki or Mamoru Takuma.[17]

Both Miyazaki and Takuma were child murderers with histories of mental illness and sex crimes against children. For his part, Miyazaki stated, "I won't allow him to call himself 'the second Tsutomu Miyazaki' when he hasn't even undergone a psychiatric examination."[18] Miyazaki was subsequently executed on June 17, 2008, after making this comment, possibly due to the significance of Kobayashi's case and another recent incident, the Akihabara massacre.

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] Ariyama'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 House on February 21, 2013.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Man held in Nara girl's slaying". The Japan Times. 2005-01-08. Archived from the original on 2005-04-10. 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. Archived from the original on 2005-02-14. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
  4. ^ Kite, Hanna (2006-02-06). "A Burning Mystery". Time. Archived from the original on January 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  5. ^ "Grisly details of Nara girl's murder emerge". Japan Today. 2004-11-30. Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  6. ^ "Man held in girl's slaying". The Japan Times. 2004-12-31. Archived from the original on 2009-01-12. 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 Hoffman, Michael (2005-02-06). "Otaku harassed as sex-crime fears mount". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 2008-01-16. 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.