Mamoru Takuma (宅間 守[a], Takuma Mamoru, 23 November 1963 – 14 September 2004) was a Japanese mass murderer who killed eight children in the Osaka school massacre in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, on 8 June 2001.[1]

Mamoru Takuma
Mamoru Takuma (宅間 守)

(1963-11-23)November 23, 1963
DiedSeptember 14, 2004(2004-09-14) (aged 40)
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
Criminal statusExecuted
Criminal penaltyDeath
DateJune 8, 2001
10:15 a.m.
Location(s)Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Target(s)Students and staff at Ikeda Elementary School, particularly girls
WeaponsDeba knife (blade length about 15.8 cm)

Takuma had a long history of mentally disturbed and anti-social behaviour, and an extensive criminal record including a conviction for rape.[2] He stabbed to death eight students and seriously wounded fifteen others at Ikeda Elementary School in a knife attack that lasted several minutes.

Takuma was convicted in August 2003 and executed on 14 September 2004.

Early life edit

Mamoru Takuma was born on 23 November 1963 in Itami, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. As a child, he displayed unusual and anti-social behavior: at the age of three, he rode his tricycle towards the center of a highway, causing traffic jams, and habitually killed small animals by wrapping them in newspaper and lighting them on fire. From elementary school to junior high, Takuma was both a victim and a perpetrator of bullying. He expressed envy and jealousy for the "highly educated and high-income elite" from an early age. Takuma was both physically abused and neglected by his father, whom he contemplated stabbing to death in his sleep.

In February 1979, Takuma enrolled in high school in Amagasaki, but dropped out in March 1981. He worked part-time at a gas station for several months until enlisting in the Japan Air Self Defense Force at the end of 1981, at age 18. However, Takuma was discharged in January 1983 for boarding and sleeping with a teenage runaway.[3] His relationship with his parents worsened following the discharge, and there were incidents in which his father beat him with stones.[4] Takuma in turn threatened to enlist the yakuza to "mess up" their lives.[5]

In 1984, Takuma and his mother left the family home and purchased an apartment, leaving his oldest brother and father by themselves. They lived together for a year and a half, until his father came back for his wife.[6] In February 1999, Takuma's brother, facing bankruptcy, died by suicide by slashing his neck with a knife. His father was hospitalized due to drunkenness after the incident, but according to Takuma in the detention center, he said, "I wanted him to commit suicide like Tsutomu Miyazaki's father."[7] Takuma's mother had a lifelong struggle with mental illness, and died in late 2016. His father died in April 2020, aged 88. The former Takuma residence in Itami was demolished in September 2020; the site is currently vacant.[8][circular reference]

Criminal history edit

On 21 November 1984, Takuma raped a woman while collecting rent for a condominium management company. After the incident, believing the woman had filed a complaint to the police, he consulted a psychiatrist with his mother on 12 December and he complained about hearing hallucinations, "feeling that he's plunged into someone" and other complaints. The hospital initially diagnosed him with anxiety, but later stated it was schizophrenia in the medical certificate and in response to police inquiries.

Takuma, who was placed in a closed ward, was dissatisfied with his care. On 4 January 1985, he jumped from the roof of the hospital's fifth floor in a suicide attempt, but instead fractured his mandible and maxilla. He later wrote to his mother that he was hospitalized to avoid being pursued by the police in a rape case and jumped off the fifth floor to "harass his parents".[9][circular reference] After being discharged from the hospital, Takuma decided to commit even more crimes for "revenge on the world." Later, the doctor in charge of Takuma's psychological examination stated that it may have strengthened his resentment towards society.[10][circular reference]

In November 1986, Takuma was sentenced to three years in prison for the rape charge. While in prison, he jumped out of the hospital ward, explaining in a letter to his mother that he did it because she would not cooperate regarding his discharge. He demanded that his parents pay for his living expenses after release. His father refused, citing Takuma's lack of remorse, and told him that he would hand over the money he traded in for his personal belongings to disown him.[11]

After his release from prison in March 1989, Takuma moved to Ikeda and found work driving buses and trucks. His coworkers described him as a quiet and unremarkable man, but a bit of a loner who did not like dealing with customers.[6] Takuma testified in a later psychological examination that he caused two fatal car accidents, one when he was a dump truck driver and the other when he was a semi-trailer truck. In the first incident, while transporting industrial waste in the mountains, Takuma drove in front of another truck and suddenly pressed the brake pedal on a downward turn, causing a collision; all the passengers of the other truck died the next day. He lied about the cause of the crash and was not indicted on any charges. In the second incident, while driving near the Metropolitan Expressway, Takuma caused a motorist to fatally collide with a side wall. He immediately left the scene.[12][circular reference]

In September 1993, Takuma was again arrested for rape. In 1998, he was fired after assaulting a bus passenger over the smell of her perfume. He found a new job as maintenance man at Itami Elementary School, six kilometers away from Ikeda. Later that year, Takuma was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his ex-wife. On 3 March 1999, Takuma dissolved temazepam, a tranquilizer, into the tea served in the teachers' room, sending four people to the hospital for three days. Regarding this incident he said, "I was ignored by the teachers and did not go well with my family, and I wanted to relieve my anger due to human relationships." Takuma was arrested, but was not criminally punished as was found "not responsible" due to mental illness.

In November 1999, Takuma was arrested on suspicion of burglary, but the charges were dropped. He managed to get a job as a taxi driver in September 2000, but was fired the following month after he assaulted a hotel bellhop in Osaka, breaking his nose. In November 2000, Takuma got a job as a truck driver at a construction materials company in Ikeda, but was fired a few months later due to problems including a road rage incident. He was also kicked out of several apartments for, among other things, throwing his garbage out from the balcony. On 23 May 2001, Takuma voluntarily admitted himself into a psychiatric hospital for depression, but left the next day without treatment. He was also arrested for driving his car in reverse gear on the Hanshin Expressway but released after he was found mentally unfit.

Massacre edit

On 8 June 2001, the day of his court hearing for the bellhop assault case, Takuma went on a murderous rampage at Ikeda Elementary School. He began to attack students and teachers with a kitchen knife until he was wrestled down by staff. In the quick attack, Takuma killed eight students (seven 8-year-old girls and one 7-year-old boy) and seriously wounded thirteen other children and two teachers. He was described as being in an extremely confused state when arrested, at first repeating, "I went to the elementary school", and then saying, "I went to the train station and stabbed 100 people with my knife. I did not go to the elementary school."

Takuma stated he "drank ten times the medicine" immediately after his arrest and a subsequent medical examination was performed on him. The medicine in question turned out to be three types: the antipsychotic Seroquel, the antidepressant Paxil, and the benzodiazepine drug Lormetazepam. Even in the instance all of these medications are taken at ten times their standard prescribed dose, they are more likely to cause somnolence or sedation, not psychotic behavior.[13]

Takuma also stated:

Nani mo kamo iya ni natta. Nankai mo jisatsu wo hakatta ga shi ni kirenai. Tsukamaete shikei ni shite hoshikatta.
"I've become disgusted with everything. I've tried to kill myself several times, but couldn't. I wanted to be caught and be given a death sentence."[15]

Takuma also expressed hatred for the affluent children who attended Ikeda Elementary School.[16]

Trial and execution edit

Takuma's lawyers argued that he was suffering from temporary insanity at the time of the attack, but the psychiatrist who had initially diagnosed him as schizophrenic told the court he later determined that Takuma actually had paranoid personality disorder.[17][18]

On 28 August 2003, Takuma was found guilty of multiple counts of murder and sentenced to death.[19] Takuma remained unrepentant, refusing to apologize to the families of the victims, and asked only for the sentence to be fulfilled as fast as possible. In court, he engaged in intentionally provocative behavior, including yawning, shaking his body, and staring at victims' family members. His statement was, "I should have used gasoline, so I could have killed more than I did."[20] On the last day of the trial, Takuma still expressed no guilt or remorse and continued to insult the victims' families until the judge removed him. The sentence was carried out unusually quickly by Japanese standards (condemned prisoners in Japan usually spend many years on death row); Takuma was executed at the Osaka Detention House only one year later, on 14 September 2004.[21]

Influence edit

Takuma consistently hoped for the death penalty after the incident and was executed at an unusual speed in Japan. Since then, some people have committed crimes to be sentenced to death.

Kaoru Kobayashi, who sexually assaulted and murdered 7-year-old Kaede Ariyama in Nara in November 2004, considered Takuma to be a charismatic murderer and sought a speedy execution like him.[22] 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.[23]

Copycat incidents edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Japan mourns school victims". CNN. 2001-06-10. Archived from the original on 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
  2. ^ 付属池田小事件裁判傍聴記 殺人鬼の素顔とは (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  3. ^ "宅間守", Wikipedia (in Japanese), 2021-12-19, retrieved 2021-12-27
  4. ^ "宅間守", Wikipedia (in Japanese), 2021-12-19, retrieved 2021-12-27
  5. ^ "宅間守", Wikipedia (in Japanese), 2021-12-19, retrieved 2021-12-27
  6. ^ a b 宅間守資料 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-03-09.
  7. ^ "宅間守の生い立ち~母親は望まない子供で父親の現在や兄は自殺の闇". 生い立ち〜今 (in Japanese). 28 June 2018. Retrieved 2021-06-06.
  8. ^ "宅間守 - Wikipedia". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  9. ^ "宅間守 - Wikipedia". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-08-16.
  10. ^ "宅間守 - Wikipedia". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-08-16.
  11. ^ Okae, Akira (May 23, 2013). 宅間守 精神鑑定書 精神医療と刑事司法のはざまで [Mamoru Takuma Psychiatric Assessment Report: Between psychiatric care and criminal justice] (in Japanese). Aki Shobo. ISBN 978-4-7505-1310-2. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  12. ^ "宅間守 - Wikipedia". (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-08-16.
  13. ^ "Motive for school stabbing unclear". Television New Zealand. 2001-06-13. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
  14. ^ ちゆ12歳 [in Japanese] (2001-06-08). "教室に乱入、児童8人を刺殺". Retrieved 2008-02-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "School massacre shatters Japan's sense of security". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. 2001-06-09. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
  16. ^ Ozawa, Harumi (2008-06-09). "Seven dead in street stabbing frenzy". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
  17. ^ "Suspect may suffer from personality disorder". The Japan Times. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "Osaka massacre suspect Takuma not schizophrenic: psychiatrist". Kyodo News. March 28, 2002. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  19. ^ "Death for Japanese school killer". BBC. 2003-08-28. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
  20. ^ "Quote Of The Day - I should have used gasoline, so I could have killed more than I did". Japan Today. Archived from the original on 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  21. ^ "Japanese school killer executed". BBC. 2004-09-14. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
  22. ^ "Defendant admits abducting and killing schoolgirl in Nara". The Japan Times. 2005-04-19. Archived from the original on 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
  23. ^ "Defendant admits abducting and killing schoolgirl in Nara". The Japan Times. 2005-04-19. Archived from the original on 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2008-02-11.

External links edit