Osaka movie theatre fire

The Osaka movie theatre fire took place on 1 October 2008, before dawn.[1] As a result of an act of arson, sixteen victims died and nine were injured.


The fire took place at a pornographic video theatre in downtown Osaka.[1][2][3][4] The business, called Cats, rented out 32 small rooms, which, the New York Times reported, cost $15 a night. There were 26 customers and three employees in the store when the fire began.[5]

Some 120 firefighters fought the blaze and extinguished it in 90 minutes.[1] The theatre rooms, each equipped with a cot, were used as a cheap hotel by customers.[2] The rooms in the video store were located in a narrow hallway with only a single exit via the reception. There were no sprinklers or smoke ventilation, and the video's manager turned off the alarm after the fire broke out as he thought it was a false alarm.[citation needed]

Motive, trial, sentencingEdit

The perpetrator, Kazuhiro Ogawa, told police he started the fire after deciding to kill himself. But he got scared, and ran away as smoke filled his room. Ogawa said he was depressed because he was living on welfare and that he "thought my life would be meaningless".[6] Despite initially admitting the allegations, Ogawa pleaded innocent saying "I did not commit arson" at his trial.[7] Ogawa was sentenced to death in 2009.[3] Ogawa's death sentence was upheld by the Osaka High Court in 2011.[8] In 2014, the Supreme court rejected Ogawa's appeal, judge Tomoyuki Yokota stated that Ogawa's actions caused "an extremely large number of casualties is serious, and the impact and anxiety on society is great" and that "There is no reason to consider the motives and circumstances behind the decision to commit suicide."[9] As of 2021, Ogawa awaits execution on death row.[10]


  1. ^ a b c "Fire kills 15 men at Osaka adult video theater". Reuters. October 1, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Arson kills 15 at adult video theater in Japan". NBC News. Associated Press. October 1, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Japan's History Of Disturbing Mass Killings". Sky News. 26 July 2016. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Factbox: Recent mass killings in Japan". Reuters. 18 July 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  5. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (October 1, 2008). "Fire at Video Store Kills 15 in Japan". New York Times. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  6. ^ "Suicide was motive in Osaka arson". The Japan Times. 5 October 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Osaka arson suspect pleads innocent". The Japan Times. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  8. ^ "Man sentenced to death over 16 arson murders". Japan Today. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  9. ^ "個室ビデオ店放火、死刑確定へ 大阪、16人死亡" [Private room video store arson, death sentence confirmed Osaka, 16 people died]. (in Japanese). 6 March 2014. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Dozens killed in Japan building fire, arson suspected". Al Jazeera. 17 December 2021. Retrieved 25 December 2021.