Stabbing of Mayu Tomita

On May 21, 2016, Mayu Tomita, a 20-year-old Japanese singer and actress, was stabbed in the neck and chest area multiple times by 27-year-old fan Tomohiro Iwazaki, after she returned gifts that he had sent her.[5] Prior to the attack, he had sent her multiple death threats over social media. As a result of the stabbing, anti-stalking laws in Japan were revised to include online threats on social media to better protect victims.

Stabbing of Mayu Tomita
Native name小金井ストーカー刺傷事件
LocationHonchō 6-chōme−5−3
Koganei, Tokyo, Japan, 184-0004
Coordinates35°41′57″N 139°30′14″E / 35.6992428°N 139.5039582°E / 35.6992428; 139.5039582
DateMay 21, 2016 (2016-05-21)
c. 5:05 PM[1][2] (JST)
Attack type
Stabbing
WeaponsPocket knife[3]
Deaths0
Injured1
VictimsMayu Tomita
PerpetratorTomohiro Iwazaki
Motive
Verdict14+12 years in prison
Charges
LitigationLawsuit filed against:
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government
  • Former agent
  • The perpetrator

AttackEdit

Iwazaki, a fan of Tomita, had sent multiple "obsessive comments" to her blog and Twitter account.[2][6] He reportedly sent her some books and a watch.[7] The watch was sent between January and February 2016, and it was returned to the sender in April,[2] after which he sent her around 400 hostile tweets.[8] Tomita then blocked him on Twitter at the end of April.[9] 12 days before the attack,[8] Tomita had contacted the police at the station near her home in Musashino, Tokyo out of fear for her safety, but the police dismissed the case, believing his social media messages were not an immediate threat.[3] In addition, anti-stalking laws in Japan did not include harassment on social media at the time.[9]

On May 21, 2016, around 5:05 PM JST,[1][2] Iwazaki confronted Tomita in front of a small concert venue near a train station before an event titled Solid Girls Night Vol. 11[10] in Koganei, Tokyo, where she was performing later that evening with other singers.[7] Iwazaki had asked her why she returned the gifts he sent her, but stated that he "lost control" when Tomita did not give him a clear explanation.[2] When Tomita turned around, he stabbed her from behind in chest and neck area 61 times with a pocket knife containing a 8.2 cm blade.[2][11][12][4] Prosecutors alleged that he had yelled, "You should die, die, die!" as he stabbed her.[12] Eyewitnesses called the police after hearing Tomita scream for help,[13] and Iwazaki was arrested.[2] Iwazaki told the police that he "intended to kill" Tomita and had prepared a knife beforehand.[14] When Tomita had called the police before being stabbed, the emergency dispatcher had sent the police to her home instead of tracing the location of her cell phone.[13]

Tomita was in critical condition but sustained no damage on her vital organs, and she regained consciousness on June 7, 2016.[1][15] Tomita suffered from 34 stab wounds on her face, neck, back, and arms.[16] She was also partially blinded in her left eye[12] and had problems eating and singing.[16][7] In addition, Tomita could not use her fingers and it is unknown when she can continue her music career.[8] Tomita also suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.[16] She was released from the hospital in September 2016.[12]

On December 17, 2016, Tomita criticized the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department for dismissing her initial concerns. The police issued a formal apology to Tomita for not taking action.[3][8][12]

VictimEdit

Mayu Tomita (冨田真由, Tomita Mayu, born October 12, 1995)[17] is a Japanese singer and actress. In 2011, she starred in Fuji TV's web drama Secret Girls, featuring a group of middle school girls who lead a double life as members of an in-show Japanese idol girl group of the same name.[18][11] Tomita was cast as Ai "Eye" Takano and performed as the character along with the rest of Secret Girls at music events.[18][11] Their self-titled single, "Secret Girls", was released on March 21, 2012 and charted at #22 on Oricon's Weekly Singles Chart.[19] She also made minor appearances in other films and television shows, such as Kamen Rider Fourze.[17][20] At the time of the attack, Tomita was also a third-year college student at Asia University majoring in business.[21][22]

PerpetratorEdit

Tomohiro Iwazaki (岩崎友宏, Iwazaki Tomohiro, born 1988 or 1989) was 27 years old at the time of stabbing.[23] Iwazaki's older brother described him as "unskilled in expressing his emotions" but had a "gentle, child-like nature."[23] He also mentioned that Iwazaki did not have many known friends.[23]

At one point in time, Iwazaki was infatuated with model Ai Hashimoto, but he lost interest in her after she publicly stated she had once regularly watched romantic pornography.[24] This led him to declare on his blog that women who appear in pornography should "commit suicide."[24] Iwazaki had also appeared in one of Yui Hatano's pornographic films, titled Real Amateurs on a Virgin Graduation Bus Tour.[24] Iwazaki had been a fan of Tomita after watching her shows and had expressed a desire to marry her.[12][21]

TrialEdit

2017 trialEdit

Trials began on February 20, 2017.[25] On the first day of trial, prosecutors read a note from Tomita to the court reading, "I want the criminal to die. If you cannot do that, I want him to be locked up for the rest of his life."[25] Iwazaki admitted attacking Tomita, but his defense team claimed that he only did so out of frustration of her ignoring him, and that he had no intent to kill.[12][25] Furthermore, they claimed that Iwazaki had tried to contact the police after the attack.[12] Tomita's mother testified on February 21.[25]

On February 23, Tomita made her first public appearance since the stabbing and spoke from behind a partition that shielded her from the people in the courtroom.[3] In response to her testimony, Iwazaki shouted, "Then you should kill me", and, "I wasn't actually going to kill you", which caused him to be removed from the room.[3]

Public prosecutors sought a prison term of 17 years.[3] On February 28, the court instead sentenced Iwazaki to 14 years and 6 months in prison.[25]

2019 lawsuitEdit

On July 11, 2019, Tomita launched a lawsuit against the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, her former agent, and Iwazaki, seeking ¥76 million in damages for failing to provide adequate protection prior to the stabbing.[4][26]

ImpactEdit

Tomita's stabbing has led the National Diet to revise their anti-stalking laws in December 2016 to include online harassment on social media,[12] which led to the arrest of 32-year-old Akihiro Fukushima for sending death threats to voice actress and singer Nana Mizuki over Twitter.[16] Along with the 2014 incident where AKB48 members were attacked by a man with a saw during their handshake meeting, Tomita's stabbing has been frequently used as an example of stalker-related assaults on Japanese idols.[27][28]

In 2017, animation director Yutaka Yamamoto condemned Iwazaki on his blog, but he also believed Tomita was at fault for rejecting his gifts and should have been prepared to fight back.[29] After receiving backlash for his comments, Yamamoto responded to the criticism by mentioning there was a double standard in the public, where they would care more about a "cute idol" than a "dirty middle-aged man."[30]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "冨田真由さんの意識回復、内臓の損傷なし". Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). June 7, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Stabbed idol in critical condition; fan faces charge of attempted murder". The Japan Times. May 22, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "17-year prison term sought for man who attacked pop idol in Koganei". The Japan Times. February 24, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Wakatsuki, Yoko; Hollingsworth, Julia (July 12, 2019). "Japanese pop star Mayu Tomita sues government for inaction over stalker who stabbed her". CNN. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  5. ^ "Man Sentenced to 14 Years for Stabbing Singer". Anime News Network. February 28, 2017. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  6. ^ "Japanese pop star in critical condition after knife attack by fan". BBC News. May 22, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Stalker gets 14-year prison term for stabbing pop idol". The Japan Times. February 28, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d Sim, Walter (February 28, 2017). "Police apologise to Japanese pop idol for inaction after she was stabbed over 20 times by stalker". The Straits Times. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Izutani, Yuriko (May 23, 2016). "【元アイドル刺傷】ストーカー規制法はSNS対象外、「警察は対策怠った」と紀藤正樹弁護士". The Huffington Post (in Japanese). Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  10. ^ Tomita, Mayu [@tomitamayu] (May 21, 2016). "さて、今日だよっ🙌🏼出番は、私の計算が正しければ21:00〜です…!19:00スタートのひと組30分の5番目だから、合っていると思うのだけれど…。お待ちしておりますーっ😋😋" (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved January 24, 2019 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ a b c Schwartz, Rob (May 23, 2016). "J-Pop Idol Mayu Tomita Stabbed by Fan in Tokyo". Billboard. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Tokyo man pleads guilty to stabbing pop singer in Koganei last May". The Japan Times. February 20, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "冨田真由さん本人の110番 警視庁とつながった「10分間」の通話、その間に襲撃". Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). May 25, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  14. ^ "逮捕の男「贈り物返され憤慨」 アイドル刺傷事件、事前に計画か". Tokyo Shimbun (in Japanese). May 23, 2016. Archived from the original on May 23, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  15. ^ "冨田真由さん、意識回復 ファンの男に刺され重体". Sankei Sports (in Japanese). June 7, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d Sim, Walter (February 28, 2017). "Stalker who stabbed Japanese pop idol dozens of times jailed 14½ years". The Straits Times. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  17. ^ a b "冨田 真由" [Mayu Tomita]. Hori Agency (in Japanese). Archived from the original on July 2, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  18. ^ a b "『シークレットガールズ』の初ステージに密着! メンバー独占インタビュー". ASCII Media Works (in Japanese). July 26, 2011. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  19. ^ "Secret girls(初回限定盤)". Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  20. ^ "ブログに「女優さんになりたい」と冨田真由さん 交流拡大で距離感見失うファン相次ぐ". Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). May 22, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  21. ^ a b "大学生の冨田真由さん刺傷 被告に感じた"犯行への満足感" 被害者との関係構築に喜び? 反省の言葉、心に全く響かず". Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). March 18, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  22. ^ "冨田真由さん 大学で経営専攻、学生募集のパンフレットにも登場". Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). May 23, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  23. ^ a b c "アイドル刺した岩埼容疑者…柔道得意、庭師目指す". Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). May 22, 2016. Archived from the original on June 13, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  24. ^ a b c Shichijo, Roland (March 2, 2017). "Tokyo court hands defendant in Mayu Tomita stabbing 14.5 years in prison". Tokyo Reporter. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  25. ^ a b c d e "冨田真由さん判決聞き絶句 親族控訴の希望伝える". Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). March 1, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  26. ^ "Ex-pop idol Mayu Tomita files ¥76 million lawsuit against Tokyo Metropolitan Government and attacker". The Japan Times. July 11, 2019. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  27. ^ "【NGT山口真帆暴行事件】アイドル防衛の実情". Tokyo Sports (in Japanese). January 10, 2019. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  28. ^ Jozuka, Eriko; Yakatsuki, Yoko (January 16, 2019). "Why a pop idol's stand against her assault sparked outrage in Japan". CNN. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  29. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee (March 1, 2017). "Wake-Up Girls! Yutaka Yamamoto Criticizes Attacked Idol". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  30. ^ Sherman, Jennifer (March 6, 2017). "Yamakan Discusses Criticism of His Comments About Idol Stabbing". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 1, 2019.