Capt.Cps.Mrc01.090608150500.Photo01.Photo.Default-384X512A crazed truck driver went on a gruesome rampage Sunday in Tokyo’s nerd-friendly Akihabara district, killing seven people. The horrible incident has received international attention, but the killer’s otaku-tendencies have not gone unnoticed as this Yahoo photo caption shows:

A disturbed comic-book fan who killed seven people on a stabbing frenzy in downtown Tokyo

From the main story:

As stunned mourners placed flowers, sweets and comic-book images at a makeshift shrine, new details emerged of how he kept a detailed log of his plans to wreak havoc in Akihabara, the hub of Tokyo’s comic-book subculture.

The assailant behind Japan’s deadliest crime in seven years, 25-year-old Tomohiro Kato, is a graduate of a prestigious high school who went on to do manual work at an auto components factory, reports said.

Above, the alleged killer is hauled away by police.


  1. Out of the dozens of times I’ve heard this story so far, this is the first one that mentioned he was a comic-book fan. Might want to x-no-archive this post so the hook doesn’t catch on.

  2. I teach English in a Japanese school and this is a big deal here. I am teaching a combination drawing/english class this summer, and originally it was going to include mini lessons showing kids how to draw their favorite anime characters. But today they asked that I downplay the anime aspect, as it would be inappropriate in light of the murder and the current attitude towards otaku. Instead I’m going to be teaching them to draw marvel comics characters. Japan REALLY reacts to otaku crimes. I don’t need to tell anyone here that the word otaku first became derogatory after a hugely publicized murder. It may not seem a big deal in the news, but here on the ground its the major aspect of the story.

  3. I should add that the marvel comics idea was the schools. The backlash is only against native, Japanese comics. Foreign comics seem to get a free pass.

  4. Leaving aside the tragedy itself – isn’t it basically inaccurate to describe Akihabara as the “comic book subculture hub” of Tokyo? Isn’t Akihabara far, far more famous for being “Electric Town”, the hub of electronic goods and all sorts of consumer electronics? And comic books are everywhere in urban Tokyo, anyway – aren’t they basically hubless? That was the impression I got when I was there, anyway…

  5. Akihabara has evolved to become a general pop culture hub for the city. The electronics are there but so are comics, toys, video games, animation and AV idols of various stripes.

  6. People love their labels. I heard about this first when I was in the computer store in Santa Monica yesterday — a japanese lady was telling the guys in the service window that an “anime freak” had stabbed seven people in Tokyo.

    I kept my peace.


  7. Wow. I didn’t hear this connection until now. My friends and I heard from our friend living in Tokyo that day, so we didn’t worry. He was one of my friends I visited and went to Akihabara with when I went for a few weeks last year.

    By the way, there is still some of old ‘Electric Town’ tucked away among the otaku niche shops of various interests. It was interesting to see the old interest among the newer crowd.

    I found this link to a Fuji TV video with some translation about this issue. Somewhat disturbing, both for showing sidewalk blood stains and the exploitive feel of the music and such. And I thought Fox News was bad.

    Well, it sounds like Otaku Columbine time, where the media blames the subculture the killer was over his head in instead of the killer’s personal problems. And here I thought mainstream Japanese media were starting to show the Akiba subculture in a good light (and make money off of it) with TV shows like that Densha Otoko. Actually, I do agree the ‘2-D complex’ is a real issue among the subculture, but I don’t think this incident is directly caused by the subculture. It’s one person who was mentally ill. I’m sick of various media being blamed, often by the news media, for people who are simply not well.

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