The torture and murder of Junko Furuta

November 25, 1988
Misato, Saitama, Japan
Junko Furuta (17) is kidnapped, beginning her 44-day-long ordeal of rape and torture before her eventual murder

Furuta was riding her bicycle home from work when Nobuharu Minato, acting as an accomplice for Hiroshi Miyano, kicked her from her bike. Minato ran away and Miyano acted as a Good Samaritan, helping her up and offering to walk her home to avoid any further incidents. He lead Furuta to a warehouse, claimed to be a member of the Yakuza (a Japanese crime syndicate), and raped her.

After the rape, he brought her to a hotel to rape her again, and called some friends to brag about the rape. The friends requested Minato keep her captive longer so they could rape her as well, which he agreed to. He met the friends in a park, told Furuta they were in the Yakuza as well, and threatened that if she tried to escape the group would murder her family using an address in one of her school notebooks as proof they knew where she lived. Between the threat and being out-numbered 4 to 1, Furuta was overpowered and taken to Minato’s parents’ house where she was gang-raped.

When Furuta’s parents contacted police regarding their daughter’s disappearance, the gang forced Furuta to call home, telling her parents she had run away and was safe with a friend. Initially, Furuta was forced to pretend to be a gang member’s girlfriend when Minato’s parents were around, though the ruse was dropped when it became apparent the elder Minatos would not report their son to police. When questioned later, they stated they did not contact police out of fear of Yakuza retaliation.

During her 44 days of captivity, Furuta experienced extreme torture including:

  • Vaginal and anal rape multiple times a day for an estimated total of 400 times with as many as 12 different men raping her in a single day
  • Vaginally and anally raped with objects including bottles, scissors, skewers, and lit light bulbs, the latter being broken while still inserted in her
  • Prolonged bearings, including her hands being repeatedly crushed and the bones broken, her face being held against the floor as her head was jumped on, and weights being dropped on her stomach
  • Fireworks being set off in her vagina, anus, mouth, and ears
  • Repeated burnings including her vagina, clitoris, and anus being burnt with cigarettes and her eyelids burnt with candles. She was also doused with lighter fluid and set on fire several times
  • Her breasts pierced with sewing needles and her left nipple torn off with pliers
  • Was suspended from the ceiling by her hands and used as a punching bag
  • Was punished when she soiled the carpet, either because the beatings eliminated bowel and bladder control or because it took her an hour to drag herself to a restroom due to her broken hands and burned legs
  • Her wounds, left untreated, became infected resulting in swollen flesh, oozing pus, and a putrid smell. Because of these, the gang lost sexual interest in her and kidnapped another victim to rape

One of those involved in the rape and torture was allegedly forced to commit the crimes and told his brother about the ordeal. The brother went to police and 2 officers visited the home. They were told no girl was in the house and invited the officers in, but the officers declined, believing the invitation was proof enough no wrongdoings were happening. When this came to light after Furuta was found, the officers received backlash from the community and were fired.

Furuta’s end came after she won a game of Mahjong against 4 of the boys. Infuriated, they beat her, dropped weights on her, and burned her. The bleeding and pus oozing from her disgusted her attackers who taped plastic bags over their hands and continued the assault. They lit her on fire again and, while she attempted to put the flames out at first, she eventually became unresponsive. On January 4, 1989, shortly after her murder, she was placed in a 55 gallon drum and covered with cement.

Because the boys were juveniles at the time of the murder, they received light sentences, the greatest being 20 years and the others being no greater than 10 years. Had the boys been older, Minato would likely have received a death sentence.

The mother of one of the convicted boys allegedly vandalized Furuta’s grave claiming she ruined her son’s life. The boy in question had bragged to friends about Furuta’s murder and was arrested for beating a man for 4 hours, telling the man he would kill him and that he had already murdered someone and gotten away with it.

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