Japan

Teen arrested for murdering, decapitating elementary school student

June 28, 1997
Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan
A 14-year-old boy using the pseudonym Seito Sakakibara (酒鬼薔薇 聖斗) is attested for the murders of two children

On May 27, 1997, the severed head of Jun Hase (11) was found at the gates of his elementary school before students arrived. In the boy’s mouth was a letter threatening more murders, reading “This is the beginning of the game… You police guys stop me if you can… I desperately want to see people die, it is a thrill for me to commit murder. A bloody judgment is needed for my years of great bitterness.” A letter was later mailed to a newspaper, which contained more taunts and was signed Seito Sakakibara. On June 28, a teenaged boy, referred to by the media as “Boy A” as Japanese law prohibits reporting a juvenile offender’s name, was arrested. He confessed to Jun’s murder, the March 16, 1997 murder of Ayaka Yamashita (10) who was bludgeoned, and attacks on three other schoolgirls.

Sakakibara was convicted and sent to a medical facility for juvenile offenders in October of 1997; he was released in 2004. Sakakibara’s case influenced the reduction of Japan’s age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 14.

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