Search This Blog & Get A Rife

Friday, September 30, 2011

Drink, Dance and Fly

I'm still a bit jet-lagged (not JET lagged) from my red-eye from Las Vegas to Toronto this morning. As such, I'm going to be lazy and direct you to my pal Jimbo's Japan, and the piece he did on Izakaya.

Loyal readers like my buddy Rob who helped me become a better writer while I was living in Japan between 1990-1993 - you need to read this. I simply did not have enough sober memories to write first -and about this fun topic.

JIMBO'S STORY 

As an aside... in Las Vegas.... wifey joined me for our 10th anniversary... we were married in Vegas! She got sick her second day there, and while we did have an enjoyable time in Old Vegas on our second night, she probably contaminated the whole place to make even the Las Vegas CSI team unable to track who Typhoid Mary was this week.

Wifey and I took separate planes down and back - not just in case one plane goes down, the other can still be a parent, but rather because she procrastinated a little too much in getting her passport and I wasn't sure she was going to go. I had to go for work.

Anyhow, wifey left 3 hours before me... and almost immediately, I began to win at the slots, playing Dean Martin's Wild Party. Anyhow... I had to race to catch my shittle (spelling is correct). I made it, tossed my bags into the back, the driver locked the door and off we went to the airport.

The first stop to let off some other passengers... the handle to the door broke... meaning we couldn't get the luggage out. No one had tools. The airport maintenance guys had none (Really? Liars). No other shuttle driver had tools. No taxi driver had any.

One driver did have a Swiss Army knife... which one of the stranded riders used to try and get it open. Meanwhile a second rider chided him on the way he was trying to save us all. A swearing argument ensued. I just calmly watched. Finally a tow truck driver showed up... they pried it open, and only having lost 45 minutes we all got dropped off to our various check-in sites on time. I flew from Las Vegas to Cleveland on Continental 1436, and Cleveland to Toronto on Continental 4807. Decent amount of turbulence on the first leg - side to side mostly - which is rough when you are trying to sleep. Landing in Toronto in the rain, it was the smoothest landing I've ever experienced and told the pilot so. You couldn't even feel the wheels touch the ground. The Stew.. she was tough as nails, but dealing with jerk passengers - she did a great job - effectively and efficiently with humour and strictness. Cheers. I got home in 6 hours. By the way...  security in Vegas was effective and had a great sense of humour!

Wifey, who left three hours before me... still hasn't arrived in Toronto as of me writing this... 16 hours later. She traveled from Las Vegas to San Francisco. San Francisco to to Chicago. Chicago to Toronto.
Problem... she missed her connection from San Fran to Chicago. She and another woman had two minutes to spare, but United 828 closed the gates early ... and wouldn't let them on.

Here's wifey in her own words in an e-mail to me this morning:

I missed my flight by one minute - not really, though - they just closed the doors to the jetway earlier than they were supposed to. I banged on the doors, saw someone who paid me no attention.  Finally a guy from United asked me what I was doing.  Another man came and said that they close the doors ten minutes before the departure time - he was telling us (there was another woman in the same position) when there was still 12 minutes left before departure time.  I then went to United customer service and a woman there said she would change my flight direct to Toronto.  She also mentioned something about getting me in to Toronto at the same time I would have had I made the flight.  Fine.  I was just going to have to stay in the airport for a couple of hours.  While having a smoke, I looked at the documents/boarding pass the customer service woman had given me and it appeared as though she had just booked me on the Chicago to Toronto flight that I was already on - I had nothing for San Francisco to Chicago.  I pondered this for awhile, wondering if my earpluggedness was causing me to be in a time warp of some type.  I  then wandered the airport looking for a United person - no one was anywhere.  Finally, went down to baggage and found someone from United.  He was able to get me on a flight.  Before I tell you what flight I'm on, he told me that I could have been on a direct flight had the first customer service woman known what she was doing but it was too late for that.  As it is I am going to see Washington DC.  How nice.  Problem is, I won't be able to see it until tomorrow afternoon.  I won't get into Toronto until 6:30 PM. Crap crap crap.  I never want to fly again.  Three days at home with no responsibilities will be my next vacation.

Thank you, wifey. Oh yes... she got sick on the second day in Las Vegas. Germs, germs germs from slot machines... and no hand sanitizer anywhere (hopefully everybody at united gets the aviation flu)... except for $20 at the hotel inconvenience store. Did I mention the MGM Grand sucks? Light bulb out in bathroom for all three days. Crappy TV - not even a flat screen - and remote partially worked. Alarm Clock - I couldn't set the actual time... it was ahead by an hour... so I had to set the alarm ahead by an hour. At least I noticed it and wasn't drunk to not be able to deal with it.  $43.70 for a pot of coffee and a plate of fresh berries via room service. No coffee machine or mini bar in room. No combs. No tooth brush. No razors. No ice bucket. Hey... no positive review! An inch of dust on fake lion inside lion gift shop. No manners at pizza shop inside MGM (we say thank-you, you say you're welcome). And how old is that friggin' carpet?!

Got on Monorail. Nice looking. An overheard speaker says it runs 19 hours and 20 hours on certain days of the week:  Just like my sleep schedule in Las Vegas. Uh no... it's the opposite. I'm awake 19 or 20 hours a day, and asleep 4 or 5 hours. One trip on monorail, I got on at the MGM station... went North one stop. picked up a few people.. then instead of continuing north, it reversed direction and went back to MGM station. Opened the doors, added a few people and went back to Bally's station. Then sat there for several minutes before finally proceeding. Since it was an automated driving system, no announcement was made as to what the problem was. Next day, took bus to old Vegas - few automated ticket machines worked. Driver was a jerk... I mean liked to drive and jerk to a stop. Old strip was awesome for the light show. It all seemed more real than the fake New Las Vegas strip. Everyone should visit Old Vegas strip and sing along with the hourly light show featuring Don McLean's American Pie.

What's this got to do about Japan? It's about Jimbo's blog entry up above... and I'm giving you some news about me: Aside from not seeing a single Nihonjin (Japanese person) or hearing the Japanese language while in Las Vegas... this blog is really about my Wonderful Rife. And it is also about my wonderful wife who is still lost at that signpost up ahead,

Somewhere in the Twilight Zone,
Andrew Joseph's wife

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Japanese Lake Reappears

This story from the Japan Times is too cool not to share:
READ IT

Cheers
Andrew Joseph

He's Dead Jim

Andrew (left) and Jim do a little B&E.
I thought I would share with you 'some fan mail from some flounder', to quote Bullwinkle the Moose. Actually, this e-mail was written and posted on one of my blogs about a week ago by Jim Paliouras in Melbourne, Australia.

Jim was an assistant English teacher (AET) who was on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme with me. While I was there in Japan (living in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken) between 1990 and 1993, Jim arrived either in July of 1991 or July of 1992. I believe it was the former.

Jim was maybe 6'-3", lanky, brown eyes and hair and had an infectious smile that I believe life has found a cure for, but hopefully he is immune to its effects. Goofy-looking in a handsome way, Jim was also very intelligent, but not so intelligent that it got in the way of him enjoying life, and was very funny. Not only could he tell a great story, he could enjoy one as well.

Andrew, I love your blogs! I've been a huge fan of, 'It's a wonderful rife' from its inception and looked forward to the Tatami Times every month. Andrew, you wrote some hilarious pieces which helped keep me sane and extremely entertained. You were one of the funniest, extraordinary and craziest people I had the pleasure of meeting in Japan. In amongst all the pretentious, phoney, cultured and elitist JETS, there was you. Real, out there and yourself. One of the funniest stories I still tell all my friends was a night you and I went nuts whilst heavily intoxicated at a conference. Lets just say, I would have loved to have seen peoples faces when they developed their photos. Thank god there was no CCTV footage of our escapades that night. Do you remember what we got up to?

Deer Jim (the spelling is correct... I don't know how to spell Jim any other way, except Gym, and I'm pretty sure that's not it, despite him being a Greek from Australia)... if you read this - and you better because I'm re-telling this tale for YOU, buddy - drop me a line at the e-mail located above or on this blog, and remind me where in Japan you lived and how long you were there for and tell me what you are up to now. And don't say 6'-3".

(Actually... I found this 2004 article featuring Jim and family! That bandit bought a house from money saved while teaching in Japan??!! I walked away with $10,000 after I managed to save that doing a lot of extra English teaching - in my final three months of my three year stay!)

I'm already pretty sure Jim was a junior high school teacher like myself, because he did organize a football (soccer) match between his junior high school kids versus a bunch of overweight, out-of-shape, over-the-hill AETs.... and I'm actually just talking about myself. It was amazing how in six short years I had lost the ability to slide tackle my opponents into submission. First off, I couldn't catch them... even though I still had that fire inside me which said 'if you are going to try and get by me, I'm going to take the ball away and take you out'. Jim had played semi-pro soccer in ... I want to say Malaysia, though Indonesia is now coming to mind. Let's say Malaysia.  

But... regardless... despite having sucked a lot of wind and sucked a lot of suckiness, that was the last time I ever played soccer. I knew when I was licked and sucked. (Why does my writing turn me on?)

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for drinking in Japan. Although a relative novice to the non-professional sport of competitive drinking, having started when I was about 23 in my first year of journalism school, I found that in three short years I had developed quite the knack for drinking, getting drunk, keeping it in me, and not being an angry obnoxious jerk. I also never got hangovers. Still haven't at the age of 46.

Perhaps because I had an internationally renowned uncle (he was a famous conductor of music back in India, and has been dead for maybe 25 years - despite the booze, like for myself, it never seemed to affect him in his day-to-day activities) who liked to hit the bottle and also never suffered fools or hangovers, I also have that ability to never, ever learn my lesson about drinking too much. Although... I do want to state that I do not drink to excess any more, and pretty much stopped that after I became engaged to a very pretty lady while in Japan.

Fortunately for you, dear reader, this adventure with Jim occurred BEFORE I became domesticated.

Jim asks... do you remember what we got up to? Yes. More or less. You can correct me with any inconsistencies you find in this epic saga. I am offended by the fact you said I wrote "some hilarious pieces". Jim, you bandit! They were all hilarious. Jim taught me the term 'bandit' back then... something that Aussies everywhere seemed to use with affection.

So... what the hell is Jim talking about? What did he and Andrew do that bears repeating by himself to his friends, and by Andrew to his friends in situations not related to this blog? It's true... I do tell this story to my friends quite often, too.

Here we go:

Once upon a time in Japan, Andrew (that's me!) left his sleepy-little city of Ohtawara, Japan to go to a renewers's conference for the JET Programme. Or maybe it was just an AET conference for teachers in the northern Tohoku area of Japan.

I'm unsure. But, trust me... I remember everything else. I think. 

For some reason I was a reasonably popular guy amongst the Japanese, and amongst the non-elitist bastard AETS. Jim is correct, there were quite a few elitist bastards on the JET Programme... people who were there to teach the English language to the Japanese. It was never like that for me. It was all about internationalization. It was to share my life with the Japanese, and they with me, so each could learn that despite our differences culturally, we are still the same social animal. I'm sure when Jim reads this, he would agree. (I hope).

In Japan - when I did drink, which was only in a social gathering, I preferred Kirin beer or hot or cold sake (rice wine). I seemed to have a lot of social gatherings, however.

Perhaps because I felt like I needed to prove to the Japanese - and to the elitist JETs that I could do anything better than they, I drank. In Japan, drinking is a socially acceptable Olympic-level sport. It's okay to come to work with a hang-over... but just don't come in smelling like a vat of booze. And don't let it affect your work.

I fit in perfectly in Japan.

Back to the story: At the reception, after picking lightly at the meals being walked around to us, someone said we should have a drinking contest. There were four of us, and so help me, I only have memory of three of the participants: One was a big American guy (the guy I can't remember visually at all); one was a smallish American dude of Japanese descent; one was myself; and the last competitor was Mister Arakawa, who was, I believe, one of the Japanese bosses of the Tochigi-ken AETs who taught at the high schools (like my ex-girlfriend-slash-sleeping partner Ashley did in Ohtawara).

Our drink du jour was sake - fermented rice wine - because when in Rome...

I am pretty sure there was no wagering involved amongst ourselves - but who knows what the observers were doing.

We had about 30 six-inch tall slender glasses that were each about 2/3's full with sake.

At the count of three, we each yelled kanpai (Cheers)! and downed our drink, turning the glass over.

We looked at each other and laughed. The first drink or two is always easy, because sake tends to taste a lot like water - until it hits you, and you become drunk very quickly.



We upturned seven more drinks... and that's when I noticed the American dude of Japanese extraction being carried away... apparently he had passed out.

The remaining three of us pointed and laughed. More drinks were ordered, and we continued. At around the 25 mark apiece, we lost the American. I never saw him leave, I never saw him fall -- and I'll be honest, I only think this guy was part of our competition because, by this time, I was wasted.

I looked over at Arakawa-san, who held up his glass and saluted me before downing it. Bugger! He was red as a lobster, and probably looked as tired as I was, but he didn't seem to be tiring.

At around the 35-drink mark, Arakawa-san and I were huffing for breath, but still standing unaided... by that I mean we stood straight ??!! and didn't lean, although I seem to recall that the walls were bent at a strange obtuse angle involving elliptic Cyclopean forms.

People... we got to our 45th drink apiece, sucked it down and grinned at each other. Arakawa-san - whose English was better than mine at this point of the evening--checked his watch and said he had to stop because he had to go to a meeting... it was 9:55 PM, so who was I to doubt him? He shook my hand, and stumbled off.

That man is my hero.

Me? I could still hang out with my girlfriend Ashley - or at least someone whom I was sleeping with whenever the mood struck as as friends-with-benefits, and I'm pretty sure that hot, sexy, little Kristine was around somewhere... so I wobbled off to the local disco in the hotel to find either of them. Would you believe it? Apparently I was so inebriated that they wouldn't let me into the disco.

I'm pretty sure I swore at a lot of people, but I decided to go look around the hotel.


That's when Jim found me. We staggered around for awhile looking at girls wishing they had the guts to come and talk to us - but perhaps the waves of alcohol being emitted by our suddenly buff bodies was acting as some sort of female repellent - I have no idea. 

Since it was obvious that none of the gaijin honeys were ever going to Oz to find some courage, Jim and I decided to follow our own yellow brick road down the path of sobriety... or whatever the word is for being inebriated.

At some point in the evening, we each had to take the mother-of-all-whizzes. Me, because of 45 shots of sake and maybe a beer... and Jim because he is Australian and born inebriated or he had joined the competition from the sidelines as an unofficial participant. I'm just guessing at that. I have no idea how Jim got drunk, or if perhaps he and I went and got more booze to drink from somewhere. That seems likely. All I know is that he was still funny and could understand me. I could understand him too - which is strange because I usually have a hard time understanding the Australian accent. Beeee-ya. Apparently that's how they pronounce the word 'beer'.

In that men's room, that was spotless despite there being an AET convention with a lot of very drunk men, Jim and I found a camera. Someone had left it there, and walked off. We began taking pictures. In those days of the early 1990s, it was all film. This one had a roll of 36 in it, with about 31 remaining.... that is until we began to point and click at everything and anything.

I am pretty sure each of us took photos of our own stream of urine hitting the blue urinal cake - which, by the way, is not an actual cake.

Then, when we had finally finished peeing some 4-and-a-half minutes later, we pitched out of the doorless men's room only to espy a large taxidermy exhibit in this quiet little area of the hotel and bumped into it. Glass! Owtch!

It was a forest scene. It was maybe 60 feet wide and 20 feet deep and had a plethora of green-leafed trees, logs, rocks, bushes, underbrush... and animals. Rabbits. Wolves. A Bear. And other furry, blurry critters I can no longer ever recall being able to focus my bleary eyes on. How the heck did we miss this place before the pee break?

There was also a large glass door in the middle of the exhibit.

We tried to open it, but it was locked.

Now here I'm a little vague, but we somehow broke the lock (not the glass). I'm guessing I did it, but it might have been Jim.

Shocked by how easy it was to open, I bade Jim to enter first. He said no way, and bade me to enter first. Like Alphonse and Gaston, we continued to politely ask the other to go first. 

Eventually, Jim called me a bandit and and entered into Eden--though neither Jim or I were naked or pretending we were Adam and Eve. We were just drunk on Japanese sake and beeee-ya with two tickets to Paradise.

I recall Jim prancing around and talking to me in his usual excited voice. Jim was touching all of the animals - and I think taking pictures of me inside the exhibit, and then giving the camera to me, I took pictures of Jim inside the exhibit. We weren't doing anything gross to the animals - I can tell you that - but we were trying to ride the deer and hug the bear. The rabbit was too fast to catch... even though it was dead. What can I say... I'm getting flashbacks of little snippets of us inside the exhibit as I type this out. 

I'm also pretty sure I fell asleep under a large tree and woke moments later in shock as a deer stood over me. Where the hell am I? And then I heard Jim continuing some conversation we had apparently been having with each other while I was asleep.  

Finally having had enough - and actually running out of film, we decided to leave our deer friends behind. You'll notice I said 'deer friends behind', rather than 'deer friend's behind', because we were happily drunk... not happily drunk perverts.

We then staggered back to the main area of the hotel lobby and found our way to the elevators, got off at our respective floors and then passed out asleep.  

According to my roomie, Matthew Hall, he got up twice during the night to smack me to make me stop snoring. While I saw Jim the next morning looking like something a bear used to wipe its behind, he was still functional, didn't seem to have a hangover and didn't smell like a distillery. He, too, fit perfectly in Japan.



I was bright and cheerful that morning (no hangover) when I saw Arakawa-san and shouted out an ohio gozaimasu (good morning)! to him. He cradled his head in his hands, whispered "itai" (pain) and begged me to be quiet.

I laughed and marched off to listen to the conference's opening address.
Somewhere wishing I knew how to break a lock, as that could be a handy and profitable skill to have,
Andrew Joseph
While today's blog title is NOT a rock and roll song, it is a famous line from Star Trek, the original series, repeated nearly every single episode by Dr. Leonard (Bones) McCoy to Capatin James (Jim) Tiberius Kirk. The title and statement, in this case, is in reference to the dead animals we played with. God, I wish I had said that to Jim while we were in that taxidermy exhibit.
PS: Jim, old buddy, old pal... I have my nearly six-year-old son Hudson in soccer, and I play by myself with a soccer ball during his practice. Both of my knees have turned slightly arthritic this past year, making any sort of shot a painful experience. But I still do it, anyways. Since I don't drink much anymore, a man's gotta have some fun some time.
PPS: And Jim... maybe you should tell me what really happened that night. Despite the length of this blog, it still seems rather vague. I wrote it down that morning during the conference... but I was probably still drunk when I did so.
PPPS: I can only hope for both our sakes, that whatever photos we took weren't in focus and thus there is no physical evidence to embarrass us... unlike our penchant for telling everybody what we did. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

TEPCO's Power Data Summer 2011

Hi y'all.

TEPCO has released its numbers for power demand and power supply through the summer of 2011.

Check it out HERE in English.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph

New Search For Tsunami Victims

Miyagi Police start new search for tsunami victims.
The Daily Yomiuri newspaper has reported that police in Miyagi-ken have begun a search for additional bodies of people who lost their lives on March 11, 2011 following the 30 metre high tsunami spawned by the 9.0 Magnitude earthquake.

The police are conducting a two-day highly intensive search for victims.

Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife hopes families of those missing will finally achieve some measure of closure from this. But, this blogger wonders if the sudden 2-day search might have been brought about by a recent discovery of remains. It hasn't been reported, but it seems like a logical assumption - especially since this particular search does NOT coincide with any particular anniversary or with Obon or with any Japanese Buddhist traditions.

If any one has information as to why this search is going on NOW, this blogger would appreciate a heads up.

Andrew Joseph

Canada Screws Japan - In Rugby

Here's a link to a Daily Yomiuri story on Japan's ouster from the Men's Rugby World Cup 2011 tourney. Canada officially eliminates Japan with a tie.

Japan had held the lead in the game until very late in the match. While the tie was a moral victory for Canada, the ties deprived Japan of it's first World Cup victory in 20 years.

Story HERE.

Canada had earlier defeated Tonga, and meets New Zealand in Wellington on October 2, 2011. Japan is eliminated.

Canada will need to defeat New Zealands All-Blacks to get to the next round - a Canada loss will keep them in 3rd place - unless Tonga can upset the favoured France team. France is a two-time finalist in the World Cup Tourney.

But.. is it possible for Canada to defeat the fabled All Blacks of New Zealand - well, anything is possible, but no way in Hell.

In 107 years, New Zealand has only lost 37 times at home. The last loss for New Zealand at home was in 2009.


Canada Scorers: 
Tries: van der Merwe, P. Mackenzie, Monro. 
Cons: Pritchard. 
Pens: Monro 2. 


Canada Roster: 
James Pritchard; Evans; van der Merwe; Smith; P. Mackenzie; Monro; Fairhurst; Buydens; Riordan; Marshall; Sinclair; Cudmore; Kleeberger; Carpenter; O'Toole. Substitutes: Trainor for Pritchard (21st minute); White for Fairhurst (71st minute); Hamilton for Riordan (60th minute); Franklin for Marshall (67th minute); Hotson for Cudmore (74th minute); Kyne for O'Toole (64th minute).


Japan Scorers: 
Tries: Horie, Endo. 
Cons: Arlidge 2. 
Pens: Arlidge 3.


Japan Roster:
Webb; Endo; Tupuailei; Nicholas; Onozawa; Arlidge; Tanaka; Hirashima; Horie; Fujita; Thompson; T. Kitagawa; Vatuvei; Leitch; Kikutani. Substitutes: Williams for Webb (73rd minute); Robins for Tupuailei (13th minute); Hiwasa for Tanaka (14th minute); Hatakeyama for Fujita (25th minute); Taufa for T Kitagawa (64th minute); Ono for Vatuvei (64th minute).


Referee: J. Kaplan (South Africa)


Image above is property of Stu Forster/Getty Images, depicting Japan's Endo Kosuke (surname first) racing past Canada defenders for Japan's second try on September 27, 2011 during the tourney's Series A game being held in Napier, New Zealand.



Files compiled by: Andrew Joseph

1959 Miss Universe Japan

Okay... I figure I owe this lovely lady a better blog entry considering she was the first of a new breed of beauty queen.

Back in 1959, the then 22-year-old Miss Universe Japan, Kojima Akiko (surname first), pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Miss Universe history when she captured the title.

Not considered a favourite going in, she became the first winner from Japan, and indeed, all of Asia.

However, the surprise win wasn't without its controversy. Of course.

Born on October 29, 1936 in Tokyo, Japan, the main problem for the Japanese model was that she was built... well, built like the a non-Japanese woman. Stereotypes, eh?

Prior to her win as Miss Universe 1959, she had tried to enter the contest earlier but a car accident halted that dream for a while. Before coming to Long Beach, she was already a very successful model - a traveling model for a Japanese garment manufacturer.

Kojima stood (stands) 5'-7" (1.70 meters) tall and had (has?) the jaw-dropping measurements of 37-23-38 inches (bust-waist-hips... but everyone knows that!) ) (94-58-96 centimeters, which is just one set of numbers which always looks better when not written in Metric!).

Being built like a Hollywood starlet, many believed her figure was unbelievable... just not in a good way. But we'll get to that later.

In the final round of the 1959 Miss Universe competition, few seemed to give Miss Japan a chance, as she was up against Miss Norway, Miss USA, Miss England and Miss Brazil for the title.

Now... keep in mind that in this, the eighth running of the Miss Universe pageant, every single contest had been held in Long Beach, California in the US of A. So, immediately, Kojima was also going up against the host nation.

When she won the title, the next day the Los Angeles Times newspaper had a headline similar to its war time editions stating: "JAPAN WINS!" It was a double whammy. This was also the last year Long Beach would have a grip on the pageant, as the event had become so internationally popular, it was decided to move it around the world on a yearly basis.

When Kojima won, it was immediately after the swimsuit competition, so most photos of Kojima show her wearing a one-piece swim suit, holding flowers and wearing her crown. While she still looks stunning, it certainly isn't a glamorous look, but she does manage to look stunning.
 
On July 25, 1959, Kojima was escorted in to the Grand Ballroom of the Lafayette Hotel in Long Beach for her coronation by U.S. Pensacola Cadet escort, Kenneth Gifford. This was considered the city's social event of the year. Kojima wore an exquisite ball gown—a prize given to her by the Schick dress store that was designed by a Beverly Hills couturier. Her orchid corsage was pinned at her waist as was her rosette, stating she was Miss Universe 1959.

Nineteen days later, after one of the best days of her life, a scandal broke.

Those awesome dimensions - particularly her bust size - were under close scrutiny - and not in a good way.

A glory-seeking plastic surgeon from Tokyo - Dr. Toshizo Matsui, piped in via the media saying he gave a bust-enlarging plastic injection to Kojima before she won the Miss Japan and Miss Universe contests.

Kojima, of course, denied ever having breast augmentation surgery of any kind.

The Sankei Shinbun (Sanke Newspaper), a sponsor of the Miss Japan pageant, also vehemently denied the allegation, stating in an editorial: "There was no need for her to get bust surgery of any kind."

Amen. Regardless of no one being able to prove the plastic surgeon's claims, there was still a cloud over Kojima's title... but that was just sour grapes... like with Italy who was upset that their representative didn't win.

Uh... yeah... that's because she didn't even make the Top 5. Why blame Miss Japan? Why not blame the other four contestants... but no, Italy was upset at their former WWII partner. In fact... Miss Italy, Maria Grazia Buccella (PHOTO), was eliminated in the first round - despite being the pre-show favourite. Maybe she should be mad at the judges who did not vote her past the first round. From what I have heard, it was the fact that Miss Italy's gown, while sexy, was far too revealing for the judge's tastes.

It was also true that Miss Korea was more of the Asian favourite than Kojima. While the Korean cutie may indeed have had a truly gorgeous face (PHOTO), Kojima was said to have floated across the stage with far more grace and elegance than any of the other women - the perfect model for women in 1959.

(Editors Note: Miss Universe Greece - Zoe Kouroukli - was a semi-finalist in the competition. It was later discovered that she was only 15-years-old at the time (PHOTO))  

After her whirlwind year as the most beautiful woman on the planet (or the universe), Kojima got married - to the famous Japanese actor Takarada Akira (surname first) who was part of Toho Studios (the ones who did the Godzilla flicks). While she did have two children with him, their marriage did not last. Kojima did continue to model for a while, and was a high fashion model for Harper's Bazaar fashion magazine. 

Nowadays, Kojima is still with us, though she shuns the spotlight. In fact, after Japan's Mori Riyo (surname first) won the Miss Universe title in 2007, Kojima was asked but refused to have anything to do with a meet and greet event.

Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife can look at that apparent snub in a few ways: she really didn't want to steal any of the thunder out from under Mori; or she was concerned her own looks were not up to anyone's expected standard for a former beauty queen who was now 70+ years-old; or really, she just wants to be left alone.. like Greta Garbo.

This blog feels the fan need not worry. While beauty does indeed fade, Kojima was still one of the most beautiful women of her generation. Perhaps that's the vision she wants the world to remember. 


Files compiled by Andrew Joseph

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Hello Kitty Store

Okay... I think Hello Kitty is a cute little icon.

There. I said it.

And while I may have a few items in my possession with the mouthless cat's image on them, it was 100 per cent guaranteed that I only possess them because they were given to me by young female students of mine back in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan.

As to why I continue to possess these items nearly 20 years later rather than throw them out - well... aside from maybe needing a Hello Kitty ruler or pencil one day, they are just so darn cute!

Please take a look at this link to a Hello Kitty story published by the Japan Times on September 23, 2011, and see if you can understand the phenomenon that is Hello Kitty.

STORY 


Andrew Joseph

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shops & Restaurants Do Own Radiation Checks

Apparently many Japanese restaurant chains and retailers are performing their own radiation checks to prove to themselves, and perhaps as a marketing ploy, to prove to their customers that their food products are safe and free of radiation.

While everything we eat contains some radiation in very, very minute traces, this whole story smacks of desperation.

The time to have actually been a good corporate citizen was back in March and April and May of 2011 when the Dai-ichi nuclear reactors were actually spewing radioactive materials into the ground, water and air. Yes...  many crops were were irradiated, I suppose.  More than likely the farm land was to some degree.

According to a report from the Jiji Press news agency reported, radiation checks are already in place whereby municipalities are supposed to guarantee the safety of all food items before distribution.

Despite this assurance, consumers are still wary, perhaps because there have been recently publicized incidences where beef and tea leaves were reported contaminated long after being shipped to restaurants and shops.



Zensho owns the Sukiya brand of gyudon (beef strips on rice) bowl restaurant chain, first began conducting radiation test in late March 2011 on all vegetables purchased by it that were coming from northeast Japan, including Tokyo, as well as on eggs from the Tohoku area (Miyagi, Fukushima and more). They then added beef to their additional radiation checks after a small amount of contaminated beef was found on store shelves.

Next it began checking rice harvested in 2011...

"The government-set safety standards alone cannot satisfy our customers," explained a Zensho official.

While Zensho does screen its beef, doing the same for pork and poultry is not as easy. While it can actually check for contamination, tracing a pig or bird in Japan back to its source is impossible. Unlike beef which has a proper cattle identification system, there is no such government system in place for fowl or pork here in Japan. 

(Editorial Aside:) To only be concerned about checking food products now tells Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife that the purchasers of these food products (restaurants and shops) do not have any faith in the source of the food product - and neither does the populace. That's sad. Checks and balances should have been in place years and years before this. Why are people and companies purchasing food from sources they can't trust? Whatever. For such a forward-thinking country, Japan is very-backwards sometimes. It needs to get a sustainable tracing system in place for pork and poultry products. Check out THIS story I posted elsewhere on a cool Canadian seafood traceability system.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Radiated Rice Found In Fukushima

Here's a link to a USA Today piece about radiation found in Rice grown near the Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima-ken, Japan that was crippled after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

First off, I am not surprised. Those reactors did spew radiation for quite a few days/weeks. But I have heard (and confirmed in the USA Today article) that Japan has tested some 400 spots for radiation exposure all over the Prefecture.

The level found at this rice growing farm is right at the allowable  level of  500 becquerels of cesium per kilogram.

USA TODAY ARTICLE

I do wish the article was able to provide a more precise location for the elevated levels of radiation rather than merely Nihonmatsu-shi in Fukushima-ken. I'm not saying you need to give the farm's name, but at least a direction within the city. Here's a  Wikipedia LINK to where Nihonmatsu City is located in Fukushima-ken.

Cheers
Andrew Joseph   

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Japan's Serial Killers - Faces Of Evil - Updated, Dec.12/15

I have always been fascinated by serial killers.

I know... that's a pretty heavy statement.

No... I do not respect them or anything like that. Rather I am fascinated by what goes through their mind that makes them want or need to kill - not just once, or twice, but three times or more over a period of time.

Everybody gets angry - I do - but to actually kill someone? It boggles my senses. How can one human being do that to another?

Usually, a serial killer has little tell-tale signs which differentiate one killer from another: whether it's the place they dump the bodies of their victims, or the type of souvenir they take from the victim (hair, a piece of jewellery, or clothing, etc.), or how they prefer to kill their victims; or even the particular type of victims they prefer.

Whatever the reason, each is definitely mentally ill.

It's all very ghoulish, and is a horrible tragedy for the victims, their families and friends, and even for the serial killer's family and friends. It's usually so unexpected and shocking, as these killers often appear fairly normal and co-exist with people on a daily basis... yet they have a hidden past and present.

As such, thanks to my morbid curiosity, I thought I would examine the history of Japan's most notorious serial killers... at least those that we know of, because the really successful ones have never been caught.

Who's on this list? Japanese serial killers.

That means, if a person was born in another country and was NOT a citizen of Japan when the crimes took place, they will NOT be on this list, regardless if they killed Japanese people in Japan or abroad.

DEFINITIONS: Multiple Murder: That's the three types below… must have killed more than one person… and now subdivided by murder pattern: 

Serial Killers: Serial killers murder three or more victims, but each is killed on separate occasions. Unlike mass murderers and spree killers, serial killers usually select their victims, have cooling off periods between murders, and plan their crimes carefully. This means that even though someone such as Yamaji Yukio killed three people, the fact that he killed two of them at the same basic time and location disqualifies him.
It also means that any arsonist who kills 30 people in one blaze will not be on this list, and neither would anyone who stabbed five people in one morning.

Mass Murderers: the killing of four or more people at one location at one continuous period of time (regardless of how long they are at that same place - holed up for hours or days) … so someone up on a tower picking off 12 people with a rifle… that's a mass murder.

Spree Killer: to be dubbed as such, it's two or more killings. But… at more than one location without a cooling off period. So like in Paris… killing people in a theater, then running out later and shooting people on the street…  The same holds true if someone kills their in-laws… waits a few hours and then kills his wife… and then as the cops come storming in hours later he kills his step-son. There was not enough of a cooling off period, as that murder would not have been allowed to 'function normally' as he/she might have before the event.

This blog entry deals only with Serial Killers. I have gone through great pains to look at all of the murder cases and to determine which murders fit the Serial Killer description. Long… tedious… but correct. 

Since this is updated, I am going to list the serial killers alphabetically by surname. Strangely enough, that means the letter "E". SURNAME FIRST.

There still are not a lot of serial killers on this list, though there are indeed plenty of mas murders and murderers in Japan...


1) Eto Sachiko, (born ? - died: September 27, 2012 at the age of 65) convicted of six murders… but let's call her, 'The Exorcist'.
While I don't not believe in the supernatural, I've not seen hard-proof that it exists. I've watched goobers chasing ghosts, and enjoyed paranormal movies about poltergeists, and await my weekly intake of Supernatural on television, but dammit it all to Hell… despite the Roman Catholic church (I'm one of those guys) having such a thing as exorcism plans, I'm sure the Pope would find my lack of faith disturbing. I do not belittle anyone for having belief or faith in anything. Whatever makes you happy - be happy.
Wait… she already had a nickname? "The Drumstick Female Serial Killer." Why do you need to have to put in 'female' or 'serial killer' in the name? I don't know if it's the Japanese media or the Japanese themselves, but whoever gets to name places and things needs to go back to school and let someone artistic takeover… like Jimi.
Earlier in her youth, she was a door-to-door seller of cosmetics... a good job... an honest job... who turned to faith healing after she and her husband joined a cult in the early 1990s... and started to believe her own
'press' when people in the cult thought she had healing powers... and that's when she thought of herself as a 'god'.
As part of her healing, she began doing exorcisms to drive out evil spirits from people, beating them with a drumstick in an effort to exorcise.
I am unsure if there are others who survived, but we do know that in January of 1995, along with beating with a drumstick, hitting and kicking, she killed four cult members who were 'possessed."
Insanity is doing the same thing time after time and expecting a different result.
Now… if you are thinking that getting beat with a drumstick isn't so bad, realize instead that she used a a big fat thick and heavy taiko drum stick, made of heavy wood.
An example of Taiko drum sticks.
For the unlucky ones, she beat at least four women and two men to death.
Or did she? I have read reports that indicate that aside from those four, she only observed the beating and murder of two other cult followers who died five months later. These deaths were supposedly done by three cult members.
Other stories say Eto, her daughter and a fellow cult member killed the last two.
So… who died? It was essentially four members of one family initially, and two separate folk: Mamoru Miki (male), 50; wife Mamoru Kazuk, 48; daughter Mamoru Satoe, 18; his sister-in-law Sekine Kimiko, 46.
The last two murdered were: Igai Tatsuo (male), 42; and Senzaki Akemi (female), 27.
Sadly, these six victims weren't possessed by the devil, but merely cult members who began to doubt Eto's 'spiritual' abilities - and they didn't want to loan her any money.
In July of 1995, the police discovered the rotting bodies hidden within Eto's home in Sukagawa-shi (Sukagawa City), Fukushima-ken (Fukushima Prefecture).
Eto pleaded Not Guilty, with her lawyers arguing about 'mental problems'.
According to a prosecution lawyer involved in her trail: "She carried out the beatings while watching the victims die one by one. It was extremely cruel."
That lawyer said that Eto "tried to make herself a deified ruler, and killed people who threatened her authority in her bid to stop her lover Nemoto from being taken by a female follower."
Nemeto? No idea…Anyhow, Eto said it wasn't like that at all: "I did it as part of a religious service. I never thought they were going to die."
Riiiight. That first one was a fluke… and so were numbers 2-6. I bet number 7 would have been the lucky one.

The courts ruled her crimes 'excessively grave' because she formed a religious group by claiming to be a god’s messenger and condemned her followers to death by violent means using her absolute power on them.
Although Eto was charged, and subsequently received the death sentence, her daughter Hiroko, 30, and another cult member, Yutaka Nemoto, 27, who participated in the murders were sentenced to life in prison.
She was given the death penalty sentence in 2002 for murder and involuntary manslaughter. She was hanged on September 27, 2012 at the age of 65. Probably just before she received a pension check, too.


Fukiage Sataro
2) Fukiage Sataro (February 1889 - September 28, 1926, born in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-ken, Japan), he was known to have raped and killed at least seven girls in the early 20th century. His first victim was in 1906, an 11-year-old acquaintance of his - he was 17-years-old - at Kinkaku-ji temple in Kyoto. He was sentenced to prison and was released in 1922. In 1923 he was arrested for molesting a four-year-old girl, but was released.  He then killed an additional six girls in 1923-4, who were between the ages of 11 - 16 years old., with the killings occurring in Kyoto, Gunma-ken, Saitama-ken, Nagano-ken and Chiba-ken. After being arrested, he confessed to 13 murders, but recanted. Although he was only tried for three of the later six cases, it is unknown just how many victims there were. He was sentenced to death, and was hanged.

3) Hidaka Hiroaki: (April 1962 - December 25, 2006, born in Miyazaki-ken, Japan) {NO PHOTO} I can't find his exact date of birth or any photographic images. How weird is that? He murdered four women in 1996 in Hiroshima-ken.
What is known about him is scarce. While it was claimed he was once a pretty fine student, he was unable to get int his university of choice - University of Tsukuba - and went to Fukuoka University, but dropped out. He borrowed money, drank and utilized prostitutes. In April of 1989 he moved to Hiroshima, worked as a taxi driver, was married in 1991, had a daughter in 1993, but his wife was committed to a mental institution.
While not exactly leading a charmed life, he was 'normal' until April of 1996 when Hidaka killed and robbed four women until September 1996, including a 16-year-old girl whom he was engaged in Enjo kōsai (she was an escort - not necessarily used for sex - I'll blog on this shortly). He was arrested on September 21, 1996. The district court in Hiroshima sentenced Hidaka to death on February 9, 2000. He did not appeal and was hanged on December 25, 2006. His lawyer, Shuichi Adachi, protested saying that he had been illegally refused access to his client by prison authorities.

    Miyuki Ishikawa
    4) Ishikawa Miyuki: (Female) (born in 1897 - Death - unknown, born in Kunitomi, Miyazaki-ken) she was a Japanese midwife who worked in the Kotobuki maternity hospital and murdered an estimated 103 infants, but it could have been up to 169 infants in the 1940s, who were in the care of the hospital. The hospital staff knew what she had done, as almost all of the other midwives at this hospital thought her actions were heinous and resigned in protest. The infants all came from poor families, and she tried (along with her husband) to get money from these poor parents saying that it would be cheaper if she killed them  rather than the costs the parents would incur to raise them. After her capture on January 12, 1948, she only received a four-year sentence. She blamed the parents for their death. She said that these children were all from low-income homes, and could not afford to be kept, as such, she viewed the deaths as a mercy-killing; As a result of this case, the Japanese Government began to consider the legalization of abortion. On July 13, 1948, the Eugenic Protection Law (now the Mother's Body Protection Law) and a national examination system for midwives was established. On June 24, 1949, abortion for economic reasons was legalized under the Eugenic Protection Law in Japan.


    5) Katsuta Kiyotaka: (August 29, 1948 – November 30, 2000, born in Kyoto, Japan), was a fully-employed firefighter who shot and strangled at least eight people, some during robberies, between 1972 and 1982, though he is suspected of killing 14 others, in the Kyoto-ken, Osaka-ken, Aichi-ken, Hyogo-ken and Shiga-ken prefectures.
    His preferred method of murder was by strangling and shooting them.
    On October 27,  1982 he hit a police officer with a car and stole a handgun. On October 31, 1982 he attempted to commit a robbery, but killed a man with a handgun during the failed attempt. On November 1, 1982 he shot another man, who survived. Because he was armed, Katsuta continued to elude capture. The incident was officially named Metropolitan Designated Case 113.
    On January 31, 1983, he was arrested while threatening a man with a handgun. While he was initially thought to have killed his victims while robbing them, he did later confess to seven other murders - and may have killed up to 22, but owing to a lack of evidence, was only charged with eight counts of murder. The police suspected that Katsuta raped some of his victims before killing them, but were not able to prove this. His crimes greatly shocked Japan because he was a firefighter, a well-respected and heroic profession.
    The 1984 film Renzoku satsujinki: Reiketsu was based on his crimes. In the film, the murderer was named Kiyoshi Tatsuta. Actor Kazuya Nakayama, who has a criminal record of his own, played the role of Tatsuta. While in prison, Tatsuta  met a Christian woman known as Yūko Kurusu. Her mother adopted him, and he changed his name legally to Kiyotaka Fujiwara. Whatever.
    On January 17, 1994, the Supreme Court of Japan upheld his two death penalty convictions, a first in the history of the Japanese Supreme Court. One was for seven murders between 1972 and 1980, and the other was for killing a man with a handgun in 1982. He was hanged on November 30, 2000.


    Kodaira Yoshio
    6) Kodaira Yoshio (January 28, 1905 - October 5, 1949, born in Tochigi-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan): rapist thought to have killed 11 people in Japan and China  as a soldier - however, he was first convicted of killing one person in 1932 and then later sentenced to death after being convicted of killing seven others in 1945 and 1946. While a soldier in China, he is known to have killed six Chinese soldiers (but that was war) in 1928, and is known to have stuck a bayonet into the belly of a pregnant Chinese woman. Back home in Japan in 1932, after it became known that Kodairo had fathered a child with another woman, his wife left him. Her leaving caused him to become enraged, so he attacked his wife's family home, killing his father-in-law with an iron rod. This was his initial conviction. After his release, between May 25, 1945 and August 6, 1946, he then raped and killed 10 women (though it is thought he raped a total of 30 more). His fifth victim - he committed necrophilia with the corpse. These crimes occurred in Tochigi-shi and in the Tokyo area. He was tried for seven of 10 murders, was convicted, and executed on October 5, 1949.


    Kurita Genzo
    7) Kurita Genzo: (November 3, 1926 - October 14, 1959, born in Akita-ken, Japan) killed eight people. He first killed two girlfriends in February of 1948 in Tochigi-ken; on August 8, 1951 he raped and murdered a 24-year-old woman in front of her baby before having sex with her dead body in Tochigi-ken; on October 11, 1951 he raped and murdered a 29-year-old woman  and then threw her three children off the cliff infamously known as Osen Korogashi in Tochigi-ken; and then killed a 63-year-old woman and her 24-year-old niece on January 13, 1952 in Chiba-ken, having sex with the body of the younger woman. He was captured after his fingerprints were found at this crime scene. Arrested on January 16, 1952, he was sentenced to death by hanging on October 14, 1949. The Onsen Korogashi cliffs are known for the legend  in which a long, long time ago, a girl named Osen was only daughter of a local ruling family. Her father was very sinister who liked to squeeze people. Yes, squeeze. I will assume that means 'bear hugs'. One day, having enough of this abuse, the locals attempted to murder Osen's father at night, but she discovered their plot, and dressed up as her father to protect him. As such, the mob killed her and threw her lifeless body into the sea from these cliffs. The cliffs are said to be haunted.


    8) Maeue Hiroshi (前上 博): Looking for sensation? When you have your own media-dubbed nickname, you've become infamous.
    Maeue (born August 8, 1968 in Osaka — July 28, 2009 was called "The Suicide Website Murder" and was a legitimate serial killer, worthy of this list.
    He suffered from paraphilic psychosexual disorder which means he couldn't ejaculate (and orgasm) unless he was performing an act of strangulation… which means, since he murdered three people, he only "came" three times… how does one discover that fact for themselves, I wonder? It all sounds rather convenient.
    Born in Osaka, I am sure that Maeue had been a troubled young man long before he went to the Kanazawa Institute of Technology, where he first assaulted and tried to strangle a male friend. I suppose if he popped a
    boner while in the act, it might have 'told' him how what his future path might be. This was around 1988.
    In 1995, he assaulted and strangled (but not killed) a male work mate - this time he was arrested. He settled out of court, but lost his job.
    D'uh. In 2001, after attempting to strangle women on two different occasions, he was sentenced to one year in prison and three years suspended.
    Released early on good behavior, he was arrested for attempting to strangle a junior high school boy, receiving pone year and 10 months in prison.
    It seems like he's going down the strength food-chain.
    After his releases in 2005, Maeue sought sexual release when he killed three people by strangulation.
    He met his victims on an on-line suicide club, luring them one at a time to meet him and end their lives together via a charcoal burner in a sealed car.
    However, he would instead offer to strangle them - which was what he did.
    Needless to say, he didn't go through with his own part of the suicide by charcoal gas.
    He said each killing gave him sexual pleasure… which I assume means he ejaculated and orgasmed (physical and emotional pleasure)… something he may not have achieved previously without killing.
    His victims—who wanted to kill themselves anyway—were a 21-year-old man; 25-year-old woman; and a 14-year-old boy—and each was killed within a four month period.
    The prosecution called him a "lust murderer" - but hopefully just in Japanese. He was hanged on July 28, 2009 in Osaka-shi, Osaka-ken.


    9) Matsunaga Futoshi (born on April 28, 1961 in Kitayushu-shi, Fukuoka-ken, Japan) was convicted of six murders and one manslaughter, including two children, between 1996 and 1998 in Kitakyushu and Fukuoka-ken. His killings are infamous because it also involved his lover, Junko Ogata (born on February 25, 1962 in Kokura, Kita-ku Kitayushu in Fukuoka-ken) as accomplice and the murder of members of her family. 
    (l) Matsunaga Futoshi & Ogata Junko
    Matsunaga grew up in Yanagawa in Fukuoka-ken, earned good grades in school and was considered a bit of a charmer... which actually caused him to seek a transfer to another high school because of an on-going relationship he had with a junior high school girl. In 1981 at the age of 19, he married and had a son. But, by October of 1982, he met and became involved with Ogata—along with 10 other women. I told you he was a charmer! It gets better. Not yet  divorced, in 1984 Matsunaga promised he would marry Junko. Junko's mom, Shizumi, was not falling for Matsunaga's charm and disapproved of their relationship because he was abusive to her daughter. With naught else to do, Matsunaga got Shizumi onto his side by seducing her. Junko Ogata  tried to kill herself in February of 1985, though it is not known if it was because if she learned of the deception played upon her by her mother and lover. Regardless, Matsunaga was able to use his powers of persuasion to convince Ogata that her family hated her for her attempt at suicide. They began living together in 1985.
    Back in 1983 Matsunaga began his own futon company called World, and purchased a building in which to operate the company. He soon began to electrically shock his employees on the third floor of the building. In 1985 Matsunaga's wife left with their son and accused him of domestic violence.
    He was also keen on fraud and blackmail, and had stolen some Y180 million (~Cdn/US $2.3 million). He and Junko avoided capture and were placed on Japan's Most Wanted list where everyone has a Pete Rose haircut.
    Not finished with screwing around or fraud, he found a new victim - a married woman with three kids... in April of 1993 he convinced her to leave her husband (which she did, with the kids), while telling her that Junko was his sister. After one of those kids died mysteriously in September of 1993, the woman sent the remaining two kids to live with their father. This woman also mysteriously died in March 1994, but not before Matsunaga had defrauded her of Y11.8-million (~Cdn/US $150,000). (Ed. Note: Why do these people have more disposable income than I do? How do stupid people have more money than I do?!). Anyhow... the police couldn't pin anything on Matsunaga.
    Next up was Kumio Toraya and his daughter. Matsunaga lived in a condominium in Kokura Kita-ku, i>Kitakyushu
    . In 1994, after Kumio confided to him about his previous criminal history, Matsunaga began to blackmail him - even though Kumio even admitted to previous crimes which he had not committed. Somehow, Matsunaga was able to hold Kumio and his daughter captive/prisoner in his condo. Matsunaga tortured Kumio with electric shocks, forced him to eat his own feces (poo), and forced his daughter to bite him hard. Kumio was 34-years-old when he died of the effects of this abuse on February 26, 1996. Matsunaga, a caring individual (sarcasm), convinced the young daughter that she had killed her own father. He had her help him get rid of the body by throwing the pulverized parts of meat into the sea near the Kunisaki Peninsula.
    According to a friend of the girl, in a magazine interview years later: "In the period before her father was killed (in about 1996), the couple set about making her and her father hate each other. They were forced to punch each other upon fear of being given a jolt from a stun gun. Matsunaga and Ogata ordered her to punch her father as hard as she could. That experience really seemed to have hurt her," the friend tells Shukan Gendai. "(Matsunaga and Ogata) only let them eat food scraps. In the cold winter, the girl and her father were locked up in a freezing bathroom while the couple sprayed icy cold water down on them. It was a torture. She did say, though, that she'd had some pleasant dreams about her dad after he died. The girl also talked about a stew (Matsunaga and Ogata) made using her father's body parts and how Matsunaga insisted that she drink the broth. He isn't human."
    Kumio's daughter remained with Matsunaga and Junko - as prisoner or sex toy... it's not known.
    The same year, Matsunaga targeted another woman - a friend of now-dead Kumio - and promised to marry her. In love, she gave him Y5.6 million (~Cdn/US $71,000). After that woman and her daughter visited Matsunaga one day at his condominium, he held them captive for weeks, though the woman escaped by jumping from the second floor to the ground in March 1997. When this occurred, Matsunaga released the daughter and her mother was placed in a mental health institution. No one went to the police. 
    Perhaps having had enough of the abuse, one day in April of 1997, Ogata left for work and did not return. Matsunaga called Ogata's family and told them she had disappeared. You'll recall that he had previously seduced Ogata's mother Shimizu? Well, he had been blackmailing her all this time to keep quiet about that.  Matsunaga then made threats to Ogata's family saying Ogata Junko was a murder.
    Believing that Ogata was in contact with her family, Matsunaga faked his own death by suicide. Junko bought it, and returned back to the condominium she had shared with him, only to find him alive.
    The lovely tale continues: Matsunaga then seduced Ogata's married sister, Rieko; Ogata Junko's family gave Y63-million (~ US/Cdn 850,000) to him; after receiving the money he decided to hold them captive; he sexually assaulted Shizumi (Ogata Junko's mother) and Rieko (Ogata Junko's sister) with electric shocks. On December 21, 1997 he got Ogata Junko to torture her father Takashige (61) to death by electrocution. When Shizumi's began to lose her grip mentally, Matsunaga ordered Rieko and her husband, Kazuya, to strangle Shizumi (58) to death on January 20, 1998. Not sure why, but Rieko (Ogata Junko's sister) began to lose her hearing - and Matsunaga wanting a perfect slave, on February 10, 1998, commanded Kazuya to strangle his own wife Rieko (and it gets more horrific) while their 10-year-old daughter Aya held her down. Rieko was 33. Matsunaga and Ogata Junko then put the 38-year-old Kazuya in a bathroom and starved him to death on April 13, 1998. Then Matsunaga forced Ogata Junko, Aya (Junko's neice) and Kumio's teenaged daughter (from the last murder) to kill Rieko's five-year-old son, Yuki, so on May 17, 1998 Aya strangled her brother Yuki while Ogata Junko and Kumio's daughter held him down.
    Had enough yet? 
    Later on during Matsunaga's trial, Kumio's daughter testified that he and Junko had tortured Aya (Junko's 10-year-old niece) with electric shocks. Junko, however, denied Kumio's daughter's testimony about this, saying the girl's recollections might have been inaccurate because of guilt feelings about committing her first murder. Yes... he had Kumio's daughter strangle Aya on June 7, 1998.
    Matsunaga and Ogata Junko dismembered and boiled their victims' remains in pots. The other residents of the condominium heard strange noises and smelled the stench. The victims' remains were flushed down toilets or thrown out at sea.
    Matsunaga's crimes continued. In July 2000, Matsunaga convinced another woman to go away with him, lured by the prospect of marriage. In August 2001, she gave her twin children to him and Junko. Matsunaga and Ogata Junko then convinced the woman to give them Y20-million yen (~Cdn/US $255,000) telling her they would need the money to bring up her children. (Again - where the hell do these rich people get the money if they are so stupid?!)
    Kumio's daughter, who was still being held captive, escaped on January 30, 2002, but was found on February 15, 2002 by Matsunaga who took her back into captivity and continued his electric shock torture.
    On March 6, 2002, the girl escaped from Matsunaga again - this time telling the police (FINALLY!). She was now 17-year-old. The police arrested Matsunaga and Ogata Junko the next day when they tried to retrieve the girl. The twins and the couple's two children were taken into police protection.
    The pair were charged with seven murders. No murder charges were brought against Kumio's daughter. While Junko calmly confessed to her part in the murders, Matsunaga claimed innocence saying these two crazy women had made up stories about him.
    Because of his habit of destroying his victims, the police never recovered any human remains and found no physical evidence, and had to rely on the testimony of Kumio's daughter and Junko.
    Convicted to hang, they appealed and while Ogata Junko was granted a life sentence, Matsunaga's sentence was upheld... he awaits his penalty nearly 10 years later.


    10) Miyazaki Tsutomu: (August 21, 1962 - June 17, 2008, born in Ōme, Tokyo, Japan) was also known as "The Otaku Murderer", "The Little Girl Murderer" and "Dracula" he killed four pre-school girls and ate the hand of a victim. First, some background. When he was born, it was with a pair of deformed hands, gnarled and fused at the wrist, meaning he had to moved his entire arm to turn a hand. In a land where the nail that stand up gets hammered down, he was picked on and thought of as a freak. Never a good thing to do to anyone, by the way. As such, he was quiet and kept to himself. While his grades were good for a while, when he entered high school, and discovered girls, the loneliness and frustration over being ostracized caused him to give up, and his grades dropped. So, instead of being able to get into Meiji University and study English to become a teacher as he had once dreamed of, he went to a nearby junior college to become a photo technician.
    The media and the police would eventually make a big deal of his obsession with manga (comic books) and porn... but in reality, that's hell of a lot of people in Japan like that. Still, his hand deformity must have been the cause of some mental anguish. And, for some reason, he snapped. Between 1988 and 1989, he kidnapped and murdered four very young girls between the ages of four and seven, and molested their corpses. He is known to have drunk the blood of some of the victims, and eaten parts of their body, a hand I believe, of one of the girls. He also slept beside the corpses. Not a happy camper. These crimes took place in Tokyo and Saitama-ken. Saitama-ken was particularly shocked, as it had rarely ever had  crimes against children (that it knew of).
    In a perfect case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Miyazaki was a mild-mannered employee by day, and a sexual deviant by night, as his Mr. Hyde personae would take over as he would randomly select a girl for a victim. Not content with just killing his victims, Miyazaki would taunt their families. He would send them letters and tell the families in tremendous graphic detail what he had done to their little girl. To the family of victim Erika Nanba, Miyazaki sent a morbid postcard using words cut out of magazines - right out of Hollywood: "Erika. Cold. Cough. Throat. Rest. Death." His first victim was Mari Konno, whom he left to decompose on a hill near his house. He had chopped off her hands and feet and kept them in a closet. Later, he took the body, placed the bones in his furnace, burned them to an ash and then sent it to her family in a box, including some teeth, photographs of her clothing and another morbid postcard: "Mari. Cremated. Bones. Investigate. Prove."
    Miyazaki also liked to telephone the families of his victims, ringing for 20 minutes sometimes. (Ed. Note: Truth: I've had Japanese people call and ring for five minutes... so his timing of 20 minutes may not be that abnormal.)
    Miyazaki was captured on July 23, 1989, after he was caught by a girl's grandfather after the psychopath had tried to insert a camera zoom lens into the vagina of a young girl at a park near her home. Miyazaki was naked at the time and ran away. But when he returned to pick up his car a while later, he was arrested by police. When the police searched his house, they found 5,763 videotapes (okay... that's a obsessive) - mostly of porn, adult anime (cartoons), and a large collection of slasher and horror films, including an infamous Japanese series (which I will discuss shortly in another blog). However, just know that Miyazaki used one of the films as his personal template to kill one of the young girls.
    At the time of his arrest, he was calm, cool and collected, and didn't seem to have a care he was captured.
    However, during his trial, Miyazaki sketched cartoons and often talked nonsensically. He blamed the outrages of which he was accused on a “rat man” alter-ego of himself, and even drew the character for the court. He claimed the alter ego forced him to kill. His lawyer's only defense was to state that he was not mentally fit to be held responsible for his crimes.
    But, after court-ordered psychiatric examinations, no unified conclusion could be extracted. However, a team of psychiatrists from Tokyo University did diagnose him with a dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities), while another though it might just be severe schizophrenia.
    Stunned and ashamed, Miyazaki's father refused to help pay for his son's legal defense, and eventually committed suicide in 1994.
    The Tokyo District Court, however, didn't care and wanted a guilty sentence. Miyazaki was sentenced to death on April 14, 1997. His death sentence was upheld by both the Tokyo High Court, on June 28, 2001, and the Supreme Court of Justice on January 17, 2006.
    "The atrocious murder of four girls to satisfy his sexual desire leaves no room for leniency," says Chief Justice Tokiyasu Fujita in January 2006 after Miyazaki’s final appeal was thrown out and the death penalty handed down. On June 17, 2008, Miyazaki was hanged.


    11) Nagayama Norio: (June 27, 1949 - August 1, 1997, born in Abashiri-shi, Hokkaido-ken), killed four people after robbing them, utilizing a handgun stolen from a U.S. military base. While serial killers tend to be weirdly interested in rape, murder and sometimes cannibalism, this case was simply one of a greedy bastard getting rid of his witnesses. I only include it because it fits the pattern of more than three victims and includes murder over a period of time. From a broken home, he moved to Tokyo in 1965 and was witness to the famous Japanese spree killing known as Zama and Shibuya shootings. In 1968  between October 11 and November 15, he shot and killed four people with a handgun, robbing his last two victims of Y16,420 (~Cdn/US $160.42). He was arrested on April 7, 1969. When he was arrested, he was 19 years old and was regarded as a minor under Japanese law. While appealing his death sentence, he began writing novels such as Muchi no Namida (Tears of Ignorance) in 1971, and Kibashi (Wooden Bridge), for which he was awarded a literary prize in 1983. Royalties from his books went to the relatives of his victims. When he was finally hanged on August 1, 1997 after 28 years in jail, all royalties from his novels were, according to his will, re-directed to the poor and working children around the world in an effort to prevent them from having a life like his. 


    12) Seisaku Nakamura: (~1924 - ~ 1943, born in Shizuoka-ken, Japan) {NO PHOTO} was deaf, and was thus given the media moniker Hamamatsu Deaf Killer. What's also interesting is the lack of proper data regarding his birth date and death date or the fact that I can not find a photo of him anywhere on the Internet. There must be one in some police file, but I have no access to it. Look at his age... 19 at the time of his execution by hanging. Deaf, yes, but highly intelligent and did very well in school, Nakamura was not treated very well by his parents, and perhaps because of his lack of hearing, was considered a social misfit. And while his choice of movies--films where men kill each other via samurai sword--is not a reason for him to be considered an outcast, it was his decision to kill people that made him a pariah. On August 22, 1938, at the age of 14, he tried on two separate occasions to rape two women, but after facing resistance, he killed them both. He was picked up by the police, but because he was underage, they let him go. On August 19, 1941, when he was 17, Nakamura killed his third woman and injured a fourth in rapes gone wrong (if that is possible). Between that date and August 20, 1941, three more people were killed in the same manner. On September 27, 1941 he murdered his brother, injured his father, sister, brother's wife and brother's child (nephew), yet eluded capture. On August 30, 1942, he murdered a married couple, their daughter and son and tried to rape another daughter. The general populace of Japan did not hear much about these crimes as it was during WWII, and the government suppressed it so as to not show dissension at Japan's war efforts - whatever. As such, with only the police looking for him and an ignorant populace not being able to provide any tips, he was able to remain free. The surviving members of his family were afraid of him coming after them if they got involved, and refused to provide any aid to the police. He was arrested for nine murders on October 12, 1942, though he also admitted to killing two more. Tried as an adult under Japan's wartime law: Senji Keiji Tokubetsu Hou, although doctors felt he was not-guilty by reason of insanity, he was still found guilty in a very quick trial and was hanged. In keeping with the decision to not panic the country during the war, his exact date of death remains a secret.


    13) Akira Nishiguchi: (December 14, 1925 - December 11, 1970, born in Osaka, Japan), despite living nearly 45 years, he killed all five of his victims within a two-and-a-half month period. His fame was gained in his ability to convince Japanese police that he was not connected to any murders, but rather was just an innocent bystander who was simply engaged in fraud with the victims. However, it so happens that while perpetrating fraud, he did murder two people and was placed on a most-wanted list. Then, while evading police, he found the time to kill three more - with all of his murders taking place in Fukuoka-ken, Shizuoka-ken and Tokyo. Showcasing the incompetence of the police, was the fact that they could not find him, though an eagle-eyed 11-year-old girl did, leading to his capture and arrest. A lawyer for the prosecution called him the "Black Gold Medalist", which this blog assumes does not mean Texas tea (oil) and rather means he is th ebest at being evil... and the media gobbled it up. Ryuzu Saki wrote a book about Nishiguchi which became the film "Vengeance Is Mine" in 1979. Thanks to the police bumbling, and his fraud/murder (two departments of the police not working well together, perhaps), Japan created the "Metropolitan Designated Case" system. Nishiguchi was hanged on December 11, 1970.


    14) Nishimoto Shojiro ( - January 29, 2009) - He murdered four people. I can't find his Japanese name or date of birth), nor anything of his youth. Photo - I'm still looking.
    Nishimoto, who had had previously pleaded during his trail and saying he deserved the death penalty, he appealed the same day, was sentenced to death in May of 2006 for the death (and robbery) of four people.
    His first victim was taxi driver Minato Yasuo, 59, who was stabbed to death in his own car in Kasugai, Aichi-ken in January of 2004.
    Going old school, Nishimoto began to look for older victims, and between April and September of 2004 he killed:
    • Shimanaka Jitsue, 77, by strangling in April of 2004 in Iida-shi, near Takamori-machi in Nagano-ken;
    • Kato Masashi, 69, stabbing her at her home in the town of Takamori in August of 2004in Nagano-ken, and;   
    • Kimura Aiko, 74, stabbed to death at her home in Takamori, Nagano-ken on September 7, 2004. She was stabbed several times in the chest—dying of blood loss. Nishimoto also stole her handbag containing ¥6,000 (~US$60) in cash.
    All three elderly, female victims lived alone.
    After the killing of Kimura, he allegedly broke into the house of a company worker in Iida but escaped without taking anything.
    Later that day, he was arrested by local police on suspicion of breaking and entering as well as an attempted burglary. When they asked him if he had been involved in any other burglaries, he mentioned Kimura, confessing to murdering her, saying he buried the knife and the victim's handbag in a mountain forest in Iida.
    The police found the weapon and handbag, and charged him. Apparently at the time of the arrest, Nishimoto, who had once been a construction worker and stayed near construction sites in Iida and Takamori, was unemployed and living in his car... so there was method to his madness.  
    After being captured on suspicion of murdering the three women, he confessed to having also killed taxi driver Minato, who was found dead in his taxi with a slashed neck, and the fare money missing.


    15) Kiyoshi Ōkubo: (January 17, 1935 – January 22, 1976), born in Takasaki, Gunma-ken, Japan) raped and murdered eight young women between the ages of 16-21 over a period of 41 days between March 31, 1971 and May 10, 1971 in Gunma-ken. He also used a pen name, Tanigawa Ivan.
    Chained Kiyoshi Ōkubo beside unearthed bodies
    A quarter Russian( hence the Ivan moniker), his half-Russian/half Japanese mother lavished a lot of attention on him, even after becoming an adult. Perhaps because he wasn't considered a pure Japanese, he was bullied by the other children when World War II began. At the age of 20, he raped a woman on July 12, 1955. On December 26, 1955, he attempted to rape another woman, but was unsuccessful - still, he was soon arrested. Released on December 15, 1959, he waited until April 16, 1960 before his urges overtook him again, and he attempted to rape another woman, though was again unsuccessful. This woman decided not to proceed with legal actions and withdrew the charge.
    A year later, on May 5, 1961, he married a woman and had a son and a daughter, and all was outwardly well until he threatened a man on June 3, 1965, and then raped two women on December 23, 1966 and February 24, 1967. On June 7, 1967, he was arrested, served his time, and was released on March 3, 1971. And then he started to get really violent. Not even a month out of prison, he killed his first victim, 17-year-old Miyako Tsuda, and then killed seven more until his capture on May 10, 1971: Mieko Oikawa, 17; Chieko Ida, 19; Seiko Kawabata, 17; Akemi Sato, 16; Kazuyo Kawaho, 18; Reiko Takemura, 21; Naoko Takanohashi, 21.
    It was his last victim that led to Ōkubo's capture, as the victim's brother searched for his sister, found Okubo and informed the police who arrested the murderer on May 14, 1971. Ōkubo was sentenced to death by hanging, did not appeal and had his execution carried out on January 22, 1976. Ōkubo's story was told on national television via the telefilm Ōkubo Kiyoshi no Hanzai in 1983.


    16) Takamizawa Tsutomu, (born ? - died August 29, 2014 at the age of 59) (NO PHOTO), a guy who was charged with the murder of three people.
    I am reluctant to put him on this list, because as far as I know, he was just doing business—dirty business, but business just the same. For the yakuza.I should note, as well, that it is always difficult to find photos of yakuza.
    In case you have been living in your parent's basement and only ever come up to go to the comic book store on Wednesday's when the new books come in, and have poor short-term memory and so don't recall me writing all those cool blogs about them, the yakuza is a 'legitimate businessman's club.' They made me say that. Anyhow... Back to Takamizawa, 59, who wasn't just a grunt in a yakuza gang, he was gang leader and was a part of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest yakuza organization.
    According to the court’s ruling, Takamizawa ordered the deaths of two mobsters and killed another victim personally.
    One victim, a participant in an insurance fraud scheme headed by Takamizawa, was shot in 2001 after suspicions arose that he had leaked word of the plot to police.
    For victim No. 2, in 2005, Takamizawa personally shot the second victim at point-blank range at his office, after first having moved the victim's two-year-old to another room... it's a yakuza thing to spare the kid any unnecessary grief.
    For No. 3, still in 2005, and as part of a reprisal for an attack against him, Takamizawa ordered the killing of another gang leader from Annaka, Gunma-ken.
    His yakuza underlings helped him bury two of the bodies.
    It is unusual for yakuza bosses to be put to death, though there was one other... a gang boss sentenced to death in 2009 for murder but died of illness before it could happen.
    Takamizawa was executed at a Tokyo detention centre August 29, 2014.


    Editor's Note: During my research on Japan's serial killers, there are many other deranged killers out there that are purported to be a serial killer.
    One name in particular is Furuya Sokichi, also know as ''The Gentleman'' - though he raped and murdered eight young women during 41 days in 1971. I can not find any data on this person, and as such, I am reluctant to include him in my list above.

    Editors Note: I do find it amusing when the media tries to find a correlation between manga, anime or porn and murder. He was a loner and had a large collection of porn and comic books. That's because he was lonely. While it is true that many murders and serial killers do find solace in porn and manga/comic books and violent movies, so to do a lot of people who would never harm another person. Despite a fascination with manga and porn, and serial killers, I don't believe in violence. Of course, I also haven't had a collection of porn since aging past my teenaged years.

    Facts compiled and checked from far too many sources by Andrew Joseph