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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Super Free

Come, let us sing in all accord
And with raptures ring the air
To praise the honored name aloud of our Alma Mater dear!
Waseda, Waseda, Waseda.

The song above is actually the anthem of Waseda University in Tokyo, a very prestigious university founded in 1882, where more than a few of its graduates have gone on to become the country's Prime Minister including Koizumi Junichiro and Emperor Akihito.

Ir's probably why it was a tremendous shock when back on June 9, 2003, one student was arrested as being the leader of 13 other students who were part of an elitist rape gang who raped an estimated 500 women, though officially only three charges were laid. Later still, some 12 more women came forward alleging they had also been raped by members of the Super Free.

Calling themselves Super Free - yes, in English - it wasn't just rapes... it was a plethora of gang rapes that were organized by this 'club'. Established in 1982 as a social club, it was incorporated as Super Free Yūgen Gaisha (Limited) (有限会社スーパーフリー).

Wada Shinchirō (surname first) (和田 真一郎, Wada Shin'ichirō) was born July 30, 1974 in Kawasaki-shi (Kawasaki City), Kanagawa-ken (Kanagawa Prefecture) entered the school.

Super Free was a highly successful inter-university rave event club, to the point that it was incorporated, and had five branches throughout Japan (including the University of Tokyo and Keio University—the three most prestigious universities in Japan), 30+ employees and an actual office in the party district of Roppongi in Tokyo. The club organized parties and social gatherings at various public night-clubs within Roppongi

The Super Free club members would, at the entrance, hand out special VIP cards to pretty university co-eds.

Attended by up to 2,000 people, the club members would scan the crowd for potential victims (plural), try and make friends with them and ply them with copious amounts of alcohol—a special cocktail called 'spiritus' manufactured by  Super Free.

Once the victims were long drunk and incapable of offering up much resistance, the club members would lure them to an abandoned room and then rape her... one club member after another.

Wada was arrested along with the other members of Super Free after gang-raping an intoxicated 18-year-old co-ed on April 27, 2003 on the landing of a building in Tokyo's Roppongi district during a party that followed a dance event organized by the group.

The victim was then taken later that night to the Toshima Ward residence-office of Super Free head Wada and then gang-raped again.

At the time of Wada's arrest on June 9, 2003 (now a graduate and employed at a cable communications company), he and his 13 other Super Free members all went down for gang rape.

He said he considered the gang rape as a means to creating 'solidarity amongst the members' and that "those who do not participate in gang rapes are not members."

After Wada became the Super Free leader in 1995, he established a hierarchy that classified members as 'first string', 'reserves' and 'boys', with each level required to sell a quota of tickets to the Super Free parties.

Wada is believed to have made more than ¥10 million (~Cdn/US $130,000) a year from ticket sales.

Members of the club began to assume they would rape women whenever they organized a party and would even hold meetings to discuss rape tactics, including who would serve as lookouts, and allocating roles among members to separate targets from friends.

Super Free members frequently took photos of their victims with the threat to publicize the photos if victims went to police.

Wada was indicted for three counts of rape and on November 2, 2004 was sentenced to 14 years in prison by the Tokyo District Court... which means he'll be out soon enough.

Two others sentenced at  the same time as Wada include Sekimoto Yuki, 23, who was sentenced to 32 months and his brother Takahiro, 20, who got 27 months. At the time of their arrest, Yuki was a part-time worker and Takahiro was a student at Tokyo Denki University.

Judge Nakatani chastised Wada, then 30-years-of-age at the time: "You abused women as targets of your sexual desire, committing dirty and cruel crimes."

Although he appealed his sentence, the Tokyo High Court rejected it on June 2, 2005, with the Supreme Court of Japan agreeing on November 1, 2005.

After their arrest of Super Free, a statute for the prosecution of gang rape was established under the Criminal Code of Japan. In January 2006, three students in Kyoto University were arrested for gang rape under this penal code.

Needless to say, the Super Free club was dissolved on June 23, 2003.

Andrew Joseph

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