Japan Today

81-year-old woman dies after being assaulted by granddaughter


Police said Friday they have arrested a 17-year-old girl following the death of her 81-year-old grandmother in Chiba.

According to police, the girl, who is a minor and therefore cannot be named under Japanese law, was arrested for allegedly assaulting her grandmother on Thursday night. NTV quoted police as saying that the girl was fighting with her family at their Nagareyama home at around 8:30 p.m. when her grandmother, who has been named as Mitsuko Nakagawa, attempted to intervene. The girl allegedly assaulted Nakagawa, injuring her. The victim was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Police say the girl is to be charged with manslaughter.

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No worries. Although I wouldn't go so far as to suggest anyone was saying "its probably a sad accident, these things happen" though. No one's suggesting that either. What I and some others have stated is that we can see how this could have possibly unfolded, and that the circumstances are just awful all around.

As I mentioned earlier, had it been, say, the girl's father stepping in to calm the argument, we likely wouldn't even be having this discussion because nothing would have come of it, the father would have calmed the girl down to some extent, and life woudl have gone on in that household as it always had, with grandmother around as well. But it was an 81-year-old woman who stepped into what, according to the article, was a fight between the girl and her "family."

Going with your hypothetical about a 17-year-old assulting some random pensioner, I don't think the two are comparable. I personally would find it even more outrageous if a 17-year-old were to attack a perfect stranger. While it's no secret that bystanders get injured all the time when attempting to intervene and diffuse a violent conflict, to see someone attacked outright would result in outrage from virtually anyone. It offends our every sense of right and wrong.

However, this isn't what happened in the above story. It was a family fight with tragic consequences. I don't think posters feel sympathy for the girl, as in, "Poor girl. She just didn't know any better." I think, at least from my viewpoint, it's more like, "Poor girl. This got way out of control faster than a hormone-driven teen could have anticipated and now she has to face not only the consequences of her actions, but also the guilt that goes with them for the rest of her life."

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Scott, LFRA, apologies. On re-reading, there was no suggestion that she should get off free. And I appreciate the responses. I find it interesting that there seems to more empathy for the attacker if it is at home with a family member versus in public with a stranger. For example, if an elderly lady approached the young girl to chastise her for doing make up on the train or talking on a phone....they argue and then the girl pushes the woman who dies, would you still feel as sorry for the girl? I guess my upbringing makes a physical attack on my parents or (especially) grandparents completely unthinkable, no matter how angry or aggrieved I am. Hence why I was surprised how there wasnt more shock/outrage at the girl. Not to lynch her or spend life in prison. But more than 'its probably a sad accident, these things happen' kind of thing.

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LFRAgain- I whole heartly agree with you, I find that she had no "intent" that she wanted to kill the grandmother. I dont get how other posters havent read what you wrote. But there is not alot of details as how the grandmother was assulted(if she even was). was she pushed?punched?kicked? ect ect. this will give us more details, as for now it sits as a tragedy.

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Mirai Hayashi,

Manslaughter? How about 1st degree murder?

This incident is not how 1st degree murder charges come about.

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So sad, the girl probably didnt mean to hurt her grandma she was probably just frustrated. she was 81 years of age.

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Manslaughter? How about 1st degree murder?

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it's her own grandmother people think she should get off free?!

At no point in this thread has anyone suggested that the girl get off free for the death of her grandmother. What people have expressed is comprehension at how such a tragedy could come to pass.

For every teenage tantrum and family fight you've seen that didn't result in shocking violence, I'll raise you two that did result in people being seriously injured. Are you aware of the least desired emergency call for police officers? Domestic disputes. These types of altercations are invariably angry, passionate, and, in ways you or I sitting at a keyboard in the calm of our homes cannot possibly fathom, frighteningly irrational.

Maybe you wouldn't have done such a thing s a teenager, and perhaps I might not have, but it should come as no surprise to anyone who's ever been a teenager that this girl physically lashing out at her grandmother -- or anyone getting in the way of her tantrum -- is not the outlandish thing you make it out to be. This tragedy isn't at all surprising when placed against the backdrop of a volatile family fight compounded or even fueled by teenage anger.

It also bears noting that person she lashed out at could very well have been her father, brother, sister, or mother instead. The grandmother being 81 would certainly be a mitigating circumstance in why she succumbed to injuries that might otherwise have done little more than anger a younger, healthier target.

Should this girl pay for her crime? Yes. Should we revel in the subsequent destruction of this young person's life? Absolutely not. That would be more barbaric than the violence that ended her grandmother's life.

There's a reason the word "tragedy" is applied to situations like this. "Tragedy" calls for solemn reflection and introspection. It does not, however, invite not self-righteous torch and pitchfork-waving.


Murder impies intent. A 16-year-old lashing out at her grandmother in the midst of a heated argument with her parents and injuring the grandmother enough that she later dies does not constitue in any prosecutorial fantasy "intent." The grandmother's death was caused by mitigating circumstances that make this tragedy a far cry from "murder or nothing." This was not cold, calculated murder. And it's a far most certainly not "nothing;" A woman is dead.

If you can demonstrate in any meaningful way with evidence beyond the scope of the information contained in the article above that the granddaughter had every intention of killing her grandmother, I'm all ears. But based on what's actually in the article above, this is manslaughter at best.

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If the story was of a 17 year old girl who killed an 81 year old woman at a train station because the girl got angry and shoved the old lady, I think JT posters would be calling for serious jail time, but as it's her own grandmother people think she should get off free?!

I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that the grandmother got herself involved in an altercation than their relationship. But the relationship also has weight. Neither person was in a physical location they should not have been. They both lived there. But still, grandma at 81 did put herself in harm's way. If it was a mere shove I again say accident. But if she lashed out and seriously turned on granny, I say murder. I don't much room for manslaughter.

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Awful, sad situation. Poor granny, and poor girl too. I feel that the generation gap in Japan is much larger than in other developed nations, and it must be very hard sometimes for three generations to live under one roof. One of my students is struggling with caring for her senile mother and raising three teenagers. The old lady keeps accusing her grandchildren of stealing from her and conspiring against her, and she also takes their personal belongings and hides them around the house. It's a very tense situation, but I can't imagine it ever coming to assault and murder.

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Japan is a country that respect the aged? Seems it is getting stranger by the day and not just Japan. Wonder what set the girl off? In order to prove murder, you have to prove intent. Those there is nothing in the story that will give you a clue either way, I'd like to believe that this was unintended. This is also why police heat to involved in domestic violence, with emotions so high it can be very dangerous to step in between as the unfortunate grandmother found out.

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good for her she deserve to be punish! >>> teenage ... kutchi warui sugi no respect and no manner ....

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I'm a bit surprised by the sympathetic comments. I've seen my share of teenage tantrums and family fights but I've never seen an 80 year old grandmother physically attacked (shoved, pushed, punched, slapped). If the story was of a 17 year old girl who killed an 81 year old woman at a train station because the girl got angry and shoved the old lady, I think JT posters would be calling for serious jail time, but as it's her own grandmother people think she should get off free?!

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I'd have to agree with you. This looks like an unfortunate tragedy. I doubt very sincerely the 17-year-old lashed out at her grandmother with the intent to kill her. This appears to me a worst-case scenario of teenage angst out of control. She's not only effectively thrown her life away, but she's lost a grandparent and the family has lost a daughter. Sad all the way around.

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Anger management? Snap!

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Manslaughter? In a case like this I would think the charge would be murder or nothing, with nothing probably being a very good option. Either she ruthlessly and brutally attacked her grandmother or she didn't. If she did, its murder. If she didn't its a plain accident.

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So sad, because the girl was probably just having a regular teenage fit, and grandma probably just got push or shoved in the heat of the moment, which just the wrong way proved fatal to her aging body. Poor grandma, and poor girl.

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