crime

Politician apologizes for saying serial killer was heavily influenced by anime

52 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

On Oct 31, Takahiro Shiraishi was arrested after nine bodies were discovered in his apartment in the town of Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, where the 27-year-old had been living since August. The authorities also found a saw, which Shiraishi admits to using in dismembering the bodies after killing his victims in order to make their remains easier to dispose of.

The incident has sent shockwaves through ordinarily peaceful and safe Japanese society, and has become a major talking point in the mass media. While appearing on broadcaster Fuji TV’s "Shin Hodo 2001" talk show, politician Ichita Yamamoto, a member of Japan’s House of Councilors (the upper house of the National Diet), made the following comment:

“To put it simply, I think [Shiraishi] did this as though he was playing a video game. He’s become unable to differentiate the world of reality from fiction. Recently, there are anime with bizarre, grotesque stories like what he did. I feel he has been heavily influenced by them.”

While some previous serial killers in Japan have been found to be intense anime fans during the course of investigations following their crimes, no connection has been made between Shiraishi and otaku hobbies such as games or animation. The only possible link is an unconfirmed statement from an unidentified woman who claims to be an acquaintance of Shiraishi, and who was interviewed by media organization Bunshunho. When asked what Shiraishi'’s hobbies were, the woman speculated “I think he probably liked to watch anime and stuff. Like 'When They Cry' and 'School Days,'” referring to two series known for their scenes of graphic violence in otherwise mundane settings.

Due to the lack of evidence that Shiraishi was an anime fan or that anime was a contributing factor in the nine deaths, many online commenters have criticized Yamamoto’s remarks as irresponsible. Th politician himself, it turns out, agrees, and has since issued an apology both through his video stream and on his blog, the latter of which includes the statements:

“As soon as I said [my comment on 'Shin Hodo 2001'], I thought, ‘Oh, that’s an extremely inappropriate statement. It will be misinterpreted as my saying that the criminal was influenced, and the murders triggered by, a specific anime. But there’s not a single concrete connection between the deaths and anime.

“To the people involved in anime production, as well as anime fans, I would like to say that my statement was incredibly impolite, and entirely out of line for the head of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Cool Japan Committee [a position Yamamoto holds in which Japanese pop culture is promoted internationally].

“I count myself as an earnest manga and anime fan…I deeply regret my careless words, and all I can say is that I made a huge mistake.

“To all people involved with, and who love, anime I am truly sorry! I will take proper care never to make such baseless comments again.”

Shiraishi remains in police custody, awaiting trial.

Sources: IT Media, Ichita Yamamoto official blog, Japan Times, Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- Totoro airs on TV … and Japanese Twitter users have a blast sharing fan parody art!

-- Japanese self-defense store CEO shows his dedication as he demos products on himself【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2017 GPlusMedia Inc.

52 Comments
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I wouldn't doubt it at all though, there's a lot of bizarre crap in some Japanese anime.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

No need to apologize, IMO.

He’s probably right.

5 ( +16 / -11 )

I wonder whether the dismemberment of the bodies is a clue to some rare motive such as a protest against the religious burial system in which the preservation of the body till cremation is practiced? Or a general deep hatred of the women victims (women in general?) whose future in RAKUEN (roughly "Heaven") may be compromised by the loss of part of their remains (according to some religious thinking)? Or was it merely a bizarre thought-pattern that was psychotic? (It is rare for the mentally ill to be violent, actually. Statistically, they commit fewer violent crimes per capita, I heard. Yet, the bizarre is usually attributed to mental illness, just as the mentally ill must bear the burden of always being expected to be bizarre.) [I write this without much careful reading of the case.]

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Not causal, or else you could even argue it's because anime has been terrible lately? It's about a sick mind that IRL dismembered 9 people. What warning signs there were is anyone's guess. No movie or anime is going to prepare anyone for that

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Of course it takes a sick, very and extremely sick/deranged mind to do what he did. However, to expect someone (Ichita Yamamoto) to APOLOGIZE for saying something which may have SOME truth to it is not quite right, I feel.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

So is anime too big to be criticized?

I know the media wants you to believe its part of the culture here even.

But weird violent anime is exactly what it sounds like.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

“To put it simply, I think [Shiraishi] did this as though he was playing a video game. He’s become unable to differentiate the world of reality from fiction. Recently, there are anime with bizarre, grotesque stories like what he did. I feel he has been heavily influenced by them.”

Just because he apologised for the statement doesn't make any less true.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

I don't know for sure, but in my opinion he should not apologize cuz he is right. The problem is that now everything is an industry and they behave like a mafia. If you say something against alcohol then beer mafia is active, same thing is happening in US when someone talks about strict gun laws. We are prisoners of these industries. This anime culture and exploiting young school going girls for sexy dances and so on ... is simply crazy. If not the only, this could still be one of the core reasons of such incidents.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Making such a blanket statement is ridiculous. Unless he really believes that ハイジ and Doraemon are also equally responsible in corrupting this guy.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

A spree 9 people in 8 weeks would suggest a mental health issue that could be not caused by comic books but influenced by them. There is definitely a comic book propensity in Japan for bizarre derogatory storylines themes that are disgusting to the extreme, but it's a powerfully rich lobby group and we now have the proof of that when an obvious remark has to be apolagised for.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Agree, with Dan over the Decades similar crimes been attributed to Comics, D&D, RPG, Video Games, certain music Genres, Harry Potter, etc.

Manga covers a wide variety and have read books and seen movies that covered the same Territory.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@Dan Lewis - Making such a blanket statement is ridiculous. Unless he really believes that ハイジ and Doraemon are also equally responsible in corrupting this guy.

He didn't make a blanket statement at all! Did you read the article or are you just posting based on the headline only? He specifically referred to recent bizarre and grotesque anime stories that portray similar actions, of which there are many.

This loon obviously had quite a few loose screws before he got the idea to start killing people and chopping them up. However, it's not unrealistic to believe he was influenced by some of these grotesque manga, as the councilor stated.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I've seen some pretty sick stuff on Doraemon...

talking robotic cats, talking robotic female cats, homework avoiding children, it goes on...

0 ( +5 / -5 )

it is a serious problem these sick games and comics. he is right to say his opinion. but in japan this is not OK to care.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Goodlucktoyou you got down voted that's funny because it proves your point.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

well its far better than insinuating that he has Chinese or Korean ancestry which is the root cause of his killing spree, because we know a true Japanese couldn't commit massacre like this

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@Dan Lewis ‘‘I've seen some pretty sick stuff on Doraemon...

talking robotic cats, talking robotic female cats, homework avoiding children, it goes on...'

I think you haven'nt watch other anime.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

attacking anime in Japan is like attacking gun ownership in the US, its impossible for them to comprehend that their hobby may have a strong influence in serious crimes

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@regor

Tell us about sick anime.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I can understand what he want to say, but I think he should focus on criminal's ability of differentiating the world of reality from fiction. Recently, in Japan there are so many fans of anime or game. So I think when people say about anime, they be careful about what they say.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with others on this subject, the politician is probably spot on. I don' t see why he has apologised.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The incident has sent shockwaves through ordinarily peaceful and safe Japanese society

Besides the Zama massacre and in just the last few months, a Japanese man savagely murdered two young Chinese sisters, stuffed them naked inside suitcases and abandoned them in a mountainous forest near Tokyo; a Japanese man kinapped, rapped and murdered a 9 year old Vietnamese girl; a Japanese man killed 19 disabled people in a care facility; a Japanese man torched a flat with wife and five kids inside. I could go on and on.

So yeah yeah peaceful and safe.......

0 ( +6 / -6 )

shhhh...he maybe right.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

So yeah yeah peaceful and safe.......

One murder in a village of 10 is a huge amount of violence. One murder on a planet of 7 billion is nearly nothing.

You listed off a number of incidents, ignoring the fact that this is a country of 130 million people, meaning that the number of incidents is very small relevant to the population.

So yeah, it is in fact peaceful and safe.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Poltical correct comes to Japan!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Like warhol said life imitates art, same as monkey see monkey do.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Disagree with Warhol.

Look at the school days anime. Final episode was cancelled as days prior to it's airing a similar murder happened. The murderer could not have seen the episode.

Often movies, etc copy or are inspired by real life events.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The point he is trying to make is right though, there seems to be some real sick stuff out there and to be fair, he didn't make a sweeping generalization of anime and anime fans so I don't think he should apologize.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why should he apologise? He's quite right. Some of the anime/manga out there is indeed obscene and would never be allowed in most countries in the west - paedophilic, murder, and sadistic content it's the usual train home commute reading of these deranged people.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Haters will have. Go back to your Saw movies and other 'sick' stuff popular outside Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

kinda dumb to make generalizations, but there is probably some truth to it.

Serial murderers tend to have abusive mothers and anger at rejection from women. They mutilate animals and use bondage porn to fuel their fantasy of revenge and power trips until they get the nerve up to hurt others. The porn and anime isn’t a cause, but it is part of the profile of a serial murderer. I wouldn’t feel safe with people who got off on that stuff.

And, I would bet money he had a large collection of bondage porn and violent anime that demeaned women.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

He's only apologising because Anime is such a big money-maker here and a Japanese export. He might be right, too, but that doesn't mean in any way it's the fault of anime or video games, any more than it is television, radio, and any other excuse.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sooooo easy to scapegoat crime on pop culture. "Video nasties", Marilyn Manson, The Matrix, rap etc. Back in the day; it was jazz that was the demonic influence.

Sure, every movement has its dark side. Manga and anime is no different in that regard. But most comic readers wouldn't be into collecting/reading the ugly, misogynistic and dodgy output in the same way most film-goers wouldn't be into collecting/viewing snuff movies.

The politician didn't know what he was talking about. What a shocker.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Is this an apology, if so... what for?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

On the subject of killers, I was appalled recently when my phone was bombarded with advertisements for a game in which a killer with a rifle and a telescopic sight is situated on a high building, and gets points for killing innocent civilians. Shocking.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“To the people involved in anime production, as well as anime fans, I would like to say that my statement was incredibly impolite, and entirely out of line for the head of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Cool Japan Committee [a position Yamamoto holds in which Japanese pop culture is promoted internationally].

And Anime and manga is one of Japan's biggest cultural influences out there.

You can enjoy the wonder of Totoro without being labelled as some kind of maniac.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why people are grouping together Doraemon and sick murder, rape, and fetish cartoons is kind of odd.

Some videos promote negative values and others promote positive ones.

Im not a fan of censorship, but if there’s a weirdo obsessed with violence and he is at home obsession over videos that promote such things...well there is a connection.

I don’t think the videos are responsible or made him do it. Some people watch horror movies to get scared and others it’s a pleasurable release. That being said, it is not the publication’s fault if mentally ill and evil people take it too far.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think the worst thing about this is he commented in public about something someone said they thought but that it couldn't be confirmed. That's something that shouldn't be done.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think the worst thing about this is he commented in public about something someone said they thought but that it couldn't be confirmed. That's something that shouldn't be done.

Yup, dumb politician commenting out of turn.

Still, someone should be able to comment on an industry that feeds the depraved minds of people like this killer and the people who enjoy violent fetish porn. People should be aware that this isn't normal behavior or can lead to unstable people acting out these fantasies in real life. It isn't criminal (yet), but it isn't normal.

People should be educated on what drove this person to do the things he did so that maybe future wannabe killers can be stopped before they are let loose on the world. Mommy issues are right at the top of the list.

Sooooo easy to scapegoat crime on pop culture. "Video nasties", Marilyn Manson, The Matrix, rap etc. 

Not even a comparison. Well, maybe some rap and heavy metal.

Domination, Manipulation, Control are common themes of serial killers. I wouldn't attribute that to your examples of "Pop culture." I would attribute that to bondage porn and from what I hear some fetish anime.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Some works of art have aggravated people so much they've slashed canvasses. Some theatrical productions have caused so much anger there were riots in the street. Some books have caused so much suspicion that they were burnt in huge numbers on pyres.

People react in different ways. It's not necessarily the fault of the product/art.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Art isn't a mirror, it's a hammer!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I believe it's crazy to blame this kind of crimes on anime. Are you people even serious? Some of you are also comparing anime to the guns problem in the US. I can't believe you are serious. Guns are made to kill. Anime, or also books, movies, etc., are only fictional works. If you watched IT (the horror American movie based on a Stephen King's book), does it mean that you enjoy to watch REAL kids tortured by a crazy clown? Fictional works are never the main problem, the problem is in the mind of the criminal person, in the first place. I would never say that the high number of gun crimes in the US is because of some American movies. It's because of mental illness and the easy access to guns for everyone, included sick people. But comparing fictional works to weapons is absolutely crazy. I repeat, I can't even believe you are serious, guys. Probably you are only mad because anime are really popular worldwide, and many users here are used to bash anything Japanese. But your normal viewer is able to understand the difference between anime/books/movies/games and reality.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Talk about overshooting the target. That politician deserved what he got!

ANIME is NOT where you find a lot of extreme content these days (one or two may seep through though, but that's all late nite). All anime does these days is just adopt light hearted moe moe content from manga or lite-novel for late nite viewing to relieve stress from daily grind. "Splice of Life" shows are the most popular seasonal 12-episode anime format.

Wanna know where all the extreme content is at? Manga & doujinshi (self-published work) and PC games sold in Akihabara and Comiket that's regularly attended by ~600,000 people every summer and winter!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This serial killing murder incident is much shocking than anything to say Animes or horror movies. I wonder Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger agree that those Animes influenced causing Shiraishi one of them, Animes are much "kawaii" to anybody.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Short sighted people blame pop-culture. The blind compare the US gun situation to anime.

I thought "Uh oh.." when the girlfriend listed Higurashi as one of his favorite anime. That series and School Days are rather old series and can't have much to do with the politician's comment as he mentions "recently", however. Recently I can only think of Jojo part 4 and Ajin... but those aren't even that recent. Maybe Ichita saw an episode of King's Game.. The gory ones are pretty rare late-timeblock series.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Here we go again, Japan! Always looking for something or someone else to blame instead of looking at the REAL problem. I've been playing video games, watching some gross anime and watching super violent movies back when dinosaurs were babies and I have NEVER done ANYTHING I've seen or done in the movies and games. So throw that idea out the window.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Also, the group of people who committed those atrocities during the Nankin massacre, were they also influenced by anime and games? This politician should choose his words carefully. Because there are many people who put a lot of work and efforts into making anime and games (both good and violent) and to blame a horrible crime like this on those creators' works is an insult to them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He’s become unable to differentiate the world of reality from fiction. 

99.999% chance this statement is incorrect, and 100% chance this was a stupid thing to say.

Let the defense work on their own insanity defense.

Me, I think serial murders know right and wrong and decide to do it. There isn't anything normal about their behavior, but they do know what they are doing and choose to do it.

Also, the group of people who committed those atrocities during the Nankin massacre, were they also influenced by anime and games?

Great, a "what about" argument recently popularized and resurrected from 19th century fascist propaganda.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shiraishi was surely more powerfully influenced by growing up in Japanese society with all its myriad grotesqueries. I suspect many politicians are themselves susceptible to the influences of porno promoting their hypocrisy and warping their judgment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here we go yet again, people making the same baseless accusations and blaming some kind of media, in this case anime for the actions of an individual. Far easier to point the finger and say "has to be the anime that done it" rather then going into the far harder to research like background of his upbringing, influences with people and the World around him and how he felt he fitted into society in general. Plus the fact he may have had undiagnosed mental health issues all his life or in more recent times developed issues.

Nah, screw it lets just blame anime, far easier than waiting to hear actual factual accounts from professionals and go along with what some random politician and anonymous woman have said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, I'm an anime avid fan. And I would definitely agree. But, then again.

Anime is just like any other movies or show with actual people in it, it can influence the mind of anyone

who watches it. Just like how action movies or horror movies, love are rated, because

they contain scenes that aren't suitable for young audiences.

Yet, the suspect is already old. But, he doesn't have to apologize.

It's true, I hate anime's with grotesque or morbid scenes.

A person who can tolerate such graphic scenes can actually be psychos in real life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

and who was interviewed by media organization Bunshunho. 

Dear Translator: There is no such "organization." Bunshunho (文春砲) is a slang term for the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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