Home invader makes elderly woman feed him; gives her 10 masks in return

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japan is ordinarily an extremely law-abiding society, but the strains and stress of the coronavirus pandemic are leading to some unusual crimes connected to currently coveted commodities, especially masks. Since the beginning of the outbreak, we’ve seen a street fight break out among customers waiting in line to buy masks at a drug store and a hospital robbed of 6,000 of the coverings.

Now comes another mask-related crime, but with a twist. Actually there are several weird surprises involving the home invasion robbery that took place last week in the town of Iwamizawa, Hokkaido Prefecture, so let’s go through them one by one.

At around 11 a.m. on the morning of March 31, an 88-year-old woman living in Iwamizawa’s Kurisawacho Kurigaoka neighborhood was startled when a man barged into her home through an unlocked back door. The man, said to be in his mid-50s or early 60s, had a saw, which he was waving around as he advanced into the house.

“Give me food!” the man shouted repeatedly, and so the woman did just that, and with unusually thorough hospitality, considering the circumstances. “I gave him both rice and okazu,” the woman says, the latter referring to the main course and non-rice sides that make up a traditional Japanese meal. “I think he broke in because he was hungry.”

Rather than take his order to go, the man ate his brunch right there, and even asked for a refill of his rice bowl, which the woman provided. When he was done, he had another demand. “He said ‘Give me money!’ so I gave him 2,000 yen),” the woman said, according to reports.

Apparently it was enough to satisfy the man, because he took the offered bills and left…but not before leaving behind a stack of about 10 masks for the woman.

All anyone can currently do is speculate as to the man’s psyche, but it seems as though he gave the woman the masks as a way to say “Sorry for robbing you.” You could even argue that in the current market, 10 masks are more valuable than 2,000 yen and a meal, even one with a double helping of rice. In normal times, a 10-pack of masks will run you about 500 yen at a drug store in Japan, but coronavirus fears have resulted in them being sold out for weeks at most stores.

The question then becomes why bother robbing someone when you’ve got some high-demand goods that you’re apparently not planning to use yourself? The answer might have something to do with a law that went into effect in Japan last month that bans the resale of masks at anything above their initial purchase price.

The robber remains at large, though police are searching for him.

Sources: Livedoor News/Kyodo via Otakomu, STV via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Digital-age robber epically owned by analog granny at convenience store in Fukuoka

-- Store employee uses barcode scanner to defeat knife-wielding robber

-- 100-yen store Daiso teaches us how to make our own cloth face masks

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Masks overseas are running 4 dollars for one mask with a limit of 10 per customer.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

 and a hospital robbed of 6,000 of the coverings.

Actually, the hospital was not robbed of the masks.

The hospital staff made a mistake regarding the inventory of the masks.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Robin Hood, alive and well and breaking into a home near you.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Perhaps he was looking to start his own X Force and she was being interviewed. Her cooking skills probably got her on the team. The masks are hers to use to disguise herself when she's a superhero. Time to jump out the plane in an Dead Pool style, there's crime to fight!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Sounds like a homeless man with some sense of dignity left who was desperately hungry and had something to trade.

At one time I've been so hungry that the only thing stopping me from committing a crime in order to eat was that I was too weak. No one should ever think this cannot happen to them and they would act different. Extreme hunger is more powerful than any other human motivator.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

This won’t be the last time we hear this kind of news.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Regardless he had no right to barge into a person's private property like that. So he gave away masks, so what, that is not enough to compensate for taking away the poor woman's sense of privacy and safety.

I like how this article is trying to put a sympathetic light on this but I doubt the woman was feeling particularly heart warmed for getting masks.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"Japan is ordinarily an extremely law-abiding society..."

That's when I stopped reading.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

An extremely law-abiding society? Doesn't seem so when reading here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )


This was an awful invasion of someone's home and the coercion of an elderly person, the poor woman is probably in a state of shock, 

She was sympathetic toward the man, I think.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I read a Japanese article and found a few other things.

When he requested money, he actually said "お金ちょうだい", which is not a threatening words like "Give me money" but more like "Would you please give me some money."

He also cleaned the floor before he left because he was wearing a pair of shoes in the house. In a Japanese house, you are supposed to take off shoes.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Only in Japan would a home invader be given food and cash when they ask for it and would give something valuable in return. I'm guess he removed his shoes when entered? Why couldn't have he just knocked at the door politely, pretty sure the woman would've gladly spared her some food either way.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The man, said to be in his mid-50s or early 60s,

I guess little man-baby misses his own mommy to wipe his mouth and clean his............

Learn some independent skills, junior! Oh wait, YOU'RE ALREADY A SENIOR!!!!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Let him go! Let him go. It was a victimless crime and he was obviously desperate during these desperate times.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't know rather I should like this guy or hate him.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, more scare than harm, but let's hope he didn't bring in the virus to the bachan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Jail is becoming a nice option in Japan for being fed, health checks, showers, clothing and simple non stressful work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The old girl showed some style. And compassion. And she'll probably keep that door locked, from now on. If the police catch him, let's hope we see a follow-up article here on JT.

And thanks for the translation, @socrateos!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When he requested money, he actually said "お金ちょうだい", which is not a threatening words like "Give me money" but more like "Would you please give me some money."

I disagree. That translation is too polite. At the dinner table, when my kids use ちょうだい, my wife gives them crap.

ちょうだい is more like 'gimme'.

So お金ちょうだい would be like 'gimme some cash'. Is that threatening? Depends on the tone I guess. But it certainly isn't as polite as asking if someone would please do something for them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can't make this stuff up. Only in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


”お金くれ” would be more demanding and sound more threatening. Really depends on his voice inflection and tone, but "ちょうだい" would seem less threatening more like a plea. Besides, this could have easily been more violent, but he had no weapons, and he clearly felt that he needed to return the favor the only way he could...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Really depends on his voice inflection and tone, but "ちょうだい" would seem less threatening more like a plea.

Less threatening, yes. But I disagree with the 'plea' part of that, ちょいだい is more a demand than a plea.

0 ( +0 / -0 ) much as 'gimme' is a demand.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Tom Committing petty crimes when winter approaches has long been a tactic of the destitute. 3 hots and a cot vs. freezing on the streets. Plus, Japanese jails and prisons have a rigid workout schedule so it's a good tune up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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