Man arrested over knife attack at Shibuya subway station


Police said Thursday they have arrested a 32-year-old man for allegedly stabbing another man at Shibuya subway station on Monday night.

The victim, a 53-year-old newspaper deliveryman, was stabbed on the right side of his torso and behind his right ear with a knife after he got into an argument with his attacker on the escalator descending to the platform on the Fukutoshin subway line just after 6 p.m. on Monday night. He remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Train services were suspended for two hours while police searched for the assailant. However, security camera footage later showed the suspect boarding a train on the Hanzomon line. He got off at Nagatacho and transferred to the Yurakucho line and went to Ikebukuro.

The suspect, who has been named as 32-year-old Tomohiro Watanabe, was detained on Wednesday night, TV Asahi reported. He is a resident of Asaka in Saitama Prefecture. A search of his home turned up a blue bag, an image of which had been released to the public after Watanabe was captured on CCTV cameras in the station. Inside the bag, police found a survival knife with a 30-cm blade, which they believe to be the weapon used in the attack, TV Asahi reported.

During police questioning, Watanabe was quoted by police as saying that he got angry when the victim shoved him while going down the escalator.

Watanabe told police he had bought the knife in Japan and carried it with him every day for self-defense, TV Asahi said.

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That shoving does happen often specially in Tokyo, but to whip out a knife and attack someone for it. Talk about bottled up rage.

People need to say sumimasen more. Glad the victim is ok and glad they got this guy.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

if you have walked around Tokyo a while you will know, it is pretty easy to get pissed at people's bad manners. I have gotten into a few scuffles but just exchanging words. To whip out a knif and stab someone is a whole different level

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Here in Tokyo as in any part of the world, their are good apples and then their are rotten messed up ones with psychological problems that need knives to help them deal with their messed up lives, hence we have these horrible incidents. The older dude is lucky he is alive, I wonder what the J justice system will do about the nut case??

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This guy was looking for a reason to stab someone. If he didn't get shoved, then he probably would have said someone looked at him the wrong way, or maybe someone was speaking to loudly. Either way, he would have found someone he thought deserved to be stabbed.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

I think everybody here is familiar with being elbowed and maybe ready to push back. but baving a 30-cm blade you and being ready to use it is something else entirely. Clearly, this Saitama resident was looking for an excuse to stab someone.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Who carries a 30cm survival knife when going to and from work? This isnt Mogadishu. This guy was obviously looking for a reason to use it.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I do not think shoving here is bad at all compared to China.

The only public annoyance are little kids pushing to get on the trains. I reprimand them and call their schools.

Also, people that stop right in front of a wicket gates then try to fetch their ticket, only to stick it in and it is not valid. That is plane stupidity.

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

While in Tokyo i was very pissed of at how many old people would just downright shove me out of their way as if i was an old rag and they were the local kings. I had no knife, though. Other than that i enjoyed my trip 100%.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Everyone gets pissed at others from time to time but we excersie enough self control to continue our lives without whipping out a knife and slashing the ones who annoy us, if you have self control , anger issues there are places you can go to get help.

If you have issues and do nothing then you really are mad. This guy with the survival knife certainly has issues and not only needs prison time but also mental help, I hope he gets plenty of both. Pleased the Jcops got the scum bad too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The only public annoyance are little kids pushing to get on the trains. I reprimand them and call their schools

I have neighbors like you. I don't like them very much.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

including the reason Watanabe was carrying a survival knife

Um, cos he is from Saitama, of course! Most of the young thugs from Saitama carry knives. And, it is not just the thugs from Saitama. The J-flops have gone very slack on bag searches after the Akihabara incident and most of the young hoods are back to carrying knives.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A 30cm knife is basically a short sword....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"During police questioning, Watanabe was quoted by police as saying that he got angry when the victim shoved him while going down the escalator."

Boom! I called this one on Monday night (or was it Tuesday morning?). Anyway, if Watanabe is walking around with a survival knife like that he sounds like the kind of guy that is going to use ANY excuse to lash out and slash out. I'm glad they caught the guy, anyway.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Time to wear some armour when riding the trains!! I hope they pull no bars when trying this maniac in court, he should be off the streets for good. He is lucky the guy is still alive. Time to brush up on my knife take away technique.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm gonna carry a magnet now. Wait, that cripples my cell-phone! Life... phone... life.. phone! Aargh, decisions!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Oh come one. Shoving is an everyday occurence in major cities, especially in the subway. People grumble, get into arguements or simply silently do their thing, but it's NOT the the first time someone was stabbed/injured because of this in Japan. I remember there was an accident not long ago (I think in Tokyo too) when one woman stabbed another because she "didn't like how that woman looked at her"..... WHUT?

Why arethey so violent? Even though the crime level is very low, the average citizens themselves do more crime than in other countries. And why in the world do so many people carry knives?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Using a 30cm knife and didn't kill? What a looser, should have gone to a handshake party and invited someone to the restroom. Glad they managed to apprehend him...the description was pretty general to say the least.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why arethey so violent?

Overly repressed feelings, maybe?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

KANADE I totally agree with your point of view.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When this news first came out, I figured it had something to do with an escalator. I have seen and been in a number of confrontations with people who purposely stand in the middle of the escalator. Such jerks care about no one and are obviously looking for a fight. Oftentimes, even saying "sumimasen" doesn't work - just sociopaths with vent up rage who they will take it out on anyone. Be careful one and all.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )


" I'm gonna carry a magnet now. "

I don´t get it. How is a magnet supposed to protect you from a knife attack??

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That was some pretty good police work catching the guy so fast and tracking his movements.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Perhaps there would be less shoving if people would ride the escalators as they are supposed to, instead of walking/running up and down them. Escalator manufacturers ask that people not walk on them, and some train stations even have signs requesting that people not walk on them...not that anyone pays attention.

The time saved by walking on even very long escalators is insignificant, and if exercise is the goal, that's what stairs are for.

Many stations, it's true, have signs asking people to stand to one side, which only encourages people to walk up/down them.

I don't know whether the victim or the criminal in this case was obstructing the other's path, but I think it's more likely that the person walking on the escalator--if that was the case--shoved the one standing still.

Having said that, there's surely no excuse for violence over such a petty issue, and it's hard not to agree that someone carrying a survival knife around is looking for trouble. Tokyo hasn't yet reached the point where one needs to be that highly armed for self-protection.

In any case, I'm happily surprised that they found the perpetrator.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I think there is a lot of pent up rage in Tokyo. Probably stems from the long work hours and unbearable commutes. And dumb-ass bosses expecting you to put in 10 to 14-hour day on top of that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So did the victim get stabbed or slashed, or both ? Either way, this scumbag should be behind bars.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

* The only public annoyance are little kids pushing to get on the trains. I reprimand them and call their schools*

I have neighbors like you. I don't like them very much.**

Not sure the thumbs down for someone taking action when people have crap manners. If more people did such a thing, perhaps things would improve - had a friend this week who called and complained about students who were not only being stupid but dangerous. If no one says anything, this stuff continues and gets worse.

Should the guy have stabbed this guy? Certainly not. However, I can easily see how people get pissed off and fed up with the selfishness and bad manners that is so rampant here. I hate having to take the train to work as the manners are so bad - which is why I bike most days. Hate rain days as everyone is cranky, the trains are overcrowded and the manners... well, the lack of them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have been here half my life and have never seen someone pull a knife. But among the millions in this metropolis, there is a a certain number of nutcases, and knifes seem to be the weapon choice.

I hope this does not get worse when the summer heat sets in, plus low-power airconditioning because of setsuden.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Badge213May. 24, 2012 - 06:16PM JST

That was some pretty good police work catching the guy so fast and tracking his movements.

That's what I thought too. All these comments and there's only 2 that point out some rare but good work by the J-cops.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tracking the movments, reviewing the tapes of thousands of people streaming through different station and train lines, catching him in about 3 days in pretty good. Though there were posters in the original story that said he would never be caught.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Self defense??? Yeah right. He was waiting to stab someone. Why do you need to walk around everywhere you go with a knife? This ain't the south side of Chicago or South Central L.A. And they alwaystalking about how foreigners are responsible for the crime in Tokyo and how Japan is so safe. At least back home you know what areas to avoid where you know something like that could happen. Over here it's any time anywhere out of the blue.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Another thing... it's just not Japan. Crime is spiking all over the world...This generation of Japanese or anybody else is just going crazy. It's getting easier for people to have no regard for human life. Too many anti-social people and technology plays a big part in that. No human connection and love. Just video games and internet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Here’s what really gets me about these guys, besides the fact that they gutlessly attacked somebody without a weapon to prove how tough they are.

First, I hike. When I hike, I take a multi-tool which amongst other things has a blade just over the legal length by a whopping 0.5 cm. Pretty sure it was okay when I bought it in Japan many years ago. Even though I’m a cautious fellow, it might happen to save my life some day. Likely or not, it’s my right to carry it, the law can go jump. It would take me about 30 seconds top find it in my bag, remove it from the case, locate the blade and open it. Hardly a good weapon at that, though it could be used to kill. So could a nail file or a fork. Or as anybody who has done any martial art, etc (even the “softer” ones), it’s not difficult to kill people without knives or other weapons. I won’t bother with the details but I can tell you if I was going to kill somebody, I sure would not use a multi-tool. As for this tough guy’s knife, you can buy something just as nasty in the kitchenware section at Daiei and say you are on your way home from shopping.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm embarrassed for the attacker. Japangal-Hey teacher, leave those kids alone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have always wondered why people walk - or even run - up and down escalators when there are stairs right there for those who find the escalators too slow... It's the same at Narita - people walking/running along the "flat" belts, which I find so useful with my luggage in tow... If you're in so much of a hurry, use the STAIRS at the stations, and the loooong corridors at Narita! I do not appreciate being pushed - and even less aggressed by someone who not only doesn't seem to know that escalators are very often used by people who have some difficulty in walking but who often push and sometimes even "attack" other people riding these things! Some people have physical problems making it difficult for them to walk. Those who don't, use the STAIRS!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese use knife most frequently in attacking and hurting somebody. Why don't the J-law treat the knife same as guns since they are both used as weapons to hurt somebody? Make the J-laws much harsher on knife use. In Japan, if you attack with a small knife and inflict a deep wound, you probably get a much lighter sentence then using a gun, but the damages is a same. The sentence should be the same as guns.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Japanese law does outlaw carrying knifes (with over 6 cm length) already. However, as you can see in this story, that does not stop those who want to from using them.

I suppose a similar argument can be made for guns.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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