Man gets 26 years for crossbow murder


A 58-year-old man was sentenced on Friday to 26 years in prison for killing his neighbor with a crossbow in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, last year.

The Aomori High Court heard that Sakae Tanaka, a neighbor and relative of Kinuko Yamagata, 77, had been quarreling with her over financial matters, TBS reported. Tanaka had once threatened her with the crossbow, the court heard.

On the evening of May 24, 2011, Yamagata's husband saw her for the last time at their house before he went out to walk the dog. When he returned home at around 9:10 p.m., there was blood on the floor and no trace of his wife. He called police who searched the house and found the woman’s body in a storage space beneath the kitchen floor.

Tanaka was arrested the next day and charged with the murder after an autopsy determined the victim's wound could have been caused by a crossbow arrow. Tanaka admitted threatening the woman but denied killing her.

© Japan Today

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Tanaka was arrested the next day and charged with the murder after an autopsy determined the victim's wound could have been caused by a crossbow arrow.

They sentence a man to 26 years, on "could have been" ?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

26 years because he did not admit his guilt but if he just played his part like the police had expected then maybe he get probation.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I've read this article a few times, but I still can't figure out who's dead or who killed who,because the headline says man gets 26 years. Was it Tanaka or Yamagata, Tanaka called the police,missing wife, body found,who killed who, Tanaka charged , so what happened to Yamagata. Tanaka admitting threatening the woman,who his wife? Confused ,somebody help me out here, before it ruins my day

8 ( +8 / -1 )


Mrs Yamagata is dead, Mr Tanaka killed her. That's why the headline says "man gets 26 years", because Mr Tanaka is a man. It wasn't him that called the police though, it was Mr Yamagata, when he came home to find his wife dead. Mrs Yamagata was threatened by Mr Tanaka, but she was not his wife. This is indicated by the different surnames, Tanaka and Yamagata.

Don't let it ruin your day though! Just be thankful you're not Mrs Yamagata.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sounds like a bit of kangaroo court to me. I have no idea about the extent of her injuries, but I do know that a modern crossbow at close range would just about go right through a person leaving very distinct injuries. The fact they use the word 'could' in their autopsy is quite absurd. What ever happened to 'beyond reasonable doubt'?

Are crossbows legal in Japan?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It could have been a few variables that caused this long sentence, the most terrible one being Mrs Yamagata's death, but extraordinarily the long sentence could have been on the account of Mr. Tanaka using a crossbow, the crossbow going back some time in Japan as weapon of use before the Meji era, so it could have struck some nerve in the prosecution, that and the lack of remorse, or denial. if Mr. Tanaka was a teacher of the Crossbow, that is what could have made this thing even more heinous in the eyes of the judge, and prosecuters, not to mention everyone else. Even so I feel terrible for the The Yamagata family as a whole.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I felt like I just read a brain teaser. Ouch.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I am not sympathetic to murderers, but it sounds like they sentenced him on suspicion only? Surely the police should have done a better job providing evidence, and if not what happened to the principle of "in dubio pro reo"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Part of the difficulty in understanding this article lies in the fact that Sakae Tanaka must be a man, although normally Sakae is a woman's name.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh, also it seems that they say could have been caused by a crossbow bolt because apart from the puncture wound she had also been strangled.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could have been a crossbow arrow? Could have been something else, not necessarily Mr Tanaka's crossbow arrow, Did anyone else have access to Mr Tanaka's crossbow and/or arrows? Did Mr. Yamagata have access to anything that could be construed as a crossbow arrow? Does Mr. Tanaka have a alibi, did anyone see Mr Yamagata walking the dog?Did she definitely die while Mr Yamagata was walking the dog? Does the dog have an alibi? Too many questions to send a guy to prison for 26 years. Of course if they sentenced the dog to prison for 26 years it would be a virtual life sentence.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Often sentences seem too lenient here, but in this case they have come down on the guy like a ton of bricks. He'll be 84 when they let him out...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ho humm, only a year and a half to figure this case out. Still RIP to Mrs Yamagata.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites