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Tokyo man arrested for putting brother’s skull out for recycling collection

By SoraNews24

On June 21, workers at a recycling plant in Adachi Ward, Tokyo, were given a shock when, mixed in among the refuse that had arrived, they found a human skull and jaw bone. Since bags came from all over Tokyo, there was no telling who the bones had belonged to, so they had to check dental records.

Soon after, they identified the skull as 67-year-old Hideo Murai of Kita Ward. This was corroborated by a bank card with Murai’s name on it that was also found among the trash in the bag with his skull. Naturally, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into the matter and on June 29, arrested the deceased’s older brother, 68-year-old Shoichi Murai, on charges of illegal disposal of human remains.

▼ News report on the arrest

Murai denies the charges, however, and claims that he found the bones in his brother’s room but assumed they were replicas. The brothers were said to have shared the same house in Kita, with Shoichi living on the first floor and Hideo living on the second. Shoichi claims that he had not spoken to his younger brother since at least March of 2017, and was cleaning the room in order to sell it when he found the skull. He added, “I wondered if he was hospitalized somewhere.”

Police searched Hideo’s residence and found the rest of his skeletonized body lying on a bed. According to an autopsy, at least several months had passed since his death, but he was confirmed to have been alive in 2017 when Shoichi claims to have last interacted with him.

The authorities are also looking into a possible cause of death, but reports so far say that there are no signs of violence. There are still dozens of questions surrounding this incident though, most which were asked in online comments about the news.

“Even if it was a replica, why’s he throwing away his brother’s stuff like that?”

“They live in the same house and he didn’t notice his brother died until he was a pile of bones?”

“Why didn’t it smell?”

“Why just the head? Did he see the rest of the skeleton? What’s going on?”

“What a horrible brother.”

“Even if he was reduced to bones, wouldn’t there be stains?”

“Did he try to recycle the skull?”

“I wonder if he’s just in a very, very deep state of denial.”

“Was the skull placed on a table or something that made it look like a replica? If it was lying on the pillow of a bed, ‘replica’ wouldn’t be my first thought.”

“He was probably collecting the guy’s pension. It’s the same old story.”

Sadly, cases where people have left deceased relatives bodies secretly hidden in order to continue collecting pensions or other benefits are not unheard of. However, that also seems like something the police would be able to look into rather quickly, but they haven’t reported anything about pension or welfare payments being misappropriated so far.

On the other hand, people not realizing a sibling they lived with had been dead in the house for years, is also not without precedent. In the end, it’ll be up to the police to untangle this mess and determine if Shoichi needs to be held accountable or was just very confused.

Sources: Jiji.com, Yomiuri Online, Mainichi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun, Itai News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese woman finds skeleton, possibly of her missing brother, while cleaning her house

-- “Recycling in Japan” or “Reasons to get it right and avoid eternal shame”

-- Japan’s public broadcaster goes thug-style, tags the house of man who refuses to pay fees

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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He'd better have put it out on "Non-burnable" day.

16 ( +18 / -2 )


Came here to say the same thing. Clearly, bones are not-recyclable!

[sad story otherwise - and pretty unbelievable that he never noticed his brother had died]

4 ( +5 / -1 )

He put out his brother’s skull but not the rest of the body?


2 ( +3 / -1 )

Living in the same house but did not notice his brother had died?

I would be checking bank accounts and pension payments.

6 ( +7 / -1 )


0 ( +1 / -1 )

He'd better have put it out on "Non-burnable" day.

in Japan we usually burn the bones of the passed away

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's sad that in Japan if you die in your room no one will find until you're stinking the neighborhood or someone finds you accidentally. This country needs more love.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@Marr the WORLD needs more love.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A totally believable story in this sad place.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lol, you just can't make this stuff up

3 ( +4 / -1 )

People are out of their minds.

Is it the heat?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Arrested? Boy are they strict over there. I guess that'll teach him to use the green bag next time.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Skeletons coming out of the closet.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So, he found the skull but didn’t find the rest of his body on the bed? He must have decapitated himself and put the skull in another room. Do the police actually believe this rot?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One of those only in japan stories that you glance over but have to go back to check to see if you read it correctly. Beyond belief but very, very real. Guess he wasn't his brother's keeper.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This was corroborated by a bank card with Murai’s name on it that was also found among the trash in the bag with his skull.

He's definitely not a criminal mastermind, that's for sure.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

boy, just when you think you've read it all..

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Pension and mental health top my mind, as often reading JT.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think there is any way possible you wouldn't know someone else living in the house is dead. For one thing, they wouldn't help to pay any of the bills -- something two people who hate each other would definitely want to rectify. Likewise, to pay bills he wouldn't be collecting his mail, which would pile up... especially after five years. Then, there are the more obvious things besides, like the smell of decay, flies, and a myriad of other things. Nah... my guess is the guy knew his brother was dead, and just didn't know what to do about it after having waited so long, so he was starting to get rid of him piece by piece, thinking there wasn't any way he could be tracked.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Tokyo man arrested for putting brother’s skull out for recycling collection

As one does.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bone pickup in my area is Wednesdays.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Bizarre to say the least.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow its like the old saying the "Lights are on but nobody's home"!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tokyo man arrested for putting brother’s skull out for recycling collection

This has got to be the most peculiar headline I've read this year. The entire story reads fishy - I mean one would assume one would notice if someone died in their house, no? The smell alone from decomposition... Also, why choose to put the skull in recycling instead of general waste? I was not aware that bones could be uh...recycled. A peculiar story indeed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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