crime

Woman arrested for suffocating 4-month-old daughter with pillow

53 Comments

A 32-year-old woman in Kaniecho, Aichi Prefecture, has been arrested on suspicion of killing her 4-month-old daughter by suffocating her with a pillow.

According to police, the woman, identified as Rieko Kito, is accused of suffocating her daughter Misora until the baby died at around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the family’s apartment, Fuji TV reported Wednesday.

Kito called 119 at around 9 a.m., reporting that her daughter had stopped breathing. She also told police that she had covered Misora's face with a pillow, police said.

Her 37-year-old husband had already left for work at the time of the incident.

Kito was quoted by police as saying she was worn out from looking after her baby. Police said that since last November, she had called the local child welfare center for advice. A staff member visited Kito on Monday and told police the child was alright.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

53 Comments
Login to comment

I hope she is punished to the full extent of the law. I also hope if anything these incidents put to light the genuine need to mental health reform in this country to prevent this from happening again (as far as its possible to do so). RIP little girl.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

This woman is absolutely insane seriously!

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Ah, yes, post birth trauma syndrome! Or, another pathetic loser that killed her kid because she didn't have the guts to raise it? I'll go for the latter and suffer the thumbs down. They just snuff their kids like cigarette butts! There is a special place in hell for people like this - and for those who give them sympathy!

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

this is unbelievable i don't know what to say

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I also feel sorry for the husband. He's at work and probably got a phone call from the police telling him what happened.

It's an extremely difficult problem. She called the child welfare center four times but what did they do? Does counseling even help in these situations? Sure, they sent someone over on Monday and the child appeared alright, but what else could they have done?

Surely, her husband must have known how she was feeling. But again, what could he have done to prevent the tragedy?

And Disillusioned, the mother does deserves pity and at least an effort to understand why she did what she did. No sane person would do this.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

It seems that from the numerous cases like this one in this country, Japanese women in their thirties have some issues with bringing up children....

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Such cold heartedness here folks. Sure when its someone else with the problem we can easily shoot them down.

This woman asked for help and never got it. I'm a guy but I've had dealings with PND and it is a very real issue that needs medication and proper care.

How you guys can find her ever so guilty on what you read here is beyond me. Talk about trial by media!!

That said…RIP little one. Hope your mother gets the help she needs.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

post birth trauma syndrome! Or, another pathetic loser that killed her kid because she didn't have the guts to raise it? I'll go for the latter

Wow, you're impressive, determining from a news articles what takes professionals hours and hours of investigations and interviews. They should fire all of them and hire you.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

most stress i ever had in my life was just after baby born and I am a man. very tough with lack of sleep and crying,,,

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It seems that from the numerous cases like this one in this country, Japanese women in their thirties have some issues with bringing up children....

This is one of those things that I do find extremely puzzling about Japan. In most western countries, infanticide is usually associated with young, single, unsupported mothers from working class backgrounds (well, they or their boyfriends). In Japan, it seems like every week you read about married middle-class housewives in their thirties and forties killing their children because they can't handle the stresses and strains of parenthood. I don't get it. Anybody care to explain?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Very easy to curse the woman from behind your monitor. What she did was unforgivable but perhaps we you should take a look at the bigger picture. Many couples suffering from post-natal stress due to lack of help and support in Japan. If you want to point fingers, please point them at the old guys in Tokyo who have the power to change things.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

If you want to point fingers, please point them at the old guys in Tokyo who have the power to change things.

How about pointing the finger at the one who put a pillow over an infants face until it was dead.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

clueless: "How you guys can find her ever so guilty on what you read here is beyond me. Talk about trial by media!!"

You mean like the woman who killed her baby two days ago? the one who strangled her daugther the day before that?

There's no end to the pity-party you guys throw for these women.

papigiulio: "If you want to point fingers..."

We point them exactly where they should be -- and so far that's three fingers this week at murdering moms, and it's only Wednesday. You guys can keep saying "What they did was horrible, b-b-b-b-BUT..." each and every single day till the cows come home, the only thing you're guaranteeing is that this woman can do it again with your blessings because she'll never be blamed for it or held responsible.

The woman is a selfish, weak person who could not deal with it when so many others who have the same problems can. Punish her to the full extent of the law, lock her up, and put a picture of her child in the cell with her for her to see each and every single day.

I think we're going to need a "Moms Killing their Kids" news section.

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

Incredible the number of cases of infanticide in this country. It's literally been every day/week for the past month.

Anyone out there know any stats for other industrialized nations?

Just awful.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

More baby hatches needed! Every hospital should have this!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Gorramcowboy: "It's literally been every day/week for the past month."

It's likely because they get such an outpouring of sympathy and not much if any punishment.

Tessa: "In Japan, it seems like every week you read about married middle-class housewives in their thirties and forties killing their children because they can't handle the stresses and strains of parenthood. I don't get it. Anybody care to explain?"

Like I said, because they don't get punished -- they get pitied. Why would they bother putting up with the stress (and that's what this woman said -- she was worn out) when they have an easy out and will get sympathy for it? I mean, just look at some of the comments above: people who point out this woman is a murder are called 'coldhearted' and 'lacking compassion', while the actual murderer is none of those things. The mental problem is not treating these women as murderers and so utterly disrespecting those who actually work through any troubles they have and don't hurt or kill anyone.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

The woman is a selfish, weak person who could not deal with it when so many others who have the same problems can.

Wow, you're impressive, determining from a news article that the woman was sane, when it takes professionals hours and hours of investigations and interviews. They should fire all of them and hire you.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Once again, the insanity defense doesn't work unless the defense can prove she didn't know right from wrong when she murdered her baby. Being insane is very different from being mentally ill, which she obviously was.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan has a lot of classes or lessons. Maybe in the hospital they could do some fype of lesson of different emotions and feelings after giving birth to prevent this. However, lesson or not, this is MURDER!!!!! Thankfully, Jesus still forgives and the child is now with Him. I pray for the father and the mother as well.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Okay, now I'm convinced, this is way off the charts for a developed nation now - Japan has a serious problem with infanticide and child abuse and I have seen nothing in the media about government action or a public outcry - is everyone okay with this? We need to join a Change.org or some other campaign - anyone know if there is one?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

the insanity defense doesn't work unless the defense can prove she didn't know right from wrong when she murdered her baby.

Exactly, and since the investigations have not been done yet, none of us know whether she was insane or not.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

So what's the difference whether it was 4 months out of the womb or 4 months still inside the womb? Hypocrites!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Smith

Where are you from dude?

Probably a Brit like myself seeing as you like the guy from Gallifrey. (Me too :)

This tragedy is not unique to Japan mate. Mothers do their kids in back in the UK too.

But seeing the population here is double that of the UK and with far, far less support than in the UK, I'm surprised I don't see it more often.

Like more compassion bro.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"In Japan, it seems like every week you read about married middle-class housewives in their thirties and forties killing their children because they can't handle the stresses and strains of parenthood. I don't get it. Anybody care to explain?"

Yes, it's a human trait, not a particularly Japanese happening.

According to psychiatric expert PJ Resnick, in his review of world psychiatric literature on maternal filicide (child murder by the mother) found "filicidal mothers to have frequent depression, psychosis, prior mental health treatment, and suicidal thoughts. Maternal filicide perpetrators have five major motives: a) in an altruistic filicide, a mother kills her child out of love; she believes death to be in the child's best interest (for example, a suicidal mother may not wish to leave her motherless child to face an intolerable world; or a psychotic mother may believe that she is saving her child from a fate worse than death); b) in an acutely psychotic filicide, a psychotic or delirious mother kills her child without any comprehensible motive (for example, a mother may follow command hallucinations to kill); c) when fatal maltreatment filicide occurs, death is usually not the anticipated outcome; it results from cumulative child abuse, neglect, or Munchausen syndrome by proxy; d) in an unwanted child filicide, a mother thinks of her child as a hindrance; e) the most rare, spouse revenge filicide occurs when a mother kills her child specifically to emotionally harm that child's father."

The idea that Japanese mothers in particular carry out these kinds of murders based on the reasoning "Like I said, because they don't get punished -- they get pitied" would seem to be the height of ignorance.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@ Stranger - I agree with your last post. I was just throwing it out there. We can't call her insane until it's proven in court.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yeah, I'm agree with you, Gorramcowboy that it's incredibly number of infanticides in Japan has been literally happened everyday or everyweek for the past month. Yeah, it's really sad to see this happen everytime.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sadly, many people failed to see the sarcasm and irony in my previous post. I have four kids to two different mothers and five grandchildren and not once has the thought of killing them ever entered my mind or the mind of their mothers. Call me callous, hard, uncaring, rude or whatever you want, but this kind of thing does happen all over the world and it happens way too often. It is not an illness! It is a weakness! Yeah, everybody likes the idea of having kids (or bed games for practice), but too many can't handle the responsibility and, as a result, the kids end up dead! It's sickening and I have no sympathy for them at all! Children are a gift! Not a burden!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

@ Stranger - I agree with your last post. I was just throwing it out there. We can't call her insane until it's proven in court.

Gotcha - we're on the same page then.

It is not an illness! It is a weakness!

Yeah, except when it's an illness.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Strangerland: "Wow, you're impressive, determining from a news article that the woman was sane, when it takes professionals hours and hours of investigations and interviews. They should fire all of them and hire you."

And it's impressive you can cut and paste! Although, I suppose that's more or less what I've been doing to on these articles where you guys defend murderers EVERY day.

"Yeah, except when it's an illness."

And what about the people with the same supposed illnesses who don't kill their kids? I call them strong, and brave. So, again, those who kill their kids with mental illness? Come on, bud? Opposite of strong is....

Dissillusioned: "It is not an illness! It is a weakness!"

To be fair, some of the people are all -- not all of them like some would have you believe even while condemning you for not knowing the facts (look at Strangerland, telling you you don't know the facts, then turning around and saying "they are mentally ill"). But even those who are mentally ill and not just weak are also weak, because there are plenty who suffer mental illness and who do NOT kill their children.

But hey, the pity party.

"It's sickening and I have no sympathy for them at all! Children are a gift! Not a burden!"

Exactly!

clueless: "Probably a Brit like myself seeing as you like the guy from Gallifrey. (Me too :)"

Canuck, actually, not that it matters. But hey.

"This tragedy is not unique to Japan mate."

Never said it was.

"Mothers do their kids in back in the UK too."

As they do everywhere, as do fathers, as do strangers, as do siblings, etc. Again, never said it was unique.

"But seeing the population here is double that of the UK and with far, far less support than in the UK, I'm surprised I don't see it more often."

That we agree with again; support is a HUGE problem here, as is the stigma associated with seeking it. BUT, when it's available, and it IS available in many of these cases, and even when it is not, you DO NOT KILL to alleviate yourself of said 'problems'. THAT is where things differ; there is practically no punishment here for such women, and THEN they get all the pity in the world while those who would scorn them are the ones labeled as being bad.

"Like more compassion bro."

Bro, I save that for the victims, like these little, precious babies. Not the murderers. Until we see that as part of the problem it is (or rather, you and others), get ready for the next one tomorrow -- like I said on Sunday and Monday (yesterday was a rare day off from mom's killing kids, it seems).

No pity from me, except for those who see that as the problem instead of the murders. THAT could be called illness.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Taking care of a baby is easy. Just feed it, change its diapers, and buy it a gameboy.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

And it's impressive you can cut and paste! Although, I suppose that's more or less what I've been doing to on these articles where you guys defend murderers EVERY day.

I'm not sure why you say 'you guys' - I've never defended any murderer on here, much less every day.

And what about the people with the same supposed illnesses who don't kill their kids? I call them strong, and brave.

You realize that you aren't even remotely making any point here, right? If someone is unable to differentiate between right and wrong, and they don't kill their kids, it's not like they made the choice to do the right thing - they are unable to identify what is right. So you can't call them strong or brave, it's just fortunate that in their insanity, they didn't do anything horrendous.

So, again, those who kill their kids with mental illness?

If they are unable to differentiate between right and wrong, then it's a tragic event.

look at Strangerland, telling you you don't know the facts, then turning around and saying "they are mentally ill"

I didn't say they are mentally ill - are you reading someone else's posts? You should make sure that you have your facts all lined up before making unjustified accusations.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

0 Good Bad zootmoneyFEB. 17, 2016 - 05:58PM JST

Yes, it's a human trait, not a particularly Japanese happening.

I'm not convinced. Whenever this kind of thing happens in the UK or Australia it's big national news, here it doesn't even appear on the front page or get on TV news - and there are just so MANY. Somethings not right and it might take gaiyatsu to push this into the public/government eye.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Though its shocking news,but we cant accuse Japanese of such crimes as a whole,even if it happens so often,because we are talking about 140 millions in Japan,what does such a thing indicate in such a big population?!everywhere we can find such crimes,but we cant make it as a characteristic of people of any country.When some one shot innocent people in streets,schools,university,church,etc almost very often in States,we cant accuse Americans,these are exceptions.Japan the same.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

ghoneim mohamedFEB. 17, 2016 - 07:42PM JST

Though its shocking news,but we cant accuse Japanese of such crimes as a whole,even if it happens so often,because we are talking about 140 millions in Japan,what does such a thing indicate in such a big population?!everywhere we can find such crimes,but we cant make it as a characteristic of people of any country.When some one shot innocent people in streets,schools,university,church,etc almost very often in States,we cant accuse Americans,these are exceptions.Japan the same.

127 million not 140 million - hope your not Japanese ;)

Fair comment though it's not entirely true.

The US has a massively disproportionate number of murders and gun violence compared to anywhere else in the developed world. Japan, on the other hand, has a disproportional number of sexual crimes against women like sexual molestation (chikan) compared to any other country in the world, so its' not outside the realms of possibility to say say Japan has a comparatively high level of child abuse and infanticide.

It's all about the levels and rates - what is the rate of child abuse and infanticide in Japan? And is it accurate? Judging from the frequency of news reports it's high.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

letsberealistic, Thanks for correcting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"It seems that from the numerous cases like this one in this country, Japanese women in their THIRTIES have some issues with bringing up children"

Yes, because in Japan children are seen as a burden and the new mothers are told just to get rid of it...

Maybe that was the ADVICE that the local child welfare center gave when they visited on Monday.

RIP Misora-chan!! :-(

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tessa, the only thing I can come up with is that many married late expecting a prince to treat them like the princess they were raised to believe they were and the life to match. Many settle and love might not even be apart of the equation. Probably many who dreamed of just getting married, quitting their job, having kids and living the Japanese princess dream are at greater risk than someone young. What Japan does not acknowledge is that babies are hard work. Younger women here are often still in touch with high school and/or university friends. Your typical OL here doesn't go out that much. Get married, quit your job and one doesn't have much support from friends who are either all working or had kids years before and they've lost touch. Late to marry thinks it'll be a cakewalk but in reality it's not but that's not what they signed up for. Add in a husband who is working all the time some mom can stay home though many can't really afford it adds to the stress. I've seen some great friends turn into borderline abusive moms because most were clueless about what having a kid entails.

The woman asked for help. I don't condone what she did but this is a constant problem here and japan needs to start helping these mom AND stop not talking about the dresses of being a new mom.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Men and women today are just mentally and emotionally weaker than in previous generations.But what's worse is the ISIS like extremity that being unable to handle the pressure brings out of people.Because what life is about involves pressure and a lot of people are wilting under it. Now, isn't life easier today than 30,50 years ago or after the end of World War 2 here in Japan? Too many people defend the indefensible under the politically correct guise of the usual round of terms for such behavior.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

PPD (Post Partum Depression) is very real, the drastic drop in hormones post-birth is crazy. I'm a woman who had a baby 5 months ago and it's so hard in this country when the father takes no paternity leave and while I'm lucky in that he helps as much as he can I imagine plenty of husbands come home late from work still expecting the house clean, laundry done and dinner on the table even when you've taken care of a newborn all day. She was probably under insane pressure, isolated and depressed. She needs to be punished but she was likely extremely depressed and obviously tried to reach out for help before finally snapping.

RIP little Misora-chan

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Anyone out there know any stats for other industrialized nations?

I was wondering the same, but couldn't find much comparable data. The article at the link below suggests there are about 500 filicide cases per year in the USA. (This covers children aged up to 18 being killed by a parent. Another study I found suggested about 300 cases of infanticide per year in the USA (child up to age one).

https://news.brown.edu/articles/2014/02/filicide

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Babies and kids are hard work. Stressful indeed and people handle stress in many different ways, including not handling it at all as in this case. Recognizing that is the first step in working out what to do about it. If she contacted a welfare center, as it states in the brief article above, she knew she had problems and wanted to get help. Hopefully they'll take all such visits from stressed out, exhausted mothers more seriously. It's not an excuse but it sounds like this one could have been prevented if she'd had help.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Another parent killing their child.

Seriously, these atrocities have to stop.

ABE! DO SOMETHING! This is really pissing me off and I DON'T EVEN LIVE IN JAPAN

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The woman obviously realized she had a problem otherwise she wouldn't have called the child welfare center for advice right after giving birth. What I'm curious about was what actual advice was given, and did the child welfare center conduct more visits than the one last week? If last week's visit was the first, why does it take four months to schedule a visit?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Fadamor

I agree with you 100% the women did recognize that she had a problem and she did try to seek help. The question now is what kind of help she received from the child welfare services did contact her. Its easy for most people to say mean things about this women but as a man I don't have a clue in terms of hormonal changes after giving birth to a child, every women is different and it depends on their support system but its obvious something was wrong here and some one missed the signs or totally ignored them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If last week's visit was the first, why does it take four months to schedule a visit?

Correction: about three months, give or take two weeks. Still, why so long?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hey @smithinjapan

We point them exactly where they should be -- and so far that's three fingers this week at murdering moms, and it's only Wednesday. You guys can keep saying "What they did was horrible, b-b-b-b-BUT..."

Are you saying that because they are suffering from depression and stress they are weak? if so then I'm glad we cleared this up. Because if one person is weak, and I mean this in any aspect of their life they do things to improve it. If you are physically weak you go to the gym to become strong. If you are internally weak, you go to the doctor etc. So in this instance if these mothers are mentally weak should they not go somewhere where they can help her become strong? So she wouldn't have done this in the first place? I'm just saying, because you keep calling them weak but those who are weak need help so stop being so ignorant. I'm not giving her pity nor am I asking you to pity her, but understand that people are trying to tell you that there was something wrong with her and you just say "no shes weak" but you dont get the fact that its the same thing. Also people suffer different extremities of things including how they feel after birth, depression, different levels of cancer and strength so it's not nice to compare people since everyone is different. My husband is 6ft, doesnt mean that all males HAVE to be this height. Stop the ignorance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Outside the obvious and sad fact mother did not get any help ("baby is OK" while mom had asked help for HER), I strongly recommend Michel Langley 's site (about another topic) for general understanding of effect of women's hormones. Very insighful and gives another dimension to why it is so difficult to cope with reality for Japanese women who have all living needs well provided but demanded to play a role in society. As a father of 3 kids married to Japanese wife, I feel very much concerned to say the least. RIP baby, you won't be the last alas;(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm really surprised as to how many of these mom-killing-children incidents have come to light recently.

From what I can read in most of these news articles, including this one, I feel like I don't have much right to say whether the mom was psychologically sound at the time of the crime...but seriously, if people are not ready to take on the responsibility of having children (which includes bearing with the human natures such as children crying or causing havoc), then don't have kids?

Also, at least in Canada where I'm from, it doesn't matter the motive behind the act. You can have the most reasonable motive for wanting to do something but killing someone is killing someone.

I just feel sorry for the baby girl. I'm sure she didn't do anything wrong to deserve her life taken away at only four months.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kito called 119 at around 9 a.m., reporting that her daughter had stopped breathing. She also told police that she had covered Misora’s face with a pillow -

This is what we call an open and shut case. Isnt there some kind of adoption facility where these parents can take their babies/children if theyre "worn out" from being a parent after 4 months? I would gladly take that child and save the baby from such a cruel fate

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A staff member visited Kito on Monday and told police the child was alright

I guess they didn't make sure that the mother was alright.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hanging would be too good for her.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Another UNTHINKABLE crime! Japan has a really serious problem with parenting! RIP little one..:( I hope this mother gets what she deserves! Years of suffering until she gets back to her senses!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's sickening and I have no sympathy for them at all! Children are a gift! Not a burden! I'm onboard on this one, no sympathy! Just so you know, I have raised a beautiful child with a little help from the father since he is always on deployments. SLEEP was the only gift I ever asked when her father returned home after 6 months.

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