Japan Today

Woman confesses to killing 25-year-old mentally disabled son


Police said Thursday that a 55-year-old woman has confessed to murdering her 25-year-old son by strangulation at their home in Kashiwara, Osaka Prefecture.

The alleged murder was reported to police by a relative of the mother and son involved on Wednesday morning. Fuji TV reported that police went to the apartment and found Hiroshi Kanata, 25, lying motionless on the living room floor with his throat still bound by the cord. He was rushed to hospital where he was confirmed dead.

The boy's mother, Misae, was quoted by police as saying: "He was suffering from a mental disorder and I was worn out from caring for him. He would shout loudly and hit the walls. I didn't know what to do."

Kanata contacted relatives following the incident, who then contacted the police.

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This is one of those sad cases where the true culprit is obscured. Sure the mother murdered the son, but there is definately mitigating circumstances. 25 years can and will have an effect on someone. PTSD for one. I am sure that htis was not an arbitrary decision on her part. A 1st year law student could get her off the murder charge. She will most likely be convicted of a lesser offence and sent to a hospital. It is sad, but 25 years will have a psycological effect on on a person. Hope she gets help and RIP for the son.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No one here can judge this woman. The only information from the story is that he's dead, she admits to killing him and she says she didn't know what to do.

The woman's already demonstrated her love for her son by caring for him for 25 years. It's all well and good to say she should have sought help but I would speculate that after all that time she was receiving all the help she was ever going to get. This is a tragic story with no simple answers. Just think yourself lucky it's not you in either the mother or son's position.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am completely surprised as to how many people on here are in favor of the mother...sickening! You must lack the compassion for those that have life harder then you do. She killed her son, who was mentally disabled! Killed... does that not mean anything to you? It's not the boy's fault he was born mentally disabled, you make him sound terrible.A long time ago, I had worked at an elementary school having to help and care for children who have a mental and or physical disability, it is hard and takes a lot of patience. But you learn a lot from them and that we take being born healthy for granted. I understand she might have felt burnt out but she needed to seek help or find someway to deal with her feelings instead of taking her son's life.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

poor woman.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Murder with cord around neck. Very nasty mother. There are institution for people like you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The years this woman cared for her son has taken its toll .It in not our position and judge her for this very unfortunate incident. The poor guy did not realy have a life but he was alive and needed constant care some times things can get extreemily difficult for the carer when there is no outside help .The problem is a society one

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While I feel terribly sorry for the mother for what she had to endure up to then, murder is never a solution. This is in part the fault of society, for I think it's easy for us to say she should have sought help, but I'm sure she sought it and got little. Still, you don't just kill someone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am inclined to think that this was a heat of the moment thing and she just snapped. Given the stress she was under, consideration should be given to her circumstances when sentencing occurs. However, too lax a sentence would send the wrong message about what is, and is not OK in society. This action was definitely not OK. Disabled people have rights.

Social services for the disabled in Japan are undoubtedly poor. However, it is open to the parent to give up the child into state care at any time, if they are no longer able to handle the burden of care. They are also able to make visits to state facilities and arrange short stays etc. etc. She had options.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree with jj1980. I am seriously appalled by these comments, and I really hope that none of you have disabled family, because I can quite see you murdering them.

Disabled people everywhere are at far, far greater risk of abuse and even murder by their own families than by anyone else. What this, and the comments above, show, is that disabled people are just valued less as human beings by a lot of people. This was her son, whatever condition he was in. He was family. And she murdered him because she hated him. It's an appalling crime, and she should spend the rest of her life in jail.

What I do know is that this man wasn't the first, nor will he be the last disordered or non-normative person to be murdered by their family because he wasn't exactly the perfect son they wanted. As something close to my heart, this happens all the time to autistic children - they are put through the most horrible "corrective therapy" to make them "normal", even when this is traumatic and fruitless, because you can't change a person's personality. When this doesn't work, parents punish them, are violent towards them, and express to them that they are not the child they want. Imagine how that feels.

This happens to mentally handicapped kids, autistic kids, even gay kids. It's parents not loving their children because they weren't the perfect designer baby they wanted.

No, this is abuse and murder. And she should be treated as a murderer.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

WOW! What in the Heck did I just read from some of these posters?

I've always read about how people were against a mother killing a child a bunch of times in other stories because they were "SICK" and "TIRED" of the blah blah blah. That's terrible... But a 25 year old disabled son gets killed and it's poor mother, poor old woman. and the BS "Mercy killing"....

Those who feel this is "OK" to do has me scared of today's society even more. She had no right whatsoever to take his life. By the looks of it it seems many people are stuck in the 1950's old ways of thinking of mentally challenged people. I have a brother who is challenged and just happened to celebrate his 26th birthday and wish for many more. Never would I consider anyone to take his life for any reason. They are human just like you and me, they just have greater challenges than any of us could ever imagine.

The woman will suffer for taking his life, and she should, it was wrong.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This tragedy point to a lack of care for "carers" and no social or government support to give them the help they need and give them a break now and then. This Mother has done her best for 25 yrs, and one mistake has cost her the rest of her life. She has to live with the fact she killed her son, and that will be awful for her, even if she does not go to prison for the rest of her life she will live in a self imposed prison of shame, guilt and remorse. I am sure she loved her son. Are there support organisations for families in this situation? Or are you just supposed to "Ganbare" along and somehow manage? Mental health for Carers is a huge social issue. This is a wake up call for these services to be provided and support to be given for those that take the burden of caring for family members away from the government. My heart breaks for both Mother and her son.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sad. Just two days ago I was watching a TV show about a girl (Japanese, but born in New York) who was born without eyes. My wife said without irony she would probably kill the child turn turn herself into the police to be sentenced. Terrible, but the thought behind it was sobering.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Mercy killing. The son sounds barely human: "He would shout loudly and hit the walls." Just those two points, yet I get the picture. I've seen an unusually large number of people like that in Japan.

Just those two points and you get the picture, I see. I work with a few people who would qualify to your criteria. You want to come up here and strangle them? Feeling mercifully humanitarian?......No?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Mark Elrod, there is not help available for every condition. And not every issue can be detected before birth. I don't think anyone here condones this, just trying to understand it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Mark Elrod


1 ( +3 / -2 )

I didn't see anywhere what the disability was but I wonder if it was severe autism. Care required for this is immense as they have energy, and be physically strong and uncontrolable. Constant attention is required to keep them from hurting themselves and others around them, including the caregiver. After 25 years I'm sure she was worn down, as each year gets harder. And there are few places to take kids with this condition. I hope these circumstances will be considered.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Very sad and tragic. I can't imagine being put in that situation especially as a MOTHER.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Feeding, bathing and changing what amounts to an adult-sized baby.

This must be what it's like to care for an elderly dementia sufferer, too. How my heart goes out to all people in those situations. I think that cases like these are going to become more and more common in Japan, for two reasons: the aging population (leading to more dementia cases), and the increasingly higher ages of birth parents (possibly leading to more birth defects). In worst case scenarios, we'll see middle-aged women caring for both mentally handicapped children and senile parents, with little to no help from government agencies. In fact, I'm starting to notice more and more people in that situation now. I don't know how they cope.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Mercy killing. The son sounds barely human: "He would shout loudly and hit the walls." Just those two points, yet I get the picture. I've seen an unusually large number of people like that in Japan.

-4 ( +2 / -5 )

Other posters who condone this are morally corrupt. If you cannot take care of the individual, seek help.

Nowadays, abortions can take care of these issues. If birth defects are discovered early enough, the baby can be aborted. However, I have a funny feeling that some of the same posters who advocate this woman killing her adult son, would not condone abortion.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Japan is a third world country when it comes to mental healthcare. There's no way the actions of the mother can be condoned but she has my sympathy as I bet she was essentially alone when it came to caring for her son.

What a mess. RIP fella.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There must have been a number of contributing factors as to why the woman killed her handicapped son. Aside from banging on the walls and shouting, one cannot help but think that he may have done other things such as smearing his own feces on different places in the home. The situation is regrettable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The problem with mercy killing is where do you draw the line between what is a justified mercy killing and what's not??

Yeah, sort of makes you think about human cloning and GM designer babies, both of which would eliminate children with mental disorders. Could human society ever accept being able to choose your baby from a catalog with no risk of mental or physical deformities or genetic faults? Straight teeth, tall/short, no balding, hair and eye color of your choice, the list goes on. The technology and genetic knowledge are nearly ready, but is society ready? Would it ever be ready?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My wife and I are 60, have looked after our son (paranoid/schizophrenic) for 20 years The government claims that him being over 18 years old he is an adult and has to fend for himself as far as any government medical aid is concerned we are allowed no input and have begged for years!. The whole situation is bizarre We can understand this women's action all to well and to be brutally frank she probably did him a favor!! We have seen our son's anger , anxiety, disbelieve and depression and many other emotions for way, way to many times ( imagine being told by some bureaucrat you should not have a girl friend or be a sport team member or what ever).This is incredibly hard to explain it only can be experienced and that we do not wish on anybody ever.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Now that a new blood test will soon become available for pregnant women, to detect a life-threatening or debilitating abnormality in a fetus, I can't help but wonder if this story isn't a "primer" for it...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I honestly can't say that I wouldn't at least think of her "solution" to that problem...But, man, there's GOT to be a better way! The constant anxiety and maybe even fear of her own son, all day every day must have been he11...Frankly, I think the hospitals and doctors here are a (bad) joke for the most part: are there ANY services for mentally ill/challenged and their families?!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sad, but what do you expect in a country with zero mental healthcare services?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

It's tough, and judgment must be withheld. We have a family-friend situation - the daughter is severely mentally handicapped, and flails wildly if not drugged - while medicated, she is in a noticeable stupor, drooling, defecating in diapers,and incapacitated - this is the constant situation - either wild flailing, or drugged stupor. We've been close to them for 30 years. Now, the parents are in their mid 70s, and daughter is a robust, physically strong mid-30s adult, that must be spoon feed like a teething baby, and diaper changed, but unlike a baby must be restrained and drugged daily.

The only thing we ever think about in their context is what will become of the girl when the parents become infirm, and are gone. I admire the parents greatly, though we think the unthinkable and unmentionable always, the same you.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The problem with mercy killing is where do you draw the line between what is a justified mercy killing and what's not?? Tough call!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was very surprised to find out that most Japanese do not get screening for disorders done while pregnant. We had to contact many clinics to finally find one that would perform the screening that is standard in my home country.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is very difficult living with mentally disabled people, that is why they have shelters and in-house helpers to give the parents a break. Oh, hang on! This is Japan! No they don't have these kinds of services. They have schools they can attend for half a day two or three times a week and no outside help. Other than that, these people are on their own. It is the social services that failed this mother and son.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Societal support? Someone has missed the idea that in Japan to be different is to be stigmatized. This poor lady was taking care of her child since she was thirty years old! She probably endured finger pointing, laughter and dieu knows what else. If she asked for someone to take over his care after her death, how long world that queue be? Likely zero! It is an extremely sad story but she resolved it in a Japanese manner. To be a perfectly Japanese solution both would have to go together. Injya

2 ( +4 / -2 )

How can anyone call this a mercy killing? The mother herself stated it was because SHE was tired of caring for her son. Don't get me wrong, I understand that she might have been at the end of her rope and exhausted with caring for her son. But her quotes by the police were about how she felt and how it affected her. No where did it mention that this is what her son wanted. And just how merciful is it to strangle him with a cord? If this were truly a mercy killing then she would have done it as painlessly as possible to ease her sons suffering. It sounds more like she snapped.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Those who are caring for the mentally or terminally ill needs every support that society can give.

But you have to ask for it.

Our laws should be mercyful to this lady and understand the suffering she must have endured.

She had the power to get help, the son, had no power, at all.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Those who are caring for the mentally or terminally ill needs every support that society can give. This is a clear case of burn out, caring full time for her son. Our laws should be mercyful to this lady and understand the suffering she must have endured.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

The young man didn't ask for his affliction, was helpless, and trapped.

For whatever reason, this mother didn't get outside assistance, and saw killing him as a more preferable option, to seeking help.

"He was suffering from a mental disorder and I was worn out from caring for him. He would shout loudly and hit the walls. I didn't know what to do."

Maybe that 25 year old young man was expressing his own frustration!

Why did this woman wait to call family members until it was too late?

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

same thing sorta happening here (in bc) because no one knows how to help stressed out parents with mental disabled child (depression/ bipolar/) etc

2 ( +3 / -1 )

^Agree with you Alex Einz.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

rickyvee - why cant justify...? most these disorders are incurable and may be detected early enough. In the early days, darwin choice would take care of it naturally. Either government ( meaning all of us ) pay taxes and take care of those cases specially or they should be allowed to go away peacefully by request of direct caretaker and family.

I am a strong supporter of mercy killing so my view might be skewed, but we as society have circumvented the natural choice and just overpopulating the earth as it is.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

this is not a mercy killing. you can not justify killing your mentally disabled child. i have so much sympathy for her situation, but society can never condone this type of action.

5 ( +13 / -9 )

I disagree with most of the posters here. The mother should have found another solution. The son deserves our sympathy, she does not. She is a murderer. RIP to him. Jail for her.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

poor woman. I hope they don't punish her too harshly for this...

Murder should never be a means of escape....she should have sought help.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Poor woman. She must have lived in hell before, any punishment the government can come up with can not be worse.

4 ( +9 / -6 )

This is poor family, the son lost his life and the mother will be suffering for ever for being killed her son, this stigma will remain for ever with her. For avoiding such situations Government should provide support to such families,clinics and stay centers for mentally disabled people can make a big difference in the lives of such families.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

25 years, 24 hours a day caring for a mentally disabled son, quite possibly with bog-all help from anyone. Woriied about what would happe to him if she dies. Struggling to make ends meet. Feeding, bathing and changing what amounts to an adult-sized baby. And somebody says "Mother fail". I would be more inclined to say "Mother at the end of her rope".

So easy to sit here and judge with 3 healthy children around me and a wonderful caring family. Havent walked a mile in her shoes and woud never want to.

17 ( +28 / -11 )

mercy killing...thorny issue but if I should be taking care of somebody for 25 years in 24 hours and I can't have my own life I think I will become crazy too.

5 ( +15 / -10 )

Mother fail! Social services fail! Extended family fail!

RIP young man!!!

-12 ( +10 / -24 )

poor woman. I hope they don't punish her too harshly for this...

13 ( +23 / -10 )

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