Attack on singer sheds light on risks of stalkers-in-waiting


On Friday, May 21, Tomohiro Iwasaki, a 27-year-old resident of Kyoto, took the shinkansen to Tokyo to meet the girl of his dreams, 20-year-old Mayu Tomita. Mayu is an aspiring "aidoru" (idol, as young female entertainers are called) with ambitions of becoming a singer and songwriter.

Now in police custody awaiting arraignment for attempted murder and other charges, Iwasaki told police following his arrest that he had stood in wait for several hours at the venue where Tomita had performed, in the west Tokyo suburb of Musashi Kogane. When she emerged, Iwasaki -- a strapping individual who in his teens had excelled in judo -- ambushed Tomita, using a knife to stab her repeatedly in the torso, back and neck.

As of this writing, Tomita, a junior at Asia University, is reportedly still fighting for her life in the intensive care unit at an undisclosed hospital. The extent of her wounds have not been made public, but some bloggers have suggested she may have lost of one or both eyes.

Iwasaki had become enthralled with Tomita via the web and social media, and last year he'd presented her with a wristwatch, which she'd returned.

The case has once again led the media to raise questions over glaring shortcomings in anti-stalker laws -- particularly with regard to those who post inflammatory statements on Twitter and other social networks.

Nikkan Gendai (May 25) warns that many "stalker military reservists" -- using a term to describe a latent case that can lapse into such behavior with very little provocation -- may be lurking on the web.

"There are people who say, 'I won't leave until you tell me your address,' or who find out where a performer lives and move nearby," relates Maika Kunugi, 19, another so-called "underground idol."

"So many teenagers want to break into showbiz that it's said Japan has more than 1,000 groups with these so-called 'underground idols,'" a person involved in show business productions tells Nikkan Gendai. "The majority are represented by small agencies that are barely breaking even. So it goes without saying that they can't do much to protect their wards. All they can say to the girls is, 'You're on your own.'

"Should violence break out during a performance, no staff members are on hand to stop it either," the source continues.

It's also been said that once an idol leaves the business, there's no assurance of her safety afterwards.

"Even after a girl quits being an 'idol,' a stalker might telephone to her school, demanding her contact address. Or he might post on Twitter asking about her private life, what clothes she's wearing, and so on. I've heard of one demanding to a former idol, 'If your group has broken up, then pay me back all the money I spent watching your performances.' Even a year afterwards, she still shudders in fear when recalling his words," the source adds.

In a follow-up article appearing in Nikkan Gendai's May 26 issue, Takashi Nakayama, head of a Tokyo-based crime prevention NPO called Association-Japan Security Consultants, warns that if a person visits the police to convey stalking concerns, "It's a mistake to think this alone will result in protection, and may already be the wrong thing to do."

"The police are busy and aren't able to serve as bodyguards," Nakayama points out. "It might have worked better if Ms Tomita had consulted an attorney. She directly mailed back the wristwatch Iwasaki had sent her, but that act probably just infuriated him. It would have been safer for her if she had arranged to meet with Iwasaki in the company of her attorney and had him first explain her reasons before returning the gift."

Likewise, when Iwasaki's tweets became abusive, Tomita should have shut him out, or at the very least stopped posting the details of her activities, like "I'm on my way to class now."

The day he assaulted her, Iwasaki reportedly accosted Tomita in front of the station, and after she ignored him, he followed her. "At that point she should have fled to the nearest koban," says Nakayama. "If she had told the cop there, 'I've already reported this to the main police station,' he would have arranged to escort her to her destination.

"Aside from keeping a container of pepper spray on hand, it's also effective to shout, 'Keep away from me!' loudly enough for people nearby to hear. Stalkers tend to flinch when their targets fight back," Nakayama adds.

© Japan Today

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

What a nightmare

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“Aside from keeping a container of pepper spray on hand...

I thought pepper spray is illegal here.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

John Lennon suffered a similar fate. It happens to the famous more than people realize.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It happens to the famous more than people realize.

And, apparently, to the not-so-famous as well.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It might have worked better if Ms Tomita had consulted an attorney...

Really? Police are so busy they can't do their job? Then...

At that point she should have fled to the nearest koban. If she had told the cop there, ‘I’ve already reported this to the main police station,’ he would have arranged to escort her to her destination.

What a stupid and dangerous mindset to blame the victim. This shouldn't have happened. I hope this poor girl and all those that suffer (or have suffered) due to a situation like this find protection, justice, and healing.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

In a previous post, I asked why the idol industry is to blame for cases like this. Rather than say it is the industry's fault, this is one risk of becoming a public figure, no matter the industry. Not only do the local crazies know about you, crazies from far away do as well.

I hope talent, model and other agencies start considering the safety of their employees, although the story does point out problems can persist even after leaving.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

when I started learning japanese I was amazed with the high quality japanese music, be it Kyosuke Himuro or Amuro Namie, L'arc-en-Ciel, HY, but after actually coming to Japan it always got me asking to myself where do the real singers hide. You don't have J-pop in Japan. It's aidoru aidoru all the time, the same songs, same faces, same voices, lost the count of times I turned on the tv and there was that akb election crap. The music industry in Japan is just like the pachinko, a big scam to attract middle aged man and affect the birthrates.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"I think a "stalker in waiting" is called... a stalker. That is what stalking is, right? Watching? Waiting? Before pouncing like a cat?

OK. I tried to be funny about it, but forget it. The article is dumb because there is NO WAY to tell if someone is "going to stalk." That is absurd. Are we after a "thought crime" or "pre-crime" vibe here? Are we supposed to be afraid of the "risk of stalkers in waiting"?

Are we supposed to be afraid of ... fans? Because fans are people who follow every move of a certain celebrity. They make fan clubs and spend enormous amounts of time obsessing about one famous person or another. Wouldn't it be great if we just shut that activity down cold? We need to be arresting anyone who has watched more than 50 PewDePie videos on YouTube. Is that it?

Look. Stalking is a legally defined term. Let's not make laws against "stalking in waiting" or even criminalize or sanction that activity, whatever it is. Let's devote MORE attention to bona fide stalkers and bona fide assailants. Leave everybody else alone.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The problem with consulting an attorney is that usually one needs money to do so. That's something that a college student/underground idol does not have.

That said, I don't think the intent of the consultant was to victim blame, but rather to educate others on how they can better protect themselves should they find themselves in a similar situation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“Aside from keeping a container of pepper spray on hand,

Is that legal in Japan?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Justice is blind now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So Nakayama, head of a crime prevention NPO, says alerting authorities is ill-advised, and then blames the victim for not having consulted an attorney to arrange a meeting with the person who later became her stalker. Beyond belief.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Takashi Nakayama, head of a Tokyo-based crime prevention NPO called Association-Japan Security Consultants, warns >>that if a person visits the police to convey stalking concerns, “It’s a mistake to think this alone will result in protection, and >>may already be the wrong thing to do.”

I am not surprised the police not doing their duty to protect the innocent because I had a similar case and the less they can do the better for them, but i am shocked to read that reporting the stalker to the police is the "wrong thing to do".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

She is still unconscious, I hope she will pull through and she will be able to live safe with her family as before..

The police can't begin to act their duty unless something actually have happened. Almost stalking cases like that eventually don't go beyond the certain line. If the police is ganna deal with every cases like that seriously, they would be so swamped that they can't move.

By the way, Here is one futile thing.It is revealed that the culprit, Iwasaki, have shown up in porno video as a amateur actor two years ago. the video feature that mans who have never had a sexual deed is introduced to sensual touch or even genital sex by famous porno star!! indicating he had never had a sexual intercourse by that time. He might have starved for love. He might have decided to star in the video longing for anything like love.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But I betcha if a CEO of a big company, even say the idol's company went to the police with stalker issues it would be handled quite differently. The CEO would get a police officer at least stopping by and checking at their home or business, just a drive by even. Her, she's a nobody, she was a "trying to break into" idol, not a "already established" idol so she didn't count. Sad but this would be true in any country, anywhere right now.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well if vocalizes take over this won't ever be a problem again huh also he needs to be sentenced one year for every stab wound and have his eyes gouged out with a spoon no sedative allowed

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Darn auto correct I meant vocaloid

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's ok to inform the public of steps they can take if they get into a stalker situation. But if we're going to say "could have" "should have" in this case, how about just say Iwasaki shouldn't have stalked and attacked? He could have done all kinds of other things instead of stalking and attempted murder when he learned the feelings weren't mutual. Like, start a new hobby or something. Geez!

I don't like victim blaming. Responsibility is 100% on the perp.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't like victim blaming.

I agree.

Unfortunately victim blaming is the name of the game on JT. Some posters have nothing better to say.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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