Today we’ll be talking about one of Japan’s many incidents of “barabara satsujin” (scattered murder) , a method of killing so seemingly popular in the country that it has its very own page on the Japanese Wikipedia.
On April 23, 1994, a cleaning staff member of Tokyo’s Inokashira Park found a garbage bag in the park’s trash can. She thought the bag contained raw fish, but when her colleagues opened it to see what was inside, they found a human ankle. The police were called in, and the bag was found to contain a total of 24 pieces of human flesh, including two feet, two hands, and a shoulder. At an autopsy conducted at Kyorin University Hospital, the cause of death was deemed unknown. The parts had been completely drained of blood, and to make the case even weirder, each piece was cut exactly to the length of 20 centimeters (about 7.8 inches). Although a third of the body was never found, including the head, the pieces were identified three days later as belonging to a 35-year-old architect named Seiichi Kawamura.
Kawamura lived less than a mile from the park, and was last seen on April 21st. He ate dinner with his family that evening, and afterward went out to karaoke with an old coworker. He left his friend around 11 PM, but never returned home. His family reported him missing the next day.
Despite police questioning some 37,000 people, the case has never been solved. There were reports of two suspicious men walking in the park and carrying a plastic bag around 4 am on the day Kawamura’s body was discovered, but they have never been identified. Other witnesses said that they heard the sound of a car colliding with something in the very early hours of the 22nd. It’s been suggested that Kawamura was struck by a car, and that his killers cut him up to get rid of the body. One popular rumor even claimed that Kawamura had been a member of a religious cult, and was brutally murdered after trying to leave it.
Whether the murder was the attempt to hide a tragic accident, or the work of a deranged surgeon, perhaps we’ll never know. Prior to 2010, Japan had a statue of limitations on murder for fifteen years. Unfortunately, the case missed the country’s abolition of the limitation by only a year.
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