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2005年7月10日 (日)

What to make of teens slaying family members?


What to make of teens slaying family members?


After killing his parents at their home in Tokyo's Itabashi Ward, a 15-year-old boy went to a movie theater in the Ikebukuro district, where he watched "Batman Begins." He then took a Shinkansen bullet train to the resort town of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture, according to statements he gave to the police after his arrest.


 東京・板橋の自宅で両親を殺したあと、15歳の少年は池袋に出た。映画館に入り「バットマン ビギンズ」を見る。そして新幹線に乗って、長野県の軽井沢へと向かった。

The youth is a first-year senior high school student and the eldest son of the slain couple, who were live-in superintendents of a company dormitory.

In the Batman movie, the hero's parents are murdered when he is still a small boy. I wonder what thoughts crossed the teen's mind as he watched this scene.


In the city of Fukuoka, another 15-year-old-a third-year junior high school student-was arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing his 17-year-old brother with a kitchen knife in their family apartment.

The boy had previously complained to friends that he was bullied and treated like a servant by his older brother, who often woke him at night and demanded a back rub.


The Tokyo teen told investigators that he had been ridiculed and insulted by his father. The motives of the two boys have yet to be determined, but I believe each held a deep-seated grudge or hatred toward his own family members.


After the postwar chaos and ensuing years of economic growth, the number of homicide arrests made in Japan declined. It has hovered between 1,300 and 1,400 each year since 2000.

For minors, the numbers remained in the range of 300 to 400 until the 1960s, but dropped to around 100 in the early 1970s. Since 2000, around 100 minors have been arrested for such crimes each year.


From these statistics, one can hardly say that homicides committed by minors are on the rise.

Still, the act of killing one's family members in their own home is jarring to society.

City landscapes have changed immeasurably in the six decades since the end of World War II. For example, gardens have disappeared from many homes. But even then, I wish each home would have a "symbolic" garden that exists in the hearts of family members.


--The Asahi Shimbun, June 25(IHT/Asahi: July 4,2005)


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