Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

'Movies Made Me Murder'


Poster: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Poster: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Hiroyuki Tsuchida, 22, used a baseball bat to beat his mother to death in June 2003 in Japan.  He was stopped before he could do the same thing to the rest of his family.  When questioned he claimed the anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, had given him the idea that humans should be eliminated, so he'd decided to start with his own family.  His reasoning was that once he could do that, he could more easily go kill others.

Tsutomu Miyazaki
Tsutomu Miyazaki

Another murderer seemingly influenced by Japanese pornography and anime was Tsutomu Miyazaki, a.k.a., "the Little Girl Murderer."  As a boy, Miyazaki was physically challenged and he thus developed into a loner who thrived on fantasy and comic books.  Highly sexed, he moved on to child pornography and reportedly collected thousands of videos, as well as Japanese anime, or live action films based on cartoons.  Apparently, he was influenced by horror films, especially the series of "Guinea Pig" films, and there is speculation that the second one in that series became a model for one of his murders.

Miyazaki grabbed his first victim, four-year-old Mari Konno, on August 22, 1988, taking her into a park, photographing her, and strangling her.  He then undressed her and left her nude body behind while he took her clothing with him — which he also photographed.  The 26-year-old man got away with it so he plotted another kidnapping and by October, he was at it again.

Driving around, he spotted Masami Yoshizawa, 7, walking by herself.  It was easy to persuade the child to get into his car, and he returned to a spot close to his first murder — in fact, where that child's undiscovered bones still lay.  This time, after strangling his victim, Miyazaki had sexual contact, and he once again walked away with her clothing.

On December 12, Miyazaki murdered another four-year-old girl, Erika Namba.  Again, he talked her into getting in his car.  He photographed her before killing and dumping her, and was very nearly caught, but managed to get away.  He kept a low profile for the next few months before taking his last victim.

In the meantime, Erika's corpse was found and witnesses described the car they had seen in the area.  The police also learned that each of the families of the three girls had received strange phone calls: always, the caller remained silent.  They also received gruesome postcards with letters cut from magazines to form words like "cold" and "death."  Mari's parents also found a box left on their doorstep that contained such items as photographs of their missing daughter's clothing, teeth, and charred bone fragments.  Following this was a confession that Mari had been murdered.

The police learned that the camera used for the photos was a tool common to printers, and indeed, Miyazaki worked in that trade.  Investigators were getting closer, but did not identify him not before he'd struck again.

On June 6, he grabbed Ayako Nomoto, 5, from a park after he'd taken photographs of her.  This body he took home to videotape.  Clearly, he was feeling bolder.  Then he dismembered the corpse, consumed some flesh, and dumped the remains in a cemetery.  While the corpse was found and quickly identified, Miyazaki remained free.  That is, until he made a mistake.

In July 1989, he approached two sisters and lured one away.  The other ran home to get help.  Their father stopped Miyazaki in the act of photographing the child's genitals and the police arrived as he ran to his car.  Now caught, he offered a grim confession of killing the four children. A team of psychologist examined him, and found him responsible for his actions, although other examiners disagreed.

In the end, Miyazaki was found to have multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia, but was nevertheless sane, and he was given a death sentence.  That sentence was upheld early in 2006, and he was executed June 17, 2008.

While experts disagree as to just how much films can influence a killer, research in biology makes the idea at least plausible.


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