Takuma Mamoru, November 23, 1963 – September 14,
2004) was a Japanese janitor who committed mass
murder of 8 people and wounded 15 others in the 2001
Osaka school massacre. He had been convicted and
imprisoned for rape before the massacre.
Takuma dropped out of high school and
was disowned by his father. He entered the Japan Air
Self Defense Force but was soon discharged due to having
sexual intercourse with a minor. In 1984, Takuma lived
with his mother secretly. His father was very angry and
took back his wife.
In November 1984, he was arrested for
raping a woman and sentenced to three years in prison.
He had been arrested at least eleven times and had
married four times before the massacre. After his
release from jail, he moved to Ikeda and found work as a
bus and garbage truck driver. He was described by
coworkers as a quiet and unremarkable man, but a bit of
a loner who did not like dealing with customers and
preferred working alone.
After assaulting a passenger over the
smell of her perfume in 1998, he was fired and got a new
job as maintenance man at Itami Elementary School, 6
kilometers away from Ikeda. In October of the same year,
he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his former
On March 3, 1999, he dissolved some
of his own tranquilizer, temazepam, into the tea served
in the teachers' room, sending 4 people to the hospital.
He was arrested and sent to a psychiatric hospital,
where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but after one
month's treatment was judged to be "capable of taking
care of himself" and released.
In November 1999, he
was arrested on suspicion of entering into a private
home, but charges were dropped. He managed to get a job
as a taxi driver in September 2000, but was fired on
October 16th after he assaulted a hotel bellhop in Osaka
and broke his nose. He was also kicked out of several
apartments for, among other things, throwing his garbage
out from the balcony. On May 23, 2001, he was again
committed to the hospital, but he left after one day and
did not return.
On June 8, 2001, the day of his court
hearing for the bellboy assault case, he went on a
murderous rampage in the Ikeda Elementary School.
Wrestled down by staff within minutes, he was described
as being in an extremely confused state when arrested,
at first repeating "I went to the elementary school",
and then saying "I went to the train station and stabbed
100 people with my knife. I did not go to the elementary
He also stated:
Nani mo kamo iya ni natta.
Nankai mo jisatsu wo hakatta ga shi ni kirenai.
Tsukamaete shikei ni shite hoshikatta.
"I've become disgusted with
everything. I've tried to kill myself several times,
but couldn't. Give me a death sentence."
Takuma also hated
"elite" children, who attended the school he attacked.
The boy was in the first year and the
girls were in the second year.
- Yuki Hongo (本郷優希 Hongō Yūki)
- Mayuko Isaka (猪阪真宥子 Isaka Mayuko)
- Yuka Kiso (木曽友香 Kiso Yūka)
- Ayano Moriwaki (森脇綾乃 Moriwaki Ayano)
- Maki Sakai (酒井麻希 Sakai Maki)
- Takahiro Totsuka (戸塚健大 Totsuta Takahiro) (the
only male student to die in the attack)
- Hana Tsukamoto (塚本花菜 Tsukamoto Hana)
- Rena Yamashita (山下玲奈
Trial and death
He seemed to be regarded as insane at
first, but his illness was eventually diagnosed as
paranoid personality disorder, borderline personality
disorder and antisocial personality disorder. At first,
he claimed that he took a 10× overdose of his
psychiatric drugs on the day, but medical analysis found
no trace of them in his body. His psychiatrist denied
that he suffered from schizophrenia.
On August 28, 2003, Takuma was found
guilty of multiple counts of murder and sentenced to
death. He was ejected from the court before the sentence
because he continued to verbally insult the victims and
the victims' parents. Takuma remained unrepentant,
refusing to apologize to the families of the victims,
and only asked for the sentence to be fulfilled as fast
as possible. His statement was, "I should have used
gasoline, so I could have killed more than I did."
Takuma insisted his execution to take place as soon as
possible. The sentence was carried out with unusual
speed, and Takuma was executed by hanging on September
He has had an influence on Japanese
murderers. For example, Kaoru Kobayashi, who had
sexually assaulted and murdered seven-year-old girl
Kaede Ariyama, considered Takuma as a charismatic
murderer and sought speedy execution.
Armed with a kitchen knife, on June 8,
2001, Mamoru Takuma burst into an elementary school in Osaka, Japan,
slashing eight children to death and wounding 18 other children and
Takuma, 37, was subdued by a vice principal and a teacher
before police arrived. He was arrested at the scene, but was taken to a
hospital, reportedly with self-inflicted injuries.
The victims -- six
girls and two boys -- were first- or second-grade students, ranging in
age from 6 to 8. Two children were killed immediately and another six
died at hospitals after the attack. Six more victims were in serious
Police said the suspect, who had a
long history of metal illness, worked as a janitor at an elementary
school in a nearby city about two years ago but was fired after he
spiking the tea of four teachers with tranquilizers. He was arrested at
the time but was never prosecuted because he was mentally unstable.
Takuma told police he had taken 10
times his daily dose of an unspecified anti-depressant before heading
out to the school. He allegedly said he was "sick of everything"
and "wanted to be caught and executed." He told police he had
attempted suicide several times but failed to kill himself
The stabbings occurred shortly after
classes began at the elementary school. The attacker allegedly climbed
into a first-grade classroom during a recess and began slashing children
in the back of the room, and then moved into a hallway.
were slashed in their sides and arms as he moved into other classrooms.
As the attacker tussled with two teachers, school officials called
police and rushed the children out to the playground.
Within minutes after the attack, a
cashier at a nearby grocery said a group of terrified, bloodied children
ran into the store. "I saw one of them, a boy, with blood all over
his body," said Ikiyo Iriye, 23. "He had been stabbed in the
On December 19, 2001, Takuma pleaded guilty in the
Osaka District Court to stabbing eight children to death. Though he had
a history of schizophrenia, but psychiatrists reportedly determined he
could tell right from wrong and was fit to stand trial. The attack led
to calls for greater security at schools. Takuma allegedly entered the
school unopposed and went from classroom to classroom knifing children.
Osaka school killer says he targeted elite kids
OSAKA -- A school mass murderer said Thursday that he fatally stabbed
his victims last year because he wanted the public to know that even the
"clever children of rich families" can instantly be murdered.
Mamoru Takuma, 38, is standing trial for killing eight
children in June last year at Ikeda Elementary School in Osaka
Takuma admitted he targeted the school, attached to
Osaka Kyoiku University, because of its elite status.
"I had a variety of reasons for targeting the
school," he told a hearing at the Osaka District Court on Thursday.
"One of them is that I wanted the public to know that even clever
children of wealthy families can be killed in five or six seconds."
In describing his motives, Takuma mentioned his hate
of a society that places too much emphasis on education.
"I don't think scholastic studies are everything
in the world," he said.
Days after the brutal attack, Takuma said he targeted
the school out of "envy at elite people."
Takuma said that he also planned to attack a woman's
high school with a gun and ram a truck into a shopping street.
He added that he decided the day before to attack the
school and can't recall exactly what happened.
"I don't remember how many children I
stabbed," he said.
(Compiled from Mainichi and wire stories, July
(November 23, 1963–September 14, 2004) stabbed 8 first- and second-grade
students to death and wounded 15 others in the Osaka school massacre of
Takuma dropped out of
high school and was disowned by his father. He entered the Japan Air
Self Defense Force but was soon discharged due to undisclosed problems.
He moved to Ikeda and found work as a bus and garbage truck driver. He
was described by coworkers as a quiet and unremarkable man, but a bit of
a loner who did not like dealing with customers and preferred working
However, after assaulting a passenger over the smell of their
perfume in 1998, he was fired and got a new job as maintenance man at Itami Elementary School, 6 kilometers away from Ikeda. In October of the
same year, he was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his former wife.
On March 3, 1999, he
dissolved some of his own drugs into the tea served in the teachers'
room, sending 4 people to the hospital. He was arrested and packed off
to a psychiatric hospital, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia,
but after one month's treatment was judged to be "capable of taking care
of himself" and released.
The assessment proved
to be overly optimistic. Takuma was in and out of the hospital. In
November 1999, he was arrested on suspicion of entering into a private
home, but charges were dropped. He managed to get a job as a taxi driver
in September 2000, but was fired on October 16th after he assaulted a
hotel bellboy in Osaka and broke his nose. He was also kicked out of
several apartments for, among other things, throwing his garbage out
from the balcony. On May 23, 2001, he was again committed to the
hospital, but he left after one day and did not return.
On June 8, 2001, the
day of his court hearing for the bellboy assault case, he intentionally
took a 10× overdose of his psychiatric drugs and went on a murderous
rampage in the Ikeda Elementary School. Wrestled down by staff within
minutes, he was described as being in an extremely confused state when
arrested, at first repeating "I went to the elementary school", and then
saying "I went to the train station and stabbed 100 people with my
knife. I did not go to the elementary school." Later, when interrogated,
"Anything and everything has become unbearable. Time and time again I
tried kill myself but I could not do it. I wanted to be arrested and get
the death sentence."
On August 28, 2003,
Takuma was found guilty of multiple counts of murder and sentenced to
death. Takuma remained unrepentant, refusing to apologize to the
families of the victims, and only asked for the sentence to be fulfilled
as fast as possible. He was executed by hanging on September 14, 2004.
Perversely enough, the
name "Takuma Mamoru" can be translated as "protect" (mamoru) "the
Mamoru Takuma, who killed eight children and injured two teachers and
thirteen children in June 2001 at Ikeda Primary School in Ikeda, Osaka
Prefecture, received the death penalty. He was executed on September 14,
JAPAN TIMES WEEKLY EDITORIAL
Sept. 6, 2003
Justice served in
On June 8, 2001, a disgruntled jobless man stormed into an Osaka
elementary school, wielding a kitchen knife, and killed eight children
and wounded 13 others and two teachers. "This is an unprecedented case
of atrocity in the nation's criminal history," the Osaka District Court
stated in its death sentence Aug. 28. "The grief and anger of the
bereaved families is profound. There is no alternative but the death
penalty." It is impossible to argue against this ruling.
20-month trial, Mamoru Takuma, 39, showed himself to be a coldblooded
man with a twisted mentality. He showed no signs of remorse for the
murders. He hurled insults at relatives of the victims. He showed
contempt for the court. And he effectively boycotted the session Aug.
28; he was not there when the judge read out the sentence.
"Let me say my
last words. I'm going to die anyway." The presiding judge refused to
listen and ordered the defendant to be removed from the courtroom. That
was the right decision. Yet it was extremely unusual and very
unfortunate that the ruling was handed down without the presence of the
Takuma has only
himself to blame. During the trial he was offered a chance to state his
view again and again, yet each time he refused to speak presumably
because he did not want to reveal his "weaknesses." Indeed, it is likely
that he was afraid to listen to his death sentence.
The saving grace
is that he admitted all charges, though it remains unclear why he acted
as he did. The trial focused on the question of whether he was sane
enough to tell right from wrong. The court has reasonably concluded that
he was, citing what it calls "highly credible" psychiatric evaluations.
"The case reveals a self-centered and exceedingly distorted
personality," the ruling states. "He showed no effects of any mental
illness and therefore possessed sufficient mental capacity to be held
criminally responsible for his actions."
The Takuma case
has turned a spotlight on two major defects in our society: lack of
security at schools and inadequacy of crime-prevention measures for
mentally disabled people.
As for the first
problem, an increasing number of schools have taken a variety of safety
measures, such as setting up alarms against intruders and monitoring
cameras, as well as requiring students to bear name patches on their
uniforms. Many schools have tried to limit contacts with outsiders.
Meanwhile, the education ministry has prepared manuals on crime
prevention and crisis management.
however, it may be difficult to keep out all trespassers at all times.
Perhaps the best deterrent would be to promote residents' participation
in school management or create a self-policing environment with the
cooperation of communities. In that kind of situation it should be
easier to work out more specific safety measures.
second problem, the Diet has passed legislation mandating the medical
observation of mentally ill people who have committed serious offenses.
The law applies to those who, although exempted from prosecution or
declared innocent, have been found by judges and psychiatrists to be
liable to repeat offenses. If so determined, such people may be ordered
to visit or enter hospitals.
That is a step
in the right direction. The question that remains is what to do about
criminals, such as Takuma, who are mentally fit but have serious
personality disorders. As yet there seems to be no adequate measures in
place to deal with such "borderline" offenders. Takuma has admitted
entering a hospital by feigning mental illness. This suggests that the
existing legal system is not perfect. Dealing with cases like Takuma's
requires closer cooperation between psychiatric medicine and criminal
In a nutshell,
the accused comes across as a selfish man trying to shift all his
troubles to other people and to society in general. Yet, on the first
day of the trial, he offered an apology, saying he wanted to "make
amends" by accepting capital punishment. After that, however, he became
defiant and remorseless.
trial has left a soothing precedent for the victims' relatives: for the
first time they were allowed to watch the proceedings via monitors in a
separate room. It was a thoughtful measure to spare family members the
pain of sharing the same space with the defendant. They certainly
deserved such consideration given the beastly crime he had committed.
The Japan Times Weekly
Sept. 6, 2003
Japanese school killer
Japanese court has sentenced a man to death for stabbing and killing
eight children during a rampage through a primary school two years ago.
other children and two teachers were injured when Mamoru Takuma stormed
Ikeda elementary school near Osaka in western Japan with a kitchen
39-year-old former janitor has a history of mental illness, but the
judge at Osaka District Court ruled that he was responsible for his
killings in June 2001 shocked a nation already anxious about a series of
apparently senseless crimes, and sparked a debate about security in
girls and a boy between the ages of six and eight were killed as Takuma
went from classroom to classroom.
admitted the killings and is said to have shown little remorse,
reportedly telling the court in June that he could have killed more
children if he had attacked a kindergarten.
Psychiatrists reportedly testified that Takuma - who has a history of
schizophrenia - was fit to stand trial.
judgement was handed down, Takuma was said to have tried to make a
statement, but was ordered to be removed from the courtroom.
going to get death anyway, so let me say what I have to say," he was
quoted by public broadcaster NHK as saying before being dragged away by
2,000 people had queued outside the court to get one of 30 seats
available for the verdict, according to NHK.
Killer of eight children
The Japan Times Weekly: Sept. 18,
who murdered eight schoolchildren in Osaka in 2001, was
executed Sept. 14, media said.
The execution of Takuma, 40, took place with unusual
speed, less than a year after his death sentence was
finalized for the attack at Ikeda Elementary School in
Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture.
The Justice Ministry announced the hangings of two men
but in keeping with its usual practice did not disclose
Media, however, said the two were Takuma, 40, and
Sueo Shimazaki, a 59-year-old former gang leader
sentenced to death for killing three other gangsters in
Takuma, an unemployed man who had previously received
treatment for mental illness, pleaded guilty to the
killings and to injuring 13 other children and two
teachers at the school. He was sentenced to death in
Seven girls and a boy were killed in June 2001
when he burst into a classroom and began slashing the
children at random with a long knife. One of the dead
children was aged 6. The rest were 7-year-olds.
who told a court hearing he wanted to pay for the crime
with his life, had withdrawn an appeal filed by his
sentenced to death for killing 8 schoolchildren
Friday, August 29, 2003
OSAKA — The Osaka District Court on
Thursday sentenced Mamoru Takuma, 39, to death for
murdering eight children and injuring 13 others and two
teachers in a stabbing rampage with a butcher's knife at
an Osaka elementary school in June 2001.
Prior to handing down the ruling,
Presiding judge Masayuki Kawaai ordered Takuma to be
removed from the courtroom after he demanded to make a
"Let me say something as I'll be
sentenced to death anyway," public Japan Broadcasting
Corp (NHK) quoted Takuma as saying before the judge
turned the demand down and ordered him to leave.
Nontheless Takuma made abusive
remarks on bereaved families before leaving.
On June 8, 2001, armed with a
long-bladed kitchen knife he had just bought, Takuma
walked into the elementary school and killed seven girls
and one boy in Ikeda City, some 400 kilometers west of
Thirteen other children and two
teachers were injured. The stabbing shocked Japan,
triggering calls for tighter security in schools.
Takuma pleaded guilty when his trial
opened in December 2001. He has showed no regret over
the crime, saying: "I could have killed more if it had
been at a kindergarten."
The judge ruled Thursday that Takuma
was mentally fit enough to face punishment although he
had been a psychiatric patient formerly diagnosed with
"He has a self-centered, very warped
personality. But there is no influence of any mental
illness and he had sufficient mental competency to be
held responsible for the crime," the judge said.
The judge said the two psychiatric
evaluations that found Takuma to be mentally competent
were "highly dependable." In the mental tests, experts
concluded that Takuma suffers from a personality
disorder but not schizophrenia.
"The defendant was fully aware of the
illegality and gravity of his conduct," the judge said,
describing the crime as "one of the most heinous and
grave cases in Japan's criminal history."
Takuma carried out the murders as a
means to divert his economic and social frustration, the
Most of relatives of the killed
children were in the court room for the sentencing.
Two mothers, accompanied by a
therapist, were allowed to watch the ruling through a
television monitor in a separate room as they said they
could not bear being in the room as the killer, Jiji
Takuma's lawyers said they would like
to appeal against the death sentence after consulting
with their client, but Takuma has reportedly told them
that he would withdraw an appeal if they lodged one.
The crime caused many
schools in Japan to boost safety measures and led to
legislation authorizing the creation of panels of judges
and doctors to deal with people with mental disorders
who commit serious crimes.
stabbing prompts debate over treatment of mentally ill
By The Associated Press
July 14, 2001
TOKYO It's any society's nightmare: A man with a history
of schizophrenia and an arrest record is released from a
mental hospital then explodes in a bloody rampage.
That nightmare became reality in Japan last week, when a
former psychiatric patient and crime suspect burst into
an elementary school and slashed eight children to
In the aftermath of the stabbings and a string of other
crimes by psychologically troubled attackers, Japan is
in the thick of a thorny debate: Is the system too
lenient with mentally ill criminals?
"Looking at a crime like this, something has to be
done," said Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who is
pushing to consider toughening the penal code.
Mamoru Takuma, the suspect in last week's stabbings,
apparently fell through the cracks of the Japanese
mental health system.
Takuma, 37, was accused in 1999 of slipping
tranquilizers into the tea of four teachers at the
school where he worked as a janitor. Diagnosed as a
schizophrenic, he was never charged and was sent to a
mental hospital, which later released him.
Since the school attack, news reports have been filled
with accounts of Takuma's other brushes with the law,
including allegations he battered and threatened to kill
Japan's mental health debate so far has focused on
whether to screen psychiatric patients for criminal
tendencies, allow them to be punished under the law or
make it more difficult to win release from mental
Proposals of reform have run into opposition from some
including members of Koizumi's Cabinet who worry that
changing the laws could lead to discrimination against
the mentally ill, who already face a heavy stigma in
"This is an issue we must consider seriously," Justice
Minister Mayumi Moriyama said this week, urging
caution. "We must consider specific ways to effectively
carry out our current laws."
Japanese courts now are remarkably hands off when it
comes to defendants with psychological problems.
The penal code prohibits punishment of the mentally ill,
no matter what the crime, murder included. And once
offenders are committed to a mental hospital, they can
be released at any time without court approval.
Of 3,629 people suspected of mental illness who were
arrested or apprehended from 1995 to 1999, nearly 90
percent 3,240 were never charged. The approximately 10
percent who were ruled competent for trial and who were
eventually convicted received reduced penalties,
according to the Justice Ministry.
That holds up even for the 726 mentally ill suspected of
murder: some 84 percent were never indicted.
The official definition of mentally ill in Japan goes
well beyond strictly psychological problems. Alcoholics,
drug addicts and even epileptics are all largely
protected from prosecution.
Mentally retarded suspects are also in the category, but
the system falls hardest on them. They are prosecuted at
a much higher rate of 42.3 percent.
Instead of prisons, violent offenders are typically
confined in mental hospitals. But there are no
facilities in Japan specifically designed for the
criminally insane, and doctors have no special training
to handle them.
"Psychiatrists are experts in treating the mentally ill,
but they're not experts in criminals," said Yoshiharu
Kim of Japan's National Institute of Mental Health.
"They have zero knowledge about criminals they don't
learn about that in school."
Moves to reform the penal code gained momentum in recent
years, spurred by a rash of crimes by emotionally
troubled juveniles, including a bus hijacking last year
that killed one person. A government panel has been
studying the matter since January.
But the horror of the school stabbings has pushed the
issue to the front burner.
In the attack last Friday, the killer climbed from a
verandah into a first-grade classroom in Ikeda, outside
the city of Osaka, killing eight and wounded 15.
In the aftermath of the killings, attention has focused
on getting the courts involved in deciding on the
release of offenders from mental institutions, rather
than leaving it up to doctors.
But there is also fear that hysteria over the latest
killings could lead people to link mental illness with
illness can attack anyone," warned the Asahi newspaper
in an editorial on Tuesday. "It is wrong to regard all
mentally ill people as a 'reserve army' of criminals."