Akihabara Rampage

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The Akihabara Rampage was a tragic event that took place on Sunday, June 8, 2008 within the Akihabara shopping quarter in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. At 12:33 JST, a man ran his truck into a crowd killing three and injuring two and then stabbed an additional 12 people, killing 4 and injuring eight.

Later, the Tokyo Police arrest Tomohiro Kato, aged 25, on suspicion of the crime. Dressed in a black t-shirt at the time with white trousers, the alleged suspect was from Susono, Shizuoka and later held at the Manseibashi Police Station.


The Crime

The alleged suspect, Kato, is charged with running a rented, two-ton moving truck into a crowd in the Kanda Myojin-Chuo street crossing in Akihabara. On most Sundays and holiday since 1973, Chuo-dori has been closed to traffic for the ease of shoppers. The suspect ran his truck through the street and hit five pedestrians, then got out of his truck, brandishing a dagger and proceeded to stab an additional twelve while screaming (as reported by witnesses).

The police chased him from the scene, cornering him in an alley. The suspect dropped his knife after a gun was pointed at him, about 2 minutes after the initial event took place.

The Victims

Seventeen ambulances rushed to the scene as victims were seen to by other shoppers with five victims going into cardiac arrest at the scene of the crime. Initially, the reports had two people dead from the attack, but the number later rose to seven, with three due to being hit by the truck and the other four fatally stabbed.

Of those killed, six of the seven were men, including Takahiro Kamaguschi (19), Kazunori Fujino (19), Naoki Miyamoto (31), Katsuhiko Nakamura (74), Mitsuri Matsui (33), Kasuhiro Koiwa (47), and Mai Muto (21). Following the attack, a makeshift memorial was created at the site of the crime.

The Suspect

Currently on trial for the crimes, Tomohiro Kato, aged 25, was born and raised in Aomori, Honshu. His father was an important manager in a top financial institute and he received good grades in elementary school and was a well known track athlete. His first proclivities towards violence occurred when first enrolled in high school – Aomori Prefectural High School, where he was soon ranked 300 of 360 students. He failed to get into Hokkaido University and soon became an auto mechanic, working temporarily in a factory in Shizuoka. He was told shortly before the crime that his job was to be terminated at the end of June.

Kato’s relationship with his family had been strained in recent years with recent interviews revealing that immense pressure was put upon him to succeed in school early in life. He did not talk to his parents much in recent years and was reportedly mistreated as a child for failures. In 2006, Kato is reported to have attempted suicide by running his car into a wall.

Ensuing Investigation

Following the crimes, Kato was arrested directly after the crime, formally arrested on suspicion of the seven murders on June 20, 2008. It is reported that the alleged suspect, Kato was always cooperative but showed no remorse. Police seized knives, and other weapons from his apartment as well.

The knives used in the attack were purchased two days prior to the attack at a supply shop in Fukui, and the money for the truck rental was raised the day before the attack when Kato allegedly sold his personal computer and software in Akihabara.


Following the rampage, headlines around the world carried the news and people around Japan reacted. Laws regulating the sale of survival knives are now being reviewed by the Japanese government under public pressure and the original practice of closing down Chuo-dori on Sundays and holidays has ended after 35 years.

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