Japan: Bloggers on Akihabara knife rampage

A knife attack in Tokyo's Akihabara area, according to news reports carried out by 25-year-old suspect Tomohiro Kato, has taken the lives of at least seven people and left many more injured. The suspect apparently crashed a two-ton rented truck into pedestrians on an intersection close to Akihabara station, and then began attacking onlookers.

The incident happened on the anniversary of a similar crime in Japan's past. Seven years ago on the same day, Mamoru Takuma went on a rampage at Ikeda elementary school in Osaka and killed seven children.

For a list of articles, information, and photos on the stabbing, see Akibablog [ja]. The forums are naturally full of comments [ja], and at ICHINOHE Blog [ja] there is a rundown of Twitter coverage of the incident. Blogger kawataso posted lots of photos [ja] and gave a run-down of their experience of what happened:


Today I came to Akihabara just after I returned from Takasaki. It was still 11 o'clock and the Hokoten [car-free zone] hadn't opened yet, so I went to Linux Cafe, put together some slides and did various other things.


I was concentrating on my task and didn't notice that the people around me had started making noise, but then for some reason they were closing the store's shutters when the store was still open.

Inside Linacafe with shutters closed
Linux Cafe (in Akihabara) with the shutters closed [シャッターの降りた店内], photo and caption by Kawataso


I thought something must have happened, and there was murmuring within the store that there was a street slasher, that there were people who had died, that that the offender had not yet been caught, and that's why they had closed the shutters.



After a short while information arrived that the offender had been caught, and at that point other media there were still no information about this, so it seemed that there were still conflicting reports. So we watched attentively a little longer, and several media announced that the offender had been caught. The atmosphere then quieted down a bit inside the store.


The shutters of the store were still closed, but I throught for the time being it's okay, and I put together my stuff, took my camera and left the store. The stores on the street that Linux Cafe faces were basically open as usual, but it seemed that the shutters on Sofmap, which has an entrance on the main street, had been closed just in case.

Photo from Akihabara knife stabbing by Kawataso
Crowds and ambulance, patrol car [人だかりと救急車、パトカーたち], photo and caption by Kawataso


I went out into the main street and, as I had expected, there was a crowd of people, but there was also an ambulance and patrol cars which I hadn't expected.


The actual spot where the incident happened was apparently the middle of the intersection, and the intersection was completely sealed off.


And then of course, there were many police and first-aid personnel, but what left more of an impression were the shoes and various other personal belongings scattered around the road.

Photo from Akihabara knife stabbing by Kawataso
Many police and ambulance crew [たくさんの警官、救急隊員], photo and caption by Kawataso

Blogger zun00340 was at the scene, and describes what happened:


Today there was the mass stabbing incident in Akihabara.
It was such a tragic incident so it shocked me, but actually, at the time of the incident, I just happened to be nearby.



At the time that the incident occurred, I was walking toward the station, so I didn't actually see it first-hand, but at the beginning there was a loud sound like a car had hit something.
Traffic accident? — just as I looked over my shoulder, at the very next instant I heard someone scream in a strange voice,
“This looks dangerous, so let's get out of here fast!”
And when I think about it now, my friend's judgment was correct.


There was various conflicting information coming from the area around the actual spot of the incident, people were running to escape (the majority of people), while some curious onlookers were also gathering, it was a situation of huge panic.
The people who had young children with them may actually have been in more danger from the onlookers who gathered [at the spot].
Because they were shoving past people with an incredible momentum to get to the scene.


“Apparently Sarin gas has been unleashed”
“There's a street slasher”
“A terrorist bomb?”


There were various rumors and speculation circulating about, but the state of affairs was one where there was no reliable information, it was really terrifying.

Photo from Akihabara knife stabbing by Kawataso
Photo by Kawataso

Photo from Akihabara knife stabbing by Kawataso
The truck. Are they taking fingerprints? [トラック。指紋採取中?] Caption and photo by Kawataso

Blogger yonekami, who was at the spot when the stabbings happened, writes:


Just at that time we were in a store on that side road.
When we left the store, there was blood all over the place.
When the police captured the suspect, there seemed to be bloodstains from the stabbing.
If we had left just a few minutes earlier… it's extremely terrifying just to think about it.
You never really know what will happen in life, do you.

Photo from Akihabara knife stabbing by Kawataso
Scattered possessions. [散らばった所持品] Caption and photo by Kawataso

Photo from Akihabara knife stabbing by Kawataso
Suspect's rented truck. Photo by Kawataso

Blogger yoro was also nearby, and explains:


At the time that the incident happened, my wife and I and our third son were in Akihabara, going to either Yodobashi or Ikebukuro by car. Because of that, we didn't actually witness the incident, we were a bit separated from the actual location. But it's a place that I have been going to frequently for some time, and just this very small difference, it feels like I managed to escape hardship just by luck.

Blogger yodogawa, who arrived at the spot shortly after the incident occurred, describes the scene:


The incident apparently happened at 12.35, and I was at the spot at 13.00.
I thought it was a traffic accident, but there were too many victims for that, and there were lots of police,
and besides that many people were receiving cardiac massage,
and the paramedics were frantic. (I've experienced a similar kind of terrible atmosphere at work, and it was that kind of feeling.)
I realized that it was clearly different from an ordinary incident (saying that is also bad, but…), that “something unthinkable has happened, maybe terrorism, or something like a street slasher”, so I left the spot and returned home.


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.