The Setagaya Family Mystery...

2020-12-05 15:21:15 Written by Benjamin Welton

The Setagaya Family Mystery...


Japan is one of the most peaceful countries in the whole world. Last year, the country hit a record low number of crimes, with just 915,111 in total. Much of this decrease was founded on a shrinking number of thefts. It, therefore, looks like most of Japan’s crime is correlated with some form of larceny.


Way back in 2000, robbery might have been the motivation for an even more alarming crime—the massacre of an entire family. In a country where mass homicides are unique, the killing of the young Miyazawa family stunned Japan to its core. Despite an enormous manhunt and countless hours of investigation, the Japanese police never managed to imprison the man responsible for the vicious slayings.


The following list examines in-depth one of the Far East’s most puzzling murder mysteries.


The Murders...


On December 30, 2000, the Miyazawa family enjoyed a peaceful evening at home. It was the time of the New Year, which is a very, very big deal in Japan. The father, 44-year-old Mikio Miyazawa, briefly surfed the Internet while his wife, 41-year-old Yasuko, watched television. Yasuko was joined by her daughter, eight-year-old Niina. The family’s other child, six-year-old Rei, was by himself upstairs.

The family’s home was located in the Setagaya section of Tokyo. While Tokyo is one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world, Setagaya is somewhat detached and peaceful. The Miyazawa family only had two neighbours.


The next day, on December 31, Yasuko’s mother phoned upon her daughter and grandchildren. When no one replied her repeated calls on the home’s intercom system, she used a key to let herself into the house. To her atrocity, she discovered Mikio’s corpse. He had been injured to death. The other members of the family were also discovered dead by the traumatized grandmother.


The Forensic Evidence, Part 1...


At 10:38 PM on the night of the killings, Mikio Miyazawa opened up a work e-mail while using the family’s computer. Since this e-mail was password-protected, police detectives inferred that Mikio was the person who opened it. This is the last assumed time that Mikio Miyazawa was still alive.


Around that same time, eyewitnesses walking by the park that jogged rapidly behind the Miyazawa's’ home contended to have listened to the noises of a family argument. The noises, the eyewitness said, were appearing from the Miyazawa home. Another eyewitness said that they saw some anonymous man run behind the Miyazawa house.


Once the Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrived at the Miyazawa home on December 31, they found that the killer or killers had cut the family’s phone lines and had reached the home via an upstairs window. They also pointed out that Mikio had been choked and stabbed multiple times and was discovered lying at the foot of the staircase directing to the home’s second floor. On the second floor, the corpses of Yasuko and Niina were discovered. Both had perished from multiple whack wounds. Investigators noted that Yasuko and Niina’s injuries were more “savage” and substantial than the stab wounds found on Mikio’s body. This steers them to believe that the killer harboured hatred toward women.


Dissimilar the others, Rei had been suffocated but not injured. The murderer likely massacred Rei first, for the grandmother discovered him dead in his bed.

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Forensic Evidence, Part 2...


Unlike other unsolved massacres, the man accountable for the Setagaya killings left behind a lot of indication. First and main, in the house’s toilet, police discovered faeces that the murderer had left behind. This faeces comprised glimmers of sesame seeds and string beans. This diet was deemed an indication of a “momma’s boy,” and some investigators believed that the murderer was someone who lived with his mother.

Investigators also found the stunning fact that the murderer spent hours in the family’s home after committing the murders. He ate food from the family’s kitchen, he glanced at websites bookmarked on the family’s computer, and he left behind clothes. Police discovered that the killer’s clothes had been bought in Kanagawa Prefecture but had been rinsed in a way that was not familiar in Japan. This latter fact led many to think that the murderer was a foreign national.


The Killer's Profile


Since 2000, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police have dealt with 12,545 pieces of data relating to the murders. A huge portion of this information has worried about the impression of the killer. Currently, police in Japan is proposing a reward of three million yen for any evidence that steers to the capture of the killer.


So far, this is what is known about the suspect: On the day of the murder, the one eyewitness who noted seeing an odd man near the Miyazawa house said that the man wore a grey, woven yarn hat featuring a black line, a fanny pack, a scarf featuring a green, red, black, orange, and dark blue pattern, a black Uniqlo jacket, black gloves, a long-sleeved T-shirt, and white Slazenger shoes that had been created in South Korea. The murderer had also held a sashimi knife into the house to accomplish the murders.


One of the more fascinating facts about the case worries the DNA indication regained from the crime scene. The murderer had type-A blood, which, upon additional analysis, indicated that he had a mother of European origin. Precisely, forensic testing indicated that the mother was from Southern Europe, probably somewhere around the Adriatic Sea. The murderer’s father, nonetheless, was from Northeastern Asia. The father’s DNA was discovered to be shared with one in four or five Koreans, one in ten Chinese, and one in 13 Japanese.

The Story Of The Cab Driver...


One of the weirdest stories related to the murder of the Miyazawa family reaches from a cab driver who picked up various middle-aged men on December 30. The unnamed driver told the Tokyo Metropolitan Police that he picked up three men in total, and all of them were above the age of 30. One of these men, the driver said, left behind evidence of blood in his car’s back seat. The driver also told that none of the men chatted during the whole drive.


Despite blood traces found at the crime scene (the killer somehow governed to receive a wound to his hand during his attack), and despite blood discovered in the back seat of this taxicab, the Tokyo police have yet to connect anyone to the murders.

Theory 1: Skateboarders..


Before the killings, Mikio Miyazawa had confronted in various heated arguments with young skateboarders who visited often the skate park behind the family’s house. In particular, eyewitnesses said that Mikio frequently confronted the teenage skateboarders for making too much disturbance. One eyewitness also said that Mikio had done the same thing to components of a local motorcycle gang who were chilling in the skate park.


Some investigators believed that one of these discontented skateboarders may have taken revenge on the Miyazawa family. After all, the explanation of the suspect does fit the stereotypical image of a skateboarder. Nonetheless, despite this, some have a tough time believing that a few arguments in the weeks before December 30 would direct to such a gruesome outcome.

Theory 2: American Serviceman...


Right now, there are some 50,000 US military staff stationed in Japan. The American military existence in Japan has been continual since the end of World War II, and sadly, during that time US soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen have perpetrated rapes and massacres. Given this awful history, and the suspect’s mixed-race heritage, some have implied that the murderer was either an American soldier or some contractor working on a nearby American military installation.


It would not have been difficult for an American serviceman to arrive the Miyazawa house from Tokyo, for the family’s house was located near to various train stations, maximum of which had service to downtown Tokyo.


Theory 3: Killer Drifter...


In 2018, the Japanese councils released more information about the main suspect in the Setagaya killings. First of all, the killer’s fanny pack contacted trace amounts of sand, suggesting that he spent a lot of time outside. Also inside the fanny pack was a beaming pen. Ultimately, the police have inferred that the killer was somewhere between 15 and 20 years old.


While Japan is frequently upheld as an example of restrictive immigration, the country has had difficulty with criminal immigration, most of it coming from Northeast and South Asia, since the 1980s. The killer was probably an illegal migrant or a traveller who manipulated Japan’s extraordinary train service to perpetrate crimes and then escape somewhere else, maybe even another country.


There is also the probability that the murderer was a jobless young man. During the 1990s, Japan entered its “Lost Decade,” an interval of economic depression that saw an increase in youth unemployment. In the year 2000, Japan’s overall unemployment ratio was over four per cent and stayed so throughout the decade. Nonetheless, the crash of various Japanese banks and the imposition of heavy debt responsibilities on Japanese companies implied that obtaining credit became harder for the normal Japanese citizen. Earnings also stagnated, and consumption levels declined. All of this implies that some uncommon and underpaid or jobless young man may have accomplished the murders out of an intention for revenge.


Theory 4: South Korean Soldier...


There is a lot of circumstantial indication implying that the killer may have been a South Korean citizen. First of all, the maximum people who share the murderer’s paternal DNA are ethnically Korean. Also, forensic testing of the clothing left behind by the murderer at the crime scene suggested that they had been rinsed with mineral-rich hard water, a type of rinsing water common in South Korea but unusual in Japan.


In 2015, Japanese true crime author Fumiya Ichihashi published a book contending that he had discovered the murderer’s identity. The author remarked that police investigators had discovered dirt at the crime scene that was traced back to the province of Gyeonggi in South Korea. Also in his book, Ichihashi, who calls his main suspect “R,” says that the murderer had once fulfilled in the South Korean military. Ichihashi’s book explains that R’s fingerprints, which were collected by the author, are a match with the fingerprints left behind by the murderer at the crime scene.




One of the more annoying aspects of this case is its random nature. That being said, some have given motives for the crime, from the private to the financial. Tokyo investigators have contended that the murderer may have been a sexual buzzard and a misogynist, given the bloodlust evidenced in the killings of Yasuko and Niina. Others have contended that the murderer was encouraged by vengeance, either because Mikio had dressed him down in the past or because he disliked the family for their financial success.


Fumiya Ichihashi has contended that the Miyazawa family were murdered because of money. Mainly, because the municipal authorities schemed on broadening a nearby park, each family in the region was offered up to 100 million yen to move. While this concept is tantalizing, the murderer did not steal much from the Miyazawa family’s home. Also, the killer’s conclusion to linger in the family’s home for hours, and the proof that he removed various personal items there, indicates that robbery was not his intention.

Originally Published By JFrater in Crime

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