"Otaku" Murderer Tsutomu Miyazaki Executed on Tuesday
posted on by Egan Loo
Tsutomu Miyazaki, the 45-year-old convicted serial killer whose 1989 arrest tarnished the image of otaku in Japan, was executed with two other murderers early Tuesday. Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama announced the executions in a morning briefing after they had already occurred. The term "otaku" was already being used for introverted, obssessive fans in Japan before 1989. However, Miyazaki's case and essayist Akio Nakamori's writings about the case (pictured at right) simultaneously popularized the term and vilified it in the general public.
Miyazaki (no relation to Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki) was arrested on July 23, 1989 after he assaulted a 6-year-old girl while trying to take explicitly graphic photographs at a dry river bed near her home in Tokyo's Hachiko neighborhood. At Miyazaki's own home, police discovered 5,763 videotapes that included pornographic or violent live-action and anime videos. Police also found evidence that he murdered four girls — 4-year-old Mari Konno, 7-year-old Masami Yoshizawa, 4-year-old Erika Nanba, and 5-year-old Ayako Nomoto — between 1988 and 1989.
Miyazaki's trial lasted from 1990 until 1997, when he was sentenced to death. The Tokyo High Court upheld the ruling in 2001, and the Japanese Supreme Court upheld it also in January of 2006.