In Part 1 of Serial Killers that Terrified Japan, we looked at three notorious serial killers from Japan’s history.

In this article, we dive in and look at two more. 

Japan is not only a place where a unique and colorful culture is to be experienced. In fact, the country does have its fair share of terror – several serial killers have terrorized locals, so much so, that investigators worldwide would agree that crime cases from this part of the globe are on a whole new level and of a different class! The first three serial killers we featured can be discovered here.

In this article, we’d like to share two more individuals that have left their mark in the true crime history of Japan:

Yukio Yamaji

Societal pressure and a youth’s expectations on life may be a potent formula in creating a creature of terror. Such was the case for Yukio Yamaji, who, at a young age of 16-years old, committed his first murder.

And to add another layer of rage into the potent mix, Yamaji’s victim was no other than his own mother!

The Youth Brews Rage

Though there may be no clear indication on what pushed Yamaji to commit matricide, several factors were considered by investigators as potential triggers. Born to poverty, and with little to no parental guidance to show him a clear future in life (his father died when he was just 12), Yamaji’s early years may have served up some rage that he brewed from within. His outlook towards a bright tomorrow was null – the young man did not even enter high school, deciding instead to work in a newspaper store.

A Gloomy Day and a Metal Bat

Yamaji’s mother was 50-years old when she was murdered. July 29, 2000 was the day when her son brutally beat her with a metal bat. Two days later, Yamaji himself called the authorities to arrest him.

The killer stated the following motives for committing matricide:

  • Apparently, Yamaji was furious that his mother made silent phone calls to the woman he had romantic feelings for.
  • He couldn’t bear to see his mother accumulating so much debt.

Given that Yamaji was just 16, lawyers defending the killer stated that the youth may still have a chance to redeem himself. With the court deciding that the matricide wasn’t deliberately planned, and that Yamaji did have a sense of mounting guilt to the crime he committed, the killer was sentenced to a reform center for minors.

Yamaji was paroled and sent out to the public on October 2003. Two more violent crimes soon followed with the youth out in the urban wild.

Bliss and a Knife

Two years later, Yamaji would then commit a heinous act that the killer himself admitted as something he had done for enjoyment. November 17, 2005, was the day when two sisters were raped and murdered by Yamaji.

Now a wanderer, Yamaji had actually been served an arrest warrant (a month prior to the crime) for trespassing into the property adjacent to the victims’ apartment. Entering the sisters’ unit, Yamaji committed the grisly crime. Next, he stole 5,000 yen and set the condominium on fire.

Arrested on December 5, Yamaji admitted to the crime saying that he did it because he wanted to replicate the feeling he had when he murdered his mother.

Executed on July 28, 2009, Yamaji did not contest to the charges brought to him by prosecution. He was the youngest killer to be executed by hanging in Japan, at the age of 25.


Joji Obara

A certain kind of darkness looms within Joji Obara, enigmatic, considering that even with press coverage across the sea from the British media, no one can really be certain of this person’s motives (and current location!).

The Lucie Blackman Case

It all began when an English woman, Lucie Blackman, decided to work as a hostess in Tokyo.

Although there may be a seedy side in this profession (a hostess is a very different job than what it is in North America), certain elements need to be considered on why most western women would go into this line of work in Japan:

  • A hostess just involves drinking with customers in bars
  • Expatriates tend to earn more
  • Japanese police do not readily engage or are reluctant to be involved in this industry
  • Anything outside the bar isn’t considered as a club/establishment’s jurisdiction/responsibility (such as dates with customers and the like)

Considered to be a free spirit, Blackman’s choice to be as a hostess allowed her two things. First, she got to earn money to pay off expenses and debts. Second, she got to meet people from all sorts of cultures in her workplace.

And one such person was Joji Obara. Born Kim Sung Jong, this Korean-Japanese legally changed his name after a colorful history studying (Obara has a degree in politics), travelling, and amassing a fortune through various investments.

Captivated by the Blackman’s beauty and charm, Obara soon invited the English woman out for a date. This would be the last occasion when Blackman would be seen alive.

Into the Rabbit Hole

Blackman’s colleagues were definitely worried. Since she wasn’t answering calls, Blackman’s friends decided to contact her family. Flying to Tokyo, and seeking help from both the Japanese and British officials, they forced the local police force step up their game.

Which led to a murky and strange trip, due to different scenarios and theories that were introduced to the case. Some of which were:

  • That Blackman herself left her life as a hostess to join a cult
  • Other hostesses reported that they found themselves in a similar situation. They were drugged and found themselves in a client’s bed (in more than one report, the client was Obara – this resulted to his arrest on October of 2000)
  • Several strange individuals (a social recluse, among others, who had a rather vile setup of an S&M den in his apartment) were named as suspects

Thus the search for Lucie Blackman went on. Five months since the disappearance of the missing English hostess (July 1, 2000), Blackman’s chopped-up remains were discovered 30 miles away from Tokyo. Her body, haphazardly buried, was located just a few meters from one of Obara’s properties.

It was then concluded that Obara killed her.

But there were more victims to come….Stay tuned for Part 3 of Serial Killers that Terrified Japan in our next blog post!