Sunday, June 08, 2008


Today, disgruntled 25-year-old Kato Tomohiro went to Akihabara and started stabbing people at random.

There is a stereotype that Japanese people are interminably polite, but when they lose their minds, they often do so in a decidedly inconsiderate manner. Consider the common occurrence of people jumping in front of the JR Chuo Line, thereby delaying thousands of commuters. Or the woman who threw herself off the roof of Parco in Ikebukuro last fall ("last fall," indeed), striking a pedestrian in the process and putting him in a fatal coma. Or the Saitama woman who, in 2006, decided a the last second not to throw herself in front of an oncoming train, but rather to push a nearby stranger onto the tracks in her place. I can't find an English-language news link to that last example, so you're just going to have to take my word that it happened.

I don't know what it is about life in Japan that causes these unexpected explosions of violence, but the fact that today's attack happened in Akihabara -- not to mention past incidents of otaku gone bad -- suggests a link between the otaku lifestyle and dangerous mental instability. If you know anyone who could be described as otaku, do the world a service: Grab this person by the collar, slap them across the face and tell them, "Snap out of it!" Then congratulate yourself for saving the lives of countless innocents.

No comments: