Hi Blog. Here’s the next installment in the circus that is the Ichihashi Tatsuya manhunt and arrest for homicide. First the police royally bungle their dragnet, enabling Ichihashi to live on the lam for years. Then now that he’s finally been arrested, he’s able to come out with a book about his hardships (with the apparently reassuring disclaimer that he’ll donate the proceeds elsewhere — what would he do with the money anyway?) without coming clean about why he allegedly did it. Why do I feel we’ve got the beginnings of hero worship, with pilgrimages following his path, and future fans harping on the adversities this man suffered while evading arrest? Hey, if Ichihashi had eaten his victim in another country, he might have become a writer and traveling gourmet celebrity in Japan. Reactions get weird when things get morbid — and that goes for anywhere (cf. Texas Chainsaw Massacre).
Again, I understand that the accused has the freedom to speak out about his case while in prison (a privilege you hear few people being granted while in Japanese incarceration), but somehow I get a sinking feeling about this. Deeply troubling. Let’s get a court verdict on this case, already. It’s been more than a year since his arrest. Arudou Debito
The Japan Times reports (excerpt):
The editor in charge of the book said she contacted Ichihashi’s lawyer last June to offer to publish the fugitive’s story, whereupon she received a positive response. At present there are no plans for an English translation, she told The Japan Times.
In other words, the publisher approached him for the story. I smell less attempt at contrition, more corporate profit motive. What ghouls.
Tatsuya Ichihashi wishes murdered Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker would ‘come back to life’
The Japanese man accused of killing and raping British teacher Lindsay Hawker in 2007 has claimed in a book that he wished his victim “could come back to life.”
The Telegraph (UK) 7:00AM GMT 26 Jan 2011
Tatsuya Ichihashi, 32, wrote the book in the 14 months after he was apprehended after two years and seven months on the run.
Titled “Until I Was Arrested,” the book details his journeys by train and ferry the length and breadth of Japan, his repeated efforts to change his appearance by using knives and scissors on his face and his feelings of “contrition” for Hawker’s death.
The naked body of Hawker, 22, from the village of Brandon near Coventry, was found by police in March 2007 buried in sand in a bath tub on the balcony of Ichihashi’s apartment in the Gyotoku district of western Tokyo.
Barefoot, Mr Ichihashi managed to evade the eight officers searching the property. Immediately after making his escape, Mr Ichihashi’s 240-page book reveals that he spent some weeks in Tokyo while the police tried to trace him. He then travelled to the northerly prefecture of Aomori, where he lived rough during the summer, before deciding to go on a pilgrimage of some of the 88 temples that make up the sacred Buddhist route through the mountains of the island of Shikoku.
During this journey, Mr Ichihashi said he wished that Hawker could “come back to life.”
He subsequently spent time on the tiny island of Oha, which has a circumference of less than two miles and is home to just four families.
Mr Ichihashi wrote that he lived in a concrete bunker, living on wild fruit, fish that he was able to catch and cook over an open fire and even eating snakes.
Terrified that he was going to be identified he tried to change his looks by removing two distinctive moles from his cheek with a box cutter, slicing off part of his lower lip with a pair of scissors to make it appear thinner and changing the shape of his nose by sewing it with a needle and thread.
As his money ran short, he picked up labouring jobs on construction sites in Osaka and Kobe, but never staying at one place very long before moving on. He was, however, able to earn close to Y1 million (£7,705) over a period of two years, which he spent on cosmetic surgery.
Mr Ichihashi described the work he carried out, which was mostly the demolition of old buildings, as “tough,” but wrote “this is the price I have to pay. Hawker had to suffer more pain. I took Lindsay’s life and that fact does not change.”
The book reveals that Mr Ichihashi was careful to avoid closed-circuit security cameras in shops and would not look people in the eye. He also usually wore a hat and the white face masks that Japanese people frequently wear during the winter or at the height of the hay-fever season.
During his 31 months on the run, he read the Harry Potter series of books, “The Catcher in the Rye” and “Kafka on the Shore,” by Haruki Murakami.
He was eventually caught in Nov 2009 while waiting to board a ferry to return to Okinawa.
Mr Ichihashi does not comment on the killing of Hawker in the book or his motives, but it does include an apology.
He said the book was “a gesture of contrition for the crime I committed” and that royalties from the book would be given from Ms Hawker’s family.
Bill and Linda Hawker, in a statement issued through their legal representative in London, say they have no intention of accepting the money and only want to see justice for their daughter in a Japanese court.
Lindsay Hawker ‘killer’ wants to donate book proceeds to family 25 Jan 2011
Lindsay Hawker murder: timeline 25 Jan 2011
The Japan Times, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011
Ichihashi recalls manhunt stress
By JUN HONGO Staff writer
Full article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110127a1.html
Accused killer Tatsuya Ichihashi’s book released Wednesday offers anecdotal accounts of his 31-month life on the run, from fears of being caught and listening to radio updates on the manhunt, to moments of awe over nature, to how he abstained from sex because of what he had done, and how it may feel to be hanged.
He writes about his determination to alter his appearance to keep one step ahead of the law, and how he even dared a visit to Tokyo Disneyland, but offers no insights into why Briton Lindsay Ann Hawker was slain in his Chiba apartment.
As reported earlier, Ichihashi said he wrote the 283-page book “as part of an act of contrition” for Hawker’s slaying and added he is “aware of the criticism it may bring on me.”…
Confessing he had “no courage to commit suicide,” he eventually decided to take shelter on Ohajima, a tiny island off Kumejima in Okinawa that he learned about in a library book.
There, he gathered fish, crabs, snakes and sea cucumbers for food but had a hard time finding fresh water. During the daytime he kept to a cavelike shelter on the island to avoid being spotted by locals and tourists, he wrote…
The book, “Taiho Sarerumade — Kuuhaku no Ninen Nanakagetsu no Kiroku” (“Before I Was Arrested — Records of the Blank Two Years and Seven Months”), published by Gentosha Inc., spans the time between Ichihashi’s flight from police at his Chiba apartment in March 2007 to the moment of his arrest at an Osaka terminal for an Okinawa-bound ferry in November 2009.
Ichihashi’s trial is expected to start later this year, and it may be one involving lay judges.