Akihabara stabbing incident June 8, 2008–yet Akihabara knife shop with “Japanese Only” sign up


Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japan

Hi Blog. No doubt detractors will say I’m trying to “monster” yet another case of something into a case of racism. Hardly. But somebody needs to say it:

Japan Times article below has a recount of the recent spate of stabbings in Japan, particularly the shocking one yesterday of the Akihabara maniac who killed with a knife as if he had a gun. Despicable.

But the irony I also see in this horrible event is that a store in Akihabara–a knife and weapon shop, no less–has limited its customers to “Japanese Only”. Store called “MAD”, coordinates according to DR, the submitter: “on the main drag that runs parallel to the JR Yamanote line, inside the loop, on the opposite side of the street, at the far North end”. Here’s their address and website:


電話 東京03-3251-5241 (their website says they will only take phone calls between two and three pm on weekdays)

東京都 千代田区 外神田 3丁目16番15号

Their website also explicitly says their knives are not for sale to foreigners or people under 18.

Are “the authorities” being cited in the sign still going to make the case that non-Japanese customers are less safe than Japanese? The shopkeeps of “MAD” might. Let’s use this occasion to reflect a bit on how insanity and nationality are not linked. And my condolences to the families of the victims.

Received photos May 24, 2008, submitter says sign is still up. Japan Times article follows photos. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

UPDATE JUNE 9, 2008, AFTERNOON. I gave “Mad” a call this afternoon during their call-in window and spoke to a very friendly clerk. He said the sign is there because foreigners will only just have to give up their knives etc. once they reach Narita, so they’d be wasting their money. (He said the “authorities” referred to in the are air transport officials.)

I mentioned that there are many different types of NJ in Japan, and not all of their customers are simply leaving Japan afterwards. He said that they don’t mind selling to NJ with addresses in Japan as long as they present ID. I said that that’s not what the sign out front says, and suggested he change the sign to reflect what he just told me. He suggested we send him text for how the sign should be, via MAD’s fax number:

FAX MAD: 03 3255 0012

Go for it, readers. Arudou Debito


The Japan Times Printer Friendly Articles
7 killed, 10 injured in Akihabara stabbing spree
Kyodo News

Seven people died and 10 others were injured after a man hit pedestrians with a truck and then stabbed people Sunday in broad daylight on a street in Tokyo’s busy Akihabara district.

Passersby attempt to help a traffic police officer injured during a stabbing spree in Tokyo's Akihabara district
Passersby attempt to help a traffic police officer injured during a stabbing spree in Tokyo’s Akihabara district today. Seven people died and 11 were injured after a 25-year-old man from Shizuoka Prefecture began indistriminately stabbing people around 12:30 p.m. KYODO PHOTO

Police arrested the man, 25-year-old Tomohiro Kato from Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture, and seized a survival knife he was carrying. He admitted to stabbing all the people with the knife from around 12:30 p.m., the police said. The truck was rented in Shizuoka Prefecture.

“I came to Akihabara to kill people,” investigative sources quoted Kato as telling the police. “I am tired of the world. Anyone was OK. I came alone.”

According to the police and hospital officials, six of the seven who died were males and aged 19, 20, 29, 33, 47 and 74. The other was a 21-year-old female.

In addition to the seven, 11 people who were taken to hospital after the stabbing rampage. Of these, eight men and two women were injured, including a traffic police officer who was patrolling at the time. The remaining male person had sustained no injury but simply had blood on his clothing.

The area was crowded with shoppers as Chuo-dori in the Akihabara district was vehicle-free for pedestrians. The scene was near the intersection of Chuo-dori and Kanda Myojin-dori streets, only a stone’s throw from JR Akihabara Station.

A 19-year-old man from Tokyo’s Ota Ward said, “The man (Kato) jumped on top of a man he had hit with his vehicle and stabbed him with a knife many times. Walking toward Akihabara Station, he slashed nearby people at random.”

Shunichi Jingu, a 26-year-old self-employed man from Gunma Prefecture, who witnessed the incident, said, “It seemed that a traffic accident had happened. Then a man got out of a vehicle and began to brandish a knife.”

Akihabara is a district of Tokyo known for its electronics shops and as a center of modern culture, including manga and animations, and attracts many visitors from both Japan and abroad.

There were similar street stabbing rampages earlier this year.

In January, a 16-year-old boy attacked five people and injured two of them with kitchen knives on a shopping street in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward. A man wanted by police on suspicion of murder stabbed passersby with a knife at an entrance to a shopping mall in Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, in March, leaving eight people injured, one of whom died later in hospital.

The Akihabara rampage also occurred on the seventh anniversary of a stabbing spree by a man at Ikeda Elementary School in Osaka Prefecture on June 8, 2001.

The attacker, Mamoru Takuma, was executed for killing eight children and injuring 15 others in that case.

The Japan Times: Sunday, June 8, 2008
Go back to The Japan Times Online

UPDATE JUNE 17, 2008: NEW SIGN IS UP (Photo by Arudou Debito)

52 comments on “Akihabara stabbing incident June 8, 2008–yet Akihabara knife shop with “Japanese Only” sign up

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  • “I certainly believe that a white guy in Japan faces far less discrimination than a black guy in America.”

    Yeah? What about a black guy in Japan? Or an Arab? Or non-Japanese Asian? I think it’s dangerous to judge discrimination in Japan based in your own experience as a member of the least-disliked group of foreigners here…

  • Just the other day a good friend of mine was physically confronted by a member of staff at that Akiba MAD shop. To be more exact he had stopped outside the shop to sit down on the railing and eat some food giving him a good excuse to listen to their perverse announcement tape end to end.

    Upon sitting down he was then shocked to notice two signs right next to where he was sitting. One said “Chinese people its time for change, don’t drop your trash here!” while the other sign said “You drop trash here, we’ll fucking kill you honey”.

    As foolhardy as it may seem, he couldn’t resist and decided to press the button presented forthwith.

    With slight of hand, making as if he had stuffed some trash down the back of their delivery trolley he got up and proceeded to walk leisurely away from the scene. Within a second or two he was physically grabbed from behind and pulled away by one of the shop assistants without a single attempt at verbal/visual confrontation, almost ripping the shell material of his jacket in the process. Heeling backwards and just managing to keep his balance, he was able to turn around only to see the back of his assailants head. There were no eyes or mouth. No attempt at communication.

    Finally a pathetic attempt to justify the man-handling was made by the assistant and the shop owner (a small nezumi like mane), based on their grief with Chinese tourists apparently regularly throwing litter in their trash cans (yes… not on the street, in the trash cans).
    When repeatedly reminded that he had invoked a physical attack, the shop assistant now threatened with the chance of becoming world famous then scurried into the chaotic madness that the shop is, to hide away in shame.
    Needless to say photos were taken of the assistant in question and the shop owner.

    Do we really need a shop like this that employs violent and racist staff, selling sells knives that aren’t even knives with a purpose other than to be looked at (so called kansho niafu – ex. knives with 8 blades in all directions) and also sporting signs that quite simply say “Chinese and any other litterers, we will fucking kill you honey” within 200 meters of the scene of the incident that happened earlier this year.

    And in the spirit of Andy Warhol
    (the guy with the red top is the one to be careful of it would appear – maybe one day he will start stabbing Chinese tourists)
    please doctor photos as seen fit
    After a bit of research even the local Japanese get their fair share of trouble from Akiba MAD.
    The down side of activism is that you run the risk of cleansing, by proxy, a shop that really has no need to exist, let alone be cleansed so as to be acceptable to foreigners. If you need pepper spray for your GF or who ever, there are plenty of decent and responsible shops out there – shop with them, deny MAD their existence.


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