Finally, the media finds the story it needs; we hear that Tomohiro Kato (25), the Akihabara mass murderer, had numerous dojinshi in his apartment (above), liked games, only sung anime songs at karaoke, and was an army otaku, with an interest in militaria (Fuji video bulletin, replete with ominous music). He “only had an interest in the 2D”, like a certain previous case. Let the witch-hunt begin?
The caption speculates about a “connection?” to the Ninja Gaiden release, surely a tenuous connection to bring up? Via Ore-teki. Until the report of the searches of his apartment and interviews with colleagues turning up otaku trappings, there had been a palpable sense of desperation on the part of the mass media that they had not yet found the evidence required to tie him to some sort of fringe group.
This paper couldn’t resist mentioning “lolicon” in connection with the case, despite there being no connection apparent whatsoever, other than the incident occurring in Akihabara. Similarly, it has been thrown up that he regularly went to Akiba to buy PC parts.
Tomohiro Kato’s personal history has also not been throwing up a good story until now. We hear that he is the eldest son of a family of four in Aomori, living there until graduating from high school, and that he was a model pupil who excelled at sports. On the other hand, we do hear that he was short tempered, and the ominous finding that he wrote “I like games” (in English no less) in his middle school yearbook is brought up – doubtless something to work with there.
Better yet, it is also said that he was drawing knife wielding characters at this age (though this can hardly be said to be uncommon), and also that there were rumours that he would go to school with a survival knife… Clearly a little more digging may yet turn him into a knife obsessed Ninja Gaiden otaku.
One thing it seems is definitely off limits to blame his conduct on, is his working at Toyota under the auspices of a large dispatch company; clearly not an inviting target. The media has been loathe to mention this, and has so far not yet seen fit to pry into his workplace environment, though we hear of “restructuring”, and the lot of a dispatch worker is not easy…
Lastly, some non-Japanese media take a different angle (beware of complete revisions to BBC articles; this happens a lot) – naturally it is the strange and mistrusted Japanese society which is to blame for creating a monster; he must have been alienated by conformist Japanese society, or economically marginalised; just about any tired stereotype will do.
Of course, there is always an alternative interpretation, that the Japanese media media do not wish to acknowledge this, and only the international press will.
Whatever the true cause of his actions, the response from the media seems informative; anything, it seems, will do as long as it does not entail placing responsibility for the crime with the perpetrator himself.