Boy Arrested for Cheating after Police Manhunt


Japanese police have arrested a boy for cheating on his university entrance examination by using a mobile phone to photograph the questions and get the answers from accomplices on the Internet, in what turned out to be Japan’s biggest news story in months.

The incident began with a 19-year-old Sendai man (or “boy” as the Japanese media calls him) who was taking a year out after graduating  from high school to attend prep-school, in the hopes of passing the gruelling entrance examinations for one of Japan’s 4 top universities. He resided at their dormitory.

He decided on a “cunning” scheme (literally – the English word “cunning” in Japanese actually means “cheating”), in which he took a mobile phone into the entrance exams and then mailed photographs of especially difficult questions to an accomplice, who then posted the photo onto the Japanese version of “Yahoo! Answers” and relayed the correct answer back to the student, all in real time as the exam was going on.

By some astonishing happenstance, posting evidence of his cheating on a public website accessible to millions resulted in an investigation, but rather than a report to university authorities or some angry ranting on 2ch, the investigation took the form of a full police manhunt by Japan’s national high-tech crime unit in Kyoto, who demanded logs from Yahoo! and then traced the IPs used back to the cheater.

The mass media soon made the investigation their lead story, and police subsequently resolved to make an example of the young man by charging him with “fraudulent interference with the official duties [of the university]”, and after a short manhunt they succeeded in arresting him.

The man being taken to jail by police amidst a media circus:


As a result of the Yahoo! connection he came to be identified by the Yahoo! username used, “aicezuki,” although his actual identity has not been released. Some 180 questions in total were asked using the account over an extended period of time, covering English and maths, with as many as 8 questions answered this way in a single exam. The man police arrested claims he acted alone.

Graduation from a top university is generally essential to the career prospects of Japanese salarymen, but actual university life is undemanding – the difficult and extremely crucial part is instead the university entrance examinations, which is why so many Japanese children and young adults find themselves herded into cram schools or forced to take a year out to try again for entry.

Thus it is probably no exaggeration to say that with entry to a respectable university now all but impossible and his name tarred with a cheating conviction, the career of this young man is probably over before it began.


Perhaps of more interest than the incredibly petty nature of the offence is the handling of the case by Japan’s mass media, who have been treating it akin to an ongoing murder manhunt for several days, with endless diagrams, expert opinions, and even subtitled announcements of the arrest on unrelated programmes.

Reporters have even been pursuing the suspected cheater’s family, and when the suspect “went missing” for a time after making a distraught apology to his family critics of the reporting were left with the distinct impression he might have been hounded into suicide.

The bizarre fixation on the story by both media and police has already been the subject of extensive criticism, with the media widely accused of manufacturing a national scandal out of an inconsequential trifle, and the police of trampling the independence of academia with their absurd criminal investigation and charges.

Even more strangely, the media and police have been completely silent on the issue of how exam invigilators overlooked a student smuggling a phone into the hall and then extensively using it during the exam itself.

The arrest is now Japan’s top story, proving far more interesting to the mass media than Libyan civil war, New Zealand earthquakes, the ongoing disintegration of the government and Chinese jets buzzing Okinawan airspace – despite the general difficulty in finding any normal person who actually cares about an isolated case of exam cheating.

    Post Comment »
    Sort by: Date | Score
    Comment by Anonymous
    00:33 04/03/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)


    im studying at the university of toronto in mechanical engineering, and EVERY.FUCKING.TEST/MIDTERM/FINAL these 10 or so fucking persians are sitting in the back and TALKING to eachother in their own language. they get caught 80% of the time, but they ALWAYS get away with it.

    and u have 1 cheating japanese get media coverage

    Avatar of Achiuakuna
    Comment by Achiuakuna
    00:37 04/03/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Affirmative action in action.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:06 04/03/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    If they're ALWAYS talking about the answers in Persian, don't you think you should stop complaining and start learning Persian?

    Avatar of Diemeow23
    Comment by Diemeow23
    10:44 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Please! Now shall we take a stroll around the pit of death

    Avatar of Crommus
    Comment by Crommus
    03:37 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Truth to be told.

    Avatar of Aliaus
    Comment by Aliaus
    06:05 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    if you're not cheating you're not trying

    Avatar of Diemeow23
    Comment by Diemeow23
    10:41 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is MADNESS(No pun intended)

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:49 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    "they get caught 80% of the time"
    "but they ALWAYS get away with it."
    Wait what?
    Also cheating is normal in universities and colleges. Every school has these people doing shit like that. The cheating japanese getting media coverage is their way of trying to reduce the cheating in fear of the consequences since its obvious they can't catch shit during the actual exams.

    Avatar of gau
    Comment by gau
    05:26 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    stand infront of them and yell "THIS. IS. TORONTO!!" and kick them in the chest.

    and, cant your lecturer told them to seat separately? my lecturer always does that before exam..

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:02 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    You don't get it.
    The story is not getting blown up because the guy cheated. It's more because the method he used to cheat was so unconventional.
    Plus it's a good excuse to make an example of cheaters like him.

    Why is this surprising? Mass media in every country has its priorities fucked up. I bet Justin Bieber coverage in the US gets just as much priority as this incident did in Japan (if not more).

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:50 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Canadian discipline: "hey, you're cheating! ... please stop. No, really, stop. Oh you're still doing it. Well... well I hope you feel bad about it. Bye."

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:34 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Donna worry none about them ragheads anon, they mean no disconcerting agenda when speaking in their local sand~lic~ No doubt plotting in plain view on how to slither into America to blow themselves up in a more flashier way! Making jokes about your receding hairline starting at the crown of your head would be the only thing concerning yourself here.. if you know sand~lic!

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:48 03/03/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    It's rather hilarious. I mean, come on. Japanese entrance exams have nothing to do with actually "learning". It's just tenacious memorizing of answers for multiple-choice crap. In other countries you have to write whole passages of your own, to show that you have an understanding of the matter.

    As such, i don't really see a problem with this case here. The universities don't even give a shit about anything that happens after the entrance exam. And it surely doesn't really matter what the individual actually studies after that. The only thing that counts in Japan is that you have entered a "prestigious" university. Noone will ever ask you anything beyond that in the business world.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:14 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    If only to try to adopt the students memorize the Japanese universities, why do Japanese universities is the top of the world can stay in biotechnology that require imagination?

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:31 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Obviously because there are people who enjoy scientific work and stay at their university after graduation.
    The educational system in Japan, as it is, is mostly eye candy. A real academic life starts after the entrance exams. Thankfully, even in Japan, university life is not just about stoic memorizing but actual learning and doing.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:18 05/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    You seem to trivialize it like some kind of joke. Allot of good schools in California like UC Berkeley and UCLA only require pretty much filling out info on a form and a short essay (1000 words i think) on why you want to go there. Also i can't say much about Japan but yes Colleges do care about what happens after you enroll thats why they kick you out if you have consistent bad grade.

    In a way the entrance exam to is almost the equivalent to taking the SAT's, a comprehensive test of everything you've learned. It's how they measure you up so no shit it's no about "learning" it's about what you "learned"

    Avatar of Gitami
    Comment by Gitami
    23:43 03/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, if "Graduation from a top university is generally essential to the career prospects ..." is considered to be the determining point in a Japanese person's life then it should be severely punished.

    But it's still fucking ridiculous that they didn't just turn it over to the university to fail the guy and save of the tax money.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:58 03/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Serious, it's all multiple choices? No problem sums, essays or any kind of documentation?

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:56 04/03/2011 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Yes, mostly multiple choice with a few exceptions, where you have to write a few sentences (for translations or when you have to write a mathematical solution step-by-step).

    The Japanese entrance exams are considerided hard because they cover everything from your past school-live from a-z. It's completely stupid because it doesn't reflect on your future academical aspirations. It's like them asking you to repeat everything you have ever "learned" at school in a couple of hours. I mean, by successfully graduating from school you have already proven yourself.

    What makes this worse is that after gaining entrance to a university, you have already won. After that you could study "The art of how to tie your shoes". No-one would give a shit as long as you can prove that you entered a certain university and no-one will even think about checking if you're truly qualified for the job. After all, you were at a top-university, so you have to be "smart".

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:01 07/03/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Hi from The University of Tokyo.

    That leisure life that some claim after entering the university in Japan may apply to some cases, but in the graduate school here the research activities are really demanding. You won't have any time to waste if you want to get your articles published someday.

    The entrance examination for the graduate school is something like this:
    1. Written examination: To SOLVE 3 problems out from 5 possible topics. Mathematics, Organic Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, etc. No multiple choice problems. Differential equations knowledge needed in all cases. (2hrs. 30 min.)
    2. A research paper analysis and essay writing about the intended research topic. (2hrs.)
    3. Oral presentation of actual and future research topics. The whole board of professors present. (30 min.)

    So please don't believe that Japanese higher education is empty and that only needs to remember some things to secure a good life. The academic life here is demanding and full of challenges.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:13 05/03/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Hi from Kyoto University.

    Actually, there're hardly any multiple choice questions in Kyoto University's entrance exam, because it's a public univ.(Precisely, multiple choises are only in a few subjects, like science and history, not in math or English.)
    You may be confused with so-called "Center Examination"- Japanese counterpart of SAT, where all questions are multiple choises, naturally.
    Or, some private universitys' entrance exams also have all too much multiple choices, because there are just too many examinees. (You can apply to as many private univs as you like, but only one public univ here!)

    Umm... it must have been an uncalled-for intervention.
    I didn't mean to offend you or anying. Just got a little sad seeing my university being dishonored.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:17 08/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hi from Kansas City Community College.

    I'm prod to say over herre at our fine schoole,we's hardly be cheating on tests and stuff.ALL uf our tefts are in multible choices and sum come in nice crossword puzzel form to. Teh intrance exam is swell too, theys even be givin us lollipops for finishin all 50 questions! I dunno bout wat all you be talkins about over in those ching chang Jap schools n all, but herre, we's treat ourr educatin cereaslly.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:23 05/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah that test does sound stupid sounds kind of like the SAT's

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:12 03/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    "It's just tenacious memorizing of answers for multiple-choice crap."

    It is so wrong. Japanese entrance exams is very have to write whole passages of your own also in Japan.

    Avatar of Holy One
    Comment by Holy One
    21:22 03/03/2011 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    I don't get it. At most you have 3 hours for a paper. How can you get the answers that quick through such tedious process while answering other questions? I don't remember Yahoo! Answer replies that quick either.

    And the time taken to sneak your phone and snap it when nobody's looking... shouldn't be that quick too.

    Would've been faster to ask the accomplice to look it up from the books and reply straight to him.

    But still, that might only work for under 10 questions. :S

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact

    He likely had accomplices lined up to view the questions.

    There is also speculation he was using a hands-free headset...

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:07 03/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Maybe a hidden camera or microphone that has live feed?

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:02 03/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well unless his accomplice is like Homura from Puella Magi Madoka, it is all possible...

    Comment by Anonymous

    You obviously don't attend any University. (No harm intended if you do; still...where is it that relaxed?)

    A exam is at least 4 hours; sometimes six; averaging av five.

    My local university has no less than 25 cases a year; and that's only the ones that get caught.

    Avatar of Holy One
    Comment by Holy One
    03:37 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Don't go 'you obviously...'. I'm a university graduate. Thank you for bringing that up.

    Max hours per paper at my university is 3 hours. It's pretty standard in my country and neighbouring countries. Shortest that I've known of here is 30 minutes (for simple papers).

    Obviously you didn't realize that every university has different systems. Exams are stressful here even for those who are prepared. Relaxed? At least 4 hours? Now I'm not even sure if you attended one. (No harm intended too if you do.)

    Even if it's 6 hours, you couldn't have gotten the answers from the net that fast unless you're damn lucky. Ever used Yahoo! Answer?

    (You started it...)

    Comment by Anonymous

    Posting "Obviously you..." at the start of a reply to any internet comment incites indignation.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:07 05/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah right, even 4 hour exams are nearly torture. 6 should be against human rights.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:09 03/03/2011 # ! Good (+0.7)

    well, cheating in your exam is no good..

    but to treat it like some kind of national crisis whatsoever...

    something is not right in their brain..

    Damn you mass media

    Avatar of Megidola
    Comment by Megidola
    01:20 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    So a guy is charged for cheating on a test, while people giving coffee enemas go free...

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:36 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    That's the point. The police is so busy calling manhunts on stuff like this that real criminals go free. They have to redo their priorty list.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:04 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    faccpalm to this article!

    Not just the mass media. Their police is fucked in the brain as well.

    10:53 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    ,' `.
    | \
    | \
    \ _ \
    ,\ _ ,'-,/-)\
    ( * \ \,' ,' ,'-)
    `._,) -',-')
    \/ ''/
    ) / /
    / ,'-'

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:10 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    mass facepalm on this one...

    Avatar of konakona
    Comment by konakona
    23:49 03/03/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    University entrance exams is serious business. :D

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    23:50 03/03/2011 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    Well, thats what they tell you from Day1 and everyday after that. =3=

    22:26 03/03/2011 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Meanwhile at the police station

    Stranger: So what they get you for?
    19yr old: Cheating on a Uni entrance exam, you?
    Stranger: Attempted assault on a police officer.
    19yr old: Wow that actually sounds like...bad.
    Stranger: No! I farted at a tollbooth, the guy called for back up claiming i was trying to poison him.
    Police: Shut up, this is what you get for using chemical weapons for trying to get out of paying a $1 toll.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:57 04/03/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Fail him on the test? Definitely.
    Kick him out of the university? Very Likely.
    Arrest him for cheating? Fucking stupid.

    Japan is becoming stupider by the day.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:09 05/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hey if it happens to America, China, UK and Russia. Japan has it's bout of stupid. We just don't hear about it as often. That is till recently.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:43 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)


    "fraudulent interference with the official duties [of the university]" WTH?

    There's no basis in the japanese law (or any other that I'm aware of) for arresting a student for cheating, completely ridiculous.

    Yeah, it was immoral and deserves to be banned from that university, but it's actually illegal to arrest him for that.

    If had been making money from it, then yeah, it would be fraud, but that wasn't the case.

    Avatar of Diemeow23
    Comment by Diemeow23
    10:53 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hello the BAN! That was the first sign I thought BTW Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Aired this week does that mean it's going to continue?

    Comment by PhillB
    22:23 03/03/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Focusing all news broadcast in such a minor event, such a waste.

    Broadcasters trying to turn their audience attention away for more important facts, as usual. The pull of government over telecommunications.

    Avatar of Tenshi_
    Comment by Tenshi_
    23:24 03/03/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Wait, though cheating is bad why would they make this as "national" news as if it's a crisis or something... I know that Japan is really sensitive in issues relating to morals and stuff but, this is taking too far -_-;; and plus, they got other important things to worry about.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:42 03/03/2011 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Is Artefact trolling again or does the 47-year-old chef in the second picture has anything to do with the news (other than the random news blurb at the top of the screen)?

    It is so obvious that he is not the suspect in the case. =_=

    Avatar of Gitami
    Comment by Gitami
    03:20 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    In fact I think the man is from a cooking segment of some variety show. Art was just pointing out the top text part indicating the arrest as it happened.

    Avatar of Knets
    Comment by Knets
    06:38 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    If it pops up on top of some ongoing television show, means its somewhat of importance.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:26 04/03/2011 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    its N.H.K. Conspiracy!

    Post Comment »


Recent News

Recent Galleries

Recent Comments