Ichihashi book on life on lam to be made into flick

by Minoru Matsutani

Staff Writer

A movie based on the book written by Tatsuya Ichihashi, whose slaying of a British English teacher in 2007 set off a nationwide manhunt, will debut next year, the publisher and film producer said Thursday.

Producer Sedic International told publisher Gentosha that it wanted to turn its book — “Taiho Sarerumade — Kuuhaku no Ninen Nanakagetsu no Kiroku” (“Before I Was Arrested — Records of the Blank Two Years and Seven Months”) — into a movie and got the OK, a Gentosha official said.

“The incident grabbed a lot of social attention,” Sedic International’s Kensuke Zushi said. “We have no intention of casting Ichihashi in a positive light.”

The movie will mark the directorial debut of Japanese actor Dean Fujioka, who will also play Ichihashi in the film. Casting has not been completed for the other roles, and filming will begin in January, Zushi said.

Ichihashi’s book, published last January, details his 31 months on the run, from his barefoot escape from his Chiba Prefecture apartment in March 2007 to his arrest at an Osaka ferry terminal in November 2009.

An obsessed Ichihashi, 32, raped and strangled Nova English teacher Lindsay Ann Hawker, 22, and buried her naked body in a bathtub on his balcony. When police visited his flat in Ichikawa that March 26, he jumped off a balcony and fled. The Chiba District Court sentenced him to life imprisonment July 21, and he has since appealed.

According to the book, Ichihashi hid in a neighbor’s front yard the day he escaped. He later moved to places across the country, including Okinawa, where he hid on a tiny island and lived on fish and snakes, and Osaka, where he worked construction, altering his looks along the way. The movie is expected to anger Hawker’s family, which protested the book’s release.