OSAKA – A graduation ceremony was held Wednesday at the Osaka elementary school where a man killed eight children in a stabbing spree in 2001, with seven of the slain kids honored along with their peers.
On June 8, 2001, Mamoru Takuma entered Osaka Kyoiku University Ikeda Elementary School in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, and fatally stabbed eight pupils and wounded 13 other children and two teachers. Takuma was hanged in September 2004.
During the graduation ceremony, which began at 9 a.m., the names of the seven murdered victims on the list — all girls — were among the 116 names called out.
Principal Tatsuo Shiraishi presented their certificates to pupils representing them, and the children later gave the documents to the parents of the deceased.
The parents of seven of the eight victims had requested that the girls’ names remain in the school register after their deaths.
Ten of the 13 pupils who were seriously wounded in the Takuma rampage also graduated on Wednesday.
The graduate who gave the student address said she and her peers were grateful for the outpouring of sympathy they received after the tragedy.
“We will never forget the seven classmates we lost,” she said.
Shiraishi praised the students for working together to overcome their grief.
“I pledge to you, the graduating class, that we will continue our efforts to become the safest school in the country,” the principal said. Vice Principal Kazushi Tsuda said that seeing how the children had grown older made him sad the slain kids were not among them.