The killer placed the severed head of his 11-year-old victim before the gate of a junior high school in Kobe and swooned in ecstasy.

"Let me confess something: I thought the sight was a beauty," writes Seito Sakakibara, the pseudonym of a former juvenile serial killer jailed for some of the most notorious murders of recent times.

"I felt like I was born just to see the ethereal beauty of what was in front of my eyes. I thought I could die."