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Japan Times 1919: Maniac believed eating brain would cure his madness

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

100 YEARS AGO
Friday, June 27 1919

Maniac believed eating brain can cure madness

THE JAPAN TIMES
THE JAPAN TIMES

Hori Tokuichi, aged 34, a miner recently employed at the Matsushima coal mines, situated on an island outside the entrance to Nagasaki Harbor, will shortly take his stand on public trial before the Nagasaki District Court, charged with murder and attempted murder.

According to the facts brought to light at Hori’s preliminary examination, Hori was first observed as possessing peculiar mental traits last October when he attempted to kill a small dog for the purpose of eating its brain in the belief that such was a certain specific for certain brain disorders he himself was suffering from. The dog escaped, however, and the man appears to have wandered off by himself in a fit of temper at his failure. In this mood, it is learned, he saw a girl telephone operator from the colliery, aged 19, walking along the hillside and he immediately attacked her and threw her down the hill, where she was killed, according to the evidence, by striking her head on a rock. The murderer then concealed the body from possible observation and proceeded home. The following day the maniac, with the abominably superstitious notion still in mind — that the human brain is the cure for all mental disorders (when eaten by the ailing one) — took a kitchen knife and returned to the scene of the crime. When he uncovered the corpse and the dead girl’s features were revealed to him, he lacked the nerve necessary to pursue his original plan, but, cutting a piece of flesh from the dead girl’s thigh, he buried the body and returned home. It is stated that he did not carry the piece of human flesh home with him, nor did he eat any of it, but threw it away in the bushes on the wayside. A few days after the foregoing incidents, he met a woman and child in the vicinity of the collieries and he asked them the way to a certain place. He lost himself on the way, however, and met with the woman and child again. Enraged at his failure to find the right path, he attempted to strangle the woman with a small towel. Whilst struggling with the woman, the child ran away, and, being alarmed lest someone appear in response to the child’s cries, he allowed the woman to escape, though she had already suffered considerably.

Later, the body of Hori’s first victim was discovered in the woods, and the murderer decided to commit suicide. Out of consideration for his wife and children, however, he planned to take his life in such a way as to make it appear accidental, when his family would be granted certain expenses to enable them to return home. With this object in view he selected a spot in the mine shaft where the roof was weakest, it being his plan to knock away the supports and allow himself to be entombed in the debris. One of his co-workers, a woman, was met with in the shaft and, being regarded as an obstacle to the carrying out his plan, he decided to remove her. She was seriously assaulted but feigning death she escaped and reported what had occurred. Hori evaded capture for some time, but with the clues obtained and the knowledge of the man already possessed by the police, he was not able to enjoy his liberty for long.


75 YEARS AGO
Friday, June 9, 1944

Sake, beer ration for drinking halls raised

THE JAPAN TIMES
THE JAPAN TIMES

The amount of sake and beer rationed to public drinking halls in Tokyo will be doubled and some new places will be opened tomorrow, including nine that will serve draught beer in accordance with the decision arrived at recently by the Metropolitan Police Department.

The ration of sake for each place will be increased from 200 to 400 bottles, each containing one “go.” The ration of beer will be increased from 250 bottles to 500, while 500 liters will be the amount allocated to each of the nine places where draught beer will be served.


50 YEARS AGO
Tuesday, June 3, 1969

JNR OKs train ride for two seeing-eye dogs

THE JAPAN TIMES
THE JAPAN TIMES

The Japanese National Railways has temporarily relaxed its strict rules concerning dogs on trains and has allowed seeing-eye dogs to travel with their blind masters for the first time.

The JNR has bowed to repeated requests by organizations concerned and permitted two blind persons to travel with their guide dogs on the New Tokaido Line from Tokyo to Osaka and then on a local line to Kobe to attend a nationwide conference of the blind.

The two are Hideo Usami, 34, a masseur of Bunkyo Ward, and Kazuji Shimizu, 36, also a masseur, of Nerima Ward. They each have a female German shepherd dog to guide them.

The JNR’s decision had been preceded by a test with a caged dog in a passenger train on a Tokyo-Nagoya run on April 2. At about the same time, six seeing-eye dogs made a trial flight with their owners from Tokyo to Osaka on Japan Airlines. Both trials demonstrated the good behavior of the seeing-eye dogs.

Usami said his seeing-eye dog never gets upset even when someone accidentally treads on her paw or tail or she is threatened by another dog. He asserts that such gentleness is common to all seeing-eye dogs.


25 YEARS AGO
Sunday, June 5, 1994

City plans to rent out abandoned bicycles

THE JAPAN TIMES
THE JAPAN TIMES

Chofu Police Station in Tokyo has come up with a new way to make use of bicycles abandoned outside of train stations.

As early as this month, anyone can borrow abandoned bicycles for a day at Komae and Izumi-Tamagawa stations on the Odakyu Line. The police station’s idea to give life back to these bicycles has gained support and cooperation from the Komae Junior Chamber and the Komae Municipal Government. The station said it hopes commuters and shoppers will use the system.

“The program may help reduce bicycle theft as some commuters steal others’ bikes when they come home drunk,” a police official said.

Twenty bikes will be kept at city parking lots outside each station as the first step, and the number will be increased if the system proves popular, the station said.

In this feature, we delve into The Japan Times’ 121-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. This month’s edition was collated with the assistance of Christopher Kunody. The Japan Times’ archive is now available in digital format. For more details, see jtimes.jp/de.