In the July 1 article, “Society’s role in Kato’s crime,” writer Jenny Uechi sampled a number of Tomohiro Kato’s online postings as a source of analysis. I understand that the footprints Kato left on the mobile net site are crucial for tracing the mental trail to his June 8 attack in Tokyo’s Akihabara district. I’d like to add another perspective — that online postings may be a tsuri (fishing or angling) scheme.

The goal of the tsuri tactic is to elicit as many responses as possible by casting provocative remarks — usually racist and/or sexist — as bait to evoke strong reactions. Although the postings are usually followed by denunciations and angry comments, it is the easiest and surest way for lonesome Web-dwellers to be noticed. Kato’s approach could have been even more devious: Instead of insulting someone, he made himself vulnerable to criticism by uttering pathetic remarks such as “If only I had a girlfriend, I wouldn’t have to live so miserably.”

My guess is that he was covertly expecting to find a word of consolation among hundreds of disdainful ones. But he was largely ignored, so his scheme escalated. The real danger from a tsuri scheme is that the deceptive persona tends to take over the true personality as if by auto-intoxication.

The minute-to-minute updates of Kato’s murderous plan and the stabbing spree looked like a real-life tsuri scheme to me. And he succeeded in the end, since he received 360,000 comments on his net. Until the Akihabara incident, I had ignored tsuri-type postings, but now I am not sure how to deal with them.

kazuhisa nakatani