On Saturday, May 21, Tomohiro Iwasaki, a 27-year-old resident of Kyoto, took the shinkansen to Tokyo to meet the girl of his dreams, 20-year-old Mayu Tomita. Mayu is an aspiring “aidoru” (idol, as young female entertainers are called) with ambitions of becoming a singer and songwriter.
Now in police custody awaiting arraignment for attempted murder and other charges, Iwasaki told police following his arrest that he had stood in wait for several hours at the venue where Tomita had performed, in the west Tokyo suburb of Musashi Kogane. When she emerged, Iwasaki—a strapping individual who in his teens had excelled in judo—ambushed Tomita, using a knife to stab her repeatedly in the torso, back and neck.
As of this writing, Tomita, a junior at Asia University, is reportedly still fighting for her life in the intensive care unit at an undisclosed hospital. The extent of her wounds have not been made public, but some bloggers have suggested she may have lost of one or both eyes.
Iwasaki had become enthralled with Tomita via the web and social media, and last year he’d presented her with a wristwatch, which she’d returned.
The case has once again led the media to raise questions over glaring shortcomings in anti-stalker laws—particularly with regard to those who post inflammatory statements on Twitter and other social networks.
Nikkan Gendai (May 25) warns that many “stalker military reservists”—using a term to describe a latent case that can lapse into such behavior with very little provocation—may be lurking on the web.
“There are people who say, ‘I won’t leave until you tell me your address,’ or who find out where a performer lives and move nearby,” relates Maika Kunugi, 19, another so-called “underground idol.”
“So many teenagers want to break into showbiz that it’s said Japan has more than 1,000 groups with these so-called ‘underground idols,’” a person involved in show business productions tells Nikkan Gendai. “The majority are represented by small agencies that are barely breaking even. So it goes without saying that they can’t do much to protect their wards. All they can say to the girls is, ‘You’re on your own.’
The Tokyo District Court sentenced Tomohiro Iwazaki (28) to 14 years and six months in prison on Tuesday for stabbing 21-year-old singer and songwriter Mayu Tomita before an event last May.
Tomita was in critical condition after receiving nearly two dozen stab wounds on the neck and chest. She later regained consciousness, and is continuing her rehabilitation. She testified in court behind a screen, sharing that she has had difficulty singing or eating due to partial paralysis of her mouth, and that she is also having trouble with her eyesight.
While she was testifying, Iwazaki interrupted Tomita and shouted, "Then you should kill me." He was removed from the courtroom. Before the verdict was handed down, Iwazaki apologized to Tomita and her family, and promised to learn patience in prison.
The presiding judge commented that Iwazaki's attack took away Tomita's dreams, and that Iwazaki "must learn to control himself and abide by society's rules while he is in prison."
Police had found Iwazaki at the scene in May. According to police, Iwazaki allegedly admitted that he had stabbed Tomita due to her returning a gift he had sent her, without clearly explaining the reason why. He had allegedly been waiting for her at the station to ask her about the gift.
Prior to the attack, Iwazaki repeatedly tried to contact Tomita online. Tomita had previously reported Iwazaki's actions to the police but the police did not consider the matter urgent. The police later apologized for not taking action.