Man arrested for sending poisoned letters to anime creator

20 December 2013 / 2 years 10 months ago

On Monday, Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shinbun reported 36-year-old Watanabe Hirofumi, the suspect behind Kuroko no Basket threat letter scandal, told police that the series of threat letters to Fujimaki Tadatoshi (creator of Kuroko no Basket) and associates was an act of jealousy. 

Mainichi reported that threat letters send to the news publishers during October contained sentences such as "Fujimaki, who leads a blessed life, versus me, who has never been loved by anyone" and "A rebel against the most valuable life in Japan today by the least valuable one."

Fujimaki commented that he doesn’t know the suspect nor have the slightest clue why he would commit such acts. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested Watanabe as he was about to post more threatening letters in a mailbox near the Yebisu Garden Place complex in Shibuya at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Watanabe confessed to police that he was in Tokyo that day only to mail the letters as he normally lives in Osaka’s Higashinari ward.

The suspect’s backpack contained approximately 20 threatening letters, one of which demanded the cancellation of a high school basketball tournament scheduled to be held at Tokyo later this month, another contained threats against Comic Market (Comiket), the world’s largest Doujinshi event which is also scheduled to be held later this month.

A resident who lives in the same apartment complex as Watanabe said “He moved in upstairs about a year ago. I guessed he was living alone. Almost every day in the predawn hours, I heard footsteps from upstairs as if he was dancing. I warned him three times, but he wouldn't stop even though he said he was sorry every time. It was spooky."

Watanabe has admitted to sending about 400 threatening letters to media organizations, retailers, and other companies regarding the Kuroko's Basketball franchise. At the time of his arrest Watanabe shown remorse and grief as he apologized for his actions.

Since late 2012, Location linked with Kuroko no Basket and Fujimaki Tadatoshi had received constant threat letters, including some with suspicious liquid and powder substances.

According to researchers at Sophia University these substances could emit lethal doses of hydrogen sulfide.

Several Kuroko no Basket events were cancelled throughout Japan in the aftermath of the threats, last year’s Comiket event restricted Kuroko no Basket items and circles as security strengthened in order to ensure the safety of all the attendees.

Many smaller doujinshi event later followed Comiket’s example restricting anything that was related to Kuroko no Basket. Many major retailers also removed Kuroko no Basket dvd , manga and merchandise, however several other major bookstores such as Kinokuniya, Sanseido, Junkudo, Miyawaki plan to continue selling Kuroko no Basket related material despite receiving these threat letters.

Japanese Television station TBS noted that about 250 threat letters were mailed to various stores and news organizations in October 2013 alone, with at least one letter containing lighter fluid. The sender has been going by the name of "the Fiend with 801 Faces," an apparent reference to an antagonist in Edogawa Rampo's mysteries and the numerical shorthand for "yaoi."

Shueisha recently notified ticket holders to its Jump Super Anime Tour event that attendees older than middle school age need to show proof of identification as well as their written invitation to gain entry. Shueisha noted it is also strengthening its security plans to a much greater scale for the event, in order to prioritize the safety of attendees after the Kuroko no Basket threat letters.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police are currently investigating if a party had deliberately put the trace amount of nicotine that was discovered in one of Kuroko no Basket snacks recalled from a convenience store.

According to the investigation, the trace amount of nicotine discovered was 1/100th of a lethal dose.

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