This story is a horribly gruesome one. All murders are terrible, but the murder of Junko Furuta takes it to a whole other level of terror. The hardship Junko had to endure before her life was snuffed out was unbelievably cruel. It’s the kind of crime that makes you wonder how such horrible human beings could exist.
How could four high school boys imprison someone in such a hell?
Perhaps more importantly, how could any criminal justice system let them off as easily as they were let off? It will shock you what little retribution was handed out for their brutal slaying of Junko.
Motive for killing Junko Furuta
Junko was a good girl who lived in Misato, Japan. She didn’t drink, she didn’t smoke, and she was well-loved by her classmates. Junko was a beautiful sixteen-year-old and this likely contributed to her popularity. Unfortunately, her beauty caught the eye of the school bully as well. When Hiroshi Miyano asked Junko out and she respectfully but firmly declined, this made him furious.
Miyano was not used to being said no to. He was not only the school bully, but a known affiliate of the yakuza. The yakuza are essentially the gangsters of Japan, a huge crime organization known country-wide for their ruthlessness. Naturally, Miyano was set on revenge.
On November 25, 1988, as Junko was biking home from her baito (part-time job), a random boy assailed her. Junko fell off her bike as the boy ran away and Miyano, “fortuitously” across the street, ran over to help her. Miyano offered to walk her home. Unsuspecting Junko accepted the offer. Little did she know, Miyano and three other high school friends were completing their plan to capture her.
The four boys responsible for the capture and subsequent torture of Junko Furuta are Hiroshi Miyano, Nobuharu Minato, Kamisaku Jo, and Yasushi Watanabe.
At first, Miyano raped her repeatedly in an abandoned warehouse, but he and his friends decided it would be more fun to completely kidnap her. They brought her to Nobuharu’s house and there subjected her to even more brutality. The boys forced Junko to call her parents and tell them that she was running away and not to look for her because she was doing well.
Junko’s next 44 days were filled with unimaginable pain. 100 different men (mostly other yakuza members) would rape Junko over 500 times. She was raped, sodomized, beaten, and starved. They amused themselves by forcing her to masturbate in front of them and inserting different objects into her genitals.
The following objects were cruelly inserted into Junko’s vagina: scissors, a bottle, an iron bar, a hot exploding light bulb, grilled chicken skewers, roasting needles, and an exploding firework. Junko’s internal organs would be subjected to so much trauma that she eventually lost control of urinary and bowel movements. When the men & boys got too disgusted to continue sexually assaulting her, the severity of the beatings increased.
Among the other many sick things involved in this case, the parents of Miyano knew about the girl being held captive in their house. At first, they had been convinced that Junko was Miyano’s girlfriend, but when Junko begged them to help her escape they became fully aware of the horror that was taking place. The Minatos were too afraid of reprisal from the yakuza and would later blame Junko for Nobuharu’s imprisonment.
Junko’s torture continued: they urinated on her, hung her from the ceiling & used her as a punching bag, crushed her stomach with dumbells, smashed her face against the cement floor, beat her with golf clubs & iron rods, forced her to eat live cockroaches and drink her own urine, made her sleep on the balcony in the cold winter, stuck her in a freezer for hours, and twisted off one of her nipples with pliers.
Twenty days into her torture Junko managed to dial an emergency number, but the boys snatched the phone from her and hung up before Junko was able to say anything. As punishment, they poured lighter fuel on Junko’s legs & feet to set them on fire, burned her eyelids with lighters & hot wax, and smashed her fingers.
One day, a boy who had participated in one of the raping sessions felt guilty so he told his parents what they had done. His parents called the police and sent them to the Minato household. When police arrived the Minatos acted surprised and said they had no idea what they were talking about. The Minatos even went as far as even inviting them inside in a ruse to show they had nothing to hide.
Foolishly, the policemen decided it must be true the Minatos were guiltless if they were inviting them in, so they left the house without even searching for Junko. Who knows if Junko might have survived her ordeal had they just gone in and adequately checked the situation.
On January 4, 1989, the boys challenged Junko to a game of Mahjong. Even in her brutalized state Junko beat the boys, and this sent them into a rage. They poured gasoline all over her and set her on fire again. Junko went into convulsive seizures that the boys thought she was faking. She died a few hours later.
In order to get rid of Junko’s body, the boys put her corpse in a 44-gallon drum, filled it with cement, and discarded it in Tokyo. It wasn’t until about a year later that authorities located Junko. One day when they were questioning Miyano about a different girl, Miyano thought they had evidence about Junko and confessed to what they had done to her prematurely.
Shockingly, because the boys were underage by Japanese standards (Hiroshi, 18; Jo, 18; Nobuharu, 16 ; Watanabe, 17) they were given lenient sentences. Miyano received a twenty year sentence, and others only seven. By now, all four boys have been released from jail and have not proven to have turned their lives around.
Out of the money that was ordered to be given to the family of Junko Furuta ($425,000 in restorations) by the Mr. and Mrs. Minato, zero cents actually went to the Furuta family. The Minatos ended up giving the money from selling their house to the Nobuharu, Watanabe, and Jo when they were released from jail.
The men used the money to party. Miyano had still been in jail at the time, and his mother went out of her way to desecrate Junko’s gravesite. With inconceivable audacity, Miyano’s mother blamed Junko for her son being in jail.
How on Earth so many injustices were committed over the course of this one tragic case is a mystery to this day. It’s unthinkable that so little justice was served for this poor girl’s 44 days in hell.