Kyoto Nagaoka Unsolved Murder Case Itching My Teeth

Sadly, the final episode of Attack on Titan was aired on my husband’s birthday, September 28th and the final episode of Breaking Bad followed the very next day. I know this is a lot to digest all at once. Although the latter show ended very sensibly and we could make a clean break from it, it’s still very hard to part ways with such a good series, isn’t it?

And it’s even more difficult when you are told, ‘Just for now, give me some space, OK?’ by someone you love so much, because you still don’t understand a lot of things that have happened. That is the situation between us, the viewers, and the former show, Attack on Titan. Even though we’ve all read some sneak peeks in the actual comic books or on the blog sites filled with ネタバレ (neta-bare), meaning spoilers, there are still so many unanswered questions since the original manga hasn’t finished, yet.

Now imagine, how would you feel if they never resumed the show and you were never actually able to find out what happens? Well, I would quickly bypass the first of the five stages of grief and be so freaking outraged if that happened. I’d probably stay in this stage for a good long while and hope that there are enough people in the production world to do the all the bargaining, for me and every other fan, to get the series back up and running. If all negotiations failed, I don’t think I would ever move on from the depression stage because this scenario is simply unacceptable. I’m pretty sure that many of you would feel the same.

Cold Cases In Japan Itching Our Teeth

However, there are actually so many mysteries in Japan that forever itches our teeth. Sorry if I confused you by saying ‘itches our teeth’. We use a phrase ‘歯がゆい (ha-gayui)’ which means ‘to have itchy teeth’ therein expressing that you are irritated and tantalized. According to a database made by Seesaawiki, the amount of unsolved homicide cases which happened in Japan between December, 1948 and July, 2013 is 537.

Although Japan abolished the statute of limitation for murder in 2010, the 216 incidents which had happened before the law was enacted remain cold as further investigation into those cases have seized, 迷宮入りした (meikyuuiri-shita). As you know, we can’t even tolerate an anime series ending without revealing its secret, so these real cases still bother so many people, as is verifiable with the amount of discussion about these cases on the internet.

This is just a heads up and I’m not going to introduce every incident here, but will introduce one of the creepiest ones that I’ve come across recently. This one is actually still itching my teeth because I somehow feel as if I’m involved in it. Why do I feel this way? Well, keep reading and you’ll see. I’m also hoping to teach you some creepy words in the article.

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Kyoto-Nagaokakyo: Women Collecting Bracken Murder

This murder case, 殺人事件 (satsujin-jiken), happened on May 23, 1979. Following their work shifts and at 10am that day, Mrs. Mieko Mizuno (32 years old) and Mrs. Hideko (or could be Eiko) Akashi (43 years old), two women who worked together at the Izumiya grocery store, went to collect some brackens (ferns) on their bicycles at a small bamboo forested hill called Nohara in Okukaiji, an area of Nagaokakyo city.

This hill was a place that families enjoyed collecting wild edible plants or bamboo shoots and going to for picnics, whereas some rape crimes had happened there before the murder because there were rarely many people around. This was a very familiar place to Akashi as she had collected brackens in this place for many years. On this day, however, she never returned from that hill and neither did her friend Mizuno. Mizuno was supposed to pick her son up at a nursery that day, so when she didn’t show up, her family submitted a 捜索願 (sousaku-negai) to the police, which means ‘a request for the police to search for someone’.

The police found their 死体 (shitai), meaning dead bodies, near the top of the hill two days later. Akashi’s cause of death was being stabbed in the heart by an all-purpose knife and Mizuno’s was strangulation. Their belongings, such as their cash, wristwatches, empty bento boxes and collections of bracken, were still in their backpacks. Due to that, alongside with the results of 検死 (kenshi) meaning an autopsy, the police estimated that their time of death occurred between noon and 2:30pm on May 23.

What Creeps People Out


The memo written by Akashi

What creeps people out is that there was a receipt from the Izumiya grocery store found in the right pocket of Akashi’s jeans. It was crumpled up into a ball and had scribbled writing that said ‘オワレている たすけて下さい この男の人わるい人’ (owareteiru tasukete kudasai kono otoko no hito warui hito) which means ‘Being followed. Please help. This guy is a bad guy.’ The police found the lead tip of the pencil in the earth about 17 meters away from the corpse, but they were never able to find the pencil it came from.

Moreover, both women had bruises, seemingly from a series of punches and kicks, so the police assumed the criminal had some knowledge of karate or some other martial art. As for Akashi, she had 30 bruises along with nine broken ribs and a lacerated liver. Although her shirt showed some rips and tears in it, her jeans were still on properly. However, some semen was detected on her.

As for Mizuno, she had over 50 bruises. The National Research Institute of Police Sciences assessed a hair that was found on Mizuno’s body and determined that the criminal’s blood type was O. When she was found, her pants had been  taken off, her underwear and pantyhose were entangling on her legs and some branches had been inserted into her genitals, but no semen was found. The knife wound which entered through her chest pierced her lung and her heart. There is also a rumor that both of the women also had their achilles’ tendons cut to prevent them from running away, but it’s not confirmed.

Who Did It? -Nobody Knows.


Although the single hair suggested that there was only one man involved, additionally as the murders occurred during the day and there were two adult female victims, police also investigated this case with the possibility that the criminal did not act alone.

The murder weapon, 凶器 (kyouki), was the only 遺留品 (iryuuhin), thing left behind, but there was no 指紋 (shimon), fingerprints, on the knife. It was clear that the knife was one of about 70,000 knives made in Gifu prefecture, but the police couldn’t find out how it had come to the criminal. They ended up putting 25,000 officers on the hill and they found out that the criminal wore short shoes and was a strong guy. On the day of the murder, and since it was the season for collecting wild edible plants, 15 to 16 people were on the hill and 5 to 6 cars were parked at the bottom. Some residential construction was going on that day and about 40 workers from Osaka were there, too.

There were several suspects in this case. The delinquent young men K and M, who worked as construction helpers, were witnessed rushing down the hill shortly after the time of death. K had some experience in karate and often went to the hill on his bicycle. However, they had a perfect alibi on the day.

The other suspects were 25 and 30 year old men who went to the hill roughly 10 minutes after the women had, but the police couldn’t uncover who they were except for that they were wearing white shirts and jeans. There was also one strange man, who was reported one year prior to the incident for asking one of the women, “Hi madam. Have you got some brackens?” while holding a 30 cm long knife at the time. He was 40 to 45 years old, 170 cm tall and was wearing gray work clothes. The police weren’t able to track this man down, either.

There were also some leather shoe prints near the murder scene. There was record of an odd middle aged man who talked to the women 6 days before the murder wearing those shoes and even with a forensic sketch artist putting a face to the man’s description, police were not able to find him.

The Additional Story

The incident was already awful enough, but what really made me shudder was the additional story connected to this case. It’s not confirmed but it is purported that the police and the press had an agreement to withhold revealing the existence of another woman in order to prevent her from being harmed. Still, many people do believe that there was a third woman involved, who for some reason came back down the hill before the crime occurred.

However, on May 16th, 1984, 5 years after the murder, the third woman was killed. Her body was found on the main floor of her wooden home following a house fire. This fire was isolated to the first floor because of the quick response of the fire department to a call placed by this woman’s neighbor. She was found face down with a deep gash underneath her left ear and had over ten cuts on her back. Blood splatter residue was found on both floors of her house.

The criminal killed her by putting a bunch of blankets on her back and setting them on fire. The police also found bruising on her neck indicating that she had also been strangled. Once again, the police found DNA samples and were able to determine that the criminal’s blood was type-O, but they were never able to locate this man. This murder happened somewhere within one block of Koutari Nagaokakyo, Kyoto.

What Creeps Me Out More


That last sentence is the reason why I feel as if I’m somehow connected or involved in this. That’s the exact area in which my husband and I used to live. Creepy, isn’t it? Although it is more of an urban legend that both murders were related, it is true that this horrible homicide happened right beside our house or, an even more rattling possibility, that our house could have been the actual house in which it occurred. The statutes of limitations ran out on both of these cases and they remain unsolved to this day. Now my teeth are very itchy!

So, what are your thoughts on the ‘Kyoto-Nagaokakyo: Women Collecting Bracken Murder’?

I personally think that it’s undoubtedly one of the creepiest cases in Japan. Would you want to visit and explore the area, or would it be too scary? Would you be willing to collect wild plants in the bamboo forest if someone dared you? Have you even heard of this place before? Do you know any creepy unsolved murder cases which happened in your country? Are there any eerie or creepy words you would like to know how to say in Japanese? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Mami

    Whaaaat!?!? lol

  • Mami

    I see:) I thought it was ‘x’ and ‘i’ for some reason. lol

  • Felix Nelson

    That’s a shame, I hope the murderers who did this pay.

  • rapchee

    Then i would have to disagree too.
    The efficiency of storytelling could be “measured” by multiple scales – one being how well is the audience entertained. However, if we look at how efficiently information was told, interesting stories wouldn’t fare well – usually things can be summed up in a couple of words or sentences. To be fair, i’m not too knowledgeable about the art form, but i was looking at it in a broader sense.
    Similarly, with the dinner, if we take eating as the objective, the ideal length can be debatable. Although i did specifically say dinner with friends, so it’s clearly a social thing, and not just eating, BUT ANYWAYS i’m right. Where do i get my medal?

  • Beetle BANE

    I am agreeing with you on the scale of entertainment and social bits… that “broad sense” stuff. That was what my comment was talking about specifically if you want to try really listening to it again. If you are efficient, you are able to optimize all of that stuff no matter the time you have to do it. A story can be thoroughly entertaining and summed-up as much as a long one can be dull and not. The quickness of the story, as I said, has nothing to do with the efficiency so much as what you do within the amount of time/words you are allotted. Though I suppose this is just going to end up being one of those things we have to disagree upon even if we are talking about the exact same thing in agreement but with two differing understandings of efficiency. XD As for the dinner with friends thing, I should have made that more clear. One would not be efficient in squandering a time with friends by bickering and not doing friend-related things, no matter the length of that dinner. The efficiency is how you go about the dinner goal within the time you have it, not the speed of completion on its own.
    As for your medal, im sure if you ask around enough someone will have something for you. I don’t though. :P

  • Jak

    This feels like a job for….名探偵コナン(Detective Conan)

  • rapchee

    well, that’s an unexpected turn. yes.

  • Mami

    Haha, Mayucchi made this for me the other day.

  • Mami

    Yeah, tell me about it.

  • WhiteRice

    Was it on a recipe, or a receipt, that Akashi left the note on? I think you may have typed it wrong on accident.

  • Mami

    AHHHH! Thank you very much, WhiteRice. I’ve just fixed it.

  • Ironmallet

    Check out the Zodiac killer. It’s not related to Japan, but the whole thing is quite chilling.

  • Bummi

    In Finland we have two big unsolved murder cases: Murder of Kyllikki Saari in the 1950s and Lake Bodom murders in the 60s. Kyllikki Saari was a young girl that was murdered and burrowed in a swamp. At the Bodom lake, three teenagers were murdered while they were tenting out in on the lake shore. There has been many speculations about the murderer, but no one has been captured

  • Yuume

    Firefly is awesome! It’s a space western :D Also, I DO believe that it is on Netflix and Hulu, if you have access to either of those.

  • Ivar

    Hey nice post. You should def think about writing; i like your style.
    btw i think the killer didn’t think Mizuno was worthy of being raped or(/and) was an inconvenient bystander who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. The third lady probably escaped so he had to kill off Mizuno quickly so he could get back to his job (raping and savoring the death of Akashi) and/ or escaping the scene. Later on he got rid of the last loose end (third lady) that could’ve meant his downfall. He probably was quite mad about the third lady finding out because the way he killed her left her unfit of a worthy burial. Maybe he was mad because he couldn’t enjoy his kill the way he wanted it to.
    Were there more murders similar to this case in Japan? This would make a great manga though. ‘Mami, the cold detective’

  • MrsSpooky

    Ugh! Would I go on a dare? I know that would not be possible in Japan, but I would, but only if I could bring a gun. Yes, that is creepy in the extreme.

    I also identify with your reaction to the end of Attack on Titan and Breaking Bad. We’d BETTER get more Attack on Titan! I want to know what happens next!