This story is terribly cruel, gruesome & terrifying. It makes you wonder how actual monsters can be living amongst us, how a human could treat another human so horrifically.
Junko Furuta was born in Misato, Saitama, Japan on January 18, 1971. She lived with her parents & an older & younger brother. She was known for her pretty face, her bright personality & for getting good grades at Yashio-Minami High School. She had a “good girl” reputation; she didn’t smoke, drink or use drugs. She was basically just a really sweet, good kid.
Before November of 1988, Junko was a typical 17 year old girl, she was popular at school & seemed to have a bright future ahead of her. Then everything changed when she would be kidnapped & tortured for 44 days by her own classmate.
18 year old Hiroshi Miyano was known as the school bully who also bragged about his connections to the Yukuza, a gang similar to the mafia in Japan known for their ruthlessness. Hiroshi wasn’t used to hearing the word “no ” so when he developed a crush on Junko & she politely turned him down, he became enraged. Because people were scared of him, Miyano was rarely rejected.
On November 25, 1988, Junko biked home from her part-time job at a plastic molding factory; she had gotten the job a month before. She was trying to save up money for her graduation plan. Junko also accepted a job at an electronics retailer & had planned to start after graduation. As Junko rode her bike, she didn’t realize that Miyano & his friend, 16 year old Shinji Minato were hanging around the local park in Misato, preying on innocent women. They were known as experienced gang rapists. At 8:30pm, they noticed Junko on her bike. Minato kicked her off the bike while Miyano stepped in, acting as a concerned bystander. He helped her up & asked her if she wanted him to walk her home. She agreed. She would never see her family again.
Miyano walked Junko to an abandoned warehouse. Here, he raped her & threatened to kill her family, using his gang ties if she made a sound. After, he took her to a park, where Minato & two other boys Jo Ogura & Yusushi Watanabe waited; now it was one female against four males. They all raped Junko in the park & then they left & snuck her into Minato’s family’s home.
Junko’s parents reported her missing on November 27, 1988 but the boys forced her to call home & tell them that she had run away & was staying with a friend. Of course, during this time Minato was still living with his parents & when they were around, he told them Junko was Miyano’s girlfriend. His parents were seeing so much of her, it felt that she was basically living at their house. They eventually began to question if the relationship was consensual but stayed under the delusion that all was well.
Despite Minato’s parents questioning the relationship, they stayed quiet because of the threat that the Yakuza would come after them if they spoke out. At one point, Junko even begged them to help her escape & they became completely aware of the horrors that were going on under their own roof.
For 44 days, Minato’s parents lived in a house with a girl that was being held prisoner, was raped over 500 times by Miyano and the friends that the four captors knew, totaling over 100 men/boys. She lived in absolute hell during this time. According to the groups statements, they tortured Junko by inserting iron bars, scissors, skewers and lit matches into her vagina & anus. They shaved her pubic hair, forced her to dance naked. At one point they even lit a lightbulb into her vagina which damaged her internal anatomy. Her eardrums were severely damaged from the boys putting fireworks in her ears and mouth. She had difficulty breathing from her nose because of the frequency of the nose bleeds she suffered.
Junko was becoming nearly unrecognizable because of the brutality of her attacks; her face was extremely swollen, she was having difficulty walking & was no longer able to use the downstairs bathroom. She became unable to properly control her bladder & bowels & her infected wounds worsened, giving off a rotting smell. When the boys became too disgusted to continue their sexual assaults, they only ramped up the beatings. They also kidnapped & gang-raped another 19 year old girl on her way home from work since they were no longer able to rape Junko.
When Junko wasn’t being raped, they would force her to do horrific things; eat live cockroaches, masturbate in front of them & drink her own urine. They would hang her from the ceiling, urinate on her, treat her like a human punching bag & beat her with golf clubs, bamboo sticks and iron rods. They burned her eyelids & genitals with cigarettes, lighters & hot wax. They forced her to sleep on the balcony in the freezing cold, nearly naked, twisted off one of her nipples with pliers & smashed her fingers. Junko was severely malnourished after being fed only very small amounts and eventually, only milk.
One of the most heartbreaking things about her torture & eventual murder was that it could have been avoided. Twice the police were alerted to Junko’s conditions & failed to intervene on both occasions. On the first occasion, a boy that was invited to the Minato house by Miyano went home & told his brother what was happening. The brother told their parents who then contacted the police.
When the authorities came to the house, the family assured them that no girl was inside. They left and never returned to the home. The second time, Junko managed to call the police but before she could speak, the boys discovered her. They called the police back & told them the previous call had been a mistake. No follow-up was done.
On January 1, 1989, Junko greeted the new year all by herself.
On January 4, 1989, the torture subjected to Junko ended in her murder. By this point, she was pleading with them to end her misery and suffering & just kill her. Miyano lost a game of mahjong, became enraged & beat her with an iron barbell, set her legs, arms, face & stomach on fire after pouring lighter fluid on them. Junko allegedly tried to put out the fire but gradually became less responsive. The attack reportedly lasted two hours. Junko started seizing & the monsters thought she was faking it. A few hours later, Junko’s nightmare was over & her young life ended.
Less than 24 hours after her death, Minato’s brother called to tell him that Junko appeared dead. They wrapped her body in blankets and put her body into a travel bag. They then boys put her body in a 44-gallon drum, filled it with cement, and disposed of it on a cement truck in Tokyo. During her captivity, Junko had told the boys that she wished she had been able to watch the final episode of Tonbo. Miyano found the videotape of the episode & put it into her travel bag. He later explained that it wasn’t out of pity or regret, he just didn’t want her ghost to come back & haunt him.
On January 23, 1989, Miyano & Ogura were arrested for the gang-rape of the 19 year old who they kidnapped in December. On March 29, two police officers came to interrogate them since women’s underwear was found at their address. During the conversation, Miyano was under the impression that the officer was aware of their torture & murder of Junko. He thought Ogura had confessed to what they had done so he told the police where they could find her body. The police were confused during his confession, thinking he was referring to a murder of another woman and her seven year old son that happened nine days before Junko’s abduction (that case remains unsolved).
The next day on March 30, 1989, the police found the drum containing Junko’s body; she was identified by her fingerprints. On April 1, 1989 Ogura was arrested for a seperate sexual assault & then re-arrested for Junko’s murder.
Because the boys were juveniles, their identities were kept sealed by the court. Journalists from a magazine discovered their identities & published them. They felt that because of the horrific nature of the crime, they didn’t feel they deserved to be anonymous.
The boys were underage by Japanese standards; Miyano 18, Ogura: 18, Minato: 16, Watanabe: 17; because of this, they were given lenient sentences. Miyano was 18 at the time of the murder; he received a 17 year sentence which he appealed & resulted in the judge giving him an additional 3 years, totaling 20 years. The 20 year sentence is the second longest sentence given in Japan before life imprisonment. Miyano was denied parole in 2004 & released in 2009. He was arrested in 2013 for fraud but released without charged later that month due to insufficient evidence. He’s currently 51 years old.
Nobuharu Minato (now goes by Shinji Minato), whose house Junko was imprisoned & tortured, was initially given 4-6 years but resentenced to 5-9 years. He was 16 at the time of the murder. His parents & brother weren’t charged. After Minato was released, he moved in moved in with his mom but in 2018, he was again arrested for attempted murder after beating a 32 year old man with a metal rod & slashing his throat with a knife. He’s currently 49 years old.
Watanabe was 17 years old at the time of the murder; he was given 3-4 years though recived an upgraded sentence to 5-7 years. Ogura was also 17 & served 8 years in a juvenile prison before being released in 1999. After his release, he took the family name “Kamisaku” when he was adopted by a supporter of his (at age 26??). He was said to have bragged about his role in the torture & murder of Junko. In 2004 he was arrested for assaulting Takatoshi Isono, a friend he thought his girlfriend was cheating on him with. He tracked him down, beat him & shoved him into his truck. He took him to his mother’s bar & beat him for four hours, threatening that he was going to kill him. He was sentenced to 7 years & has since been released.
It’s widely believed that the light sentences are related to their connections to the Yakuza. Had the case been heard elsewhere or if they’d been a couple of years older, they would likely have been dealt capital punishment.
The Minato family was ordered to give Junko’s family $425k in restorations though the family saw not a single penny. Instead, the Minatos gave the money they received from selling their house to Minato, Watanabe and Jo when they were released from prison.
Because Miyano’s sick & twisted mother who raised the devil himself, blamed Junko for her son’s imprisonment, she went to the cemetery & desecrated her grave.
At Junko’s funeral, on April 2, 1989, a friend gave a memorial address, saying: Jun-chan, welcome back. I have never imagined that we would see you again in this way. You must have been in so much pain.. So much suffering.. The happi (a traditional Japanese coat) we made for the school looked really good on you. We will never forget you. I have heard that the principal has presented you with a graduation certificate. So we graduated together, all of us. Jun-chan there is no more pain, no more suffering. Please rest in peace.
Junko’s future employer presented her parents with the uniform she would have worn in the position she accepted & it was placed in her casket. At her high school graduation, the principal presented her diploma to her parents.
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