Out of the many unfortunate realities of life, there are stories that pierce right through your heart and leave you in a state of utter disbelief. Such was the murder of Junko Furuta, a 16 year old girl whose naivety left her stranded to the evils of the world around. She was like an innocent child, robbed by the darkness that enveloped her fortune. In the end, Furuta was left with no choice but to succumb to her ill-fated murder.
Who was Junko Furuta?
Junko Furuta was born in Misato, Japan on the 18th of January, 1971. Being the only daughter in her family, Furuta lived with her parents and two brothers while she attended high school at Yashio-Minami. She was a brilliant student all her life and would work part-time jobs after school hours to work on her portfolio and save up for a graduation trip that she had planned. The young woman led a simple life with little to no distractions whatsoever. Where people her age would get involved in unfavorable acts like drug dealing and alcohol, Furuta was a rather focused student. She was also one of the most admired girls in school. Everyone knew her as an attractive young lady who didn’t bother much about the world but loved being the centre of attention. Among her admirers, a guy named Hiroshi Miyano decided to ask her out, to which she simply refused as she was not looking for a serious relationship. But the one thing Furuta failed to acknowledge was that Hiroshi was a bully and her refusal deeply struck his ego. She was not aware of his affiliation with Yakuza, the famous Japanese crime group.
Kidnapping of Junko Furuta
On the 25th of November, 1988, Furuta was kidnapped by Miyano and his friend, Nobuharu Minato. The kidnapping took place shortly after her refusal to Miyano, so he decided to teach her a lesson. Living under demonic influence, Miyano raped her multiple times and threatened to kill her. But that wasn’t all he had in mind. His monstrous doings involved keeping Furuta captive and gang-raping her with his friends who were previously known to rob and gang-rape young girls around Misato. The boys got a hold of her address and threatened to kill her family if she were to escape. Helplessly overpowered by four bullies, Furuta gave in to their demands and remained a captive in a house owned by Minato’s parents. Two days after her disappearance, Furuta’s parents informed the police, who sent their men on a search parade. When the kidnappers got to know about it, they forced Furuta to call her parents and tell them that she had willingly run away and was in good care.
The Dreadful Days
Forty miserably long days in that tormenting house, Furuta was repeatedly raped, abused, and tortured in the hands of numerous men, all members of the Yakuza group. Some say there were almost 100 men who raped and tortured her. The most horrifying thing of all was that Minato’s parents were fully aware of the happenings in that house but didn’t take any actions against it. They excused themselves from the matter by saying that their son was too violent towards them and that they feared his connections with the Yakuza group.
Furuta was raped over 400 times by the kidnappers who didn’t miss any opportunity to assault her. They would hang her from the ceiling and use her as a “punching bag,” burn her eyelids with candle wax, starve her to the extent that she was forced to eat cockroaches and drink her own urine. She was sexually assaulted with multiple objects like iron rods, light bulbs, cigarettes, and even fireworks. Despite the irreparable damage caused to her uterus, she got pregnant. The tortures she had to bear were carried out with such ruthlessness that she begged the boys to end her life once and for all. When Furuta would faint from the severity of the pain, they would dunk her head in cold water so that she could regain consciousness and they could keep torturing her. The one time Furuta tried to escape, Miyano caught her in the act. As a punishment, the boys draped her legs in lighter fluid and set them on fire. The brutality was so severe that she went into convulsions. Eventually, after 44 days of excruciating pain and suffering, Furuta died as an unrecognizable person. Furuta was no longer the attractive young woman she once was, rather a swollen, mutilated corpse with a burned out, crippled body.
Almost two months after the murder, Miyano confessed to the police of his crimes against Furuta when he was being arrested with Jō Ogura for another rape case. He accidentally led the police to Furuta’s dead body and when they found her, they were shocked to see that the body was disposed of in a barrel of concrete. They had dumped her in a cement truck in Tokyo.
Regardless of the horrendous crimes of the kidnappers, the courts decided to keep the boys’ identities anonymous. In spite of being perfectly aware of their doings, all four boys were charged with the crime of “committing bodily injury that resulted in death,” rather than being accused of murder. Even though the courts refused to reveal their identities, the Journalists from the Shūkan Bunshun Magazine thought it necessary and proudly released their names out in public. Hiroshi Miyano was charged with twenty years of imprisonment; Nobuharu Minato was sentenced to five-to-nine years, Yasushi Watanabe was sentenced to five-to-seven years, and Jō Ogura to eight years of imprisonment.
The murder of Junko Furuta was an eye-opener for many. Even though the kidnappers never received the death sentence they deserved for their heinous crimes, the judge commented on the incident for being “exceptionally grave and atrocious violent.” The heart-wrenching true story cuts so deeply that once a spectator in a gallery fainted upon hearing the brutality of the murder. Her case was named as the “Concrete-encased high school girl murder case.” Even today, you can feel the chills down your spine if you were to ever imagine the state of Furuta during those dreadful 44 days.