By Avi Landau
As Wednesday September 16, 2020 turned into Thursday the 17th, Jun and Junko Ikeda, a married couple in their early forties, got into an argument of some sort. The two of them had been drinking together in their newly-constructed home in Nishine, Tsuchiura ( just near the Tsukuba city-line along Higashi O-dori), with their 4 year-old son snuggled up in bed, when the conversation started getting heated – VERY heated. So much so, that at about 12:45 AM, Junko (43) grabbed a kitchen knife and plunged it into her husband’s belly.
Realizing what she had done, she made a phone call – to her mother – and said (according to newspaper reports) “I’ve stabbed my husband.” Her mother then called the emergency 110 number.
Jun, who ran a small construction firm located about a hundred meters from their home, was taken, still conscious, to an emergency room at a Tsukuba Hospital. He was able to hang on for about 4 hours before finally succumbing to blood-loss and shock. Junko, who while her husband was on the way to the hospital had been arrested for attempted murder, was later charged with homicide, after he passed away.
Junko has admitted to stabbing her husband, but denies an intention to kill.
Browsing the heavy social media traffic related to the incident, I found most commenters decrying the same evils: the lockdown (that’s what happens when a man can’t go out at night to drink with his friends!) alcohol (ban it, just like other drugs), and marriage in general (it’s an unnatural living arrangement which leads to excessive stress!)
For me (and probably for others around here, as well), the news brought different thoughts to mind. This incident was just another in a long line of horrific incidents that have taken place in the same particular part of what is now Tsuchiura City (the southwestern corner, where it borders Tsukuba City and Ami Town). Probably the most memorable of these took place in 2008, when a young man went berserk with two knives at Arakawaoki Station (located about two kilometers south of the site of last week’s stabbing) killing one and injuring seven. He did that two days after he’d killed a random old man he had encountered (also in the same area).
The news of the stabbing was especially jolting for me because I had cycled to Arakawaoki Station THAT VERY MORNING (September 16 – it was my first time ever to go there by bicycle!) and as I approached it I was strongly reminded of the station knife attacks – and
of another incident of the same year (and same area) in which a young man killed his entire family.
Cycling through the area, I was thinking of how many people had told me that there were BAD ENERGIES there. One woman, the wife of a prominent Tsukuba researcher who claims she has REIKAN (霊感) – the ability to see dead spirits – like in the movie Sixth Sense, warned me about the place. It’s not that I believed her – or in spirits, but I will never forget the things she told me. Whenever she’d drive to the area, to Arakawoki Station, Joyful Honda or the Otonuma Pond, she would see tormented spirits walking or standing by the road-side. One image she described which still stands out in my mind after all these years, is of a man leading away a group of miserable female prisoners, their heads covered in sacks of some sort.
And that`s only one of the “ghost” scenes she described to me over the years.
I am NOT saying she really saw the dead – but, I’m pretty sure that she was not making things up, either… whatever that means!
So while people around Japan looked at last week’s stabbing as the consequence of a long and frustrating lock-down, the dangers of alcohol – or the frustrations of married life, many who have lived around here long enough saw what happened as just another in a long string of incidents in “spiritually dangerous” zone…
I have written about similar incidents in the area