It was March 30th of 1989 when the Tokyo police found a petrol drum filled to the brim with concrete and a handful of black hairs coming out from the top.
They knew that this barrel contained the remains of seventeen-year-old Junko Furuta, who had disappeared on November 25th of the previous year.
Still, they could not know the amount of suffering Furuta had gone through before her unrecognizable body ended in that metal drum.
Her case would go on to be identified as “the worst case of youth crime after World War II.” Compared with a war in which Japanese troops committed some of the most heinous atrocities ever known to history would not be exaggerated.
Join us as we review ten facts about this young Japanese teenager’s death, which shocked Japan and revealed a web of conspiracy and crime that made some jurors, at the trial for her murder, faint.
10 Junko Furuta, Model Student
In late 1988, Junko Furuta was the embodiment of the societal ideal of a Japanese high school student: beautiful, popular, and with excellent grades, she was already working part-time to earn her own money for a trip that she had been planning, and which was supposed to celebrate her graduation.
That day would never come, but the hardworking, good-hearted Junko could not know that by then.
Her parents were proud of their daughter, who had already been offered a job at an electronics retail shop (and in the Japan of the ’80s, that was a big deal) after she graduated high school.
9 Standing Up To A Bully
Another student at that same school, eighteen-year-old Hiroshi Miyano, was practically the absolute opposite of what Junko represented: he ignored his school’s assignments, missed classes constantly, and, overall, bullied the rest of the students.
He and three of his friends (Jō Ogura, of 17; Shinji Minato, of 16; and Yasushi Watanabe, of 17) had also begun to incur in crime, all the way from snatching purses to rape.
But the life of this petty criminal and that of Junko Furuta would intersect, sadly, because Miyano had a crush on Junko, and, after asking her out, he had turned him down. She couldn’t have known that Miyano would seek vengeance.