Unfortunately, there is an increasing number of massacres perpetrated around the world. The United States has been the scene of several high-profile mass killings including the recent tragedies in Las Vegas and Texas. However, other nations around the world have also felt the wrath of crazed lunatics who seemingly âsnap’ and butcher as many innocent civilians as they can find.
Scotland was horrified when Thomas Hamilton killed 17 people (16 children and a teacher) in Dunblane in 1996. A shocked public petitioned for the ban on private ownership of guns and two new firearms laws were passed to restrict private gun ownership in the United Kingdom. Australia was devastated when Martin Bryant killed 35 people in Port Arthur in 1995 and Norway mourned when Anders Breivik murdered 69 people. The list goes on and on.
Similarly, Japan united in grief in 1938 when Mutsuo Toi went on a murderous rampage in the village of Kamo which is located close to Tsuyama. It was a shocking act, committed by a mentally ill man who believed the village’s inhabitants were cold towards him because he was diagnosed with tuberculosis the previous year. As such, it was a revenge killing spree which he carried out with a shotgun, ax, and a traditionally made Japanese sword called a katana. At the end of his spree, Toi had killed 30 people before committing suicide. At the time, it was the second-largest killing spree by an individual in modern history behind the 1927 Bath School Disaster.
Descent into Madness
Mutsuo Toi was born on March 5, 1917, in Okayama Prefecture. Although he came from a relatively wealthy family, he experienced tragedy at a young age when both of his parents died from tuberculosis when he was still a baby. As a consequence, both Toi and his sister were raised by their grandmother.
It is probable that Toi and his sister had a close relationship because, when she got married and left home in 1934, he transformed from an outgoing young man into someone who was socially withdrawn. His behavior quickly degenerated. Soon, Toi began participating in the bizarre and creepy practice of Yobai (night crawling).
Yobai is an ancient Japanese custom practiced by young men and women to discover how sex works. Young men would sneak into the woman’s bedroom at night and make his intentions known. If the woman consented, they would have intercourse. The couple would spend the night together in silence and the man left in the morning. While the girl’s parents knew about the situation, they pretended they didn’t. In rural Japan, it was normal for men and women to find a spouse through Yobai.
The deranged ideas did not end there. Toi became endlessly fascinated by the story of a prostitute named Sada Abe who murdered her lover, cut off his penis and testicles, and carried them around in her kimono in 1936. He began reading Abe’s testimony in January 1937, and started writing a novel. Perhaps Toi’s interest in the case wasn’t a red flag to those around him since the trial of Abe became a national sensation. She was imprisoned for five years and wrote an autobiography. Meanwhile, Toi was slowly, but surely, becoming unhinged. But it was a diagnosis of death that tipped him over the edge.