Junko Furuta was tortured for 44 days in the home of her classmate and then was murdered for beating her captors in mahjong.
As far as Shinji Minato’s parents were concerned, Junko Furuta was their son’s girlfriend. The pretty young girl hung around with their son so often it seemed as if she were living at their home.
Even when they began to suspect that she was something more and that perhaps her perpetual presence wasn’t always consensual, they labored under the delusion that everything was fine, for they feared their son’s violence and his friend’s Yakuza connections.
As far as Shinji Minato and his friends Hiroshi Miyano, Jo Ogura, and Yasushi Watanabe were concerned, however, Junko Furuta was their captive, their sex slave, and their punching bag.
In November of 1988, Junko Furuta was just a normal teenage girl. She was pretty, bright, and got good grades in her classes at Yashio-Minami High School in Misato, Japan. Despite her “good girl” reputation – unlike her classmates, she didn’t drink, smoke, or use drugs – she was quite popular at school and seemingly had a bright future ahead of her.
Then, she met Hiroshi Miyano.
Miyano was well known as the school bully, often seen bragging about his connections to Yakuza, a powerful Japanese organized crime syndicate. According to their classmates, Miyano had developed somewhat of a crush on Furuta and was enraged when she turned him down. After all, no one had ever dared to reject him, especially after he told them of his Yakuza friends.
A few days after taking his rejection, Miyano and Minato were hanging around a local park in Misato, preying on innocent women. As known and experienced gang-rapists, Miyano and Minato were experts at spotting easy targets.
Hiroshi Miyano and Shinji Minato
Around 8:30, the boys noticed Junko Furuta on her bicycle on her way home from her job. Minato kicked Furuta off of her bike, expertly creating a diversion, at which point Miyano stepped in, pretending to be an innocent and concerned bystander. After helping her up, he asked if she wanted an escort home, which Furuta unwittingly accepted.
She never made it home.
Instead, Miyano led her to an abandoned warehouse, where he told her of his Yakuza connections and raped her, threatening to kill her and her family if she made a sound. He then took her to a park, where Minato, Ogura, and Watanabe were waiting. There, the other boys raped her and smuggled her into Minato’s home.
Though Junko Furuta’s parents called the police and reported their daughter missing, the boys made sure they wouldn’t go looking for her, forcing her to call home and say that she had run away and was staying with a friend. Whenever Minato’s parents were around, Furuta was forced to pose as his girlfriend, though they eventually began to catch wind of what was really going on.
Unfortunately, the threat of the Yakuza was enough to keep them quiet, and for 44 days Minato’s parents lived in alarming ignorance of the horrors that were happening in their own home.
Over the course of those 44 days, Junko Furuta was raped over 400 times by Miyano and his friends, as well as other boys they knew, whom they invited over and encouraged to hurt her. They would insert iron bars, scissors, skewers, fireworks, and even a lit lightbulb into her vagina and anus, destroying her internal anatomy which left her unable to defecate or urinate properly.
Junko Furuta’s Murder
When they weren’t raping her, the boys forced her to do terrible things, like eat live cockroaches, masturbate in front of them, and drink her own urine. Her body, still very much alive, was hung from the ceiling and beaten with golf clubs, bamboo sticks, and iron rods. Her eyelids and genitals were burned with cigarettes, lighters, and hot wax.
Twice, the police were alerted to Furuta’s condition and twice they failed to intervene.
The first time, a boy who had been invited over to the Minato house by Miyano went home after seeing Furuta and told his brother about what was happening. The brother then told his parents, who contacted the police. The police showed up but were assured by the Minato family that there was no girl inside. The answer was clearly satisfactory enough for the police, as they never returned to the home.
The second time, it was Furuta herself who called, but before she was able to say anything, the boys discovered her. When the police called back, Miyano assured them it had been a mistake.
As punishment for calling the police, the boys doused Furuta’s legs in lighter fluid and set her on fire.
On January 4, 1989, Furuta died. The boys had reportedly become enraged when she beat them at a game of mahjong and tortured her to the point of death. Scared of being charged with murder, the boys dumped Junko Furuta’s body in a 55-gallon drum, filling it with concrete before dropping it on a cement truck.
Jo Ogura and Yusushi Watanabe
Two weeks later, the police arrested Miyano and Ogura on a separate gang-rape charge. During Miyano’s interrogation, the police mentioned an open murder investigation. Believing that it was the murder of Furuta and that Ogura must have confessed, Miyano told the police where they could find Furuta’s body.
In the end, the murder case which the police had been referencing had been unrelated to Furuta, and Miyano had unwittingly turned himself in. Within days, all four boys were in custody.
Despite their unspeakable torture of Junko Furuta, the boys received shockingly light sentences.
Hiroshi Miyano was sentenced to 20 years, Shinji Minato was sentenced to five-to-nine years, Jo Ogura served eight years, and Yasushi Watanabe served five-to-seven years.
Since they were juveniles at the time of Junko Furuta’s murder, this was attributed as the cause of their sentences — though it is widely believed that the Yakuza had something to do with it. Had the case been heard elsewhere or had the boys been just one or two years older, they would have been dealt capital punishments.