'Nosferatu killer' Tsutomu Miyazaki murdered four little girls in sickening killing spree
Tsutomu Miyazaki's deformed 'vampire hands' creeped out everyone who saw them - but it was what he did with them that was truly sick.
The Japanese serial killer was responsible for the harrowing murder, rape and dismemberment of four little girls, with a fifth victim saved just moments from death when police swooped on his Tokyo home and whisked her to safety.
The terror of Miyazaki’s four young victims must have been multiplied by the sight of his abnormally long, bony hands, the result of a rare birth defect which meant he was unable to move his wrists upwards. Photos taken of the dead-eyed paedophile show alien-like digits with uncut nails, earning him the nickname of the ‘vampire killer’ or ‘real life Nosferatu’.
Looking at his early life, there are several parallels between Miyazaki and other infamous serial killers, including Dennis Nilsen, Jeff Dahmer and Ed Kemper.
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Bullied at school, Miyazaki spent a lot of time with his grandad - echoing the bond shared by Nilsen with his maternal grandfather. A man with learning difficulties was paid to act as his nanny. As a teen he became increasingly reclusive, watching anime, gory horror films and child porn, and creeping out women at the college where he studied photography by taking sneaky photos of their crotches.
When his grandad died, Miyazaki ate some of the old man’s ashes, telling police he wanted to “retain something from him”. This is an echo of how Jeffrey Dahmer ate some of his victims' body parts. It was the start of a downward spiral in to unforgivable depths of depravity. A few weeks after eating the ashes, Miyazaki turned violent when his sister caught him spying on her as she showered. His mother was furious about her son’s perversions - similar to Ed Kemper's mother's belief he wanted to rape his sisters. When Miyazaki's mum told him to spend less time watching his precious video tapes, he attacked her.
Miyazaki's grandfather died just months before he murdered a little girl named Mari Konno. On 22 August 1988, the wide-eyed youngster was abducted while playing at a friend’s house, and despite a huge police search there had been no sign of her - until the arrival of a mysterious box at her parents' home five months later.
Up until that point, the grief-stricken pair had been clinging to the hope that their four-year-old daughter was still alive. Opening the parcel, they found a container of ashes, some teeth, a photo of the outfit Mari went missing with and a note that read: “Mari. Cremated. Bones. Investigate. Prove." Their worst fears had been confirmed - their daughter was dead.
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But it wasn’t until Tsutomu Miyazaki, then 26, was arrested almost a year later that they would learn what had happened to her after she was throttled to death. The anime-obsessed loner had stripped her naked, raped her corpse and left her body in the hills. He returned after she had decomposed, dismembering her before incinerating her remains, cutting off her hands and feet which were found in a cupboard in his bedroom.
There were two more children killed in 1988 - seven-year-old Masami Yoshizawa on 3 October and Erika Namba, four, on 12 December. The girls were each lured to his car before being taken to the outskirts of Tokyo to be murdered and sexually assaulted after death. Japanese police realised they were dealing with a serial killer, and the press was filled with references to ‘the Little Girl Killer’.
Both of their parents - like Mari Konno’s - were subjected to menacing anonymous phone calls and cryptic messages sent in the post. The Nambas received one, spelled from words cut out of magazines, that read: “Erika. Cold. Cough. Throat. Rest. Death.”
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Miyazaki didn’t kill again until 6 June 1989 when he snatched Ayako Nomoto, five, after persuading her to let him take photographs of her in his car.
When she mentioned his deformed hands he flew in to a range and strangled her.
Wrapping her corpse in a sheet he smuggled it in to his home where he spent two days defiling it, taking photos and making home videos.
When the child’s remains began to decompose and smell, he drank her blood before beginning the process of dismemberment, again choosing to keep her hands, which some local news sources claimed he also ate.
Although Miyazaki originally dumped the girl’s torso in a cemetery and her head in the nearby hills, after two weeks he went back to find them, keeping the remains hidden in his closet. Six weeks later on 23 July, Miyazaki was finally apprehended - moments before he killed a fifth child.
When police searched his apartment they found 5,763 video tapes of hentai, horror, porn - and tapes of his victims. This new development saw Miyazaki earn a new moniker, the "Otaku Murderer”, in reference to his unhealthy obsession (otaku) with anime.
Is Tsutomu Miyazaki still alive?
Miyazaki’s trial started in 1990 and lasted for seven years. Lawyers fought over his mental state at the time of the murders while he sat quietly drawing an eerie character he dubbed ‘Rat Man’ a dark element of his personality who made him stalk, kill, rape and eat little girls.
Eventually he was found guilty and sentenced to death, and on 17 June 2008 he was hanged at Tokyo High Court.
In January 2006, when Chief Justice Tokiyasu Fujita upheld his death sentence, he said: "The atrocious murder of four girls to satisfy his sexual desire leaves no room for leniency."
What was wrong with Tsutomu Miyazaki's hands?
Miyazaki was born premature, and he also had a rare birth defect that caused his hand joints to be fused together, preventing him from being able to bend his wrists upwards.
Who were Tsutomu Miyazaki's victims?
Mari Konno (4) - 22 August 1988
Masami Yoshizawa (7) - 3 October 1988
Erika Namba (4) - 12 December 1988
Ayako Nomoto (5) - 6 June 1989
Tsutomu Miyazaki Rat Man drawings
Miyazaki never showed any remorse for his abhorrent crimes, or apologised to the victims' families. He blamed them on 'Rat Man', a character who he sketched out in the court room during his trial.