Junko Furuta, a Japanese teenage girl who was kidnapped on November 25, 1988, and was gang-raped and tortured for 40 days until she died on January 4th of 1989 at the age of only 17.
In the end, the four evil convicts stuffed her body in a drum filled with concrete and dumped her at a construction site. The murder case of Junko Furuta is officially known as the “Concrete-encased high school girl murder case,” considering as one of the worst crimes ever committed in human history.
Junko Furuta was born on January 18th of 1971, in Misato, Saitama, Japan. She was a pretty and popular student at Yashio-Minami High School in Saitama Prefecture in Misato.
As a teenager, Junko attended school, as well as worked part-time during after-school hours. She lived with her parents, her elder brother, and her younger brother. Prior to her abduction, she had accepted a job at an electronics retailer, where she planned on working after graduation.
The Concrete-encased High School Girl murder case – 40 days of hell
Though Junko stayed out of the party scenes, her charming beauty had caught the attention of a high school bully, Hiroshi Miyano. He asked Junko out for a date catching the shy teenage girl off guard. His clear arrogance and reputation did not appeal to Junko. She politely but firmly declined the invitation infuriating Hiroshi.
Unfortunately, Junko didn’t think, for this little thing, she was going meet her slow death of 40 days (44 days, according to other sources) in a horrible way, being one of the worst victims of rape and gruesome murder in history.
Before that, nobody said no to Hiroshi and especially not some little nobody like Junko Furuta because Hiroshi’s connections with the Yakuza gang―a violent and powerful gang in Japan―caused others to have fear on him.
Therefore, Hiroshi decided to ruin Junko’s life in all the possible ways. Within days, he tried multiple times to take revenge from Junko, however, he was unable to do so. But on November 25, 1988, Junko left her home to never return again.
It was around 8:30 at night, Hiroshi and his friend Nobuharu Minato wandering around Misato with the intention of robbing and raping local women. At that time, they spotted Junko Furuta cycling home after she finished her part-time job. Hiroshi had been looking for such an opportunity for the past few days. Under his orders, Minato kicked Junko off her bicycle and immediately fled the scene.
Hiroshi, under the pretense of it being a coincidence that he had witnessed this attack, approached Junko and offered to walk her home safely. Junko accepted this offer, not realizing what sinister thing was coming to her. She did exactly as she was told. She was unaware that Hiroshi was leading her to a nearby warehouse, where he revealed his Yakuza connections. That was the beginning of her 40 days of gruesome tortures, unbearable pains and miseries.
Hiroshi threatened to kill Junko as he raped her repeatedly in the abandoned warehouse and once again in a nearby hotel. From the hotel, Hiroshi called Minato and his other friends, Jō Ogura and Yasushi Watanabe, and bragged to them about the rape. Ogura reportedly asked Hiroshi to keep her in captivity in order to allow numerous gang members to sexually assault her. The group had a history of gang rape and had recently kidnapped and raped another girl who was released afterward.
Around 3:00 AM, Hiroshi took Junko to a nearby park, where Minato, Ogura, and Watanabe were waiting. They had gleaned her home address from a notebook in her backpack and told her that they knew where she lived, and that Yakuza members would kill her family if she attempted to escape. She was overpowered by the four despicable boys, and taken to a house in the Ayase district of Adachi, where she was gang-raped. The house, which was owned by Minato’s parents, soon became their regular gang hangout. They humiliated and raped her again and again.
On 27 November, Junko’s parents contacted the police about their daughter’s disappearance. In order to prevent a further investigation, the kidnappers forced her to call and say her mother that she had run away, but was safe and staying with a friend. Junko was also forced to ask her mother to stop the police investigation into her disappearance.
When Minato’s parents were present, Junko was forced to pose as the girlfriend of one of the kidnappers. But soon their parents realized what was actually going on there, however, they didn’t do anything for it. The kidnappers later dropped this pretence when it became clear that Minato’s parents would not report them to the police.
The Minatos later stated that they did not intervene because they were aware of Hiroshi’s Yakuza connections and feared retaliation, and because their own son was increasingly violent towards them. Minato’s brother was also aware of the situation, but did nothing to prevent it.
They had already raped her more than a hundred times. Now she was starved and naked all the time. They were beating and humiliating her every day in a more and more inhumane way. Other gang members would also come to sexually assault her.
Junko often had to sleep naked on the balcony during a Japanese winter where the temperatures dropped way below zero. Likewise, they would force her to sit for hours in a freezer.
Skewers of grilled chicken inserted into her vagina and anus, causing bleeding.
And yet she’d almost escaped. One time she reached the telephone—but Hiroshi caught her just in time and ended the call before she could say anything. When the police phoned back, Hiroshi informed them that the original emergency call was a mistake.
For this, they punished her by taunting her with a candle flame and finally dousing her legs in lighter fluid and set them on fire, as punishment for trying to run away.
They tied her hands to ceiling and used her body as a punching bag until her damaged internal organs made the blood run from her mouth. At one point, her nose filled with so much blood that she could only breathe through her mouth.
She was malnourished and dehydrated due to long starvation. In this time, they forced her to eat cockroaches and to drink her own urine. They also forced her to masturbate in front of them and their guests (gang members).
Severe leg burns and badly bruised muscles left her unable to walk. One of the convicts later stated in court that her hands and feet were damaged so badly, it took her over an hour to crawl downstairs to the bathroom and eventually she could not make it in time.
Due to the severity of the torture, she lost bladder and bowel control and was subsequently beaten for soiling the carpets. She was also unable to drink water or consume food and would vomit after each attempt, which not only Kept her dehydrated, it also agitated the perpetrators who would then punish her with more beatings.
They continued to severely beat her up countless times and forcefully held her face against the concrete ground and jumped on. They inserted foreign objects into her vagina and anus including a bottle, burning cigarettes, an iron bar and scissors.
Apart from these filthy acts of cruelty, they inserted a still lit hot light-bulb into her vagina and punched on her abdomen until it exploded inside. They partially burned her body with cigarette lighters and set off fireworks in her ears, mouth and vagina. Her eardrums were raptured so she couldn’t hear properly, which only made them more angry.
She was unable to urinate properly due to damage to internal organs and to genitals from the insertion of foreign objects and burns from cigarettes and lighters. They also tore off her left nipple with pliers and pierced her breasts with sewing needles. The autopsy report found her brain size to be reduced.
Hot wax dripped onto her face and eyelids were burned by the cigarette lighter. Her hands were smashed by weights and fingernails were cracked. The brutality of the attacks drastically altered Furuta’s appearance.
Her face was so swollen that it was difficult to make out her features. Her body was also severely crippled, giving off a rotting smell that caused the four boys to lose sexual interest in her. As a result, the boys kidnapped and gang-raped a 19-year-old woman who, like Furuta, was on her way home from work.
It was the New Year’s Day of 1989. Junko greets the New Year’s Day alone with her mutilated and almost lifeless body. She was unable to move from the ground.
During the course of her ordeal, Junko Furuta begged her captors to kill her. They did not grant her that favour, instead, on January 4, 1989, they challenged her to a game of Mahjong solitaire.
She won and that pissed the boys off so to punish her again they made her stand, and struck her feet with a stick. At this point, she fell onto a stereo unit and collapsed into a fit of convulsions.
Since she was bleeding profusely, and pus was emerging from her infected burns, the four boys covered their hands in plastic bags, which were taped at the wrists.
They continued to beat her and dropped an iron dumbbell onto her stomach several times. They poured lighter fluid onto her thighs, arms, face, and stomach and once again set her on fire.
Junko allegedly made attempts to put out the fire, but gradually became unresponsive. The final attack reportedly lasted two hours. Junko eventually succumbed to her wounds and died that day, in pain and alone. Nothing could compare 40 days of suffering she had to go through.
Junko Furuta was held captive in the Minato residence for forty days, during which time she was abused, raped and tortured. Nobuharu Minato’s brother was also aware of the situation, but did nothing to prevent it.
Less than twenty-four hours after her death, Minato’s brother called to tell him that Junko appeared to be dead. Afraid of being penalized for murder, the group wrapped her body in blankets and shoved it into a travel bag. They then put her body in a 55-gallon drum and filled it with wet concrete. Around 8:00 pm, they loaded and eventually disposed the drum into a tract of reclaimed land in Kōtō, Tokyo.
Arrest, interrogation and an unexpected confession
On 23 January 1989, Hiroshi Miyano and Jō Ogura were arrested for the gang-rape of the 19 years old woman who they had kidnapped in December. On 29 March, two police officers came to interrogate them, as women’s underwear had been found at their addresses.
During the interrogation, one of the officers led Hiroshi into believing that police were aware of a murder committed by him. Thinking that Jō Ogura had confessed to the crimes against Junko Furuta, Hiroshi told the police where to find Junko’s body.
The police were initially puzzled by the confession, as they had been referring to the murder of a different woman and her seven-year-old son that had occurred nine days prior to Junko Furuta’s abduction. That case remains unsolved to this day.
The police found the drum containing Junko’s body the following day. When her body was recovered, Oronamin C bottles were stuck up her anus and her face was unrecognizable. She was identified by fingerprints. She was also found to be pregnant, despite the severe damage to her uterus.
On April 1, 1989, Jō Ogura was arrested for a separate sexual assault, and subsequently re-arrested for Junko Furuta’s murder case. The arrest of Yasushi Watanabe, Nobuharu Minato, and Minato’s brother followed.
When Junko Furuta’s mother heard the news and details of what happened to her daughter, she had to undergo psychiatric outpatient treatment, and in the last, she passed-out due to mental trauma.
Junko Furuta’s captors were identified
The names of four main captors who kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered Junko Furuta were withheld by the Japanese court because they were juveniles, however, the journalists from the Shūkan Bunshun magazine dug them out and publish them stating that after what they did to Junko Furuta, they don’t deserve anyone to uphold their human rights:
- Hiroshi Miyano – 18 years old at the time of the crime. Changed his name to Hiroshi Yokoyama.
- Jō Ogura – 18 years old at the time of the crime. Changed his name to Jō Kamisaku.
- Nobuharu Minato – 16 years old at the time of the crime, some sources refer to him as Shinji Minato.
- Yasushi Watanabe – 17 years old at the time of the crime.
Though these four cockroaches were the main culprits behind the heinous acts, more than a hundred gang members (cockroaches), whom they invited, are believed to have had raped and tortured Junko Furuta. She’s estimated to have gone through about 400 rapes. At one point she was raped by 12 different men in one day.
Because the perpetrators were all under-aged when the crime was committed, they were tried as juveniles. Given the severity of their crimes, the sentences handed down were rather low. [Here is the court document in Japanese, in case you can read the language.]
Three of them served less than 8 years while the leader was sentenced to 17 years in prison, but after his appeal, instead of lowering his sentence, judge Ryūji Yanase bumped his sentence up to 20 years. By now, all four evil criminals have been released from jail and have not proven to have turned their lives around.
Junko Furuta could be rescued on the 16th day of her terrible ordeal
Some of the accomplices have been officially identified, including Tetsuo Nakamura and Koichi Ihara, who were charged with rape after their DNA was found on and inside the victim’s body.
Ihara was allegedly bullied into raping Junko. After he left the Minato household, he told his brother about the incident. His brother subsequently told their parents, who contacted police. Two police officers were dispatched to the Minato house. However, they were informed that there was no girl inside.
The police officers declined an invitation to look around the house, believing the invitation alone was sufficient proof that there was nothing untoward to be found. Both officers faced considerable backlash from the community.
If they had indeed searched the house and located Junko Furuta, her ordeal would have only lasted sixteen days and she may well have recovered from her injuries. The two officers were fired for failing to follow procedure.
Lots of love and respect to Junko Furuta
Junko Furuta’s intended future employers presented her parents with the uniform she would have worn for the position she had accepted. The uniform was lovingly placed in her casket. Junko’s funeral was held on 2 April 1989.
After Junko’s tragic death, many people came together to mourn her passing, and there are songs, movies, books and even a song album that have been dedicated to her memory.
At her graduation, Junko Furuta’s school principal presented her parents with her high school graduation certificate and her friends still speak of their time with her.
Our advice to you is to focus on Junko’s strength in facing her horrible situation instead of her captors’ cruelty, you will surely find inspiration instead of just a reason to be sad.
Unfortunately, Junko Furuta’s gravesite is now unknown. We know it would have become a great place of pilgrimage today. We believe that her resting place is in the heart of everyone who knows about her.