Tokyo “Joker” Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for 2021 Halloween Knife Attack

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What You Need to Know:

Kyota Hattori, 26, has been sentenced to 23 years in prison after being found guilty of attempted murder and arson charges stemming from a 2021 Halloween night attack on a Keio train line in Tokyo, which left over a dozen people wounded.

Hattori received significant media and internet attention as he carried out the attack dressed similarly to the Joker, although some have suggested he was dressed as Yoshikage Kira from the anime series “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.” (it doesn’t really matter as neither characters were identified as motivators)

The Attack:

On Halloween night at around 8:00pm local time, Hattori sprayed chemicals into the eyes of an elderly man he was sitting next to on a train line heading to the Tokyo suburb of Chofu. He then began to stab the man several times in the chest, leaving him in critical condition, before he moved to another train car to set it on fire using lighter fluid. The train was stopped at the Kokuryo Station, where passengers frantically escaped the train car as the fire spread, wounding an additional 12 people. During this time, Hattori could be seen sitting calmly and smoking a cigarette.

Hattori was arrested on scene by responding authorities. Investigators say Hattori  intended on killing passengers to receive the death penalty, in which his suicidal and homicidal ideations stemmed from from workplace issues, lack of a social life, and finding out that his previous girlfriend was set to be married to another man.

Why it Matters:

Due to stricter firearm regulations in Japan, attacks against the public are often carried out though mass stabbings or arson. According to Japanese media, Hattori was reportedly inspired by a similar attack carried out by Yusuke Tsushima that took place nearly three months earlier. Tsushima wounded 10 people on the Odakyu Electric Railway in Tokyo, where he stabbed passengers at random and attempted to set the train car on fire using cooking oil.

Hattori himself also inspired another attempted attack the next month, in which a suspect tried to light a Kyushu Shinkansen Train on fire, although nobody was wounded.

Hattori’s attack ultimately led Japanese officials to increase security measures on public transit systems, such as installing cameras inside train cars and increasing safety drills.