Ikuya Hatakeyama
Occupation Ministry employee
Toothpick manufacturer
Born ca. 1944
Penalty Life imprisonment
Attack information
Date November 6, 1975
8:40 p.m.
Location(s) Aki, Japan
Killed 6
Injured 2
Weapon(s) 12-gauge shotgun

Ikuya Hatakeyama was a Japanese toothpick manufacturer who killed six people and wounded two others in Aki, Japan on November 6, 1975. He was arrested the next day and sentenced to life imprisonment.[1]


Hatakeyama's mother died when he was still a child and he was brought up by his aunt. He was a good student in elementary and junior high school, and graduated from agricultural high school. After passing the national civil service exam (国家公務員試験) by the Ministry of Construction he worked for the construction offices in Kōchi and Iyo-Mishima.

Hatakeyama was an introverted person who rarely socialised. In 1972 he was admitted to a psychiatric institution, because of his mental instability, and after he was diagnosed as suffering from depression, was retired by the Ministry of Construction. During his hospital treatment, which ended three months prior to the murders, he started working at a toothpick factory in Ioki.[2]


On November 6, 1975, at around 8:40 p.m., Hatakeyama armed himself with a 12-gauge shotgun he had purchased eight months prior, as well as 100 rounds of ammunition, and went out into the street, where he yelled incoherently at the principal of Aki junior high school. Afterwards he entered a neighbouring house, where he fatally shot 46-year-old Hiromichi Ushimade and gravely wounded the latters wife Kimiko.[3]

While the Ushimade's son called the police Hatakeyama broke into another home, where he fired at a 27-year-old woman and her 4-year-old daughter, killing both of them on the spot. Afterwards he entered two other houses, where he shot dead a 51-year-old man and a 58-year-old woman, fatally wounded a 51-year-old woman, and seriously injured another person. By that time he had fired more than a dozen rounds.

Alerted by the shots people rushed to scene, and when some of them managed to disarm him,[4] the 31-year-old fled into the mountains. Searched by 100 police officers and the local fire brigade he was eventually arrested the next day around 11 a.m., just two kilometers from the crime scene.[2][5]


While in custody Hatakeyama told police that he held no resentments against his victims, but that he had felt depressed and wanted to kill some people. During his trial the prosecution argumented that he was not insane at the time of the murders, but accorded him diminished repsonsibility, and asked to sentence him to life imprisonment. Hatakeyama was then examined by three psychiatrists, who came to the conclusion that he suffered from schizophrenia and paranoia, and had been insane when committing the crime. On grounds of the examination he was acquitted due to insanity in September 1981, a verdict that was appealed by the prosecution. During the new trial the court followed the prosecutor's argumentation, dismissed any claims of insanity, and concluded that Hatakeyama merely had diminished repsonsibility. On December 4, 1984 he was finally sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of further appeals.[2]


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