True Crime Japan (9784805313428)

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Tuttle Publishing
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5 1/8 X 8

"This is a book I wish I'd written. It's brilliantly researched, full of detail and illuminating…" —Jake Adelstein, author of Tokyo Vice

Uncover the shocking world of the Japanese courtroom.

In a country where nearly all defendants plead guilty, the interesting part is what happens between the plea and the sentencing. In True Crime Japan, journalist and longtime resident of Japan Paul Murphy delves into a year's worth of criminal court cases in Matsumoto, a city located 140 miles to the west of Tokyo. The nine defendants in these cases range from ruthless mobsters to average citizens with a variety of methods and motives. Using court documents and interviews, Murphy makes a point of including the perspectives of the defendants, as well as those of their families, neighbors, and lawyers. He explores not only the motives of offenders but the culture of crime and punishment in Japan.

The nine cases include:
  • "Late in Life" — A wealthy octogenarian is put in jail for stealing fried chicken
  • "Mama's Boys" — A disbelieving family unveils their son's role as a yakuza gangster.
  • "Mother Killers" — A middle-aged carpenter beats his 91-year old mother to death and goes to work the following day, leaving the body for his wife to find.

True Crime Japan provides an unusual lens through which to view Japanese society and its emphasis on honor, shame, and conformity. Murphy's in-depth analysis of the court system reveals Japan to be, perhaps surprisingly, a land of true individuals.

About the Author:
Paul Murphy is an award-winning journalist. His articles and reports about Japan have appeared in The Japan Times, International Herald Tribune/Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Daily News, Irish Times and RTE's Prime Time television program, among others. He is currently a reporter for the RTE Investigations Unit in Dublin.