What we learned from the horrifying case of Junko Furuta
The case of Junko Furuta is one of the most tragic and horrifying stories of abduction and torture out there. Furuta was abducted, held captive, and killed by her Japanese gangster classmates for 44 days. During that time she suffered an incredible amount of abuse.
It’s sad that atrocities such as the case of Junko Furuta ever occur and we wish humanity could reach a point where it stopped destroying itself through unspeakable acts. Unfortunately, there’s always some greedy person hungry for power or some victim continuing the cycle of abuse by becoming the abuser.
Trigger warning: This article contains information regarding torture and rape which could potentially upset readers.
One of the things we can do despite this miserable truth is to learn from misfortune in order to hopefully become better in the future. Here’s what we learned from the horrifying case of Junko Furuta.
People can reach unfathomable depths of evil
Before we even delve into any takeaways, it’s important to convey the true depravity of this case. Junko was an amiable sixteen-year-old who was taken revenge on by a rejected classmate. When Furuta kindly but firmly turned down gangster classmate Hiroshi Miyano’s offer of romance, Miyano was not pleased. He decided he would teach what he thought was a stuck-up girl a lesson.
Miyano abducted Junko on her way home from her part-time job and held her captive with the help of his vile friends. One of Miyano’s friends was named Nobuharu Minato, and it was in his parents’ basement that they held Junko hostage. There they not only gang-raped her, but invited friends and countless other boys & gangster men to join in.
Over the course of 44 days, Junko endured torture that no human being should ever have to go through. Junko was estimated to have been raped at least 500 times during her captivity. At one point, it’s believed that she was raped by at least 12 men in a single day. The sickos not only sexually abused her, but enjoyed urinating on and taunting her too.
The amount of different types of abuse Junko went through is unbelievable. In addition to being raped & sodomized, she was starved and beaten as well. One of their favorite games was to insert foreign objects into Junko’s vagina. Here’s a list of the things we know they shoved in there: scissors, a bottle, an iron bar, a hot exploding light bulb, grilled chicken skewers, roasting needles, and an exploding firework.
When Junko became too much of a bloody and incontinent mess to enjoy raping anymore, her beatings continued more brutally than ever. They did things like hang her from the ceiling to use her as a punching bag, twist her nipple off with pliers, force her to eat cockroaches & drink her own urine, crush her stomach with dumbbells, and set her on fire. The appalling list goes on and on.
There was no limit to the evil these people were capable of, and one of the most horrifying things about it is the amount of people who were involved. Not just the wicked men that engaged in these acts, but the people who stood by while they knew what was happening.
Being a bystander as evil is perpetrated makes you an accomplice to abuse
Many people have received the “stand up for people who are being bullied” speech in school. This message, no matter how cornily conveyed, is such an important one. If you know bad things are happening, it’s your duty as a human being to try to put a stop to it.
In the case of Junko, as we stated earlier, she was being held captive in the basement of schoolboy Nobuharu’s house. Nobuharu’s parents (the Minatos) thought the girl staying downstairs was just Miyano’s girlfriend at first. As days wore on, it must have been obvious that something weird was going on when the supposed girlfriend of their son’s friend remained in their basement.
Eventually, Junko actually came into contact with the Minatos and begged them to help her escape. At this point, any way that they were trying to escape culpability by staying ignorant was no longer viable. Because the Minatos knew of Miyano’s connections to the local gangsters though, they feared retribution if they spoke up.
The Minatos willfully chose to keep quiet about the high-school girl being abused in their basement. Junko’s life was in their hands, but they chose to ignore her plight. While it’s understandable to be afraid of the powerful crime organization in your neighborhood, it’s inconceivable that being so close to such rampant abuse, they would choose not to try to help her in some way.
The Minatos just ignored Junko and kept going about their lives. They even later blamed Junko for their son’s subsequent imprisonment.
Doing your job thoroughly can save lives
One of the saddest facts about this case is that salvation was just a few steps away for Junko on more than one occasion. If you put aside the fact that the Minatos could have called for help at any time, there was still another way Junko’s life could have been saved.
There was a boy who had participated in a raping session of Junko who actually grew a conscience. He confessed to his parents what he had done and this boy’s parents sent the police to the Minatos’ home to investigate.
When the police arrived, the Minatos (Nobuharu’s parents) opened the door as if it were any other normal day. When the police confronted them about the report they had received about what was going on in their basement, the Minatos acted shocked. They replied with flushed responses along the lines of “What on Earth are you talking about?”
Despite knowing Junko was down there in horrifying condition, the Minatos executed the sly move of insisting the police officers please come in and confirm their innocence. Surely, the nice police would find nothing untoward was happening on their property. They told the authorities to come on in and check to their satisfaction.
It’s unclear whether or not these police officers had a warrant when knocking on the Minatos’ door, and we’re not quite sure how police procedure works in Japan. It would stand to reason though, that if someone willingly invites you into their home, the police must have had full authority/ability to do so.
Recklessly, the police officers chose a different course of action. They must have muttered a sheepish reply and said that it wouldn’t be necessary, because a search of the Minato household was never conducted that day. Junko was rotting in the basement, dying, but the police decided to take the Minatos’ word for it and left. They vacated the premises without even properly investigating!
Had these police officers actually done their job, Junko’s life may have been saved that day. This just goes to show you how important it is to do your best at all times. Nevermind when a girl’s life may obviously be hanging in the balance.
Now, if you don’t have an emergency responder related job like a police officer or EMT or nurse, you might think doing your job thoroughly doesn’t matter as much, but don’t be so quick to let yourself off the hook. Even if your job is to be a gas station attendant, you never know what effect you might have on someone’s life.
This includes making sure if you see something you say something. Even just smiling & complimenting someone as you bag their groceries might change someone’s day in a dramatic way. Maybe they’re feeling worthless and starting to plan their own suicide. Maybe they’re a bad apple whose negative mood would lead them to domestically abuse someone at home, but your positive attitude stops that trajectory for the day.
Never hesitate to do someone a kindness. Your job, no matter how seemingly mundane can help someone. Remember that you matter, and every day is an opportunity to remind someone else that they do too. Your compounded acts of kindness may prevent another tragic Junko Furuta case.