Idol Mayu Tomita (not to be confused with the former AKB48 research student of the same name) is in critical condition currently after being repeatedly stabbed by an apparent fan, according to police. Tomita received nearly two dozen stab wounds to her neck and chest at an event at 5pm in Koganei, Tokyo.
Police have arrested 27 year old Tomohiro Iwazaki, who was seen attacking Tomita with a folding knife. When police arrived at the scene, Iwazaki and the knife he used were found nearby. Iwazaki admitted to using the knife to stab Tomita.
Apparently Tomita had informed Tokyo Metropolitan Police earlier this month that Iwazaki had been persistently writing to her on her blog and Twitter account. This may be another case of a crazy fan stalking.
Tomita, who is 20 years old, was scheduled to appear at a live event later that night.
This is reminiscent of the 2014 AKB48 Iwate slashings where Rina Kawaei and Anna Iriyama were attacked by a man with a saw in the middle of a national handshake event. The event was traumatic for all involved and was a large driving force for Rina Kawaei’s graduation from AKB48. I was in the country during the time of the attacks and I saw the news coverage in Japanese media while I was there. It is shocking to see something like this happen again.
I will be careful to jump to any conclusions as many media outlets reported that it was an AKB48 fan that attacked the girls from AKB48. However, the reality was that it was a man who was mentally unstable that wished to inflict as much damage to other human beings as possible. He figured out that going to a large AKB48 handshake event would provide him with such an opportunity. In this case with Mayu Tomita, it does seem like the suspect has admitted he is a fan of hers, so this is quite disturbing.
This event further places the spotlight on some of the darker aspects of the Japanese idol industry and definitely raises many questions. Is more security required for all idol fan events? AKB48 has already been using more bodyguards at their events and use tables to physically separate the idols and their fans to reduce the opportunity for physical contact. Do we need to revisit Japan’s mental health awareness and care (or lack thereof)? How far will this escalate security measures when it comes to idols and their fan events? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!