For The Sake of Mankind: The Story of Satoshi Uematsu 

For The Sake of Mankind: The Story of Satoshi Uematsu 

In 2016, a 26-year-old man by the name of Satoshi Uematsu was arrested and charged with the murders of 19 residents at a care facility, leaving 26 more severely injured. He believed that disabled individuals didn’t deserve human rights because they aren’t able to take care of themselves. This ideology was further increased as Japan already had an issue with accepting people who struggle with disabilities and mental health problems, as the country is conformist. As Japan’s crime rate was so low, particularly involving those with extreme violence, this crime shocked the country immensely. 

 

Satoshi’s upbringing was fairly normal, other than a few disagreements between him and his parents. One of their arguments was over a tattoo Satoshi got without their knowledge; in Japanese culture, tattoos are considered a form of dishonour due to them being a way to brand criminals who’ve committed heinous crimes. Tattoos also have been tied to the ‘Yakuza,’ which is a group of outlaws who use tattoos as a way to symbolize their courage and loyalty to their gang. Although Satoshi did have a criminal past during his high school years- he shoplifted on multiple occasions, damaged properties, and even pushed over a disabled student at his high school- he was never reprimanded for these crimes. In hindsight, this should’ve been the first indication that something was wrong.

 

Despite Satoshi’s past, he went on to go to University and, in 2012, met all the qualifications to become a psychiatric worker. Later on, he got a part-time job at the Tsukui Yamayuri Care Facility, also known as the ‘Tsukui Lily Garden’. Even though he had a strong dislike towards individuals with disabilities, he received the position by telling his interviewer the opposite. Satoshi was considered a fantastic employee amongst staff and was later promoted to full-time in 2013; this is when Satoshi’s character started to change. On multiple occasions from 2014-2015, he was caught hitting residents of the facility. This led to him being questioned by his employers about his behaviours which, consequently, led to no further action being taken against him. It wasn’t until February 6th, 2016, that he resigned from his position after he was caught once again abusing a resident. 

 

Two weeks after Satoshi resigned, he hand-delivered a written note to Tamaori Oshima, a political figure in Tokyo. This letter would detail the horrific crime Satoshi was planning to commit, giving a clear motive for his reasoning. The letter was a request to Tamaori to legalize ending the lives of disabled people and that euthanization would be “for the good of the world”. He firmly believed it would boost the country’s economy and prevent World War lll.  He offered to kill people himself and that staff at these facilities would be restrained from interfering; after the crime was carried out, he’d turn himself in. Most disturbingly of all, he ended the letter by stating, “Now is the time to carry out a revolution- and make a tough decision for the sake of all mankind”. The letter was immediately handed to the police, where they arrested and committed Satoshi to a psychiatric hospital. However, it was only two weeks later he was released, deemed not a threat to society. 

 

Upon his release, Satoshi dyed his hair, packed a variety of knives and re-entered society by taking a woman out to dinner. He told the woman about his plans, but she just brushed it off, assuming he was joking- in reality, he would follow through with his plan only a few hours later. On July 26th, 2016, Satoshi approached Tsukui Yamayuri Care Facility during the early hours of the morning, breaking into the building through a window. As he knew the layout of the facility, his confidence and knowingness let him go unnoticed by the staff until he tied up and gagged one, stealing their keys. He proceeded to go from room to room and stab the residents, most of whom were asleep during the time of the attack. After the brutal attack, Satoshi escaped through a side door and ran back to his car. Once he was away from the scene, he posted on Twitter a photo of himself smiling with the caption reading, “May there be world peace, beautiful Japan!”

 

Only minutes after Satoshi left, armed police and guards entered the facility, unaware of how grim the scene would actually be.  Police wouldn’t have to search far, as Satoshi proudly turned himself in two hours later with the bag of blood-stained knives in tow. Much of the incident was kept in the dark from the public, including the families of residents who would have to wait days until they found out whether their loved ones had passed or not. During this time, Satoshi was being transported by police to a high-security prosecutor facility, smiling at the cameras that surrounded the vehicle. Most disappointingly of all, when local news stations reported on the incident, they refused to address the issue as a hate crime, unlike other news outlets around the world. Authorities also didn’t release the names of the victims because the families didn’t want people to know that their loved ones were disabled. 

 

During his trial, Satoshi’s defence team tried pushing the narrative that he was not mentally competent when he committed the crime because he was under the influence of marijuana. Not once during the trial did Satoshi show any sign of remorse for his actions, but did admit to the families of the victims that he was sorry, going on to bite part of his finger off as a way of apology. Yet his apology was shallow as he continued talking about how disabled people do not deserve to live. Finally, Satoshi was found guilty of the nineteen murders, along with a multitude of other counts. After being charged, Satoshi was informed that the prosecution was seeking the death penalty because of how inhumane the crime was. On March 16th, 2020, Satoshi was officially set to be executed.

 

As of 2022, Satoshi is still waiting on death row, and his crimes remain to be a grim reminder of how the stigmatization of individuals with disabilities is treated in society. The events leading up to the crime, while apparent, were ignored due to doctors deeming him sane, despite all of the evidence and even a confession from Satoshi himself that said otherwise. The 19 lives that were lost and have been left unnamed will forever be a reminder of Japan’s worst massacre since World War ll.