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7 dead, 17 wounded in Akihabara attack

Katō, on the right, being arrested Shoppers in Akihabara, Japan's otaku mecca, were shocked on Sunday afternoon when a man crashed a truck into a crowd of people, injuring up to six people. He proceeded to leave the car and stab innocent bystanders with a knife, resulting in at least 17 wounded victims and 7 deaths.

Tomohiro Katō, a 25-year-old Japanese man, was soon arrested and admitted his guilt. He allegedly posted a message on an anonymous mobile phone bulletin board seven hours before the incident, titled "I Will Kill People in Akihabara" and reading, "I will come barging in with a vehicle, and if I can't use the vehicle, I will use a knife. Farewell, everyone." Sources say that his only reason for the attack was that he was "tired of life."

According to 47 News, Katsuhiko Nakamura (male, 74 years old), Kazunori Fujino (male, 19), Kasuhiro Koiwa (male, 47), Naoki Miyamoto (male, 31), Takahiro Kawaguchi (male, 19), Mai Mutō (female, 21), and Mitsuru Matsui (male, 33) are confirmed dead.

This is really some stunning stuff. Beyond the sheer madness of a man killing seven people because he was "tired of life," this event will surely make a major dent in Akihabara's image. Just as Japan's iconic otaku shopping center was reeling from police crackdowns on things like pop idols and cosplayers, this man has driven his truck straight through a carefully held-up image of decency and safety. Now American tourists will have to remember that Akihabara isn't just some magical land of otaku dreams, but a place just as flawed and imperfect as any other.

As Patrick Macias nicely put it, "This guy just killed Akihabara the way Charles Manson killed the sixties. And we're all under arrest now..."

[via Anime News Network and Patrick Macias]

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