Japan: Attacker in 'Joker' Outfit Injures at Least 17 on Stabbing, Arson Spree

A Japanese man in a Joker costume rampaged through a Tokyo train on Sunday stabbing several people with a knife and starting a small fire in at least one cabin that injured additional passengers, Kyodo News reported.

A man dressed in a green shirt and purple suit in an apparent nod to the Joker villain from the Batman comic books stabbed several people on a limited express train bound for a popular district in Tokyo on the evening of October 31.

“Of the 17 injured people, a man in his 70s remains in critical condition after allegedly being stabbed by [the suspect] in the chest as the Keio Line train was moving around 8 p.m.,” Kyodo News reported on November 1. “The suspect also allegedly started a fire on the train using lighter fluid.”

“The other 16 victims aged between their teens to their 60s sustained minor injuries, including smoke inhalation,” according to the Japanese news agency.

The train’s operator carried out an emergency stop at a station in western Tokyo after which passengers were seen climbing out of the train’s windows to escape the carnage. Dozens of firefighters descended on the scene and successfully put out the train’s fire within half an hour. Tokyo Police subsequently arrived at the station and arrested Kyota Hattori, 24, on suspicion of attempted murder for the alleged acts of stabbing and arson.


“Investigative sources and eyewitnesses said the suspect was brandishing what looked like a kitchen knife and holding a plastic bottle in his other hand as he walked through the train,” Kyodo News reported on October 31. “After riding the train in the eighth car from the front and stabbing the man in his 70s, Hattori moved to the sixth car where he scattered the fluid and burnt a seat. The train then filled with smoke.”

Investigators for the Tokyo Police quoted Hattori as saying he “wanted to kill people and be given the death penalty” adding that he “hoped to do so if he killed two or more people.” Hatori further stated that he “had scattered lighter fluid” on the train.

Kyodo News reported on November 1 that Hattori “told the police he chose a limited express train bound for the city center that makes few stops because it is generally crowded with passengers.”

Investigators said the suspect “expressed regret at failing to kill anyone in the attack.”

In a separate incident on October 15, a man stabbed two other men at Tokyo Metro Co.’s J.R. Ueno Station. Two months earlier, in August, a man sprayed sulfuric acid onto the face of another man at a Tokyo Metro Co.’s Shirokane-Takanawa Station.

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