When it comes to horror, there are multiple tropes that are regularly used. Among them are the infamous killer clowns. Pop culture history is littered with different variations of them. A few more well known ones would be Pennywise from “IT” and the Joker from “Batman”. This year, on Halloween (31st October), a killer clown came to life in Japan.
24-year-old Kyota Hattori boarded a train and attempted to murder its passengers. 17 people were injured, while others managed to escape. Eyewitnesses claim he was dressed similarly to the Joker with a purple suit and a green shirt. A few friends have shared their own suspicions for the change in Kyota’s behaviour.
Kyota boarded a train bound for Shinjuku on Tokyo’s Keio line amid many others who were off to celebrate Halloween. While on the train, he sprayed pesticide into a 72-year-old man’s eyes before stabbing him in the chest with a kitchen knife. Japanese media reported him in critical condition as the knife pierced his lung. Kyota also set a train carriage on fire by pouring lighter fluid on the seats. 16 others sustained minor injuries and smoke inhalation from the blaze.
Several things inspired his attack. According to Nikkei Asia, Kyota adores Batman’s arch nemesis, the Joker. He supposedly started planning his murderous attempt in June, aiming to be sentenced to death. Kyota was quoted as saying he “wanted to kill people and be given the death penalty”. After he was arrested, Kyota expressed regret at not being able to kill anyone in the attack.
Kyota told the police that things were “not going well with work and friends”. He wanted to end things, but could not bring himself to do it. As such, he decided to create an incident which would end with a death penalty. Kyota also explained he had learnt from a similar incident which happened in August. 10 passengers had been stabbed and slashed on the Odakyu Electric Railway which earned it the name, the Odakyo incident.
Those who knew Kyota were shocked by the incident. According to them, Kyota had been very different before the attack. Many claimed he was a cheerful but ordinary guy. Most couldn’t imagine him attempting murder and struggled to reconcile the viral image of him smoking in the train car with the person they knew.
One classmate revealed their speculation for Kyota’s change. Kyota had apparently been in a stable relationship with a girl. However, she ended up marrying someone else. Kyota was also fired after taking photos of female customers when he worked at a comic café. A photo from his past showed a sunny smile which is a far cry from the man seen on the train.
Kyota likely broken under the strain of everything and it’s unfortunate he decided to end his life by resorting to a murder spree instead of seeking help. Can there be redemption for people like him? For now, his verdict is undecided as police continue to investigate.