Imagine if someone saved you from a scary attacker and then offered to walk you home. Surely you’d see them as a total hero, right? Well, in this famous and upsetting case from the 1980s, a pretty Japanese teenager with a bright future at first believed that a white Knight had rescued her from a very scary person. Unfortunately, her rescuer was someone truly nightmarish, and she’d spend the next 44 days at the mercy of a huge group of complete monsters. So here’s what happened.
Now you might be more familiar with Japan as the home of delicious ramen, lost in translation, Samurai, and Pokemon. But like anywhere else, it has a dark side, too. And nothing shows that better than this extremely shocking case. On January 23, 1989, the police of Misato in Japan had picked up two despicable teenagers for questioning. Hiroshi Maano and Joe Agura had allegedly violated a woman in her late teens, and they were now even more suspicious because the cops had found women’s underwear at their homes.
The investigators also wanted to know if Hiroshi was connected to a double homicide of a woman and her little son. But Hiroshi thought that the cops were accusing him of something else entirely. He also thought that Joe had confessed about this, so he told the cops where to find a body that was in Tokyo. The corps traveled to Tokyo to see if this claim was true, but what they discovered there, in a big drum container filled with concrete, would shock everybody for a long time to come. It was the body of a missing teenager, and she was the last person anyone would expect to be mixed up with a total creep like Hiroshi.
Junko Fruita was almost too good to be true. As a middle child with two brothers, she worked hard at school and kept up excellent grades. She didn’t drink and always refused drugs. She had a pretty great job lined up for when she left school at a plastics molding factory where she already worked in the evenings. She was also very pretty, but she just wasn’t interested in any of the attention caused by her attractiveness.
Different sources suggest that this led to Hiroshi, who went to the same school as Junko and tried to ask her out. And when he was rejected, well, it wasn’t good. The trouble is, some guys don’t like to be told no, and Hiroshi took Jungkook’s rejection very personally. So this has been called a possible reason behind everything that happened to Yang Kyung next. But Hiroshi already had a horrible reputation.
There was a very good reason why the cops picked him up in 1989. He was already a disgusting person then, and the people he hung out with were just as bad. But what he and his friends ended up doing to poor Yanku made them into monsters.
On November 25, 1988, Yonko was innocent, riding her bike along some back streets after a day at high school when a total weirdo kicked her over. Just as things looked bad for her, Hiroshi Miyano appeared and seemed to rescue her. Once Hiroshi appeared, the weirdo immediately ran away, and Hiroshi offered to walk Yonko home to make sure she was safe on those back streets. But that would be the last time anyone ever saw her alive, because this weirdo was Minato, one of Hiroshi’s three friends. I mean, they hung out as a game, and colliding with Yanko’s bike was all part of a sick trap to capture her.
What they did to her next was unbelievably horrifying.
By November 27, 1988, Yonko’s mom and dad were incredibly worried about their responsible, reliable daughter. They must have been even more shocked when they received a phone call from her and she told them that she had run away. She was staying with friends and not to worry, Junko insisted that they stopped the police from looking for her. Even though I think that sounds really out of character, her parents did what she said, and the police also dropped the search for her. But of course, the truth behind that phone call was so much worse because Jenko had been kidnapped by four evil men.
You probably have a pretty good idea about what they would have wanted her for. As Hiroshi had walked her home, he led her to a disused warehouse. He told her not to fight back because he was part of the Japanese gang called the Yakuza. Now he and his friends were involved with Yakuza, but only as very low ranking Shimura. Even so, they were being scary enough to terrify poor Junko into doing whatever they wanted.
They also threatened to hurt her family if she didn’t obey them. At first, Hiroshi had done awful things to her in that warehouse where he led her, and then in a hotel close by, he’d called a friend to visit and even boasted about what he was doing. Hiroshi and his Chimpara buddies had already had a disgusting habit of frequently kidnapping and violating random women together. Eventually, Hiroshi forced Yanko to come to an apartment belonging to his buddy Shin Shi Minata’s parents. Those parents would drop by and visit their equally terrifying son.
Even though his mom and dad saw what was happening to poor Junko, they never dared to lift a finger to help. In some ways, I really can’t blame them. The four guys were absolutely brutal and seemed to have no empathy or humanity whatsoever. They began to bring other gangsters to see and use poor Junko, sometimes as many as twelve a day. But although that was bad enough, it was what else they began to do to her constantly, all day long, that makes this case the most horrifying.
They used weird objects on her. They did things that were so inhuman that it doesn’t seem physically possible for anyone to inflict it on another person. And the situation only got worse for her each day. A film from 2004 called Concrete is closely based on Sartura’s horrible experience and graphically shows what she went through. So if you’re curious for more details, that’s one place to look.
There are also at least three books about this case and a manga adaptation called 17 Thigh, which is loosely based on Junko’s story. But I can say that these monsters force Junko to eat live cockroaches starved her, eventually only giving her a little milk to survive on. She was made to inhale lighter fluid, smoke lots of cigarettes at once, and the men used worse and worse objects to inflict complete agony. They constantly humiliated her, too, and I can’t even begin to understand how they could do any of it. It’s so incredibly sick.
Those visits from other twisted gang members continued to happen until she became too disfigured for even them to stand looking at her. She was slowly becoming destroyed, but somehow Junko just kept on living. Although she probably knew she couldn’t survive this treatment for much longer, she probably understood that she had to make a break for it and escape. And at one point, she had exactly that chance if she could be brave enough.
On the 20th day, since they’d taken Jenko off the streets, the four sickos were in a drunken stupor at Minado’s apartment after a long night of drinking and partying. For a little while, those monsters had no idea what was going on, and nobody was keeping watch on her. Despite how injured she already was, Junko bravely seized that one chance to get help and escape. With what must have been a lot of effort and courage, Junko was able to get to a phone. She immediately tried to call the police.
Unfortunately, one of those inhumane sickos must have woken up at the worst moment. He stopped Yonko before she could finish making that vital call. And of course, she was even more badly punished for trying to do that. Injuries, including those inflicted by setting lighter fluid on fire, meant she could barely walk anymore and had to crawl around the apartment. For the next 20 days, Yonko just kept getting weaker and weaker.
Soon she could barely walk or move, and the constant injuries were making her body shut down altogether. Because of her brutal internal injuries, she couldn’t even eat without throwing up. The sickos also made her sleep out on the balcony in the middle of winter. Frankly, it’s amazing she survived as long as she did, as it seemed unlikely they’d ever free her, and her health got worse and worse. She would demand that they simply end it or get it over with so she wouldn’t be released from her torment until she did something pretty remarkable.
On January 4, 1998, these monsters challenged her to a game of Mahjong Solitaire, and Junko completely beat them at it. Think about that. Despite all of the horrible injuries, violations, and trauma. Despite everything she had been put through, she was still smart enough to defeat them. I mean, it could have been a total trick on their part, but she still won, which they weren’t happy about at all.
That victory, though satisfying, just led to 2 hours of very intense pain and unimaginable torture. I can’t even get into it here. It’s so bad. By the time they’d finished hurting her, she was far too gone to even react to the pain. In the end, they used heavy dumbbells to hurt her until she stopped moving entirely.