Regional differences in homicide patterns in five areas of Japan

Nobuhide Hata, Yoshihiko Kominato, Ichiro Shimada, Hisao Takizawa, Takashi Fujikura, Masahiko Morita, Masato Funayama, Naofumi Yoshioka, Kouhei Touda, Kunio Gonmori, Shogo Misawa, Yuriko Sakairi, Namiko Sakamoto, Kozo Tanno, Myo Thaik-Oo, Masahiro Kiuchi, Yoshio Fukumoto, Yayoi Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This article describes regional differences in the homicide patterns which occurred in Sapporo City and the surrounding area, and in Akita, Ibaraki, Chiba and Toyama prefectures in Japan. Information collected from each case of homicide included factors such as age, sex of the victim and assailant, causes of death, disposition of the offender, relationship between assailant and victim, reasons for criminal action, et al. The statistical features of homicidal episodes among the five different regions showed considerable variation, as follows. The mean death rates for homicide (number of victims per 100,000 of population) during the period 1986-1995 were 0.44 (Sapporo), 0.8 (Akita), 0.58 (Toyama), 0.7 (Ibaraki) and 0.75 (Chiba), respectively. Close family relationship between the victim and assailant was observed in the homicidal acts which occurred in Sapporo, Akita and Toyama. Assailant's relationship to victim was commonly extra-familial in Ibaraki and Chiba-neighboring megalopolis Tokyo, where some events of murder by a foreigner occurred. Homicide by female assailant, murder by mentally abnormal killers and homicide-suicide events were closely associated with family members. And these factors contributed to the considerable number of victims in Sapporo, Akita and Toyama. But, this close family relationship of the victim to the assailant did not correspond with the elevation in the number of deaths, and it was rather inversely related to the higher death rates recognized in Ibaraki and Chiba. This comparative study suggested that rapid urbanization considerably affects regional differences in homicide patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-55
Number of pages12
JournalLegal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Criminology
  • Epidemiology
  • Homicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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