Susukino Beheading: Why an Entire Japanese Family is Standing Trial

Unseen Japan
6 min readJun 11, 2024

Tamura Runa beheaded a man in a hotel in Sapporo — and her parents are now standing trial along with her. What happened?

Picture: kazukiatuko / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

By Jay Allen

Japan has less than 1,000 murders per year. That makes any murder here news. The case of 30-year-old Tamura Runa (田村瑠奈), however, has drawn particular interest. One reason is the grisly method of murder: beheading. The other is that Tamura’s parents, Osamu and Hiroko, are standing trial as co-conspirators.

We still don’t have the full picture of what happened or why. Here’s what we know so far — and how her parents are attempting to defend themselves.

Beheading in Sapporo’s red light district

Picture: まちゃー / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

Susukino in Hokkaido’s city of Sapporo is to Sapporo what Kabukicho is to Tokyo. Known as one of Japan’s top three red-light districts alongside Kabukicho and Fukuoka’s Nakasu, Susukino is home to a large number of restaurants, host clubs, cabaret clubs, love hotels, and other establishments.

Last year, it was also the scene of a grisly murder.