Photo: SoraNews24
crime

Altercation between train otaku leaves one with fractured skull, other in custody

32 Comments
By SoraNews24

The idea of train photography seems like an idyllic pastime spent on romantic rural landscapes watching majestic machines glide into their appointed stops. But time and time again, the reality appears to be quite the opposite, with reports of rude behavior as competing photographers shove and curse at each other on packed platforms.

And on April 25 tensions among the photographing sect of train otaku known as toritestu went too far and left one young man with a serious head injury and another in custody for the assault.

The incident took place on the platform of JR Nishi-Kawaguchi Station in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture. About 10 train enthusiasts were trying to take pictures of an approaching rapid-transit train on a very limited run to the Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture for its annual Wisteria Festival.

However, the 19-year-old suspect took issue with the place a junior high school student was standing to take his own pictures and told him to move. When the boy refused, the suspect began to shove and threaten him.

It was probably not the best place to engage in such violent and potential criminal behavior though, as there was no shortage of cameras within a two-meter radius. Another junior high student who was there to capture the train on film instead turned his camera on the altercation.

After about 40 seconds, the suspect noticed the camera and struck the boy who was filming, causing him to fall to the ground and fracture his skull. This caused the suspect and his companions to flee the scene.

That same day, news of the assault was widely reported and the video that the victim took began to circulate on social media. Then, on April 27, the suspect was spotted by an employee of Nishi-Kawaguchi Station and turned over to police.

▼ News report about the arrest

The suspect said he was on his way to turn himself in at the time because he saw all the coverage and knew he couldn’t hide. However, he denied the charges against him, telling police: “I didn’t intend to knock him down.”

While the lack of intent may help his case, netizens were more concerned that his age would ultimately let him off the hook. Although the age of adulthood will be lowered from 20 to 18 in 2022, the 19-year-old company employee is still technically a minor, which will affect his processing and criminal record in the future.

“The fact that he’s 19 is the most depressing part.”

“If his birthday is soon, can they hold off until then?”

“He basically said that he would have kept hiding if he weren’t on the news, isn’t that intent to obstruct a police investigation?”

“The guy is an adult by every standard except a number, and yet he is given all the benefits of a child.”

“At least he’ll be fired.”

“Wha? 19 is still a minor?!”

“It’s time to just outlaw photographing trains. Nothing good comes of it.”

This incident certainly hasn’t done anything to endear the general public to toritetsu. In fact, not a single comment expressed surprise that such an assault happened among members of this community.

It’s a shame, because the hobby in and of itself is quite charming and can lead to some really magical moments. Sadly, it may take restrictions either from the government or train companies to help bring it back to that state before things get even worse.

Sources: Nippon TV, FNN, Tokyo Shimbun, Hachima Kiko, Itai News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Woman kills self jumping onto train tracks, delay causes conductor to jump off tracks at other station

-- Nagoya man goes to bars, shows everyone 20 million yen; you’ll totally believe what happens next

-- Australian arrested at Narita Airport for graffiti on Japanese train in Tokyo

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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A bully picking on kids. How wonderful, NOT!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

-It’s time to just outlaw photographing trains. Nothing good comes of it.

That has to be the dumbest thing I've read for a while. What is it with people today wanting to ban things for everyone over single incidents?

I've always found trainspotters to be very pleasant people, and that includes in Japan.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

GBR48,

Agreed. Usually a totally harmless pursuit, one incidence of violence means nothing. Total overreaction by the person quoted.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

-It’s time to just outlaw photographing trains. Nothing good comes of it

Sarcasm!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Violent irrational people can be found everywhere, in anything where people can become passionate about they will eventually cause problems. Hopefully the victim will recover completely soon.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

That video was clickbait. Here's the video taken by the victim:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_Czm8shrwA

Then, on April 27, the suspect was spotted by an employee of Nishi-Kawaguchi Station and turned over to police.

As they say, the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime.

“Wha? 19 is still a minor?!”

Didn't they change the laws to lower the age?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

“I didn’t intend to knock him down.”

Ah, so then you didn't assault and knock him over. It's like a murderer who says, "I didn't intend to kill him/her" -- the person is still dead at your hands.

Pukey2: "Didn't they change the laws to lower the age?"

Lip-service law.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If these Train otaku insist on behaving like wild animals, then train company should construct cages on the platform at acceptable distance from each other. And place one of these animals per cage only and lock it so that they do not escape till the train is gone, the rest kicked off the platform

2 ( +4 / -2 )

However, the 19-year-old suspect took issue with the place a junior high school student was standing to take his own pictures and told him to move. When the boy refused, the suspect began to shove and threaten him.

The guy could've just moved to a better place instead or just carry a mono-pod for action cameras or phones.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

From my witnessing, they tend to be friendly with one another. It is hard to find comrades that have the same unique interest as you. It is usually when enthusiasts and non enthusiasts share the same space. However, in Japan, it seems to be with enthusiasts of different ages. I wonder if it is the whole sempai/kohai and school bullying issue!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sounds like trailer park boys of Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

ToshihiroToday  11:44 am JST

The guy could've just moved to a better place instead or just carry a mono-pod for action cameras or phones.

True, this would diffuse any potential situation right from the start, and is recommended even if you're in the right and someone else is wrong.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

tensions among the photographing sect of train otaku known as *toritestu*** **went too far

This incident certainly hasn’t done anything to endear the general public to toritetsu

That’s what you call an each way bet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dork. Get a girlfriend instead and stop picking on kids already.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Bus photography is safer!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When nerds attack each other.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@ Numan

Bus photography is safer!

But everybody knows that bus spotting is for nerds... ;)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

kyushubill

When nerds attack each other.

That was my thought when I saw the headline. However, according to the article, there was only one violent moron who attacked people.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A harmless hobby, for the most part. But, as with any forms of escapism, there will always be some who spoil it for others.

The solutions is simple. Ban rapid transit trains.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Jail forever for this weirdo, please.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I know it’s a harmless hobby but I always imagine a horde of zombies….

”traaaaaaiinnns”

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A storm in a teacup

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Dork. Get a girlfriend instead and stop picking on kids already.

He'll probably smash her skull open too

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Train spotting is fine, assault is not.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Weirdos! An "only in Japan" kind of story.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The attacker was a total thug. And he seemed to have a gang of friends. The dark side of otaku.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have seen a few altercations between train otaku before, look really pathetic but I imagine a fall can be dangerous.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The big question in my mind is why did they choose Nishi Kawaguchi station for trainspotting. Maybe it has changed, but it used to have a bit of a reputation for interesting activities on one side of the station.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don’t understand that scene at all and their crazy behavior. Isn’t it sufficient to only download such a landscape, scenery or train photo, when officially taken and published by a professional or JR ordered photographer etc.? There are hundreds of photos available, with JR trains, wisteria, nice landscape and such, for example. In the Internet and also in several printed magazines or commercial JR brochures directly before your nose at your train seat. And for me even more generally disturbing, why do they love trains? Normally you would surely tend more to love girls, women, idols, supermodels and the like, wouldn’t you? lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jail forever for this weirdo, please.

A life sentence for common assault... a bit harsh?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The aggressor seems to be overcompensating for something(!), judging by the size of the enormous lens seen at 0':41" in the youtube video link provided by 'Pukey2'...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A life sentence for common assault... a bit harsh?

No, keep him away from the general population.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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