‘Possessed’ killer stabbed sisters to remember ‘feeling’ of murdering his mother

Japanese serial killer Yukio Yamaji was still a teenager when he brutally beat his mother to death with a metal baseball bat.

Because of his youth and unfortunate family circumstances, the killer was committed to juvenile detention for just three years before he was released, with authorities thinking he was a changed man.

It soon became clear this was not the case.

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The man who would eventually go on to earn the nickname 'the Osaka Sister Killer' was just 16 when he turned himself into police for killing his mother in their apartment in Yamaguchi, Japan.

His motive was simple, he explained: "She did not tell me what she would use her borrowed money for," and "She complained about my father," seemed to be sufficient reasons for murder in his eyes.

The young boy was sentenced to three years in a juvenile detention school after the courts determined it was 'possible to reform him' because of how young he was, and because of unfortunate family circumstances, including the death of his father in 1995, and the financial struggles his family faced.

While at the school he made good use of his time, gaining a number of qualifications, and was subjected to psychological tests which revealed he had a developmental disorder that prevented him from forming lasting relationships.

Three years after he was committed, he emerged a free man.

When Yamaji was released back into the world, he seemed a changed man. Shortly before his release, he told his lawyer, Shingo Uchiyama, that he was sorry for killing his mother and added that "it could not be helped".

Upon his release, Yamaji was put on probation and housed in a correction and protection facility, where he celebrated his coming-of-age ceremony, a Japanese tradition that marks the moment young people reach maturity.

Just three months after the ceremony he vanished, sealing the fate of two more innocent women.

On November 17 in 2005, just five years after Yamaji's mother died, two bodies were discovered in an apartment building that had caught alight.

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Asuka Uehara, 27, and her 19-year-old sister, Chihiro had both been raped before being stabbed in their chests and faces with a butcher knife.

When Yamaji, a resident in the same apartment block, began to draw suspicion, he was brought in for questioning by police and immediately confessed.

He told police: "I can’t forget the feelings I felt when I killed my mother and I wanted to see blood."

In May 2006, Yamaji plead guilty to the murders after the prosecution accused him of committing the murders for nothing but pleasure, and was sentenced to death shortly afterwards.

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Prior to his sentencing he said: "Obviously, I will be sentenced to death. I am not afraid of death."

His defence counsel added: "He has no desire to live and his feelings do not extent to the life of another person, either.

"It will probably be impossible for him to sincerely repent from the bottom of his heart."

While sentencing him, the judge said: "the defendant is demonically possessed with killing people".

It is 13 years ago today, on July 28 in 2009, that Yamaji was executed at the age of 25, making him the youngest murderer to be put to death in Japan since 1972.

Japan still performs capital punishment, mostly reserved for serial killers like Yamaji.

Around 80% of the country supports the continued use of the death penalty, according to a 2020 poll.

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