Possibly because he felt disciplining an undesirable employee would have been too awkward, one supervisor turned to poison instead.

On the evening of 9 November the 30-year-old manager of an izakaya (Japanese-style pub) in Himeji City served a rice bowl to a member of his staff. However, this was no ordinary serving of rice and vegetables. Inside were the seeds of the datura plant, also known as the devil’s trumpet.

This is a highly toxic plant has been used as a poison since ancient times and can trigger a variety of adverse side effects including amnesia, delirium, and pupils dilated to the point that normal light causes intense pain, sometimes for days. It is said that some traditional cultures with an intimate knowledge of the plant were able to utilize it without accidental death.

▼ The datura family of flowers are quite pretty but can trigger severe madness and nausea if handled improperly…much like my wife.

However, this bar manager was no shaman, and merely learned about the datura from a book before ordering some seeds online. According to his confession to police, the manager was unsatisfied with the lack of hustle in a part-time member of his staff, an unidentified 20-year-old university student.

And so, the young man ate up his laced rice bowl and went home to sleep, the next morning he woke up but felt extremely groggy and unable to do anything. An ambulance took him to the hospital where he took a week to recover.

Meanwhile, the owner of the izakaya stopped by the eatery to find out what happened to the young man. The manager told the owner about the datura seeds, which prompted the owner to call the police who then took the manager into custody.

Despite his use of a potentially lethal substance – inside a restaurant of all places – to intentionally poison a subordinate, the manager only received three years of probation. This means he will go free but must refrain from giving another person deadly madness seeds for another three years or else he will go to jail for 18 months.

Readers of the news were understandably outraged:

“The worst part is, the manager seemed to have thought he was doing a good thing.”
“I’ve heard of abusive companies, but this is a whole new level.”
“Why do part-time jobs suck so bad these days?”
“I wish they would say the name of the izakaya. I don’t want to eat at some place they play with poisons.”
“Did he study management from the yakuza or something?”
“It’s a mystery to me why he only got a suspended sentence.”

Indeed, it would appear the courts have a soft spot for management who try to boost morale by inflicting agony on their workers, much like the boss who got five years probation for killing her employee. But what’s more bafflingly sad is that both of these tragedies could have been easily avoided by a simple firing.

Source: Asahi Shimbun, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Wikipedia/Harry Rose from South West Rocks, Australia (cropped by SoraNews24)
Inset image: Wikipedia/H.Zell