Authorities keeping a close eye on parks in Narashina City for the repeat offender.

On 2 May police in Chiba Prefecture issued a warning to all residents that a middle-aged man is asking children to play onigokko with him with the condition that if they refuse he will kill them. Onigokko is a childhood game identical to tag in which one person is the oni who must touch another player so that they then become the oni, the equivalent to being “it” in tag.

Two incidents occurred on 26 and 27 April at around 3:20 p.m. in Narashino City. While a second-grade girl was walking home from school, a man described as in his 30s, average height, average build, and wearing a white hat called out to her.

“Let’s play tag,” he suggested adding, “If you don’t, I’ll kill you.” However, the suspect seemed to play a version of tag wherein he gave her a head-start by closing his eyes and counting to 20. The girl would then seize this opportunity to escape and ran straight home.

On 28 April, the student told her guardian about the incident and a police report was filed. Narashino police are still on the lookout for the suspect and have stepped up patrols of the area.

Although no one was harmed, readers of the news couldn’t help but be chilled to the bone by it.

“That’s just f***ed up.”
“It’s like something from a horror movie.”
“He’s just going to find another child. I hope they catch him soon.”
“That’s so weird, it makes me wonder if the girl didn’t make it up. I hope she did.”
“I wonder what would have happened if she agreed to play.”

The inexplicable nature of the threat is definitely unsettling in that the suspect is suggesting a game of unending pursuit. Even after the girl runs away, there is a lingering possibility that the game is still “on” in the mind of the suspect, who might still be out there stalking her.

But now it is the police who are “it” in this game, and hopefully they can end it before anything truly bad happens. Best case scenario; it only further hurts the International Sports Onigokko Federation‘s already microscopic chances of being accepted to the 2020 Olympic games.

Source: Zenkoku Anzen-Anshin Mail, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso