Police officers arrive to find man collapsed and bleeding.

Right across the street from Ikebukuro Station, one of the busiest rail hubs in Tokyo, is a branch of electronics megastore Bic Camera. The first floor is dominated by smartphones, since they’re high margin items that always draw in browsers, but on the afternoon of March 28 something else was commanding passersby’s attention.

A man, estimated to be about 40 years old, was standing in front of the store and brandishing a kitchen knife. However, he wasn’t trying to rob the store, nor had he pulled out the weapon with malicious intent towards anyone else. Instead, he was shouting “I’ll slice open my stomach!”

The police were called, but before they arrived the man went through with his self-directed threat, and the officers found the man collapsed on the ground and bleeding from his stomach. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital for emergency medical treatment, and thanks to their quick work the man’s life is no longer in any danger.

▼ Video from the scene taken after the police and paramedics arrived


While suicide is something that happens far too often in Japan, the man’s unusual methodology had numerous online commenters wondering if he’d been planning to commit seppuku (also known as “harakiri”), the historical Japanese way of ending one’s own life. However, the modern and mundane location in which the incident took place suggests that the man’s actions stem more from contemporary mental instability than a warped view of samurai-era ideals.

Detectives are attempting to determine the man’s identity from his belongings he had on him at the time, and plan to question him further once he recovers, at which time he may be facing charges of violating Japan’s Sword and Firearm Control Law.

If you or someone you know is in Japan and having suicidal thoughts, there are people here to help. Click here for more info.

Sources: NHK News Web via Jin, Yahoo! Japan News/Sports Hochi via Hachima Kiko, Livedoor News/Mag2 News
Top image: Wikipedia/Ytoyoda
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.