76-year-old victim fought off first attempt on his life, succumbed to second.
It’s not unusual for parents to clash with their children over how much time or money they spend on their hobbies. Those arguments can be particularly heated if they’re about pastimes that the older generation is ready to write off as frivolous nonsense, such as watching anime or playing video games.
Often these issues resolve themselves either when the parent comes to accept that their child’s life is their own to live, or, alternatively, when the child becomes old enough to move out. Sadly, a family dispute over games and anime came to a much more violent end in Shiga Prefecture.
Since 50-year-old Toshio Ito’s mother passed away in 2016, it had just been him and his 76-year-old father, Kou, living in their home in the town of Otsu. Though Toshio had been acting as his father’s caretaker, the two had a strained relationship. The older Ito instituted a curfew for his son, and also repeatedly criticized him for his love of anime and video games.
Toshio became increasingly dissatisfied with the living arrangement, until the early hours of the morning on February 4. Entering his sleeping father’s bedroom shortly after 3 a.m., Toshio pressed a wet towel and pillow over Kou’s face and attempted to smother him. When he resisted, Toshio changed tactics and grabbed a length of electrical cord that was within arm’s reach and used it to strangle his father.
Toshio’s trial began this week, though since he has already admitted to killing his father, the proceedings are more to determine the extent of his legal culpability and the appropriate punishment. The defense has asked that the extenuating circumstances of the relationship be taken into account, claiming that Kou’s overbearing treatment of his son left Toshio desperate to end their cohabitation, but considering Japan’s customary hard-line stance against violent crime, the request is likely to earn him little, if any, clemency.