On April 13, 2012, Kanae Kijima, 37, was sentenced to death by presiding judge, Kazuyuki Okuma, in Saitama district court, for three murders of three men: Yoshiyuki Oide, 41; Keizo Ando, 80; Hideki Maruyama, 53. The judge stated that “There is no room for leniency as the defendant committed the crimes for selfish purposes. She reiterated irrational excuses in court and did not show any remorse.”
Dubbed “Konkatsu Killer” by the media for the konkatsu (marriage-hunting) sites she frequented, she met the men on internet dating sites and poisoned them with carbon monoxide by burning charcoal briquettes after giving them sleeping pills. Kijima reportedly set up each death to look like a suicide: In the latest case, she’s suspected of putting a sedative in one man’s beef stew then poisoning him with carbon monoxide.
The trial featured two opposing narratives: prosecutors said she killed the men so she would not have to pay back the money they had given her. Kijima’s lawyer said they had either committed suicide because broke up with them or died by accident.
In her blog and dating profiles, Kajima portrayed herself as an accomplished cook with expensive tastes in clothes and jewelry. She cropped and altered photos of herself to make herself look more attractive. She’d usually pose as a prospective bride, but sometimes she played a nurse or therapist to better lure a specific target. In just a few years, she allegedly made $2.2 million off her various paramours.
When Kijima’s apartment in Tokyo was searched on Nov 3, 2009, police found vast amounts of medicine, including cold remedies and drugs known to induce drowsiness, that had been prescribed by at least 10 different doctors. Traces of different sleeping medicines were found in the bodies of three other men who died in similarly suspicious circumstances, and all of whom had met Kijima through lonely heart websites.
Yoshiyuki Oide, a 41-year-old from Tokyo, was found dead in August of carbon monoxide poisoning in his car, a common method of committing suicide in Japan, yet unusual because the keys were not in the locked vehicle and shortly after he had transferred Y5 million (£33,175) to his “fiancee.”
Keizo Ando, 80, was an invalid who died in May in a house fire. Kijima had served as his nurse, was seen at his home in Chiba Prefecture the day before the fire and had withdrawn money from his bank account.
Four additional victims are suspected: The naked body of Sadao Fukuyama, a shop manager, was found at his home in Chiba Prefecture after he had loaned Kijima Y74 million (£491,000), and another boyfriend, identified as 53-year-old Takao Terada, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning at his home in Tokyo in February. The body of Kazumi Yabe was discovered on the seabed in April after he apparently died in a fishing accident, Hideki Maruyama was found face-down in a stream in October and an unnamed journalist was run down by a train in May 2004.
Kajima was convicted of three murders (Hideki Maruyama, Keizo Ando, Yoshiyuki Oide) on April 13, 2012 and was sentenced to death.
Yoshiyuki Oide, 41, died Aug. 2009, carbon-monoxide
Keizo Ando, 80, died May 2009, house fire
Sadao Fukuyama, died
Takao Terada, 53, died Feb. 2009; carbon-monoxide
Kazumi Yabe, died, Apr. 2009
Hideki Maruyama, 53, died Oct. 2009
Unnamed journalist, May 2004; run down by a train