Mar 17, 2020 I Brent Swancer

The Creepy Tale of Japan’s Alice Murders

Some creepy and unsettling crimes have managed to become sort of shrouded in a certain murky realm of mystery in which it is sometimes hard to establish just what exactly has happened, or indeed if they ever really happened at all. These weird cases take on a life of their own, accruing a sense of being almost as much urban legend as anything else, only serving to make them more morbidly alluring. Certainly one such case is a bizarre string of surreal and sadistic killings that supposedly happened in Japan and is surrounded by baffling clues.

Between the years of 1999 and 2005 there supposedly began a strange series of murders in the country of Japan. The first of these was allegedly that of a woman by the name of Megumi Sasaki, a 29-year-old restaurant owner, who was known for being quite the social butterfly. On this evening, Sasaki went out to a party, something she was quite known for doing, and went missing on the way home. She allegedly left the party at 1 AM and was very, very drunk. Several people offered to give her a ride, but she refused and stumbled off on her own. Considering that she wasn’t driving and that Japan is considered to be a very safe country, with lots of people stumbling home or to the subway alone in a state less than sober, no one though much of it, but this would be the last time anyone saw her alive. In the morning, Sasaki’s body was found quite by accident by a couple out taking a stroll along a path through a wooded area not far from the victim’s house. According to the tale, Sasaki was totally torn apart, her entrails strewn all over the path and pieces of her body stuck up on branches like macabre Christmas tree ornaments. When police arrived they found a strange clue in a lone playing card that had been left at the scene, upon which was scrawled the word “Alice” in the victim’s own blood. So far, so creepy, but this was apparently only the beginning.

Next up was a singer in a local band by the name of Akio Yamane. It is said that on February 11, 2001, he suddenly and inexplicably went missing. When his worried girlfriend and bandmates went to go check up on him his apartment was found to be unoccupied, and no one had any idea of where he could have possibly gone. He hadn’t told anyone he was planning on taking a trip, and so the police were notified. When authorities took a look at the apartment’s security footage they allegedly found a hooded figure entering the premises through a side window and leaving with a large garbage bag. It was widely surmised that this was the killer, but a face could not be seen in the footage and so no arrests could be made. Making it all more bizarre is that Yamane’s body was supposedly found a week later outside a bar where he had often performed, with his vocal cords ripped out and a bullet hole to the head. Nearby was a playing card, a King of Diamonds, that had “Alice” inscribed on it in blood.

Not long after this killing we have the story of Sakura Kai, a teenage girl who was apparently abducted just one week from graduating high school. A massive search was launched for the missing girl, and she would not be found until 2 days later, when she was found dead in a shallow grave. Her corpse had allegedly been quite badly disfigured, her eyes removed, her mouth carved open, some portions of her skin removed, and oddly a crown had been actually sewn to her head. Jutting from the ground was a twisted branch that held on its end a single playing card, the Queen of Clubs this time, the word “Alice” splashed upon it with blood. This time the killer seems to have left a note behind, scrawled out in a childish, nearly illegible scrawl, reading, “Death is a distorted dream. She will forever rule. Ha! Ha! Those which die are the lucky ones.”

Rounding out this sinister series of brutal killings are the deaths of twin siblings Hayato and Hina Oshiro, who were purportedly found dead in their own beds on April 4, 2005. An autopsy would show that they had been injected with some lethal substance, but had died mostly peacefully considering that their bodies had not been maimed or mutilated in any way and there was no physical injury inflicted upon them. Eerily, a playing card had been cut in half, an Ace of Hearts, which had “Alice” written across it in blood. Strangely, each half was written in a different blood type, that of its respective victim. The mother of the children was supposedly so distraught that she killed herself not long after, and the father would sink into a severe depression from which he would never claw his way out of.

In all of these cases there were never any fingerprints found, nor any other evidence other than those bloody playing cards. It was also unusual in that, although this was obviously a serial killer there didn’t seem to be any consistent MO. The killer had killed very different types of people of different genders, ages, and backgrounds, and had done so ranging from brutality to simply killing them quietly in their sleep. This randomness is highly unusual for a serial killer, so it was difficult for the police to get a bead on it all. According to the story, they would eventually detain a vagrant named Yuuto Suzuki, who was found wearing a coat that had belonged to one of the victims, Akio Yamane. When asked where he had gotten it, the heavily intoxicated Suzuki would apparently tell police he had gotten it from a “Demon man with no face.” There was ultimately no evidence to hold him and he was released.

The case is said to be a very obscure and hidden series of killings, but it did make its way into a song based on it, called “Alice of Human Sacrifice.” All of this is a good story, but some have suggested that it is a little too good. There seems to be no real documentation on these killings and it has been suspected as being an urban legend, possibly based on the song rather than the other way around. It might also be influenced by a serial killer from Spain named Alfredo Galan, who was called the “Playing Card Killer” and killed at least 6 people in 2003 while also leaving playing cards behind. I live in Japan and have tried to search for more on this in Japanese, but although it is discussed in Japanese forums and true crime sites as if it is a real unsolved crime, there don't seem to be any actual records or documentation on it all that I can see, and almost everything on it says pretty much the exact same thing, with few added details. Some commenters have said that this might be because the killings were covered up, but why would they do this? If it is real, then what were the motives and what did that calling card and the name "Alice" mean, if anything? Who or what was the demon with no face?

In the end this is all remarkably creepy, but considering the lack of any added information or even actual news reports in either English of Japanese, it is probably good to take it all with a grain of salt. There is a very good chance that this is little more than a good creepypasta, but it has managed to become pervasive enough, and has just enough odd little details that it is quite intriguing. Whether it is mere urban legend spread by the Internet or not, the Alice killings are certainly a creepy little piece of lore that has managed to generate a good amount of discussion and scary tales.

Brent Swancer
Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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