Tag Archives: 服部剛丈

October 17

17 Oct

I came to Japan on 1990 October 17.
Nineteen years ago today.

Last year on this date I wrote a post about some of changes I’ve seen in Japan since I first arrived (Click here to read it).

==================

Also, seventeen years ago today, 服部剛丈 (Yoshihiro Hattori) died.

Do you know about his story? It’s quite tragic.
And it was big news when he was shot and killed in America in 1992…at least here in Japan.

He was a sixteen year old Japanese exchange student in Louisiana, America and on the evening of (1992) October 17 he and a friend went to a Halloween party that they were invited to.

They mistakenly went to the wrong address and when they rang the doorbell he was fatally shot by the homeowner who claimed in court that he thought Yoshihiro was a criminal trespasser.

The home-owner, Rodney Peairs, pointed his gun at Yoshihiro and said “Freeze!”.
Obviously, not familiar with that command in English, Yoshihiro walked towards Mr. Peairs and said “We’re here for the party”, at which point Mr. Peairs panicked and shot the teen.

This case became big news in Japan at the time. I remember it was on the news constantly.
What made it even more shocking to the Japanese people was that the U.S. courts ruled that Rodney Peairs was within his rights to shoot Yoshihiro Hattori under Louisiana’s law and they acquitted him of all charges.

Also shocking to Japanese was shortly after this case there were two more cases of Japanese exchange students being shot in America.
A TV reporter at that time said that if Japanese must travel to America they should be sure to understand the phrase “Freeze!” lest they become the next victim of America’s “sick gun-obsessed society”.