1852: Jose Forni, the first legal hanging in California 1952: Hard Luck Billy Cook

1970: Akira Nishiguchi, Vengeance Is Mine inspiration

December 11th, 2011 Headsman

On this date in 1970, Japanese serial killer Akira Nishiguchi was hanged for murder.

Born in 1925, Nishiguchi (English Wikipedia entry | Japanese) spent the war years in juvenile detention but emerged in time to work as an interpreter for the U.S. occupation.

He was arrested repeatedly (Japanese link) as a con man during the 1950s. Police had him pegged as a nonviolent serial fraud artist, but in 1963 he killed two drivers to steal from them, then went on the run in Tokyo.

For 78 terrifying days, his face — those fraud convictions came with fingerprints that identified him as the killer — gazed out of wanted posters as Nishiguchi scraped by in cheap hotels and desperate disguises, committing three more murders in the process. Finally, an 11-year-old girl recognized him, posing as a lawyer.

Nishiguchi is the subject of the 1979 Shohei Imamura film Vengeance Is Mine. (Review | Another)

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Arts and Literature,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,History,Japan,Murder,Serial Killers

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