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Japan’s ‘too beautiful’ internet sensation product of dark industry

Yuka Takaoka
Yuka Takaoka (Twitter)

TOKYO (TR) – Last week, Yuka Takaoka, 21, became an internet sensation in Japan.

After she was arrested for allegedly using a kitchen knife to stab her boyfriend, who is a bar host, at their residence in Shinjuku Ward on May 23, news footage showed her flashing an evil grin beneath her large glasses inside the back seat of a patrol car as she was taken from the scene.

As well, a pair of images — both are graphic (photo 1 and photo 2) — show her seated on the floor of the building’s lobby, her hands and legs covered in blood, upon the arrival of police. In one, she simultaneously talks on the telephone and smokes a cigarette with her boyfriend, his abdomen sliced open, collapsed behind her.

The victim was transported to a hospital where he remains in serious condition, police said at the time.

Adding to the intrigue was her comment to police. “Since I loved him so much, I just couldn’t help it,” said Takaoka, who was accused of attempted murder. “After killing [him], I, too, wanted to die.”

Social media users found the whole thing — including Takaoka’s appearance — highly compelling. On Instagram, she garnered tremendous attention as the “too beautiful criminal.”

A subsequent report said that a problem in their relationship led to the incident. But, as evening tabloid Tokyo Sports (May 29) reports, the whole story is far darker.

Until the middle of this month, Takaoka was employed as the manager of a so-called “girl’s bar,” which is a type of hostess club. Last October, she met her boyfriend, whose club is located in the Kabukicho red-light district.

Yuka Takaoka
Yuka Takaoka managed a girl’s bar in Kabukicho

Her boyfriend is popular at his club. In a tweet on April 25, he boasted that he ranked third among hosts at the club. The paper speculates that Takaoka was one factor in his climb to near the top. They started living together three days before the incident, according to a source in Kabukicho.

“While looking at his smartphone, she saw him in an intimate photograph with another woman,” the source says. “She appears to have stabbed him as he slept.”

Running away without paying

The paper emphasizes the date of the tweet, which was made the day the club tabulated sales to create the rankings. Around this time, things become hectic for the average host.

“For this month, the 24th was the day,” the aforementioned source continues, referring to the day before the incident. “On that day, if you don’t collect what you are owed from customers, it will not be tabulated. Some women have a pattern of partying hard until that date and running away without paying.”

The toilet could be their destination. There, they might slash their wrists with a knife. “After she is taken away in an ambulance, the collection of money cannot take place,” the aforementioned source says. “Therefore, a host will do well to avoid women with possible mental health issues.”

According to Tokyo Sports, a host may have several customers with whom he shares a residence.

Building with a history

The apartment building where the incident took place is located east of Kabukicho. In addition to being the former home of the wife of a real estate magnate who died under suspicion circumstances last year, it has an especially dark past, a real estate executive tells the paper.

“Hosts, hostesses and sex workers lives in the units,” the source says. “On the road outside, you’ll see guys fighting with their girlfriends. Several years ago, a women who was in massive debt to a host committed suicide by leaping to her death. Another stabbing incident also took place.”

Businesses in Kabukicho have softened its infamously rough image in line with the boom in foreign tourists over the past few years. But, with eight women having committed suicide or attempted to do so in Kabukicho over the course of one month last year, Tokyo Sports concludes that the red-light district is still fraught with more dangers than meets the eye.