TOKYO (TR) – “Sorry, I’m alive and back.”
In May, Yuka Takaoka, 21, was arrested for allegedly using a kitchen knife to stab her boyfriend, who is a bar host, inside her fifth-floor residence in Shinjuku Ward.
Takaoka then became a social media sensation. Users found the situation — including Takaoka’s appearance and alleged actions — highly compelling.
However, very little information emerged about the condition of the victim, 20, who was transported to a hospital in serious condition.
At least that was the case until July 1, when a bar host going by the handle @runaruna_000000 tweeted the above message. He added in a later tweet, “Since I was stabbed in the liver, I can’t drink.”
A reporter writing for the site of weekly tabloid Shukan Post caught up with host, who was indeed the victim in the Takaoka case — and, perhaps surprisingly, he holds no resentment toward the suspect.
“I got quite thin”
The magazine’s reporter noted the host, wearing ripped jeans and a t-shirt, appears a lot younger in person than how he presents himself in his prolific tweeting.
“It took five days for me to regain consciousness,” said the host, who works at bar Fusion by Youth in the Kabukicho red-light district under the name Phoenix Luna.
Doctors told him that his chances of survival were 20 percent upon arrival at the hospital, but he beat the odds.
“At first, I had no voice so speaking was not possible, and I was bedridden, so I couldn’t walk alone for a while,” he added. “I also couldn’t eat after the incident, and I got quite thin. When I thought back to when I was stabbed and considered what I’d do in the future, I was unable to sleep due to anxiety and fear. And [for that], I received counseling.”
Covered in blood
At around 4:00 p.m. on May 23, officers arriving at the scene found Takaoka seated on the floor of the building’s lobby, her hands and legs covered in blood.
In one image that emerged online later, she simultaneously talks on the telephone and smokes a cigarette with her aforementioned boyfriend, his abdomen sliced open, collapsed behind her atop a blood-smeared floor.
Adding to the mix was news footage that 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. In describing her motive, Takaoka initially told police, “Since I loved him so much, I just couldn’t help it.”
Soon after, social media users gravitated to her behavior — and this interest was fueled by her provocative quotes provided to the police.
“I did not want to go anywhere, so I sat down at the outside staircase,” she reportedly said. “I did not call emergency services because I intended to die after watching him die from the stabbing.”
On Takaoka’s Instagram account, she posted images of her dressed as anime characters. After the incident, she garnered tremendous attention online as the “too beautiful attempted murder suspect.”
A native of Tochigi Prefecture, Phoenix Luna wound up in an institution as an elementary school student after the members of his family went their separate ways.
He entered the construction industry upon graduation from middle school. After he quit due to personal issues, he wound up penniless, which caused him to become homeless at one point.
For the initiated, a bar host engages in pleasant conversation with female costumers while serving them alcohol (usually in large quantities). Phoenix Luna begins work at 6:00 a.m., around the time when hostesses, a typical type of customer, finish work.
He told the reporter for Shukan Post that some persons described him as “mentally strong” for returning to the world of hosts after the stabbing. Yet he actually contemplated retirement.
“But I had nowhere else to go other than back here,” he said. “With my parents not around, I grew up in an institution. Since I was out of contact with my seven brothers and sisters, I felt like my family was actually made up of the elder hosts at the club.”
He added that his colleagues visited him at the hospital regularly. “If you can’t drink, we will on your behalf,” one of them said.
“So I wanted to return,” Phoenix Luna said. “Every customer knows about the incident. Instead of hiding, I wanted to reveal everything and resume [life] as a host.”
So far, so good. On August 1, he tweeted that he was the fourth-ranked host at Fusion by Youth as far as sales for July. (Though earlier this year, he reached as high as third.)
“He liked me”
Until the middle of May, Takaoka was employed as the manager of a so-called “girl’s bar,” which is a type of hostess club. She met Phoenix Luna last October.
In describing her motive, Takaoka initially told police, “Since I loved him so much, I just couldn’t help it.” However, her thoughts went far deeper — and darker — than that statement.
“I was sad and seeking to die, and I thought how I would like to go about it,” she said. “I thought I would kill him because I thought that was how I could be with him. I thought that expressions such as ‘I like you’ and ‘I would like to be with you’ would become a reality if [we both] die.”
Investigators retrieved a knife from the residence. “It was the one thing I put in order in preparing for a new life with him,” she said. “After I stabbed him, he said he liked me.”
Phoenix Luna agreed to the interview with Shukan Post in order to dispel some rumors that circulated after the stabbing.
Among them: that he began living with Takaoka only days before the stabbing; that he was fully nude when he was shown in photographs collapsed in the lobby; and that she stabbed him during sex after he received a telephone call from another customer.
“First of all, I live in a dormitory provided by the club,” he said, adding that he began associating with Takaoka in April, when she started repeatedly coming to his club. “I was invited by her to go to a cat cafe or to watch movies,” he said. “After that, she reserved me [as her host] at the club, where I was the number-one host for May.”
Phoenix Luna also said that descriptions of Takaoka as “easily excitable” and “eccentric” were off the mark. “I had the impression that she was a good girl,” he said.
“I thought I was dead”
On May 23, he planned to assist Takaoka with cleaning at her residence from around noon. However, work obligations caused him to be delayed.
He eventually arrived about three hours later. However, instead of cleaning he decided to take a bath to relax, whereupon he fell asleep. Upon exiting the water, he put on a pair of undershorts. (He said the underwear was not seen when he was collapsed in lobby due to the angle from which the photographs were taken.)
The incident took place when he subsequently got to bed.
“After I got an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, I [looked and saw] a knife protruding [from me] and a lot of blood,” Phoenix Luna said. “Strangely, I felt no pain, but I was shocked and frightened. So, I shoved [Takaoka] from the bed and fled. She then chased me. I thought I was dead.”
Takaoka caught him after he ran out the front door. “But I shook loose and got on the elevator,” he said. “I lost consciousness when I got to the lobby. I don’t remember the rest.”
He verified the report about answering in the affirmative when she asked after the stabbing about whether he “liked” her.
“But there is a reason for that,” he said. “I thought that I would die if I got stabbed any more, and I wanted to call an ambulance. I knew she liked me. So I thought it would stop if I said that.”
As Takaoka was quoted earlier, she did not telephone emergency services. Instead, it was a passerby who made the call.
In spite of all that transpired, Phoenix Luna does not have any ill feelings toward her. “I do not hold a grudge,” he said. “I think there was a reason for her to stab me. It was also thanks to her that I was able to achieve the sales that I did in less than a year since I became a host.”
The incident also had one unexpected result. After Phoenix Luna arrived at the hospital, police sought to locate one of his blood relatives. “I met my older brother and older sister for the first time in five years,” he said. “I’ll be very happy to stay in touch with them in the future.”
When the Shukan Post reporter asked to see his scar, Phoenix Luna agreed, but added, “No photos.” He then rolled up his shirt to reveal a mark in the shape of a cross running from the center of his chest to his belly button.