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Explicit details in assault case emerge as Todai students stand trial

A court sketch for the opening of the trial for University of Tokyo students Taichi Kawamoto and Koki Matsumoto
A court sketch for the opening of the trial for University of Tokyo students Taichi Kawamoto and Koki Matsumoto (TBS)

TOKYO  (TR) – The trial for two University of Tokyo students who are accused of getting a college girl drunk so they could assault and sexually abuse her, including prodding her anus with chopsticks, began at the Tokyo District Court on Monday.

Taichi Kawamoto, 22, and Koki Matsumoto, 23, both University of Tokyo students, admitted to indecent assault charges for forcing a female university student to strip before molesting her sometime around midnight in Toshima Ward on May 11, the Asahi Shimbun reports (July 11).

Kawamoto and his friends, including fellow arrested student Kensuke Matsumi, 22, gathered at his home after a night of consuming alcohol and forced the female student to strip before molesting her breasts and other areas of her body.

Matsumoto was also charged with assault for slapping the victim’s back with his palms, hard enough to leave a red streak on her back, the Mainichi Broadcasting System quoted prosecutors as telling the court.

The Sankei Shimbun reported that Matsumi straddled her, kissed her, and then according to Tokyo Sports, dropped boiling-hot instant noodles on her chest.

Group to intoxicate, molest girls

The prosecution said in its opening statement that Matsumoto and his friends created a “birthday research group” in April with the intention of getting girls drunk to commit obscene acts, and had been doing so for some time, according to Fuji News Network.

Prosecutors read out passages from Matsumoto’s confession, one of which said: “I got everyone pumped by getting a female acquaintance wasted. I wanted to make her a toy and get the party going.”

The victim, Matsumoto’s acquaintance, attended a drinking gathering for freshman on May 11. Nippon News Network reported that prosecutors told the court the suspects and their friends “purposely had her play a game she couldn’t win, and forced her to drink shochu straight” at an izakaya restaurant.

She was then invited to an after-party at Kawamoto’s residence where the suspects allegedly forced her to take off her clothes before they kicked her and blew hot dryer air at her genitals while she was crouched down.

Kawamoto and his friends stopped abusing her after she screamed, giving her a window to escape and contact police.

The prosecution also read out Kawamoto’s confession, in which he revealed he tried to meddle with the facts of the case by telling another woman at the scene he “wanted to talk before [she] meets with police.”

Prodded anus with chopsticks

Tokyo Sports reported that the victim said in her statement that she met Matsumoto in 2015 and had sexual relations with him.

“I knew he didn’t want to go out with me, and he had just gotten a girlfriend,” the victim said, “so I went along [to the May 11 gathering] as a friend.”

“At the gathering, the atmosphere changed after Matsumoto showed up late and made me play a drinking game where, if I lost, I had to drink shochu straight,” the victim said. “I pretended to get drunk and fall asleep, but Matsumoto and another student were poking my breasts. Matsumoto even said things like ’she has a seriously large rack so it’s OK to touch them.’ I tried to bear it and remained silent. And then Matsumi reached around me and unhooked my bra.”

The victim tried to pass on the after-party and go home, but Matsumoto stopped her and said, “Hey, where do you think you’re going?”

The victim’s statement read: “Matsumi suddenly tore off my T-shirt and grabbed my breasts from behind. Then my pants were stripped off and I ended up bent over. Matsumoto slapped my back once, and perhaps this is what spurred Matsumi to keep smacking my back and buttocks. By this time, I was in tears. Then, Matsumi started prodding my anus with disposable chopsticks. Then he put a hair dryer right up to my genitals — it was hot and I couldn’t understand why he was doing that, so I told him to stop.”

‘Do whatever you want to her’

The group members all confirmed in written statements that the purpose of the group was to “get girls drunk and carry out obscene acts,” according to Tokyo Sports.

Matsumoto’s statement said he introduced the victim as his casual sex partner, so they could “do whatever they wanted” to her.

Regarding his role, Matsumoto said: “I thought of my role as taking the lead in getting the victim wasted. She was silently crying at the after-party, but Matsumi hit her back, so I tried to get her to join in the party by hitting her, thinking hey, let’s make her everyone’s play thing. And then Matsumi kicked her when she was crouched down. Things were heating up and I thought we were nearing our goal, so I went outside to call my dating partner. She was full-on bawling when I came back into the room, so I said, ‘What the hell are you crying about?’”

A University of Tokyo student watching the trial told Tokyo Sports that Matsumi is “definitely a bad drunk. I heard rumors that you should avoid any drinking gatherings he goes to.”

“There were rumors Matsumi had casual sex partners even though he had a girlfriend,” the student said. “He’s out on bail, but he hasn’t showed up at the university.”

‘Despicable things’

A total of five University of Tokyo students were arrested over the incident. Three of them were indicted.

During Matsumi’s first hearing on July 5 he told the same court, “I regret my actions that deeply hurt the victim.”

Prosecutors at Matsumi’s trial read out the victim’s statement that said: “My clothes were ripped off and my buttocks and back were struck. I’ll never forgive [the defendant] for the despicable things he did.”

Weekly magazine Shinchosha’s June 2 edition quoted a source involved with an investigation as saying the victim had boiling-hot instant noodle water poured over her head.

“Matsumi’s final act was forcing the college girl to endure hot air from a hair dryer,” the source told Shinchosha. “She couldn’t take it anymore, so she ran out of the room crying as she wore nothing but a t-shirt and jeans.

“An officer arrived at the room and reportedly found her bra there. I think you can say that she was just doing all she could to get out of there.”

The source continued: “A month before the incident in the same room, the suspects tore off a woman’s clothes and tried to force her to take a shower. On the day of the crime, lots of people decided not to come to the gathering so the suspects went to pick up women at a nearby bar. They managed to get a university student and another person to come to the residence.”

“The group’s Twitter account was following lots of college girls and promoting drinking gatherings,” the source said. “After the group successfully lures out a girl that responds, they pick a target and get her wasted at izakayas before taking her to the apartment room.”

‘Intercollegiate group’

The “birthday” group’s Twitter account, @Tankentodai, was down as of Monday night — but several screenshots showed the suspects were promoting the group as an “intercollegiate group that debates serious topics, like fun ways to spend birthdays.”

Several blogs appeared to have captured some of the group’s tweets. One purportedly made on April 6 read: “Hello! University of Tokyo birthday research group here! We are an intercollegiate group with boys from University of Tokyo, Waseda, and Keio, and girls from all kinds of universities.

“We have fun every day making all kinds of birthday plans. We welcome everyone, whether you love surprises or are just looking to make more friends to enjoy college life.”