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Tokyo’s train perverts shift strategy as Saikyo sinks in significance

Hideaki Shoji
Hideaki Shoji (TV Asahi)

On Saturday at around 11:30 a.m., officers arrested Hideaki Shoji, a resident of Yokohama, after he allegedly came up from behind a 21-year-old female college student and shot digital images up her skirt as she stood on a platform at Kuhonbutsu Station in Setagaya Ward.

Located on the relatively small Tokyu Oimachi Line, the station in question is not a major destination within Tokyo’s vast rail network — an indication, according to Nikkan Gendai (Dec. 11), that such purveyors of perversion are changing tactics.

According to police, Shoji, who was charged with violating the Tokyo government’s public nuisance ordinance, had uploaded a total of 1,000 illicit photos of 500 women to Internet voyeur sites since 2011. In March, the suspect submitted images to the site Nozokix.

Prior to the arrest, law enforcement had been monitoring voyeur sites, and confirmed platform locations from the images and victims. On Saturday, investigators had received a tip about a man behaving strangely for several hours on a station platform.

Shoji reportedly admitted to the allegations, saying that he spends between five and six hours on train platforms each Saturday. “In June of 2011, he started shooting peeping photos on escalators and inside book shops,” an investigator is quoted by Nikkan Gendai. “The suspect said that he really got a charge out of reading the comments that followed his posting of the images on the sites.”

Atsushi Tashiro, a journalist specializing in crime, says that the lack of large numbers of commuters makes Kuhonbutsu Station a perfect hunting ground. “Private railways like these offer chances for ‘delta zone’ shots,” says the journalist, referring to how the tapering of a pair of a woman’s underwear resembles the mouth of a river. “On the platforms, you can get good shots of office ladies and college gals sitting on benches.”

Of course, destinations like Yokohama and Shibuya are prime areas. But crackdowns by police have caused voyeurs to linger and wait in less-traveled areas not served by Japan Railways.

“The JR Saikyo Line is legendary,” says Tashiro. “Police always have their eye on that one.”

Tashiro advises women to be leery of express trains on private railways, including those operated by Odakyu, Keikyu, Seibu and Tokyu. The long spans between stations provide supreme opportunities for perverts.

“Recently, the Tokyu lines have been problematic,” says Tashiro, who cites the Dententoshi and Toyoko lines as especially worrisome. “Between Jiyugaoka and Nakameguro stations, there are a lot of girls going to art school who get off at Gakugei Daigaku Station,” he says. “This makes these stations prime spots.”

Then there is Shibuya

“You’ve got a lot of college girls commuting through to Aoyama Gakuin University,” he says. “There is also a lot of nice-looking OLs working at IT companies nearby. Overall, it is a high-quality destination.”

Nikkan Gendai advises all women to stay alert.

Source: “Saikyo-sen ha mou furui chikan, tosatsu ma ga hisomu abunai supotto,” Nikkan Gendai (Dec. 11, page 9)