The ghastly murder by a 14-year-old ‘school killer’ of 11-year-old Hase Jun, whose severed head with mutilated eyelids and mouth was found at the school gate of Tomogaoka Junior High School in Kobe one morning in May 1997, shook Japanese society with a magnitude comparable, in the anxiety it caused, to the earthquake which hit the same city two years earlier. It had such an impact upon the people not only because the atrocity was perpetrated by such a young schoolboy, but also because a number of individuals, adults and children alike, found peculiar closeness between this extraordinary incident and their own lives, and thus it struck a responsive chord in their hearts. Unlike the catastrophe caused by the earthquake, there was something familiar, everyday-life like, and therefore directly threatening in this seemingly unusual murder case. It stirred general uneasiness regarding the way life is lived in school, family and society at large.