Location: Inunaki Mountain Pass, Kuyama-cho, Miyawaka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture 811-2501, Japan
RELATED: Is Inunaki Village Real?
The Old Inunaki Tunnel is said by some to be one of the great three haunted spots of Japan. It’s particularly famous for a brutal murder that took place there. The report goes as follows:
On midday December 7th, 1988, the burned body of factory worker Umeyama Kouichi (20) was discovered at Inunaki Mountain Pass. Police arrested a group of youths (16~19yo) from the Takawa district under suspicion of killing Umeyama by pouring gasoline on him and setting him on fire.
Umeyama was said to be a very filial young man. At the time of the incident he was on his way home from work.
The incident began when the youths approached Umeyama who was waiting in his car at a stop light. “We need your car to pick up some girls so quit acting so tough and get out.” When Umeyama refused, the youths attacked and abducted him where they assaulted him once more. Spotting a break in the youths’ guard, Umeyama escaped and, despite his injuries, attempted to make his way home. However, unable to get any help from passing cars, he was captured by the group once again.
The angry youths tried to throw Umeyama off Kanda Port, however, not wanting to die he clung to the fence with all his might and withstood their assault. One of the youths, seeing Umeyama like this, felt remorse or perhaps fear and suggested they should stop. The ringleader, afraid their attack would be discovered, said to his friends “we’re all in this together” and so they decided to kill him.
They put Umeyama in the trunk of his car and beat him with cranks, wrenches and other tools. They tried to get rid of the body at Rikimaru Dam, but fearing the body would float they instead decided to burn the body so it would be impossible to identify who he was and made for the abandoned Old Inunaki Tunnel.
Arriving at the Old Inunaki Tunnel, they poured gasoline (which they acquired in a PET bottle at a gasoline station on the way, saying their bike had run out of gas) over Umeyama’s head. He screamed out in terror and it echoed loudly throughout the ghastly abandoned tunnel. Even before the incident there were many stories about vengeful ghosts in the old tunnel. Perhaps because of this, the youths flinched for just a moment, and Umeyama took the chance to run again, fleeing into the forest.
The youths called out to him. “We’re not gonna do anything so come out. We’re not lying.” Having suffered such violence it would be hard to believe such a statement, however for some reason Umeyama believed them and made himself known.
The youths captured him for the third time. They stuffed ripped clothes into his mouth, tied his hands and feet and repeatedly hit him over the head with a stone. It’s said the blood spray from this flew far enough away to land on the guardrail nearby. Yet he still wouldn’t die, and begging for his life, the youths once again poured gasoline over Umeyama and set him on fire. Umeyama struggled violently, writhing in pain as he still asked for help. It’s said that burnt remains of his clothes were also found scorched on the guardrail.
Driven mad with pain, Umeyama ran all the way back to the entrance of the tunnel where all of his strength finally left his body and he collapsed. The youths left, but they wanted to check that Umeyama was actually dead this time, so they returned to the scene and made sure he was no longer moving before returning to Fukuoka City.
At a bar afterwards the youths were heard cheerfully boasting, “We just killed someone! Set him on fire!”
Umeyama’s cause of death was said to be blood loss from the head. It’s impossible to imagine the pain and suffering he must have been in, his body being set alight until he finally died from blood loss.
Umeyama’s body was discovered at midday the following day and the youths arrested shortly after.
At the appeal trial held in Fukuoka Court on March 8th, 1991, the main perpetrator (21, 19yo at the time of the crime, a stallholder helper in Tagawa-gun, Fukuoka Prefecture) who was handed a sentence of life imprisonment at his first trial said, “There was no clear intention to kill, the sentence is too harsh” and sought a reduction to his sentence. However the presiding judge, Maeda Kazuaki, said, “The cruelty displayed is unlike any other seen in similar cases. The defendant played a central role and so bears a heavy responsibility.” The appeal was rejected and the other youths also found guilty.