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A 25-year-old nursing care worker has been arrested after allegedly emailing Square Enix, threatening to kill staff.

According to Livedoor News, the man is accused of sending an email on February 5 to Square Enix’s Tokyo office that read, “Hey staff tomorrow I’m going to kill you get ready [for your punishment]” [SIC].


In Japanese, the last part of the threat is “kubi arattokeyo” (首洗っとけよ), which literally means “go wash your neck.” The expression has its roots in ritualistic samurai suicide. After a samurai would disembowel himself, the kaishakunin would then slice off his head. Here, washing one’s neck refers to get ready for this ultimate punishment.

The threat caused Square Enix to beef up security. The man was finally arrested on March 29 and has confessed. “I spent over 200,000 yen ($1,794) on the game and I didn’t get the [in-game] item I wanted so I sent the email out of revenge,” he reportedly said.

As website Hamusoku points out, it sounds like the money was spent on a virtual gacha, which is akin to a loot box. Gacha items are the video game equivalent of capsule toys (called gacha-gacha in Japanese).

Last September, around thirty emails were sent to Square Enix with the word “kill” written in Japanese. Authorities are now investigating whether or not those are connected to this suspect.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored five books, including most recently, Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Desirable Spirit.

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