How The Human Dracula Became Japan's Most Feared Serial Killer

Editor's note: This article includes descriptions of graphic violence that many people find disturbing.

One of the most disturbing and freakish serial killers in recent years was Japan's Tsutomu Miyazaki. He earned the nickname of "Human Dracula" because he was born with deformed fingers and hands, similar to that of the fictional horror character. In the late '80s, Miyazaki terrorized Tokyo and was behind some of the most horrific crimes against young girls in Japan, which were called "The Little Girl Murders." Between 1988 and 1989, he committed crimes including kidnapping, assault, murder, and mutilation against four girls. He was also an admitted necrophile and cannibal, and performed unspeakable things to the corpses of his victims. Ultimately, the serial killer was captured and brought to justice.

Per The Infographics Show (posted on YouTube), Miyazaki had a very rough upbringing. Because of his odd behavior, he was not close with his sisters or his parents. At school, his deformity made him the subject of teasing by his peers. 

The making of a serial killer

Tsutomu Miyazaki was born on August 21, 1962, in Tokyo, Japan, to an affluent family. His oddly shaped hands and fingers were a result of his premature birth. Sadly, people's fear of his hands did not gain him any friends, and he was rejected by others, including his sisters, per the book "Supernatural Serial Killers."

From early childhood to high school, Miyazaki spent most of his time by himself. Despite this reclusive behavior, as he got older, Miyazaki performed well at Meidai Nakano High School. But at some point, his grades started to tumble. While he had dreams of attending a more prestigious university to become a teacher, he had to settle for a junior college. Afterward, he began studying to be a photo technician. However, the future Human Dracula would use his affinity for photography and film for a much more sinister purpose.

Tsutomu Miyazaki's murderous streak

Tsutomu Miyazaki allegedly became obsessed with watching violent horror films and pornography. According to "Supernatural Serial Killers," he would show up at sporting events to take photographs of participants and use them to sexually gratify himself. His odd behavior would only worsen from there. 

Miyazaki targeted young girls for his crimes, which purportedly began in August 1988. His first victim was 4-year-old Mari Konno. After killing her, Miyazaki discarded the body, but he later returned to retrieve some of her limbs (via Case Closed). Further proving his demented nature, he also burned part of her remains and sent the ashes and a briefly detailed postcard to her family.

By October 1988, he had moved to his next victim: a 7-year-old girl on a walk. He lured the girl, killed her, and left her corpse. 

Two months later he struck again, and this time with another 4-year-old victim walking alone. He followed his usual modus operandi of luring his young victim before attacking and taking her life. He continued to taunt the families with eerie postcards, per "Supernatural Serial Killers."

His final victim was a 5-year-old girl, whom he abducted in June 1989. Similar to his other crimes, he mutilated her remains before burying her.

Authorities capture a child killer

Tsutomu Miyazaki was eventually captured on July 23, 1989. On that day, the Human Dracula was taking pictures of a nude 6-year-old girl. Fortunately, the girl's father showed up and scared him off, but Miyazaki was later picked up by authorities.

After he was arrested, officials found videos of his victims, along with a massive collection of horror movies and other disturbing films. During questioning, he admitted to consuming the flesh and blood of two victims, reported Japan Today. The trial would also reveal his estranged relationship with his father, who did not financially contribute to his attorney fees (via Case Closed). 

After his capture, Miyazaki would say odd things and often reference an alter ego named Rat Man. On April 14, 1997, he was convicted and sentenced to death, per The Japan Times. In 2006, prison mental health officials declared he was suffering from a personality disorder, but was mentally competent at the time of his crimes. Tsutomu Miyazaki was executed by hanging at 45 years old on June 17, 2008 (via Japan Today).