A 25-year-old nursing care worker was arrested after he sent an email threatening to kill the staff at Square Enix.
According to Japanese website LiveDoor, the man was arrested on March 29th. The nursing care worker reportedly admitted to sending an email on February 5th to Square Enix. The email read in part, “Hey staff tomorrow I’m going to kill you get ready [for your punishment].”
The letter, which in Japanese ended with the phrase 首洗っとけよ or in romaji “kubi arattokeyo” means for the person to “go wash your neck.”
At first glance, the phrase doesn’t seem all that problematic to us here in the West,. However, the phrase has old roots with the samurai and their practice of ritualistic suicide. In the practice, a defeated or dishonored samurai would take his dagger and proceed to eviscerate himself while his “kaishahunin” would chop off his end.
In the phrase, the washing of one’s neck refers to the person about to die to present themselves in a clean manner for those who are about to take their lives. Similarly, this was the reason why a few samurai would also light incense in their helmets during battle so that when their heads would be taken the victor would be presented with a pleasant smelling trophy.
Due to the threat, the gaming firm increased its security at their Tokyo office. They also worked closely with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s Shinjuku Precinct. According to Soranews24, they found that the young man lived on the other side of Japan, in the town of Yoshinogawa in Tokushima Prefecture.
After being arrested the man admitted to sending the email and explained he sent the threatening letter due to a loot box style system.
The translated quote was “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.”
Hamusoku, a popular Japanese website helped to shed some more light. It seems that the money was spent on a loot box style system called Gacha. These are in-game equivalents to capsule toys.
This isn’t the first time Square Enix has been sent threatening emails and letter. LiveDoor reported that since September, the company has received around 30 threatening letters that had the word “kill” in Japanese.
The police are investigating if the same suspect sent some of those emails.