This woman had lovers. They’re dead. Now she has fans. “Kanae girls” have been “conspicuous in the courtroom” throughout the 100-day trial, reports Shukan Bunshun (April 19).
This is surprising, for the defendant, 37-year-old Kanae Kijima, is not considered by media as an attractive person. On April 13, the “Black Widow,” as media dubbed her, was sentenced to death for the murder of three boyfriends off whose money she had been living high. What do the “Kanae girls” see in her?
A role model, is the simple answer. “I’ve been trolling marriage sites for a year without meeting anyone worth meeting,” Shukan Bunshun hears from one fairly typical “Kanae girl,” a woman in her 30s. “I thought I could learn something from her. Also, I wanted to know the psychology of men who could be so utterly taken in.”
Kijima can teach that, if anyone can. Making the most of a decidedly plain appearance, she drew the men, ranging in age from 41 to 80, with her unabashed sexual hunger, and later, when they began pressuring her to pay back the money they had lavished on her, she arranged their deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning to look like suicides, the court ruled.
Kijima’s defense counsel promptly appealed the conviction, claiming the deaths were either suicides or accidental and the evidence of murder was purely circumstantial.
“Everyone takes money, more or less, from men,” comments a “Kanae girl” in her 40s. “There seems to be a ‘Kanae’ in me too.”
“I wanted to know what kind of men the victims were,” says another, in her 30s. “Men being taken in by a woman like Kijima give me a kind of satisfaction. Serves them right.”
“Usually a murder case has the smell of blood about it,” muses a journalist covering the trial. “You imagine how the victim suffered as he died. But here – carbon monoxide poisoning – that element is missing, so you’re left admiring someone who got her hands on 100 million yen and lived a celebrity lifestyle.”
If this case doesn’t reek of blood, observes Shukan Bunshun, “it reeks of obscenity” – or if obscenity is not quite the word, sexual frankness. Kijima was proud of her erotic artistry. “Men tell me I’m the best they ever had,” she boasted to her boyfriends. Her confidence was apparent in her absolute indifference to her appearance. “Women feel they can learn from that,” says writer Mihoko Yamada.
“There’s a feeling that she shattered the illusion that when it comes to sex, men call the shots,” says manga artist Fumi Saimon. “You have all these guys coming on to you, ‘Hey, listen baby, I got sexual techniques that make beautiful women swoon’ and all that. Kijima turned that on its head. Good for her!”
You’d almost forget she was in the dock for murder.