Prominent Japanese blogger Kenichiro ‘Hagex’ Okamoto fatally stabbed following cyber abuse seminar

Kenichiro ‘Hagex’ Okamoto

One of Japan’s most prominent bloggers was stabbed to death minutes after giving a seminar on how to resolve personal disputes on the internet.

Media reports said Kenichiro Okamoto, better known by his blogger name Hagex, died after reportedly being attacked by a man he had argued with online. The suspect, Hidemitsu Matsumoto, allegedly followed Okamoto into the toilets after he had ended his talk at a venue in the south-western city of Fukuoka.

Okamoto was stabbed several times before staggering out of the toilets after his assailant, who fled on a bicycle, according to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

Okamoto, who sustained stab wounds to the chest and neck, was taken to hospital where he was confirmed dead. His attacker reportedly handed himself in almost three hours after the attack.

Police investigate near the site of murder in Fukuoka’s Chuo Ward, Japan.

Moments before the fatal stabbing, the 41-year-old had shared advice at a public event on how to deal with online disputes. According to reports, the suspect had posted messages containing personal abuse directed at Okamoto and other commenters on the blog.

The Mainichi quoted a source as saying that Okamoto had got into trouble before with internet users over the content of the blog.

According to the webpage of his employer, a cyber-security consulting company in Tokyo, Okamoto was knowledgeable about cybercrimes such as those involving so-called dark websites, part of the internet that cannot be accessed without special software to make one anonymous. He was also famous for a blog that he wrote under the nickname ‘hagex’.

Police quoted Matsumoto as saying that he built up resentment toward Okamoto over some exchanges through internet posts and wanted to kill him. Immediately after the stabbing, a user that appears to be the suspect wrote on the web about his dissatisfaction toward the response to his own posts thus far, along with writing, “I am going to go now to my neighborhood police box to voluntarily surrender and take responsibility for my actions.” The suspect has reportedly admitted to the charges against him.

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