Home » Asian Cases » Kaede Ariyama, drowned in the bathtub of her kidnapper

Kaede Ariyama, drowned in the bathtub of her kidnapper

Kaede Ariyama, just seven years old, was kidnapped by a pedophile on her way home from school. Unfortunately, she didn't survive and was drowned in a bathtub.

On November 17, 2004, seven-year-old Kaede Ariyama was on her way home around 1:00 PM. The girl called her mother from her own cell phone at 1:40 PM, informing her that she would pick up her bicycle from the yard and return to Tomio North Elementary School to watch a game with her friends.

Around 2:40 PM, Kaede’s mother called her cell phone, but the girl did not answer. She kept trying, but without success. The mother then went to the school and noticed that her child was not there, so the police were quickly contacted.

An older student told the authorities that a girl matching Kaede’s description was seen talking to a man near a car shortly after the game ended. Police and volunteers searched the area, but nothing was found.

Kaede Ariyama in family photos. / Photo: Reproduction.

At 8:00 PM, the mother received a photograph sent from Kaede’s cell phone with the message: “I have your daughter!” Along with the text, there was a photo of Kaede, but no ransom demand.


Kaoro Kobayashi found Kaede on the sidewalk and persuaded her to get into his car. He promised he would take her home, but first he needed to get a backpack. At around 3pm they arrived at the perpetrator’s apartment.

The man started touching Kaede and put her naked in a bathtub filled with water. His intention was to sexually abuse the girl, but he realized that despite her young age she was very intelligent and could identify him later.

Kaoro decided to kill her and then went out to eat. On his way back, he pulled out some of the girl’s teeth in an attempt to make it difficult to identify the body, sexually assaulted her after she was dead and sent photos of the body to her mother’s number and also to his own cell phone.

At around 10pm, Kaoro realized that he needed to get rid of the evidence, so he dressed the girl and dumped her in a ditch near the family home. At midnight, a local resident found the girl’s body and notified the authorities.

Body found

Kaede was wearing her red sweatshirt and dark denim skirt, but her jacket, backpack, socks, shoes and cell phone were not present at the scene. It didn’t take the police long to conclude that she had been killed elsewhere, and the suspicion became more concrete when the coroner found water in the child’s lungs.

The water on Kaede’s body was clean, without any trace of mud, and a man’s hair was also stuck to her clothes. With the help of GPS, it was possible to see that the first message received by the mother was sent from a location close to where the body was found.

A simple paperboy?

Kaoru Kobayashi was born on November 30, 1968, in the Sumiyoshi-ku district of Osaka, Osaka Prefecture. He worked as a paperboy from childhood, as his family was poor and his mother died in 1978.

In 1989, Kobayashi was convicted of sexually assaulting eight children and received a two-year suspended sentence. In October 1991, Kobayashi tried to kill a five-year-old girl and was sentenced to three years in prison, for which he was released on parole on November 9, 1995 and officially released on July 23, 1996.

Kaoru Kobayashi / Photo: Reproduction.

Kobayashi had worked at a newsstand for The Asahi Shimbun in Tomio between March and July 2000. At the time of the murder, he was working as a paperboy for the Mainichi Shimbun.

No fear of being caught

Six months had passed and the police had only obtained a partial description of the possible kidnapper’s car, provided by the teenager who was passing in the street on the day of the murder.

On December 14, 2004, Kobayashi sent an e-mail from Kaede’s cell phone to her mother’s cell phone, saying, “I’ll take her little sister next,” along with a photo of the dead girl. He also showed a photograph of the girl to a waitress and customers at a local bar, claiming to have obtained the image from a website.

On December 30, 2004, Kobayashi was arrested for kidnapping after sending a photograph from Kaede’s cell phone to his own number. Local cell phone towers recorded the messages sent from the phone.

During a search of the perpetrator’s room, police discovered Kaede Ariyama’s cell phone, a video, a magazine containing child pornography and a considerable amount of various women’s underwear that Kobayashi had stolen between June and December 2004.

“I would have kidnapped anyone”

A witness reported seeing Kaede walking up to the man’s car, which suggested that they knew each other. However, Kobayashi said: “I would have kidnapped anyone”. But the police do not rule out the possibility that the kidnapper premeditated the crime.

On January 19, 2005, Kobayashi was prosecuted for kidnapping. As he had already committed sex crimes involving young girls, public attention turned to passing a law in Japan similar to Megan’s Law in the United States.

Megan's Law: is the informal name given to some laws in the United States of America that require authorities to make available to the public a list containing a registry of those convicted of sex crimes.

Kobayashi’s trial began on April 18, 2005. He said:

I want to be sentenced to death as soon as possible and leave a legacy among the public as the next Tsutomu Miyazaki or Mamoru Takuma .

Both Miyazaki and Takuma were child killers with histories of mental illness and sexual crimes against children. For his part, Miyazaki said: I will not allow him to call himself “the second Tsutomu Miyazaki” when he has not yet undergone a psychiatric examination.

Miyazaki was subsequently executed on June 17, 2008, after making this comment, possibly due to the importance of the Kobayashi case and another recent incident, the Akihabara massacre.

Leave a Comment