Kill the landlord

Two days ago there was a huge fire in Yayoi-cho, Itabashi ward in western Tokyo. A large wooden yashiki (mansion, literally) burned to the ground. Two bodies were found on the premises, presumably belonging to the 74-year-old owner of the house and his 69-year-old wife. Though the bodies were burnt beyond recognition, police determined that both had been stabbed. They also found some 10,000-yen notes scattered about. The house stood on 3,000 square meters of land, which is huge for Tokyo, and the owner is one of the biggest landlords in that part of town.According to media reports, the man inherited his land in 1945, the year the war ended. He used to brag to anyone who would listen that he could walk from his yashiki to Ikebukuro, the main railroad hub in northern Tokyo, without ever leaving his property. He was the epitome of the furo shotoku, or non-labor income earner, and made all his money from renting apartments, offices, and parking spaces. He also boasted that he spend about ¥3 million a month just on drinking and entertaining people. His wife was reportedly overly fond of pachinko, and like many people of their age and station, it was rumored that they kept the bulk of their money in cash in their home. Traditionally, Japanese rich people of that generation are quiet about their wealth, but there is always an exception. Resentments are easy to provoke, but in this recession there’s even more of a reason not to flaunt your good fortune.

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