The Sayama Case

All developments and news related to the Sayama Case, along with related press coverage, will be posted to this section of the site. Please check back for updates.

Over one million signatures gathered and submitted!

On May 23, 2007, exactly 44 years after Kazuo Ishikawa was arrested, over two thousand people from all over Japan gathered at Hibiya Park in Tokyo to support him in his claim of innocence and appeal for the retrial of his case. The rally, which was followed by a protest march that ended at Tokyo Station, was hosted by the Citizen’s Support Group for the Sayama Case.

The highlight of the event was the announcement that the goal had been reached of collecting one million signatures for a petition demanding the retrial and reinvestigation of the Sayama Case. The signatures were submitted to the Tokyo High Court that same day.

IMADR Secretary-General, Hideki Morihara, took the opportunity to report on the Sayama International Solidarity Campaign, introducing solidarity messages posted to this site. We thank you for your support and hope that it continues until Ishikawa is delivered justice. Please help us spread the word.

May 24, 2007 5:53 PM

Report on the Sayama Walking Tour (May 1, 2007)

Debriefing with Kazuo and Sachiko Ishikawa after the Sayama Walking Tour

IMADR took part in the Sayama Walking Tour (online version here) on May 1, 2007, exactly 44 years after the day of the incident. Participants included members of the press, a documentary filmmaker, IMADR volunteers, and Kazuo Ishikawa himself. One participant shares her impressions:

The Sayama Walking Tour was an experience unlike anything I have ever taken part in. It opened my eyes not only to the discrimination that exists against Burakumin, but also the incomprehensible injustices within Japan’s legal system. I found myself feeling scrambled by an array of emotions. The unbelievable ridiculousness of the countless altered confessions that were used to arrest him forced me to laugh at what I was told. “This couldn’t have happened,” I thought. But then, when reality would hit, my emotions turned quickly back to anger, frustration and sorrow.

Also, coming from the US, I instinctively made comparisons with what I’ve seen there. I found a lot of what I heard about Burakumin similar to the situation of the poor within the US, especially the poor Black Americans. The ways in which they are scapegoated, criminalized, isolated from the rest of society and stereotyped as violent and stupid. The parallels to the Burakumin were unmistakable.

Needless to say, the tour was an intense day filled with a tremendous amount of education, discussion, and clarification. Moreover, the honor of meeting Ishikawa-san and his wife left me with impassioned feelings of inspiration and hope. They both spoke about what happened with strength, determination and optimism. They kept using the word korekara (meaning “from now on” in Japanese), saying that the good things are just about to come. The Sayama Walking Tour was an experience I won’t soon forget and feel truly grateful for having been able to participate. (Hanako Franz Mashino)

May 9, 2007 12:28 PM

Over 900,000 signatures submitted to Tokyo High Court


Kazuo and Sachiko Ishikawa, together with the Sayama legal team and many supporters, gathered at the Tokyo High Court on March 1, 2007 to deliver a petition signed by over 900,000 people. The signed petitions, which called for the retrial of the Sayama Case, were packed into boxes that filled an entire van. The group formed a long line to help transfer the boxes into the court building. The submission of the petition was followed by a well-attended press conference.

We are still continuing to collect signatures to support Ishikawa - it is not too late! Sign the Sayama Case Petition here .

April 4, 2007 6:41 PM

Kazuo Ishikawa receives 18th Tada Human Rights Award

On December 16, 2006, Japan’s Yoko Tada Foundation for Human Rights awarded Kazuo Ishikawa the 18th Tada Human Rights Prize for his work in the fighting miscarriage of justice.

“We have great respect for Mr. Ishikawa in his 43-year battle,” the award committee said, “We want to show our solidarity with him, in hopes that he will win his third appeal for the retrial and reinvestigation of the Sayama Case and that the false charges against him are dropped.”

The Tada Human Rights Award commemorates the life of Yoko Tada, a human rights lawyer who was involved in numerous high profile campaigns in Japan until her death, at the age of 29, in 1989. Past recipients include SUH Sung for his work promoting democracy in South Korea and Michelle Pierre-Louis for her work with women's health issues in Haiti.

January 25, 2007 6:38 PM

Sayama Case Petition – help us collect one million signatures!

One thousand people from all over the country gathered at the Japan Education Center in Tokyo on October 31, 2006 for a rally hosted by the Citizen’s Support Group for the Sayama Case. A powerful keynote address was delivered by Toru Matsuoka, Secretary-General of the Buraku Liberation League, urging participants to help reach the goal of collecting one million signatures by March 1, 2007 for a petition demanding the retrial and reinvestigation of the Sayama Case.

Kazuo and Sachiko Ishikawa stood in front of the crowd and vowed to place all their might into winning the third appeal and demanding justice. This is their last chance to appeal for a retrial.

January 25, 2007 5:49 PM

Sayama Case Site Launches

Welcome to IMADR’s Sayama International Solidarity Campaign Site, which introduces the Sayama Case and aims to increase international awareness of Buraku discrimination, strengthen ties between organizations worldwide that are fighting racial discrimination in the administration of justice, and put international pressure on the Japanese government to change the way suspects are treated. We hope you can take the time to browse through, sign the petition, and send us a message. We need your help.

October 2, 2006 12:00 PM

Message from Kazuo Ishikawa

Forty-three years ago, I was accused of a murder I had nothing to do with. I am now seeking the retrial of my case. It is encouraging to know that people all over the world will read this website and learn of my innocence. I intend to fight until my name is cleared of this false charge. I appeal to the people of the world to join me in my fight to end discrimination.

Kazuo Ishikawa

August 30, 2006 5:56 PM

Press Coverage- The Japan Times

Mr Ishikawa filed his third petition for retrial on the May 23, 2006. This article appeared in The Japan Times the following day.


May 24, 2006 5:58 PM

Ishikawa and young supporters.