Mothers and teenage daughters fight over all sorts of issues. That’s almost a universal rule. Eventually, as the daughters grow up, the tension lessens and both sides realize that they could have done things differently. In the best case scenarios, mother and daughter are brought closer together in the long run. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. For a teenage girl and her mother in Japan, it is certainly never going to occur.


According to police reports, an unnamed 16-year-old girl had recently broken her curfew when hanging out with friends. Her mother, Yuko Ogata, decided a punishment was in order. Collaborating with her boyfriend, Takeshi Egami, Yuko handed down a death sentence to her daughter’s goldfish. Taking laundry detergent, Ogata poured the compound into the fish tank, resulting in over forty fish dying.

Unfortunately for the 16-year-old, the death of her goldfish was just the beginning of the punishment. Egami and Ogata then proceeded to force the teenager to eat 30 of the poisoned fish, one at a time. While the girl’s health does not appear to have suffered from the incident, psychologically, she has been scarred. Tragically, this is not the first instance of Egami and Ogata forcing unconscionable punishments on the young woman.

Although the incident occurred last June in the city of Fukuoka, authorities only learned last week about the goldfish abuse which quickly led to both adults being arrested. Building on an alarming trend, the couple had been arrested four previous times over the last year for repeatedly harming the life of Yuko’s daughter. Earlier incidents involved the girl being tied to her bed after sneaking out of the house; being punched in the face after talking back to her mother; and having her tongue burned with a lit cigarette after kissing a boy. In an offense foreshadowing the goldfish incident, the girl was also forced to eat ice cream and eggs until she vomited.

Despite facing a severe population crisis, child abuse has been on the rise in Japan over the last decade. Last year saw a new record with over 89,000 reported cases. First time offenders are usually let off with a warning, while repeat child abusers, such as Egami and Ogata, face little risk of receiving a harsh sentence. Laws in Japan make it very difficult to remove children from abusive households although the Japanese House of Representatives is currently considering legislative changes that would cause those found guilty of child endangerment to serve time in prison.



Steve Pame

Steve Pame

A part-time graduate student and high school teacher, Steve enjoys just about anything that makes him forget all the student loans he'll never be able to pay back. He enjoys visiting his extended family, spread throughout the world, whenever he has a chance.