Not long ago, a Japanese TV series called “Prison Break” caused a sensation on the Internet. The protagonist in the play is based on the Japanese prison escape man Yuei Shiratori. The Japanese have always commented on Yuei Shiratori: “As long as he wants to leave, there is no prison that can hold him.” Within 11 years, he was under supervision. In the severe prison, he escaped 4 times and escaped in a way that others did not expect. Shiratori’s prison escape experience is full of legends and far-reaching influence. The Japanese government even amended relevant laws because of him, and people call him the “King of Prison Break” in Japan.
On July 31, 1907, Shiratori Yuei was born in a poor family in Aomori Prefecture, Japan. When he was 3 years old, his father died. After his mother remarried, he had to join his aunt who ran a tofu shop, and his life was quite embarrassing.
At the age of 18, Shiratori was forced to start earning a living. He found a job catching fish and crabs on a crab boat. His hard work gave him a muscle. Since the time spent at sea each time is relatively long, the fishermen spend their time by playing cards and gambling, and Shiratori is naturally affected.
In a blink of an eye, four years later, Shiratori was introduced by a matchmaker to get married and set up a family. After marriage, he ran a fishery shop and lived a peaceful and beautiful life. But such days did not last long. From 1929 to 1933, an economic crisis occurred in the United States, which caused the Japanese economy to regress and consumption slump. Shiratori’s aquatic product shop soon became unavailable. In order to support his family, he had to play cards and gambling. Not only did he fail to make money, he also owed huge gambling debts. In order to repay the debt, he thought hard and thought of a quick way-theft.
On the night of April 9, 1933, Shiratori and his accomplice Ida went to a grocery store to steal as planned. Unexpectedly, during the theft process, they were discovered by the shopkeeper who suddenly woke up. During the fight, Shiratori cut and injured the shopkeeper and took the opportunity to take away the minefield.
Six days later, Shiratori received a shocking news that the owner died in the hospital. The police are paying close attention to this case, but they only found the footprints of the suspect at the scene. Since no key evidence was found, the case was shelved. Shiratori only breathed a sigh of relief, and when he stole again, he became more cautious.
But I often walk by the river, so I don’t have any wet shoes. In February 1935, Shiratori was caught by police patrolling nearby for destroying a warehouse. Originally, Shiratori could be released after being detained for a few days, but during the interrogation, he saw the owner of a private house passing by when escaping in the theft two years ago. He mistakenly thought that the case was discovered that year, and took the initiative to admit it. That matter. After the police heard this, they launched an investigation and subsequently convicted him of homicide. Shiratori was imprisoned accidentally and was detained in Yokohama Prison.
In December 1935, Shiratori was transferred to Aomori Prison. Because of his homicide, he was often insulted and beaten by prison guards. He was also kept in a single cell with poor conditions and had little chance to go out. “You can’t do this to me.” Shiratori patted the cell door from time to time to protest. The guards ignored him at all. The protest was invalid, and Shiratori thought of escape.
One day, the prison guard arranged Shiratori to pour the feces of the cell. Shiratori was very happy. During the work, he looked around and found a small piece of wire on the edge of the grass, like a treasure. After that, Shiratori practiced unlocking with wire every day. In addition, after a long period of observation and listening, he can judge from the sound of footsteps that there will be a 15-minute gap between the patrol guards and the handover. These 15 minutes is the best time to escape from prison.
At midnight on June 18, 1936, Shiratori first supported the quilt with buckets, pillows and other items, disguised as sleeping. When the patrol guards turned over, he immediately opened the lock of the cell with a wire and opened two more locks in succession. Yaoyao escaped, and it was not until 5:30 in the morning that the guards found that Shiratori had escaped from the prison. The police were very surprised and quickly arranged police officers to search. At that time, half of the police in the entire Aomori Prefecture were dispatched to search, with thousands of people searching.
After two days of large-scale search, the police finally captured the exhausted Shiratori in the public cemetery. He walked too quickly, did not design a proper escape direction, and did not have enough food, so he was easily caught back. Shiratori said to the prison guards: “If you abuse me again, I will escape from prison again.” “You are just lucky this time!” The guards didn’t put him in their eyes because they hadn’t seen Shiratori’s magical skills.
In April 1937, Shiratori’s fate took a turn, and he was transferred to Tokyo prison. The warden there was called Ryozo Kobayashi. After meeting and talking with Shiratori, Ryozo Kobayashi believed that Shiratori was not an extremely cold-blooded and brutal person, and asked the prison guards to treat him as an ordinary prisoner and not allow the prison guards to discriminate against him.
This was the first time Shiratori felt the kindness from the prison. He felt very touched and admired Ryozo Kobayashi very much. He promised Ryozo Kobayashi would serve his sentence honestly in Tokyo prison. Sure enough, Shiratori never escaped from prison again.
Until October 20, 1941, Shiratori was transferred to Akita Prison due to the war. The guards at Akita Prison were not as friendly as the guards at Tokyo Prison. He was “focused on” because of his murder and escape experience, so he was locked in a special room called the sedation room. The three walls and floor of this cell are reinforced with concrete. The walls are more than three meters high. The walls are covered with a thick copper plate and there are no holes in the door. The whole room was very dark, and the only light opening was a small skylight on the roof, which was sealed by iron bars.
Here, he was often insulted by prison guards. When the weather was cold, the guards would not provide him with a quilt against the cold. In desperation, Shiratori decided to escape from prison again. He carefully inspected the entire cell and thought that the light opening on the roof was the only escape. This daylighting port is not much bigger than a human head. A normal adult cannot get out at all, but Shiratori is not an ordinary person.
The prison guards did not know that Shiratori possessed superhuman physical strength, arm strength and flexibility, could run 120 kilometers a day, and could pull up chimney pillars inserted in the ground with bare hands. The most amazing thing is that he can dislocate the joints of his whole body, so as long as there is a hole to pass the head, then he can get out smoothly.
After having the idea of escape from prison, Shiratori began to frequently practice climbing up with his back close to the 90-degree corners of the two walls. During an air release, he obtained a small piece of iron sheet and a rusty nail, and used the nail to make the iron sheet into a small saw. He found out that there would be 10 minutes of gap time when prison guards patrolled. When there was thunder and rain and no one was patrolling, he climbed to the roof skylight and saw the iron bars. After half a year, the iron bar was finally sawn off. However, he did not run away immediately, waiting for an opportunity.
On the night of June 15, 1942, with heavy rain, Shiratori listened to the sound of the rain and said silently: “The time has come!” He quickly climbed up the wall and escaped from the light opening, letting the rainy night cover his figure. After breaking out of prison, Shiratori stole a piece of clothing, changed the prison uniform, and walked along the rails towards Tokyo. After hiding during the day and acting in the middle of the night, after three months of persistent walking, he finally came to the door of a family in Tokyo.
Shiratori reached out and knocked on the door. It was Ryzo Kobayashi, the warden of Tokyo Prison who opened the door. Kobayashi Ryozo was very surprised: “I heard that you escaped from prison. I didn’t expect you to come here.” It turned out that Shiratori did not want to be free when he escaped from prison. The purpose of his escape was to find Kobayashi Ryozo. Reflects the corruption of the Japanese prison system and the inhuman treatment he suffered in Akita prison.
“I hope to return to the previous Tokyo prison and continue serving my sentence.” Shiratori said earnestly. Ryozo Kobayashi was very moved and patted him on the shoulder: “Everything you say, I will reflect it to the top, thank you.” The
next day, Ryozo Kobayashi took Shiratori to the police station and surrendered. Unexpectedly, the Japanese government, based on Shiratori’s two consecutive prison escape records, determined that he was a dangerous person. Not only did he not allow him to return to the previous Tokyo prison to serve his sentence, it also transferred him to a more closely monitored prison. prison.
On April 23, 1943, Shiratori was transferred to Abashiri Prison. This prison is located in a remote area in northern Hokkaido. The temperature in winter is as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius, even if the heating is turned on, it is minus 89 degrees Celsius. The prison cells are radial with five wings, with a small round guard box as the center. Five passages are built radially. On both sides of the passage are cells. One prison guard can clearly guard hundreds of people. This was the highest-ranking prison in Japan at the time. It was dedicated to detaining serious prisoners, and there was no escape.
Shiratori originally imagined that he would be treated friendly, but he never expected that he would be treated inhumane again. When the weather is cold, he can only wear summer single clothes, and always wear handcuffs and fetters. He protested angrily: “Let go of me, I want to see Ryozo Kobayashi.” What was waiting for was a new round of beatings, and the prison guards abused him and said, “Ryozo Kobayashi can’t help you either. You stay there. , Don’t want to see anyone.”
Shiratori was furious, and in front of the prison guard, the handcuffs were shaken by the hard effort of his arms. The guard was frightened and immediately added two big iron balls to his shackles. His hands were handcuffed from behind, and then screwed to death with large bolts. It is stipulated that he can only urinate and defecate in the same place. It is not allowed to take a bath with water, and he can only wipe his body once a week. In addition, in order to prevent him from having enough physical strength to escape again, the prison detained his food and did not allow him to exercise.
For a long time, Shiratori’s hands and feet were worn to become inflamed and purulent due to shackles. He could no longer bear such a prison life, and once again had the idea of escape.
If he said nothing, he poured some of the leftover soup on the shackles and the iron frame of the inspection port every day, and used the salt in the soup to corrode the iron. This process was very slow, and he persisted for 8 months.
On August 26, 1944, after the bolts were loosened, Shiratori chose to remove the shackles at night and put them away. He took off the prisoners’ clothes. Taking advantage of the guards’ unpreparedness, he unloaded the iron frame with a loincloth, and used his body again The “sacred skill” of the dislocated joint got out of the small inspection port, then climbed onto the roof, broke the lighting window with force, and escaped.
After these three magical escape experiences, Shiratori caused a huge sensation in Japan. The media called him a “jailbreaker”, but the police did not find him after more than a year of searching.
After Shiratori escaped from prison this time, he stopped looking for Kobayashi Ryozo because he felt that Ryozo Kobayashi could not shake the Japanese prison system. He hid on the mountain and lived a life without conflict.
In May 1946, Shiratori learned from the newspaper that Japan was defeated in World War II. Suddenly, he thought of surrendering himself. He felt that he had made mistakes like this country. He hoped to be in prison. Atonement.
People are not as good as heaven. On August 9, 1946, Shiratori came to a melon field near Sapporo. He originally wanted to wait for the patrolling police to pass by and take him back to the police station. Unexpectedly, he was mistaken by melon farmers for melon thief. “Stealing melon thief, don’t run–” The melon farmer took the knife and chased the white bird without saying a word. “I didn’t steal your melon, you misunderstood…” Shiratori wanted to explain, but the melon farmer refused to listen to him.
During the scuffle, the powerful Shiratori accidentally killed the melon farmer. The police passing by immediately arrested the indefensible Shiratori.
Become a Legend
In December 1946, the Sapporo court heard the Guada case.
During the trial, Shiratori repeatedly explained that he was not intentional: “I really didn’t mean it. It was out of legitimate defense that I accidentally killed the melon farmer.” The judge refused to listen, insisting that Shiratori be sentenced to death and sent to prison in Sapporo. The judge also said: “Shiratori Yuei, you have escaped from prison three times, but you have been caught back three times. No matter how many times you run, you can’t escape the fate of being arrested.” Unexpectedly, Shiratori sneered: “That. I came back voluntarily! If I want to leave, no one can stop it.” The
judge was shaking with anger, and Sapporo Prison also attached great importance to Shiratori. The prison guards prepared a specially designed cell for Shiratori. As long as there are openings in the room, they are reinforced with strong iron bars, such as doors and lighting openings. The prison staff arranged four prison guards, two of them to monitor Shiratori’s every move, and they were followed by showers and toilets. The prison staff felt that Shiratori could not escape from prison even if he had great abilities.
Shiratori was dissatisfied with the court’s decision, and began to wonder how to escape as soon as he entered prison. He observed the surroundings and found that the doors, windows and lighting openings of the cell were specially reinforced, and it was almost impossible to escape through these places. Occasionally, he found that there was soil under the wooden planks in the room, and he was ready to escape from the ground without treatment.
After having a plan, Shiratori began to collect tools. He picked up a small iron piece and a small nail, and after a long period of processing, he made a small saw. He often sat in his cell, deliberately looking up at the roof light. After the prison guards found out, they knew that he had escaped from the daylight openings, and immediately reinforced the doors, windows and daylight openings, thus ignoring the weakness of the floor. Seeing the prison guards, he used the bed as a cover every day, carefully sawing the floor with a self-made small saw, and disguised the marks on the floor in order not to be found. After three months of persistence, the floor was finally sawn.
At 7 pm on March 31, 1947, while the guards were not paying attention, Shiratori first disguised the bed as if someone was sleeping, then lifted the previously sawn plank, digging up the soil with eating utensils and hands. It only took 5 Excavated outside the cell within hours. He climbed over several meters high walls and iron fences, and escaped to the mountain again.
After the Japanese media got the news of Shiratori’s escape from prison, they carried out large-scale reports and made a national sensation. The people said: “Shiratori Yuei is like a free man. As long as he wants to leave, there is no prison to hold him.” People also call Shiratori the “Prison Break King” of Japan.
This incident put the Japanese police to shame, they quickly launched a large-scale search operation, but found nothing.
Shiratori appeared in the sight of the police again. It was on January 19, 1948, a man asked the patrolling police: “Are there any cigarettes? Can I order one?” The policeman kindly ordered him one. Unexpectedly, after taking a sip, the man faintly said: “Thank you, let me tell you the good news. I am Shiratori Yuei who escaped from the Sapporo prison last year.” The
police couldn’t help but froze and looked up seriously. Looked at Shiratori. Shiratori smiled and said, “Actually, I have always wanted to serve my sentence and atonement, but I must be treated fairly. Otherwise, I will escape from prison and make your police lose face. You should also understand that no prison in the world can sleep. Stop me.” After speaking, Shiratori reached out and asked the police to handcuff him and take him back to prison. After being shocked, the police relayed Shiratori’s words verbatim to people in the relevant departments.
Soon, the Sapporo High Court opened a trial and determined that Shiratori was a legitimate defense in the previous Guada case and commuted the previous death sentence to 20 years in prison.
In July 1948, Shiratori was transferred back to the Tokyo Prison, where he was treated very well. The prison authorities no longer shackled him every day, and did not allow prison guards to abuse him. Although he still lives in a separate cell, the room is fully equipped and can take a bath. He also got a job in the prison to take care of the garden.
Shiratori finally felt that he was respected, so in the following 10 years, he served his sentence honestly and never escaped from prison. During his sentence, due to his outstanding performance, he was also named a “model prisoner” and his sentence was commuted.
On December 21, 1961, Shiratori was released from prison early. He wrote his own experience into an autobiography, which once again caused a sensation and heated discussion. On February 24, 1979, 72-year-old Shiratori died at Mitsui Memorial Hospital due to myocardial infarction. In 2017, Shiratori Yuei’s deeds were adapted and filmed, and it was broadcast in many countries not long ago.