|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Wicked queen lived spoiled life in family palace as little prince starved 2008,4,1
Shukan Post 4/4 By Ryann Connell
In Japan, the word "mansion" is used without the slightest hint of irony to describe the block buildings filled with tiny apartments most city livers dwell in.
But the palatial building where Megumi Shimamura lived with her children lived up to the true meaning of the word, Shukan Post (4/4) notes, adding that it would seem to be the last place where a child would apparently starve to death.
Yet that is exactly what appears to have happened.
On March 15, Shimamura's 2-year-old son Kenta was found dead in the 20-plus room "mansion" valued at around 700 million yen.
"It looked like he hadn't been fed for at least two weeks," a police investigation insider tells Shukan Post.
"When he was found, he had been dead for somewhere from a few days to a week. There was no sign anybody had cleaned the room and there was trash scattered everywhere."
The Shimamura mansion was built 12 years ago.
It was designed to independently accommodate three different households, which it did with Shimamura's grandparents, mother and herself living in it at various times.
The Shimamura clan was originally farmers in the Misato area of Saitama Prefecture.
Shimamura's grandfather ran a reasonably successful cleaning business.
But they really hit the jackpot back in the '70s when the area around Misato Station was developed and the value of the farmland the family owned skyrocketed, making them fabulously rich.
Besides wealth, Megumi Shimamura was also blessed in other ways.
She was tall and svelte with lustrous long locks that made many view her as a beauty.
But there were struggles, too, as she barely made it through junior high school before dropping out of a vocational school course and then going through a series of jobs she struggled to keep at for long.
She met a guy at an izakaya pub and married him, giving birth to (her now 7-year-old) eldest son, but divorcing soon after.
About five years ago, she returned to live in the Shimamura's enormous Misato mansion.
"Megumi was allowed back to live there on the condition that she cook for her grandparents. With the money they had, they could have afforded to employ any number of hired help, but the grandmother hated strangers being in the home," a neighbor tells the weekly.
"Megumi was supposed to look after everything."
Megumi soon found another guy at another izakaya and was quickly shacked up with him.
She soon fell pregnant again, this time with twins, one of who was Kenta.
Around the same time, she started behaving in a manner that had her neighbors whispering behind her back.
"She'd take the kids with her to family restaurants at 3 in the morning," one neighbor says.
Another adds: "She used to let the kids crawl around on the floor of the parlor while she played pachinko."
Shimamura has barely worked from the time Kenta and his twin sister were born.
Her mother, who lived with her husband in another part of Misato, apparently gave Shimamura the money she needed to keep herself and her three young children afloat.
And more: the mother also apparently spent a lot of time traveling around Misato bars where Shimamura had built up huge bills during her nightly carousing permitted by the promise of later payment.
If not exactly popular, Shimamura was a well-known figure around Misato's nightspots.
"She loved karaoke," a Misato pub worker says.
"But she'd get a few drinks in her and become unstoppable. And she'd soon snuggle up to guys, too. People used to look at her and think, 'Oh no, she's off with yet another different guy.'"
Things started to change for Shimamura toward the end of last year, though.
"She'd never been really close to her grandmother, but they had a massive fight at the end of last year and she was ordered out of the house. They barely spoke after that," an insider in the police investigation into Kenta Shimamura's death tells Shukan Post.
Indeed, the pub insider says Shimamura had grown to hate her grandmother.
"She came in one night cursing about 'the shitty old hag' and threatened to kill her," the pub source says.
Shimamura moved into an apartment of her own, again apparently paid for by her mother.
A young man who rode a mini-scooter was a frequent visitor.
Her children, however, were left in their own section of the Shimamura's Misato mansion.
On March 13, Shimamura went to the mansion and collected her eldest son and Kenta's twin.
She then contacted her stepfather and told him that "maybe Kenta's dead."
Her fears, if that's what they were in fact, were confirmed when her stepfather finally went over to check on the boy two days later and discovered that he had indeed passed away.
Police were finally notified another two days later and Shimamura was arrested for neglecting parental responsibilities.
Her eldest son is comparatively healthy, while Kenta's twin required hospitalization after being left alone in her 7-year-old brother's "care" for almost two weeks.
It wasn't as though authorities were unaware of what was going on -- or not going on as may have been the case -- at the Shimamura mansion, either.
In October last year, Kenta was taken to a hospital in Misato, but he smelled so bad medical staff felt compelled to report his condition to local childcare authorities.
A representative from the childcare center visited the Shimamura mansion on five separate occasions from December last year, but left each time without seeing anyone after their attempts at contacting the inhabitants were met with silence each time.
Shimamura's grandmother said she had not noticed anybody calling.
It was a similar story when her great-grandson Kenta died of starvation in the same house where she was living.
But Shimamura's grandmother is not being held at fault.
"Whenever Megumi went out, she locked the door and instructed her children that they weren't to open it under any circumstances," the police insider tells Shukan Post.
"Her relations with her grandmother were unthinkably bad and the grandmother was living in a totally separate part of the house anyway. The whole house is built in a way that people could live totally apart in its various sections." (By Ryann Connell)