The Greatest Japanese Prison Escape Yoshie Shiratori


Yoshie Shiratori, aka the Prison Break Magician, was born on July 31, 1907 in Aomori, Japan. He is best known for escaping from prison four times. And not even handcuffs, copper walls, or dislocated shoulder could stop his daring escapes.In this article you will see the whole histroy and some intersting facts about japan greatest hero “yoshie Shiratori”.


Aomori Prison

Aomori, Japan, 1936. Prisoner Yoshie Shiratori has enough. He was forced to admit to a murder he’d not commit. Falsely imprisoned at Aomori Prison, defeated and tortured every nighttime by jail guards,  In his mind, it’s time for escape. However, Aomori Prison wasn’t the easiest to escape. So at 5:30 am, he made his move. He knew there is a 1 to 5 minute difference in the patrol period, As he had studied the guard’s routine for months. And once the area was clear, he pulled a metallic cable that he had smuggled in out of the bathhouse and started to open the lock. This is a metal support ring that was wrapped around the bathing buckets inmates use to clean. But soon following a few minutes after opening, he had success, along with his own cell door swung open. But he was not out of the prison because there were still more locked doors ahead. He realized he’d just had a couple of minutes left until the guards would return, and so he lost no more time attempting to pick his way through the rest of the corridor doors. Now fortunately for him, he managed enough to make it out of this facility. However, the terrible news is he was only halfway to independence. You see, he was still well inside of the hunt perimeter, which meant any moment the alarm could go off, and he get be caught.

At 5:45 pm, the guards came back, looking into his cell. Shiratori seems asleep in his bed. However, they did not recognize they were taking a look at something different, some pile of free floorboards under his cover built to deceive them. It wasn’t until another morning they eventually discovered the truth, and the alarm was sounded. But by then, Shiratori was gone. Now he’s escaped. That was the beginning. After Some time, he had been captured again by attempting to slip supplies in a hospital. And just like he had been in the prison. 

2. Back To The Prison Life

prison life

He’d never see his family again, including his wife and kid. And after months of preparation, he’d only gotten three days of freedom and it seemed like he’d be locked up for a long time. Shiratori was transported to Akita Prison in Akita City six years later in1942, during the Second World War. The guards there treated him far worse than they did in Aomori. They’d heard about Shiratori’s last escape and were determined to hold him accountable. They wanted to make sure he didn’t get away again. He was exposed to brutal physical work, forced to sleep on the hard concrete floor in the severe winter and held in confinement for long periods in addition to the usual beatings. This was a specifically designed solitary confinement cell that was very tiny and had a very high ceiling, with copper sheets covering the hard-to-grab walls.

Moreover, even during the day, there was little sunshine. The only window  light came from a small sealed skylight far above. This area was created to prevent escape artists from fleeing. And, as if that wasn’t enough, the guards made sure Shiratori was always cuffed. Despite the repeated torture, one of the guards, Kobayashi, the chief guard, had sympathy for him. Kobayashi never touched him, and he even seemed to check in on him from time to time, as if he was worried about his well-being. Shiratori’s life may have become a little easier as a result of this.

3.SuperHuman Powers

superhuman powers

On June 15th, late at night. Shiratori was in the middle of one of his extended stays in solitary confinement on a rainy night. One of the guards looked inside his cell after midnight and couldn’t believe what he saw. Yoshie Shiratori had gone into thin air as he opened the cell door and looked around in astonishment. His shackles were all that left. So, how did he pull it off? The guards had made a few assumptions about Shiratori that were wrong. Shiratori was an expert at escaping from handcuffs. And, in reality, there were various options. He chose to use the lock picking approach here. He might have gone with any of them, though. He had scoured his surroundings for anything that may be useful in an escape. And, just like in Aomori Prison, he was able to find a loose piece of wire. It may have been one of the gifts Kobayashi had brought him.

This, however, was not clear. He mounted the unclimbable wall after releasing himself from the cuffs by placing his hands and soles on the smooth copper sheets. Shiratori turned out to be a skilled climber with the unusual ability to scale like a lizard. When he got to the skylight above, he observed that the window was indeed closed. However, the wooden framework surrounding it was decaying.

4.How He Prepared For The Escape

man escaping from prison

And so after that at night when the guards weren’t looking,” he climbed the copper walls and loosened the frame bit by bit. Afterward, he would scale back down and set the handcuffs back to avoid suspicion. After months, window eventually arrived loose. And from there, it had been just about deciding on the correct day. He surfaced before a specific stormy evening; therefore, the guards would not hear the gaze about the roof. And which had been it. He’d escaped from jail again.

5.Kindness Got Him Arrested:

Three weeks later, on September 18th, the head guard Kobayashi, had been home when he heard a knock on the door. To his surprise, that was the escapee Yoshie Shiratori, messy and untidy. A stunned Kobayashi took him in and fed him, all of them while listening to what he’d to say. The sole motive he escaped twice was due to the tremendous abuse he suffered at the hands of guards. Kobayashi however, was the sole person who treated him nicely with some amount of respect. This plan of action included Shiratori willingly handing himself to the Justice office. He will personally make a case for how corrupt the Japanese prison was,” He wished to campaign for change.That, needless to say, has been a super ambitious plan. And as he was on the run, he was aware of that. This is why he wanted Kobayashi, ” the well-respected head guard of Akita Prison, to vow for him to strengthen his own case. Since the sole Head guard who ever treated him right, he had a feeling Kobayashi would do the perfect thing.

Later, while Shiratori was in the toilet, Kobayashi telephoned the police. Just like that, Shiratori was back from prison, and at this moment, he pledged to not trust an officer of the Law again. For the second escape, the jury has added 3 more years into his life sentence.Shiratori requested to be transferred to Tokyo jail where the weather was warmer, he doesn’t want to endure the cold at the northern prisons.

6. High Security Prison

cell for shiratori

His previous stays had severely damaged him but his request was refused. Instead, the judge sentenced him to Hokkaido’s notorious Abashiri Jail, the country’s northernmost prison. No one has ever managed to break out from this freezing hellhole of a jail. It was now 1943, and the winter at Abashiri was brutal, the temperature in the cells below freezing. Miso soup and soy sauce would frequently freeze when convicts received their jail food. A chained Shiratori was tossed into an open cage in summer clothing in this weather and he felt the paralyzing sting of cold air almost immediately. He may well have tried to force his way past the guards out of desperation. However, they were capable of holding him off and beat him down. Shiratori stood up, angry and stubborn, and promised that he would escape from Abashiri Prison like he always does, and there was nothing they could do. In fact, he said that placing handcuffs on him was pointless since he’d always find a way to get out of them if not by lockpicking, then by any other method.

To the guard’s surprise he then proceeded to pull away from the shackles. Shiratori has been discovered to have another exceptional skill. He possessed extraordinary strength, nearly superhuman power, in addition to his remarkable climbing ability. He could have physically broken free of the cuffs at Akita Prison if he hadn’t had to put them back on. This was remarkable but laying his cards on the table like that wasn’t so clever since the guards were beginning to create an escape profile on him. They knew he could crack locks, climb like a lizard, and now have near-superhuman strength. As a result, they set out to create the ultimate escape-proof cage one that would be Shiratori-proof. And this is what they came up with.

7.New Prison Set-Up For Shiratori

prison setup

Steel fittings with a reduced possibility of rot were used in the new cell. Any gaps even those with the bars removed were made smaller than his body preventing him from physically passing through. He was wearing thick iron shackles that fastened behind his back and leg restraints making it difficult for him to stand. These cuffs each weighed 20 kg and lacked a keyhole making him impossible to pick. And the only way to get rid of them was for two metalwork professionals to come every few weeks and remove them in a two-hour effort. He could only take a bath at that time. 

heavy weighted cuffs

His cuff wounds had become infected with maggots after weeks of being chained and unable to move. Furthermore, despite how cold it had already been, it was still the start of the winter season. Whatever little strength he had would be wiped out by the approaching cold. Even so, they cut his already low meal rations in half. And that was the end of it. This was too much even for Shiratori. He bowed to his fate as winter approached. Every day, the guards would smuggle his food through the gap forcing him to grovel like a dog. His hand and leg shackles made every move difficult and uncomfortable including sleeping. There was no denying that life at Abashiri Prison was a living hell. Let’s fast forward now. Shiratori had managed to make it through the winter, and spring was on its way. This indicated that he was regaining his strength.

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8.Next Move Of Yoshie

planning of shiratori

But honestly what could he do? He’d gotten himself into a pickle. Months went by with nothing appearing to happen. Then, one night in August, while conducting paperwork in the office, a guard heard some movement on the roof. He had no idea what it was but he decided to go check on the inmates. He was astonished when he peered into Shiratori’s unbreakable cell. The mattress bed and jail uniforms were folded nicely. Handcuffs and leg cuffs weighing 20 kg were kept On the side. Shiratori, on the other hand, was nowhere to be seen. He fulfilled the promise to the guards. The alarm went off right away but despite the search party’s efforts, it looked that he had genuinely vanished. But how did this happen?

9.Master-Class Plan Of The Genius

master plan

How did he get out of Abashiri Prison which was like a fortress? Preparation, on the other hand, had begun six months prior. He didn’t have the strength or stamina to stage an escape at the moment. He just had time and patience on his side. Every day, the guards would sneak his food past him. And despite his best efforts to eat his meals off the floor, he always made sure to preserve a small portion of the miso soup in the corner. He’d hobble awkwardly to the inspection window every night and spray a bit on the steel frame. He would put some on his handcuffs and leg shackles as well. His plan was for the miso soup’s salt content to oxidize the screws and nuts, ultimately dissolving and releasing them. After a month, the rusting through the iron procedure really worked, and the first screw was removed. The first screw as a screwdriver aided the loosening of other screws and bolts over the next few months. 

He was able to totally remove his shackles and leg cuffs as well as the steel frame of the inspection window before the end of spring. However, there was a problem. Because the entrance was smaller than his body he couldn’t go through which was a precaution planned by the guards. What they didn’t consider was Shiratori’s fourth talent which allowed him to dislocate his joints. He could now glide through the opening like a caterpillar for this. As a result of his skill set he is definitely an honorary member of the X-Men. He then vanished by climbing through a damaged window in the roof. Shiratori had now escaped from three jails including Abashiri Prison, where he was the only guy who had ever fled. Now, congrats on escaping detection but this was northern Hokkaido. And the only place he could have gone was to the freezing snow-covered mountains. The jail guards actually thought they had the final laugh because if the cold didn’t kill him, the mountain bears would.

10.World-War 2

world war 2

Regardless of the odds, Shiratori’s wife remained hopeful. She was still concerned though. Even if he was alive, she knew he wouldn’t be able to return to his family since the authorities would be following him all the time. This is why she secretly hoped Japan would lose the war, as this would allow the US to take control of the country, allowing everyone to forget about her husband. She kept it to herself. But she got her wish a year later, in August 1945. (bombs exploding)The Americans had taken control of the country’s prison system and were making significant changes. And it appeared as though the search for Yoshie Shiratori had been put on hold. 

However, the question of where he was and whether or not he was alive remained unanswered. Yes, he was still active and leading a lonely life, this time self-imposed. He had located an abandoned mine on a mountain top in the Hokkaido countryside and made himself a home. He survived on nuts and berries, wild rabbits, and raccoons. He even learned to collect crabs from a river by watching bear behavior. Life was secure. After a while, though, his curiosity got the best of him.

11. An Unlucky Incident

american bombing japan

He eventually made his way down the mountain to a nearby village after two years of isolation. He was shocked by what he saw. The streets were packed with English-language signs. Posters and flags honoring the war effort were no longer visible. Even worse, young Japanese girls were seen holding hands with American troops. What was happening here? He snatched up a newspaper that had been placed aside and flipped through the pages. It was only then that he learned of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs. He couldn’t believe Japan had surrendered the previous year. He felt that hiding was no longer required.

For the following 50 days, he traveled south of Abashiri till he arrived at Sapporo. He was starving at this point. So he went out and got a lovely ripe tomato from a neighboring field, which turned out to be a tremendous mistake. A farmer had seen him and mistook him for a well-known local thief, leading to a fight where the farmer’s stomach was stabbed by a blade. He bled out and died, sadly. Shiratori was arrested for the crime, but not before the authorities discovered that they were holding the famous Yoshie Shiratori. Despite self-defense claims, they sentenced him to death by the District Court of Sapporo for his many escapes and murder of the farmer.

12. Back To Reality

wife of yoshie shiratori

In 1947, he was sentenced to death and transported to Sapporo Prison. To guarantee that he did not flee while on death row this time he was placed under 24-hour surveillance with six armed guards assigned to his watch. The cell itself had been renovated from Abashiri Prison with reinforced doors, ceilings, bars, and windows. Learning from the Abashiri escape all openings were made smaller than the size of his head not only his body. He might be able to dislocate his joints but he can’t dislocate his skull. They were fine as long as his head didn’t fit.

The six guards were so sure of themselves that they didn’t bother to handcuff him. Shiratori was becoming elderly and the chances of fleeing were limited at this time. There was nothing he could do as his execution approached and the guards knew it. They could sense his despair as he looked up waiting for an escape plan that they knew would never occur. Even so, they searched his room every night while he was having a bath at the bathhouse, inspecting the roof, ceiling, and any other holes, just in case. A month had gone and winter was approaching further weakening him. And it was starting to clear on him that something was wrong. He became increasingly dejected, refusing to get out of bed despite the guards’ demands.

13.The Final Escape

thee final escape

This carried on for a long time until the guards had enough and went inside the cell to discipline him one morning. He was gone as soon as they flipped over the covers. This was not a possibility. How did he manage to pull it off this time? Back when he was initially placed under 24-hour surveillance with six armed guards assigned to his watch. He had, in fact, habituated them to look up and keep looking up from the starting not only because his previous escape had involved climbing through windows in ceilings, but also of his suspicious, yet very intentional, habit of constantly looking up to figure out an escape plan. They had no idea it was all a deception and that he already had one. But it would happen just where they weren’t expecting it. The authorities were so worried about his escape through a window or skylight, it turned out, that they failed to strengthen the bottom. 

This ended up being his easiest and simplest escape since all he had to do was remove the bolted floorboards, which wasn’t easy. Still, he’d done it before and dug his way to freedom using miscellaneous utensils and a miso soup dish. This took nearly a month to complete. And because the guards didn’t suspect him and the floorboard panels were placed back in place every night after digging he was able to keep his actions hidden. Even at night, the six guards believed they were keeping a close check on him. Nothing looked out of the usual, though, with the hole continuously positioned underneath the mattress and cover. It progressively became usual to resist the guard’s commands to wake up. He hid a pile of loose floorboards underneath the covers to fool them a reference to his first jailbreak in Aomori. The use of floorboards underneath the surface to fool them was a reference to his first jailbreak in Aomori. So he’d gotten out of prison four times now.

14.One Last Time

One Last Time

He was now in his forties and this was a game of young men. When he stopped to relax in the Kotoni suburb of Sapporo, while running from the guards and he has taken a rest by sitting in bench then a police officer simply happened to sit by his side for a cigarette. Even though he had no idea who Shiratori was, he started a discussion with him. Shiratori, naturally, was concerned about his presence and attempted to keep his calm, all the while trying to figure out how to get out of the situation without appearing suspicious. The cop did something unexpected, at least to him, all of a sudden. He offered a cigarette to him. Shiratori was shocked. Cigarettes were a luxury item in Japan at the time. The fact that it was given to him out of the goodness of their hearts brought tears to his eyes.

Not to mention that he had been beaten and mistreated by law enforcement personnel his whole life, even the chief guard, Kobayashi, turning his back on him. And here was an officer who treated him with kindness, respect, and without discrimination. Shiratori couldn’t help but give the officer his full name, Yoshie Shiratori, and that he had escaped from Sapporo Prison last year while he smoked the cigarette. In fact, he’d gotten out of jail four times in his life. It felt strangely good to get everything off his chest, and he was even prepared for the consequences. He had vowed never to trust another officer of the Law after the Kobayashi incident. However, the simple act of receiving a cigarette from a stranger was enough to break him. 

Of course, he was detained once more, but the Sapporo High Court felt sympathetic to Shiratori’s case. Some of his previous claims such as admitting the farmer’s death as a justifiable case of self-defense were also accepted. They also noted that, despite the mistreatment he may have received at the end, he did not murder or hurt a single guard during his four jail escapes. The High Court rejected the murder charge overturned his death sentence and instead sentenced him to only 20 years in jail at the end of the hearing. They also agreed to his request to be transferred to a Tokyo prison with warmer weather. He was getting exactly what he desired. He was sent to Fuchu Prison in Tokyo, where the guards treated him well for the first time. It was an unusual experience. 



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