The Trial of the ‘Black Widow’ That Is Gripping Japan

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On Monday, she confessed to killing her husband, on Wednesday she did an abrupt turn and said she didn’t remember what she had said.

A serial murder trial in Japan took a cinematic turn at the beginning of the week when the accused confessed in court to having fatally poisoned her husband.

The case of Chisako Kakehi, now 70, has gripped Japan since her arrest in 2014, when the last of her four husbands, Isao Kakehi, a 75-year-old retiree, was found dead at his home in Muko, a city near Kyoto, the latest in a string of her partners to have died.

“I killed my husband,” Chisako said from the witness stand on Monday. “I have no intention of hiding the guilt. I will laugh it off and die if I am sentenced to death tomorrow,” she said, according to The Japan Times.

Isao was one of six men who died soon after marrying or dating Chisako, who was once a proprietor of a T-shirt printing business. She has been on trial since Jun 26, accused of killing Isao and two other boyfriends and trying to kill another man she had dated.

On Wednesday, she withdrew her confession and claimed did not remember what she told the court on Monday.

Dubbed the ‘Black Widow’ by the media after the female black widow spider that is known to eat its partner after mating, Chisako had said she killed her fourth husband in December 2013, a month after they got married, as she felt he was discriminating against her financially “in comparison to the last woman he was in a relationship with”.

She had testified that she got the cyanide, which she used to kill Isao, from a business associate.

Her lawyers had earlier argued that the woman’s testimony could not be trusted because of her “dementia”.

She “barely remembers things that happened recently”, her lawyers had said during the trial, which is expected to last until November.

Investigations into the wealthy woman – believed to have inherited approximately 1 billion yen ($8.84m) – started after a post-mortem examination revealed traces of toxic cyanide in her husband’s body.

Besides murdering Isao, Chisako is also accused of killing two of her common-law husbands and attempting to murder a boyfriend – who later died of cancer – between 2007 and 2013.

She is reported to have been romantically involved with a number of men, 10 of whom are known to have died.