On January 12, 1948, two police officers from the Waseda precinct in Tokyo accidentally came upon the remains of five infants. While that shocking find was clearly suspect, it was affirmed by an autopsy that showed the infants' deaths were not natural. An investigation led to the arrest of one Miyuki Ishikawa, two conspirators, and the reveal of a morbid practice that included the death of over one hundred infants.
Much of Miyuki's early life is unknown. Born in 1897 in the southern Japanese town of Kunitomi, she attended and graduated the University of Tokyo, later marrying Takeshi Ishikawa.
Miyuki's career led to her being a midwife at the Kotobuki maternity hospital and then becoming its director.
As abortion wasn't legal in Japan during this time, many couples were having children they were not able to financially take care of. Miyuki saw this, and also knew that charitable resources were sparse. Through cold calculation, she decided it would be best if the children were killed.
Through neglect, Miyuki killed somewhere between 103 and 169 infants. While the other midwives in the hospital knew of the practice, the local government ignored the deaths. This resulted in multiple midwives leaving the hospital.
If the act of killing the defenseless wasn't repulsive enough, Miyuki then enlisted her husband and a doctor to take advantage of the situation. Dr. Shiro Nakayama drew up false death certificates for the infants that were killed, and Miyuki's husband went around asking the parents for large sums of money, telling them that it would be cheaper to pay them instead of raising the child.
After the Waseda police found the five corpses, an investigation led to the arrest of Miyuki, her husband, and the doctor. A citywide search also led to the discovery of forty infant corpses in a mortician's house, and thirty more under a temple.
During trial, Miyuki argued that the parents who deserted the children were responsible for their deaths. This defense received support from a large section of the public- a fact that was reflected in Japanese law, which gave infants almost no rights. Consequently, Miyuki was sentenced to eight years of prison. For their part, Miyuki's husband and Dr. Nakayama received only four years imprisonment. Miyuki and her husband even managed to halve their sentences through an appeal.