All five victims were reportedly between 70 and 80 years old and battered to death with a blunt object. Three of the victims were then burned in two different house fires. The man, who has not been named, allegedly left a haiku in his window that read in Japanese, "Setting on fire, smoke gives delight, to a country fellow."
The murders represented a third of the population of the small mountain town, which only has ten households, a temple, and a community center. A neighbor reported that there had been two fires in the last five years, and police are looking into the connection.