Japan’s 74-Year-Old ‘Black Widow’ Serial Killer Loses Appeal For Death Sentence

by : Hannah Smith on : 30 Jun 2021 13:51
Japan's 74-Year-Old 'Black Widow' Serial Killer Loses Appeal For Death SentenceCNN

A Japanese woman who murdered at least three of her partners has lost her appeal against her death sentence.

74-year old Chisako Kakehi – referred to by Japanese media as the ‘Black Widow’ – poisoned her victims with cyanide and claimed large insurance payouts following their deaths. The Japanese Supreme Court today, June 30, upheld her death sentence after she was convicted of three murders, and the attempted murder of a fourth victim, in 2017.


The killings took place between 2007 and 2013, in Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo, with Kakehi eventually arrested almost a year after the death of her fourth husband, Isao Kakehi, in 2013, just two months after the pair were married.

Chisako Kakehi was convicted of poisoning four men (TV Asahi)TV Asahi

It is believed ‘many’ of her former partners over the past two decades had died while she was with them, including her first husband in 1994. With autopsies rare in Japan, only three of her victims were confirmed to have been killed by cyanide poisoning.

CNN has previously reported that Kakehi had been awarded a total of $6.8 million USD in insurance payouts following the deaths.


In a ruling upholding the death sentence, Judge Yuriko Miyazaki said:

She used the matchmaking agency to get acquainted with elderly victims one after another and poisoned them after making them trust her…

It is a ruthless crime based on a planned and strong murderous intention.

Isao Kakehi died two months after marrying Chisako (TV Asahi)TV Asahi

Lawyers for the ‘Black Widow’ serial killer had argued that Kakehi was suffering from dementia and incapable of standing trial, however, the judge dismissed the appeal, saying ‘even with due consideration given to the defendant’s favorable circumstances, such as being old, the death penalty is unavoidable.’


Speaking to local TV channel TV Asahi in 2014, Kakehi denied being involved in her fourth husband’s death, saying ‘I didn’t kill him. I don’t know how to kill.’

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Most Read StoriesMost Read


Putin Brands Transgender Education As ‘Close To A Crime Against Humanity’

Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: News, Black Widow, Japan, no-article-matching, Serial Killer


  1. CNN

    Japan's 'Black Widow' serial killer loses death sentence appeal