Tokyo Detention House
LocationKatsushika, Tokyo, Japan 1-35-1
StatusIn operation
Managed byMinistry of Justice (Japan), Tokyo correctional province
1989 aerial photograph of the correctional facility and its surroundings

The Tokyo Detention House (東京拘置所, Tōkyō Kōchisho) is a correctional facility in Katsushika, Tokyo.[1][2] The prison, which is operated by the Ministry of Justice, is one of seven detention centres that carry out executions in Japan. It is used to detain people awaiting trial, convicted felons and those sentenced to death. In April 2019, the Special Security Response Team, a tactical response unit, was established at the TDH.[3]

Execution chamber

Main article: Capital punishment in Japan

One of Japan's seven execution chambers is in this facility. All executions in Japan are carried out by hanging. The execution chamber in Tokyo has a trap door, which is operated by one of the three buttons in the next-door room, which are simultaneously pressed by three prison staff members so that none of them will know who activated the drop.[4]

Before entering the execution chamber, the condemned person passes a Buddhist statue of Kannon (観音), a bodhisattva associated with compassion.[4] The execution chamber has two sections, with both of them together no larger than a 15-tatami mat room.[2] When the execution happens, the body drops into a room below the execution chamber; it is in this room where death is confirmed.[5]

Notable prisoners


  1. ^ "Penal Institutions in Japan" (PDF). Ministry of Justice. August 27, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 July 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010. Text found in Google search says "(Front cover: Tokyo Detention House)"."
  2. ^ a b "Diet members tour execution chamber". The Japan Times. July 24, 2003. Archived from the original on June 5, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  3. ^ "法務省:特別機動警備隊". Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Inside Japan's secret death chambers where prisoners are put to death". Daily Mirror. 6 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Japan reveals long-secretive execution process". CNN. August 27, 2010. Archived from the original on December 2, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  6. ^ The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn, NY Times, December 30, 2018
  7. ^ Eiji Takemae (1 January 2003). Allied Occupation of Japan. A&C Black. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-8264-1521-9.
  8. ^ "Aum Shinrikyo: Japan executes cult leader Shoko Asahara". BBC News. July 4, 2018. Shoko Asahara's execution, at a Tokyo detention house on Friday morning, was confirmed by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
  9. ^ United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities (1951). Hearings on American Aspects of the Richard Sorge Spy Case: Based on Testimony of Mitsusada Yoshikawa and Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby. Hearings. U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 1148–1149.
  10. ^ "The World: Tanaka: Prisoner of 'Money Power'." Time. Monday August 9, 1976. Retrieved on August 29, 2010. "The spartan cell is no different from that of any ordinary inmate at the Tokyo House of Detention—"
  11. ^ Japan Quarterly. Asahi Shimbun. 1977. p. 128.
  12. ^ "AFP: Japan executes notorious cannibal killer". 2013-07-09. Archived from the original on 2013-07-09. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  13. ^ "Japan hangs three death row inmates". 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2019-03-22.

Media related to Tokyo Detention House at Wikimedia Commons

35°45′31″N 139°49′03″E / 35.75861°N 139.81750°E / 35.75861; 139.81750