William Sinclair Manson

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Worldwide Murder Mysteries. Translator

Death Of A Translator

In 1988, Salman Rushdie published The Satanic Verses. The book was scorned by the Muslim world and labeled blasphemous. Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini even issued a fatwa, calling for the death of Rushdie and his publishers.

This was no empty threat. There were several attempts on the author’s life. His Norwegian publisher, William Nygaard, was shot three times but pulled through. The Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, was stabbed in his apartment but also survived.

7 Igarashi Rushdie

Hitoshi Igarashi was a 44-year-old assistant professor of Islamic culture at Tsukuba University. In early 1990, he translated The Satanic Verses into Japanese and was killed for it a year later. Igarashi’s body was found on July 13, 1991, by the cleaning lady in the hallway of his campus building. He had been cut on his hands and face repeatedly and had a deep wound in his neck.

The murderer left behind footprints and stains of type O blood, but that was not enough to identify him. Technically, a link has never been established between Igarashi’s translation of Rushdie’s book and his murder. However, given the timing and circumstances, most assumed that there was a connection.

A 2005 update on the case mentioned that the police weren’t any closer to solving the murder even though they still had a task force in place investigating the scholar’s slaying. Back then, Japan had a 15-year statute of limitations on murder, so even if authorities identify the killer, he is now beyond the reach of the law.

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