Netflix brings a chilling new documentary, “Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case,” which goes into the heart-wrenching disappearance of a British woman in Japan. The film uncovers one of Japanese history’s most disturbing criminal cases, leaving audiences shaken and seeking answers. Lucie Blackman was a 21-year-old British woman who was working as a hostess in Tokyo in 2000. On July 1, 2000, she disappeared after going out with a group of friends. Her body was found in a cave in Okinawa in 2001.
The documentary “Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case” not only solves the shocking details of Lucie’s disappearance and the subsequent investigation but also sheds light on the darker aspects of hostessing culture in Japan. The story of Lucie Blackman serves as a grim reminder of the dangers that can lurk in the shadows and the importance of never giving up on seeking justice for the victims.
What is the documentary about?
The documentary follows the story of Lucie Blackman, a 21-year-old British Air hostess on an adventurous journey to Tokyo, leaving her life in London behind. Little did her parents and friends know that she would disappear without a trace merely three weeks into her stay. The story unfolds into an international investigation led by tenacious Japanese detectives, with Lucie’s father, Tim Blackman, never giving up on the hope of finding his daughter alive. The harrowing search takes them through the dark underbelly of Tokyo, ultimately revealing the brutal truth behind Lucie’s untimely demise at the hands of a reprehensible sexual predator.
What Happened to Lucie Blackman?
On July 1, 2000, Lucie Blackman was reported missing after she stopped answering her phone and the door. At first, detectives suspected she might have run away, while the media floated wild theories about her disappearance. However, her father, Tim Blackman, took matters into his own hands, launching an aggressive media campaign to raise awareness about his missing daughter. This approach clashed with the usual discreet investigations in Japan. Still, it was fueled by his belief that keeping the case in the public eye would increase the chances of finding Lucie.
After an 11-day search, Tim arrived in Tokyo, determined to find his daughter. The breakthrough came in early 2001 when remains later identified as Lucie’s were discovered buried near the seaside home of Joji Obara, a Korean-Japanese businessman. It was revealed that Obara had drugged, raped, and murdered Lucie, shedding light on his horrifying crimes.
Who is Louise Philips?
Louise Philips was one of Lucie’s friends. The day after Lucie disappeared, her friend Louise Philips got a call from a man. He said Lucie had joined a cult and wouldn’t contact Philips again. Worried, Philips alerted everyone. Within a few weeks, Lucie’s father, Tim, held a press conference in Tokyo, asking for any information about his daughter’s location. Even the Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair, met the Blackman family in Japan and promised to discuss the matter with the Japanese leader at a G8 summit.
Things you need to know about Missing: The Lucie Blackman Case on Netflix:
During the investigation, it was discovered that Lucie worked as a hostess, a prevalent occupation for women in Japan. Hostessing involves:
- Entertaining clients in bars and clubs.
- Engaging in conversation.
- Singing karaoke.
- Providing companionship in social settings.
While not inherently sex work, the profession can put young women in vulnerable situations, especially when alcohol is involved. Captain Satoru Yamashiro led a team of detectives known as the “snapping turtle squad,” who investigated reports and incidents related to hostessing. They uncovered crucial information, leading them closer to the truth about Lucie’s disappearance.
Who Was Joji Obara?
Joji Obara, a Japanese businessman of Korean descent, was the perpetrator behind a series of sexual assaults and the murders of both Lucie Blackman and Australian woman Carita Ridgway. Despite his vile crimes, he presented a facade of wealth and respectability, owning multiple properties and businesses. Thanks to the relentless efforts of detectives and Tim Blackman’s media campaign, Obara was eventually apprehended and charged for his heinous actions.
Obara’s modus operandi involved luring women, often from hostess clubs in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, under the pretext of friendly or business interactions. He would then drug them, sexually assault them, and sometimes record the acts on videotapes found at his property.
What Were the Video Tapes Found in the Lucie Blackman Case?
The discovery of approximately 400 video tapes at Obara’s property sent shockwaves through the investigation. The tapes contained footage of Obara sexually assaulting drugged women repeatedly, providing chilling insights into his actions. While the tapes did not directly implicate him in Lucie’s murder, they played a crucial role in securing his conviction for other offenses.
Where Is Tim Blackman Now?
Tim Blackman, the father who refused to give up on finding his daughter, is now dedicated to promoting safety among young people abroad through the Lucie Blackman Trust. This organization supports families who have faced similar tragedies while raising awareness about potential dangers.