Yoshie Shiratori: “The man that no prison could hold in”

Poking through cell bars with unusual tools is a commonly interesting phenomenon in cinemas. Even, when it comes to real-life stories to read, the prison-break stories fascinate the reader most.

The stories of prisoners who escaped are a dime a dozen. But, right now, you are going to be introduced to the story of Yoshie Shiratori, a bizarre and impossible one that may be difficult to believe.

That incredible man to be introduced now is none other than Yoshie Shiratori, Except for whom no other man in history has shown such insolence for confinement.

Shiratori was known as “the man that no prison could hold in” and has successfully escaped his four prosperous times from prison! So, take your coffee mug with and let’s go through something entirely out of the ordinary; very miraculous.

Early Life!

Shiratori started out as a member of the Russian fishing crew and eventually became a cook. However, he couldn’t get stick to it. He kept failing in his jobs. After several failed businesses, he became a poker and petty thief. Eventually, He caught red-handed.

In the first police inquiry, Yoshie was found imputable of both the murder and the thievery. He was sentenced to imprisonment in Aomori prison.

Intolerable Aomori Prison Days!

In Aomori prison, life was intolerable, thus, Yoshie Shiratori had to go through an immense hardship. Thus, he planned to escape from the jail.

He had followed the guards’ routine for months. He came to know that the patrol was about a 15-minute break. So, he kept waiting for the chance to bounce from Aomori prison! He kept waiting for his cherished day!

One day, As soon as the coast was clear, he removed the bolt from the bathhouse. And he pulled it off. This was the first used as a prison service ring, which prisoners used to wash the bathrooms.

He was cooled down by the weather. After a while, he managed to finally get the key into the cell. But he had only made up a fraction of the task, as there were still even more obstacles ahead of him. He was confident that he had time to spare, so he bypassed the other gate to quickly get in.

Aomori prison, Japan

Thankfully, he could now depart. And on the plus side, the good news was that he was 50% of the way to total independence. He could still be captured as long as it was within the search area. Thus, he had not been set free.

As ordered, the guards returned to his cell at 5:45 AM. When they had arrived, he was lying in his bed, asleep. It did not occur to them that there was anything else: several loose floorboards to mislead them.

They didn’t figure out the truth until the next day when the alarm was sounded. Shiratori, on the other hand, had been missing for quite some time. He had already left by then.

An Inevitable Life Sentence?

This is only the beginning for Yoshie Shiratori, aka the escape magician, who will do much more in the future. It took him three days to do something stupid. On the third day, he attempted to steal supplies from a hospital. But, he was caught red handed!

Then he was returned to prison. But, for his most recent escape, he received a life sentence.

There was no going back. Shiratori would never be with his family again – with his wife and his daughter. He felt like a little disappointed to find out it had all been a total waste of time and that the independence he’d anticipated was short-lived.

Experiencing more protective Akita Prison!

Six years later, Shiratori found himself moved to Akita Prison, which was being used during the Second World War as a wartime detention facility. As far as the guards were concerned, they handled him worse in Aomori.

Akita Prison

They’d learned about Shiratori’s prior escape attempt and were eager to teach him lessons. The general idea was to make sure he was never able to get out and suffered from excessive physical labor and cell extraction.

The following were not added as a standard aspect of his punishment: being held in the cold in the winter and placed in solitary confinement for lengthy periods, sleeping on a hard surface, and being required to lift heavy weights.

Meeting a Blessing in a Quite Impossible-To-Survive Cell!

This was a specially-made cell, with high ceilings and copper walls, inaccessible to the hand. In comparison, there was almost no sunlight in the rooms, which were only illuminated by a locked skylight overhead that leaked and no light during the day from all other sources.

This was built to ensure the inmates from being able to bust out of their cells or facilities. As though that was not enough, the guards secured Shiratori, in addition, making sure that he was still handcuffed at all times.

He may have been repeatedly tortured, but one of the guards, Kobayashi, still felt sympathy for Shiratori!

Having a parent like this around indeed makes things far more accessible for Shiratori, and maybe, he could have stayed the night until June 15th. That means, Shiratori was escaping again!

Fugitivity and Assumptions!

Shiratori was in the midst of one of his extended stays in solitary confinement on a stormy night. One of the guards peered into his cell around midnight and couldn’t believe what he saw.

Yoshie Shiratori had vanished into thin air when he opened the cell door and looked around in astonishment.His handcuffs were all that remained.

So, how did he pull it off?

The guards had made a few assumptions about Shiratori, but those were incorrect. Handcuffs, for one, did not work on him. Shiratori was an expert at breaking free from handcuffs. And, in fact, there were several options.

He chose to use the tried-and-true lock picking method. He could have gone with any of them, though. He had scoured his surroundings for anything that could be useful in an escape.

And, like in Aomori Prison, he was able to find a stray strand of wire. It could have been one of the items Kobayashi had brought him.

All set, All good: Run!

After removing his cuffs, Shiratori placed his palms and soles on the smooth copper sheets and began climbing the seemingly insurmountable wall.

Shiratori turned out to be a skilled climber with the uncanny ability to scale like a lizard. When he got to the skylight above, he noticed that the window was indeed closed.

However, the wooden framing around it was rotting. Night after night, when the guards weren’t looking, he kept climbing the copper walls and gradually loosened the frame. He’d then climb back down and reapply the handcuffs so as not to arouse suspicion.

The window finally came loose after a few months. Then it was just a matter of picking the right day. He chose a stormy night so that the guards wouldn’t hear the footsteps on the roof.

And that was the end of it; he’d gotten away from prison yet again. He wouldn’t be caught this time. Or, at the very least, not in the way you might think.

An Unexpected Stranger!

On September 18th, three months later, the head guard, Kobayashi, was at home when he heard a knock. It was the fugitive Yoshie Shiratori, unkempt and disheveled, who needed a favor, much to his surprise. Kobayashi, stunned, took him in and fed him while also listening to what he had to say.

Shiratori explained that he didn’t mind being in prison and that the only reason he had escaped twice was because of the horrendous treatment he received from the sadistic guards.

Kobayashi, on the other hand, was the only one who showed him any respect. As a result, he felt obligated to inform him of his grand scheme.

This plan entailed Shiratori willingly handing himself over to the Justice Department, where he could then make a personal case for how corrupt and barbaric the Japanese prison system was and why reform was needed.

He wanted to mobilize for change and sue the establishment for civil rights. He felt this was the only way he could pay the bills. This was a rather ambitious undertaking.

Additionally, as a fugitive on the run, he knew that he needed Kobayashi, the respected warden of Akita, to help strengthen his credibility. He knew Kobayashi would behave honorably.

Must it be a Betrayal?

Minutes later, Kobayashi called the police while Shiratori was in the toilet. Perhaps not a brilliant plan. Just like that, Shiratori had returned to jail, and this time he vowed to never again trust a law officer. The court added to his life sentence for the second escape three more years.

Shiratori now asked to be sent to Tokyo jail, where the wind was warmer because, in the northern prisons, he couldn’t stand the cold.

He had been severely weakened by his previous stints, but his request was denied. The judge condemned him to Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prison, in the infamous Abashiri Prison. No man had ever escaped from this frozen hellhole of a prison.

Welcome to Hokkaido!

It was now 1943, and the cold in Abashiri was unbearable, with the temperature in the cells below freezing. Even miso soup and soy sauce would frequently freeze when inmates received their prison food.

A handcuffed Shiratori was thrown into an open cell in summer clothing in this temperature, and he felt the paralyzing sting of cold air almost immediately. He may have tried to force his way past the guards out of desperation.

However, they were able to fend him off and beat him down. Shiratori stood up, enraged and defiant, vowing that he would escape from Abashiri Prison, as he always had, and that there was nothing they could do about it.

He claimed that even holding handcuffs at him would not be helpful because he would always find a way of break free even if not with lock picking.

He rips the chain of his fingertips off to the guards’ horror. Shiratori turned out to have a different ability.

In addition to his excellent climbing skills, he possessed unbelievable strength and nearly superhuman strength. He might have broken the physical way back in Akita prison if he didn’t have to put them on again, without his cuffs.

Now, this was impressive, but it wasn’t as clever that the guards started building an escape profile on him to put his cards like this on the table.

Eyes on: This time it has been Unachievable!

They had become aware that he was a lock pick master and supernaturally strong. With that in mind, they devised the ultimate escape-proof cell. And they developed this.

The new cell had high-quality, non-rusting fixtures. There was no way he could physically get in because the openings were smaller than his body.

They made special iron restraints that bound his wrists and shackled his legs. Since these cuffs had no keyhole, they could not be picked. And the only way they could be removed was by specialists who came twice weekly for an extensive two-hour process.

It was at this point and only this point he could bathe. And he certainly needed one as weeks of being shackled up with no movement meant his cuff wounds were infested with maggots.

Additionally, it was pretty cool. All of his strength would be exhausted before the freeze. Just in case, however, they made his already meagre portions even smaller. And that’s that, even for Shiratori to handle. He was overcome by the elements.

The guards would taunt him and force him to beg for food each day. It was as though he had shackles on his hands and legs. It was no doubt complete agony in Abashiri Prison.

Shiratori survived through the winter, and is in a better place. He was on the mend. Yet what can he really do? He was in a pickle. For months, nothing seemed to happen.

Then, one night in August, a guard heard something moving on the roof while he was doing some paperwork. He didn’t know what it was but had to go on.

Entering the cell, he was stunned. Prison bed and clothing neatly folded The special-designed 20 kg leg restraints that would have taken two hours to release were placed aside. Shiri was not in sight.

He had kept his promise to the guards. The alarm sounded, but he seemed to have vanished for good.

But, how did this happen? How did he get out of Abashiri?

Mission (im)possible!

The preparations had begun six months prior. Shiratori lacked the strength and stamina to mount an escape at the time, let alone given the restraints he was subjected to. All he needed was time and patience.

The guards would sneak his food past him every day. He also made sure to save a small portion of the miso soup in the corner, despite his best efforts to eat his food off the floor.

Every night, he’d stumble awkwardly to the inspection window and splash a little on the steel frame. He’d also smear it on his handcuffs and leg cuffs.

That was what he wanted—miso screws and bolts in the soup. The rust loosened screw finally came loose after a month. Helped by using a smaller tool until then, he dismantled the steel bars and the handcuffs. There was a bug found. Because the gap was smaller than his body, he could not fit through.

Unfortunately, the unexpected happened: he sprained his fourth joint. Now he could fit like a worm, Just like the X-Men, and no one saw him leaving.

A Change in Scenario!

Shiratori had escaped from three jails, including Abashiri Jail, where he was the only man who had ever run from. Now, kudos to him for getting away, but this was in northern Hokkaido. And the only place he might have gone was to the freezing, snow-covered mountains.

The prison guards actually thought they had the last laugh because if the cold didn’t kill him, mountain bears would.

Shirtori remained anxious. Even if he survived, he wouldn’t return to his family because he would be under constant surveillance.

A New Life, A blunder!!

Yes, Shiratori was alone on a mountainside in the Hokkaido wilderness. He subsisted on nuts and berries on rabbits and racoons for food and learned to catch crabs from observing bear’s behavior.

Everyone there was satisfied with him, But he eventually couldn’t resist.  After spending two years on the mountain, he descended to a nearby village, and was shocked to see the the streets were crowded with signs.

They were gone without a trace. Worrisome, too, and even stranger, young Japanese girls were holding hands with American soldiers. Where on earth was he?

Hokkaido, Japan

Shiratori’s eyes were drawn to a newly placed newspaper, then he learned about the atomic bombs, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It had already been 1943, and he couldn’t believe it.

So, he left his previous way of life behind. He travelled south to the town of Sapporo for the next 50 days. Now he was starving. So, he found himself a nice ripe tomato from a nearby field, which was a huge mistake.

A farmer mistook Shiratori for a well-known thief, leading to a scuffle with the man’s belly being pierced. Unfortunately, he passed away.

People Captured the infamous Yoshie. Even though he proclaimed self-defense, he was sentenced to death by the District Court of Sapporo. And in 1947, he was sent to Sapporo Prison to await execution.

Sapporo, A Grave?

They had to watch him around the clock to ensure he didn’t get out while awaiting execution. The cell was made more robust with new reinforced doors, ceilings, and bars.

The actual opening was smaller than his body. To the best of his ability, he can’t move his skull. Because his head was cut entirely off, His cuffs were not even necessary.

Now Shiratori was getting older, the odds of escaping had diminished significantly. There was nothing left to do before his death, and they knew that. They could see the desperation in his eyes, trying to find an escape they knew was coming.

Even so, the baths were searched every night while he was in the baths, the ceiling, and any other openings in the house to ensure his safety.

He had become weaker due to the passing of a month. And slowly, he began to understand. Even though the guards woke him, he lay there despondently. The treatment eventually stopped, and the guards came to take him away one morning. But, Alas! He was long gone.

It was unfeasible. What’s different this time?

Catch me if you can!

Previously under 24-hour surveillance, he had guards on 24-hour shifts.It was Due to his intention to jump through skylights, not because of his behavior. all pretense It was .

They will be unaware of it. Since the authorities were already concerned about him escaping, it turns out he did. He only had to lift the planks from the floor. This took years. And so, he was able to hide his activities. Thanks to the ground panels! It is doubtful that he could slip out at night.

However, with the position of the futon and duvet fixed, the way things were looking as usual. Recalling the first time he broke out of prison in Aomori.

He was already escaped four times. Shiratori had given up His 40s. This was a good game.

One day while he was in Sapporo, a policeman sitting right next to him at a bus-stop offered him a cigarette, and started talking to him instead. Who could have expected anything else?

He tried to get away from him to keep herself safe. Suddenly, the policeman moved. He then offered Shiratori another cigarette in a friendly manner. Shiratori was stunned.

cigarettes were such an expensive commodity and were not be offered like this. This hospitality made Shiratori shed tears.

He had always been exploited and tortured by the policemen, but this time he had experienced an example of military virtue. Shiratori momentarily became emotional, and at some point, of their conversation, he revealed his identity and confessed himself as Yoshie.

Justice Justified!

Consequently, he obviously was re-arrested, but things were different. Perhaps it was because he surrendered or because Japan’s justice system was undergoing a metamorphosis.

The High Court started to sympathize with Shiratori. Some of his past claims were also verified, including identifying the farmer as a victim of self-defense. They also made the point that he did not hurt or kill a single guard during all four escape attempts.

The High Court ultimately concluded and acquitted him of the charge of murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

He got what he wanted. In Fuchu Prison, he found that the guards treated him well for the first time. He was paroled just a decade later, in 1961. He was truly free at last. He returned to Aomori and met up with his only surviving family member, his daughter, who was there.

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