The Japan Pro Boxing Association and rscproducts, a major apparel product company, jointly launched a crowd-funding campaign on Dec. 1 for saving former professional boxer Iwao Hakamada, 85, who was convicted in a 1966 quadruple murder case, seeking the true freedom for Hakamada.
Through the campaign, the JPBA and rsc hope to achieve the wider recognition of the so-called ‘’Hakamada case’’ as rsc will provide T-shirts, parkas and caps in return for grants. If the total amount exceeds the target, the amount will be donated to the JPBA’s Iwao Hakamada Supporting Committee, according to sources close to the campaign.
Even though Hakamada himself was freed in the spring of 2014 after spending nearly half a century on death row, he has been struggling to clear his name over the murder in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan. But the Tokyo High Court has not begun a retrial of the case even though the Supreme Court sent back to the high the murder case in December last year.
Participating in the campaign are current world champions Naoya ‘’Monster’’ Inoue of Ohashi Boxing Gym and Junto Nakatani of M.T Boxing Gym, former world champions, including Kosei Tanaka of Soul Box Hatanaka Boxing Gym and Ryosuke Iwasa of Celes Sports Boxing Gym, and now-retired world champions like Akira Yaegashi of the Ohashi gym and Takashi Uchiyama of Watanabe Boxing Gym.
The Hakamada case is widely known overseas as it is seen as the Japanese equivalent of former world top middleweight contender Rubin ‘’Jurricane’’ Carter of the United States, who was held in prison for 19 years after being convicted of murdering three people in 1966. The black American was freed in 1985 after a federal judge granted him a writ of habeas corpus, ruling that Carter’s conviction was based on racism and concealed evidence. He died in April 2014, one month after Hakamada was freed.