On Tuesday, 1 June 2004, at Sasebo Elementary School, an 11-year-old girl killed her classmate, then returned to her homeroom in bloodied clothes. The classmate, Satomi Miratai, died later that day. The killer is now in juvie, apparently until 2013.
The story, an unprecedented and grisly murder, was printed in newspapers around the world. However, nobody could have anticipated what happened next. On the Japanese side of the Internet, a class picture was discovered, and two of the girls stood out. On the far left, wearing glasses and a green sweatshirt, Satomi stood grinning, giving a victory sign to the camera. Right next to her, with an inexplicable expression on her face, stood the killer— Nevada.
For some reason, the specifics of the murder— a seemingly normal 11-year-old girl, with a box-cutter, in a Nevada sweatshirt— made a clear impression in communal consciousness of the Internet, all around the world. Stories were posted on Internet forums across Europe, the U.S., and Asia. In Japan, especially, she became a center of attention and was given the name "Nevada-tan"; "-tan" being the way a young child would pronounce the honorific "-chan", i.e., "Widdle Nevada".
The investigation into her murder revealed a long story. Nevada was originally nearly a normal kid; she enjoyed Battle Royale, but of course that's a very popular movie all over the world. Now, she was on her school's basketball team, but her mother made her quit so that she could improve her grades. At this point Nevada became ill-willed and began to collect horror Flash movies on her website. She began to frequent violent websites, and wrote a Battle Royale fanfic and gruesome "recipes". She focused her attention on the Internet, trying to gain fans with a LiveJournal-style diary. She rejoined the basketball team, but they excluded her from activities and she dropped out. On her diary, she wrote, "I don't really like to play with my friends."
Her good friend Satomi Miratai became an enemy after she slighted Nevada on her own, far more popular diary. Nevada demanded an apology, but Satomi was frank with her, calling her "pretentious". Following this insult, Nevada focused in on Satomi as an object for her anger. She watched a horror series on television ("Monday Mystery Theater") where many people were killed quickly and effectively with box cutters. Soon afterwards, she threatened a boy with a box cutter. Ten days later, she led Satomi into an empty classroom, covered her eyes, and slit her throat.
I think the word "tragedygasm" which I coined just now is the only word that can accurately describe how the mass media all around the world reacted to this story. Blurred-out photos of Nevada covered all the newspapers. Fuji Television, the CBS of Japan, actually got hold of some of Nevada's 6th-grade artwork and used it as a lead story on their evening news. This really goes beyond mourning for Satomi Miratai; the audience was morbidly attracted, and the media knew they had a story that would last for months to come.
But the actual cult of Nevada developed on a Japanese website called 2channel, the largest website in Japan and the largest Internet forum in the world by twenty-fold. Like Something Awful in the United States, 2channel is known for sarcasm, mockery, and dark humor. The anonymous posters try to outdo each other for the most terrible, and therefore funniest, joke. Nevada, I think, became one of these jokes. The "fan artwork" was likely the users offering tribute to their new, horrid "neta" (meme). Unfortunately, as many such jokes do, the black humor quickly became reality. 2channel users stalked Nevada and discovered her real name, her address, and the names of her parents. One of them went on a visit to her house and took pictures. Nevada fan art was posted to Something Awful, and more prominently to 4chan, an American hub for Japanese neta.
In the months following, Nevada became "old meme". She was integrated into 2channel's cast of characters, and news stories continued to travel worldwide, but fansites slowly closed down.
The following information was listed on Nevada's website before it was taken down. In Japan, fans of Nevada promptly learned all this information.
Her diary was also on her personal website.
Her real name is probably 辻菜摘; it was hunted down not by 2channel, but inadvertently revealed by Fuji Television itself. I originally had the English reading of 辻菜摘 here but that's not "need to know" information and you shouldn't call her by that. ℼⴭ䠠獯楴杮㐲䄠慮祬楴獣䌠摯ⴭാ㰊捳楲瑰琠灹㵥琢硥⽴慪慶捳楲瑰•牳㵣栢瑴㩰⼯瑳瑡潨瑳湩㉧⸴潣⽭潣湵桰≰㰾猯牣灩㹴ℼⴭ䔠摮传湁污瑹捩潃敤ⴠ㸭