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Father of Vietnamese student, 9, murdered last year puts her letters, drawings online

Le Anh Hao holds a booklet of the drawings and compositions that his slain 9-year-old daughter drew and wrote while attending elementary school, in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, on May 19, 2018. (Mainichi)

MATSUDO, Chiba -- The father of a 9-year-old Vietnamese girl who was killed in March last year while living here began to upload her letters and drawings to her parents and her compositions that she wrote at school online so that her death is not forgotten.

"I want everyone to know that she was a good kid who worked very hard," said Le Anh Hao, 35, the father of third-year elementary school student Le Thi Nhat Linh. Her body was found near a drainage ditch in Abiko, Chiba Prefecture, on March 26, 2017, and a neighbor has been indicted for her murder.

"Thank you always for raising me. Thank you also for when I was little," reads a letter Linh wrote to her parents in her best Japanese that she had studied at a Matsudo municipal elementary school. In a composition recalling a long-distance run in physical education class, she wrote, "I tried my hardest, but I came in last place. It's so frustrating, frustrating," showcasing her indomitable spirit. From her hand-drawn diary of her visits to Ueno Zoological Gardens in Tokyo with her family and her memories of Vietnam, those who see Linh's work can get a feel for her personality.

In late April, Hao was gifted with an 18-page booklet of roughly 20 of Linh's works from the family of one of Linh's school friends. Hao photographed each item and uploaded them on a self-made website calling for severe punishment of 47-year-old Yasumasa Shibuya, who has been indicted on charges including Linh's murder. Shibuya had been serving as the head of the parents' association at the elementary school she attended at the time of her death. The petition and her work can be found on Hao's site at

"Whenever I look over Linh's drawings and compositions, tears well up in my eyes," said Hao, his voice getting stuck in his throat. "She was so full of life. Why did she have to become a victim of a crime like this?"

The first hearing of Shibuya's case is set for June 4 at the Chiba District Court.

(Japanese original by Buntaro Saito, Chiba Bureau)

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