28,000 Prank Calls Finally Annoy Emergency Responders

A Japanese convenience store worker makes a hobby of placing hundreds of emergency calls daily

  • Share
  • Read Later
Getty Images

Many of us will never make 28,000 calls in our entire lives. This, however, was not the case for Teruo Nozaki, the convenience store worker in Tokyo who managed to make that many to 110,  the police emergency number in Japan. Even more impressive is that he was able to make this astounding number of calls in only 18 months. On his busiest days, he would place over 1000 phone calls and hang up every time someone picked up on the other end.

This almost apocryphal number of calls underscores the fact that there was something profoundly pathological motivating each call. After all, the 911 prank call is almost an American rite of passage for any 9 year-old kid. It all begins with the need to know “What actually happens when people dial 911?” and sometimes ends with an officer showing up at your house and explaining the sanctity of the emergency line—an ultimately meaningless experience were it not for the gun strapped to his waist. 28,000 calls is not a prank, but an act of aggression toward the police. It’s like laying siege to a police department with one’s insanity, or like water torture via electronics.

And so, although he was finally arrested, Teruo Nozaki used his compulsion to conduct a sort of backwards social experiment: now we know that it takes tens of thousands of prank calls before the Tokyo police is finally compelled to make an arrest. Other pranksters have been reined in much sooner, albeit for notably more serious abuses. Darius McCollum, the New York resident who has wanted to be a train conductor so badly that he actually commandeered a few, was arrested 29 times before being sent to Rikers island. Every police force has its limits, and a few citizens willing to test them. The only question is: how outlandishly can the law be pushed until the perpetrator makes international news.


They need to put him on the other end and make him answer the calls.


This guy could make a fortune as a telemarketer. He just needs career guidance. 


Oddly as I read this article, all I could think is, "this man must be George Zimmerboy's protege", lol. ;)


@ZombieTech  You should have keep your stupid thought to yourself. Now lots of people know how dumb you are.


Well you could do more with a redialer and a script.  You could technically call the police a few thousand times a day with that, around the clock 24/7/365.  What's need is you could do all sorts of things to mask your I.P address.  You could have all sorts of fun with that.

HollyKick like.author.displayName 1 Like

Mr Nozaki, you have 5 mins every month to make a call to anyone you want (most family) ... at the end of 1 month he was allowed to and you know what he did .. he called 110 , 50 times.

SkippyRoss like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 6 Like

In America, Blacks call 911 when their McDonalds hamburger isn't the way they wanted it.

DebStimson like.author.displayName 1 Like

@SkippyRoss That has to be the most ignorant post I've read today.  Please try to stay on topic.

campergeneral like.author.displayName 1 Like

Gee....fool me once, shame on you fool me twice shame on me, fool me 28,000 times?

mikesvihel like.author.displayName 1 Like

I never once made a prank call to the police. why would you?  Its stupid and irresponsible.

JedClampett1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

This guy needed to be arrested 27,998 calls ago and court ordered to get mental health.


It looks like what absolute nonsense but psychologically speaking, this is one of defense mechanisms, that is to say, an escape. Had he wanted to escape, he should have done something else as a genuine defense.

JohnCleary like.author.displayName 1 Like

@talmztn Another site provides more information, and essentially this guy was motivated because the police were irritating him by "watching him all the time." So there's a strong undercurrent of paranoia there, meaning it could be schizophrenia, a personality disorder, a simple delusional disorder, etc. You could argue the behaviour sounds like a compulsion like in OCD, or repetitive behaviour like in autism spectrum disorder, but I don't think paranoia is strongly associated with those.


i randomly call the police to peoples houses saying there is fighting going on.... i have done this 40+ times since march... so yea... i have mental problems huh... i assume the people tell the cops they have the wrong house

MaryRiversong like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I used to have a nut job who lived next door to me. Every day he would come out in the yard , dressed in a train conductor's uniform and set a fire at the base of a tree adjoining our properties. I got sick of it and went out one day and put out the fire with him standing there and gave him a very dirty look. He never did it again. Odd story but true.


If I live until I am 70, 28,000 calls would average 1.28 calls per day. I have throughout the past ten years averaged more than 10 outgoing calls a day. I believe most millennials, if not all, will make way more than 28,000 calls if not dying ahead of their time.

kevkevs like.author.displayName 1 Like

@RobertIngemarsson I was just doing the math, too, and while 70 is about the right number for 1 call a day, that would assume that you started phoning people the day you were born. "Hi mom, guess what, I just got born!" "Honey, that isn't a phone line, that's an umbilical cord."

Ajax like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@RobertIngemarssonI'm not sure I understand your point here. The point of the article is, of course, compared to the number of legitimate 911 calls one might make in a lifetime, 28000 prank calls, particularly over a relatively short time, indicates a severe mental illness and a waste of police time. 

ScottLong like.author.displayName 1 Like

give him 28,000 day in jail one day for each call


what an amazingly important, insightful article. thank you TIME, for your never-ending dedication to real news.

JohnMasters like.author.displayName 1 Like

@cjh2nd@Like Time forced you to read it...the headline was pretty representative of the article...why'd you click on it if you're just going to talk smack?

CalebMurdock like.author.displayName 1 Like

@cjh2nd  I find it interesting enough.  It just seems that there must be more to tell about this story.  I'd like to read more.