Woman Arrested in Connection with Destroying 54 Stringed Instruments and 70 Bows

July 26, 2017, 11:25 AM · Fifty-four stringed instruments and 70 bows apparently were the victims in a bitter marital break-up between a dealer and collector/luthier.

Though it occurred in 2014, Midori Kawamiya was arrested Tuesday in connection with the incident, according to numerous news accounts. Kawamiya is a 34-year-old instrument dealer who was arrested in Japan upon returning from China.

Her Norwegian ex-husband is collector and luthier Daniel Olsen Chen, 62.

Kawamiya admitted to breaking into Chen's workshop in Nagoya in 2014 while he was out of town, but she denied that she damaged the instruments, collectively worth around ¥105.9 million (about $950,000 USD), The Japan Times reported Wednesday.

Chen, whose company is called Daniel Violins, in August 2016 posted the following video about the incident:

The most valuable instrument in the collection was reportedly his own Amati, worth about $450,000, according to The Strad..


July 26, 2017 at 07:04 PM · Glad to hear that she is being brought to justice for this childish outburst.

July 26, 2017 at 07:31 PM · Oh my goodness. I can't watch!!!

July 26, 2017 at 07:55 PM · "Breaking up is hard to do".

July 26, 2017 at 08:22 PM · Leave it to David Burgess to find the humor in the situation. It looks like a bit of a May-December relationship, which makes me wonder about underlying motives from all sides. Sad anyway.

July 26, 2017 at 08:40 PM · From Pauline Lerner

Laurie, thank you so much for posting the video. It is the only way to convey the horror and sadness of the event.

July 26, 2017 at 09:49 PM · The 'My Amati' violin in the video is certainly not an Amati, and its certainly not worth $450,000. Well if his insurance pays that amount of money I would call him a lucky duck.

July 26, 2017 at 10:30 PM · David, "Putting Back Together" is even harder!

July 26, 2017 at 10:41 PM · This is so sad and tragic.

July 26, 2017 at 11:23 PM · I am far from being impressed with the violins in the video and photos.... they look like factory made violins to me.

July 27, 2017 at 12:27 AM · Knowledgeable posters seem to think the instruments are not what they're represented to be. Suppose the wife is telling the truth, and she didn't smash the violins. Who has the most to gain from this turn of events? Over valued instruments yielding inflated insurance payouts, and a convicted and discredited ex-wife barred from seeking alimony and a share of the estate. That video is a deliberate exercise in character assassination. Elementary, really, my dear Watson. The mistress did it with the lead pipe in the workshop, in collusion with the husband. (I'm so cynical.) ;(

July 27, 2017 at 01:17 AM · I'm skeptical about the whole thing as well. Making such video and publicizing it. Tragedy! Only that Mr. Chen is a poor actor. We don't know half of the story.

July 27, 2017 at 04:39 AM · If she did it, she's mentally ill. If he did it, he's either mentally ill or a crook. Of course someone else might have. A psychologist would probably work it out quite quickly.

July 27, 2017 at 08:49 AM · Well, I remember leaving some very critical comments of Daniel Olsen at the time he posted this on YouTubecom years ago. If the authorities are buying his story now, good for him, I suppose.

July 27, 2017 at 12:02 PM · Something is not right here. Of course, for anybody to destroy another's property like that is horrible. If the woman in question really did it, I hope they throw the book at her. That said, as others have pointed out, they all look like very cheap instruments - including his "Amati". Her shoes look more expensive to me! And yes, his acting...he looks the most upset about a very cheap-looking 1/2 size fiddle.

Something tells me there will be more to this story...

Anyway, let's hope that we see no more cases of "domestic violins"! ;-)

July 27, 2017 at 05:58 PM · The victims here were the violins, bows and other instruments, and those musicians who might have used them. Whether or not they were as monetarily valuable as advertised, they were likely playable and would have been valuable to someone who wished to play or learn to play.

July 27, 2017 at 06:18 PM · Childish behaviour or an insurance scam? No violins of great value damaged here. There are plenty more factory VSOs in the market.

Cheers Carlo

July 27, 2017 at 10:41 PM · It's just property. This is why we have insurance companies, lawyers, and prisons.

July 28, 2017 at 11:05 PM · Unless she had the presence of mind to wear gloves, her fingerprints will be on every instrument and bow she broke; and, gloves or not, her DNA - That is, if she did the dastardly deed.

July 30, 2017 at 02:07 PM · "Oh it breaks my heart, to see those stars, smashing a perfectly good (Guitar)"... violin, viola, cello......)

July 30, 2017 at 02:22 PM · Ok...so a dealer smashes a 450K Amati instead of carting it off to a climate controlled underground bunker??? Kind of a stretch for this guy. If she was indeed mad at him, she may have caused some havoc, but she would have hauled off the high end pieces. Not having the prized pieces would generate as much sorrow as having the smashed remains. All too fishy for me!!

July 30, 2017 at 06:24 PM · Yes, lots of red flags, but no smoking gun. As a professional insurance fraud investigator, I knew of cases where there was collusion between otherwise antagonistic parties. I wonder what the forensics showed . . .

July 31, 2017 at 04:32 AM · The Amati...does not look old and right looking...must be fake...!

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