A man wielding an 80-centimeter (31-inch) samurai sword reportedly stabbed his sister, a Shinto priestess, to death, before killing his wife and then finally committing suicide at a popular Japanese shrine.
The attacker, identified as 56-year-old Shigenaga Tomioka, allegedly killed 58-year-old Nagako Tomioka, Tokyo’s Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine chief priestess, as she was alighting from a vehicle on Thursday, Reuters reported.
According to local media, the swordsman and the priestess were siblings and the bloodbath resulted from a family feud that began in 2006 when Shigenaga reportedly sent a letter threatening his sister that he would “send her to hell”. Shigenaga was then arrested for his threats.
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A representative from the shrine told Kyodo News that an angry Shigenaga called in July, crying and complaining about his sister.
The police declined to comment on the man’s motives for allegedly killing his sister. According to local authorities, Shigenaga arrived at the scene with his 49-year-old wife, Mariko, who attacked and stabbed Nagako’s driver with a Japanese sword.
The unidentified male driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries to his shoulder and chest. After killing his sister, Shigenaga then stabbed his wife to death before committing suicide with his sword.
Shigenaga was the chief priest from March 1995, but his late father returned to the position after the suspect stepped down in May 2001 due to money problems, according to the shrine.
Although Nagako has been the acting chief priest since September after Tomioka Hachimangu left the Association of Shinto Shrines, about 80,000 shrines throughout Japan rejected officially naming her chief priest as per her father’s will.
It is important to note that gun-related killings are rare in Japan as the government implements very restrictive gun laws.
The Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine, established in 1627, is the largest Hachiman shrine in Tokyo and the birthplace of Kanjin-zumō in which the current professional sumo originated.
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