The head priestess of one of Tokyo’s most important Shinto shrines was ambushed and murdered in a samurai sword attack believed to have been sparked by a family feud.
3 dead were found in what police assume is a case of a murder-suicide on the premises of the Tokyo shrine, resulting from a long-standing feud between one of the victims, a Shinto high priestess and her brother over the Shinto priesthood.
<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZFdUmg25gHo" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Mr. Shigenaga Tomioka, 56-years-old, apparently killed his wife and himself after the couple had ambushed and killed his 58-year-old sister Nagako, the chief priest at the Tomioka Hachimangu Shinto shrine.
The weapon used was a samurai sword with an 80-centimeter blade, broken in the middle. Another shorter sword and two survival knives were also found at the scene.
According to police reports, the brother and sister had quarreled over who was supposed to become the follower of their father, who retired in 2010 as the main priest to the shrine. Due to an unspecified scandal, Mr. Tomioka was sacked from the shrine by his own father.
In 2006, he is said to have sent threatening letters to his sister and was arrested due to this fact. In one of those, he had vowed to ‘send her to hell’ if she ever took over the shrine.
A man representing the shrine's followers informed the police that they had received a phone call over the summer already from an upset Mr. Tomioka, who was crying and repeatedly complaining about his sister.
Shinto is the traditional religious practice of Japan which is still performed by about 80% of the population. Since the last three centuries, most Japanese, however, observe a mixture of Shinto and Buddhism.