Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Head priest among dead in samurai sword attack in Tokyo

Head priest among dead in samurai sword attack in Tokyo

The head priest of a prominent shrine in Tokyo was ambushed and killed with a samurai sword, apparently by her brother, who then took his own life, police in the Japanese capital have said.

Nagako Tomioka, the 58-year-old head of Tomioka Hachimangu shrine, was attacked as she got out of her vehicle on Thursday night, police said. After attacking his sister, Tomioka is thought to have killed his girlfriend and himself.

Authorities suspect a row between the brother and sister over the shine's chief priest position had prompted the apparent murder-suicide.

At the same time, Mariko chased and attacked Nagako's 33-year-old driver, whose name was not mentioned in the reports, as he fled the scene, slashing his right arm with a sword whose blade was roughly half the size of Shigenaga's.

A bloodied Samurai sword was reportedly found at the scene.

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The four were sent to a hospital, where the three were confirmed dead.

According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, who reviewed the area's security camera footage, the man and his wife lay in wait behind a nearby building for the priestess to arrive by vehicle.

Shigenaga is believed to have later stabbed the woman's chest and stomach before killing himself at the shrine, located about 400 meters east of Monzennakacho station on the Tozai subway line.

Shigenaga sent a threatening letter to his sister in 2006, saying he would "send her to hell", the Sankei newspaper said. The Tomioka Hachimangu shrine dates back to 1627 and is famous for the Fukagawa Hachiman summer festival in August.

The almost 400-year-old Tomioka Hachimangu shrine is known for its close ties to sumo and holding one of Tokyo's three big Shinto festivals. The shrine left the association on September 28 this year.

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