Chief priest, 2 others dead in Tokyo shrine stabbings

A stabbing at Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine on Thursday left three persons dead

A stabbing at Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine on Thursday left three persons dead

Shigenaga Tomioka, 56, is suspected of having attacked his 58-year-old sister Nagako Tomioka, the chief priest of the Tomioka Hachimangu shrine, the Metropolitan Police Department said.

A policeman stands guard in front of the main temple of the Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo, Japan after three people died in an apparent murder-suicide on December 8.

After slashing the priestess, Shigenaga Tomioka then stabbed the younger woman to death with a sword, before killing himself, police said.

The priestess' driver was wounded in the attack, police said.

The chauffeur of the shrine, who also got out of the vehicle, was chased by the woman who wielded a samurai sword.

The attack began around 8:25 p.m., when Shigenaga Tomioka attacked his sister with a Japanese sword as she exited her vehicle on the shrine grounds. Authorities reported that both of their bodies suffered injuries to the chest and abdomen.

The camera footage then showed the couple moving to an area near the residential part of the shrine, where Shigenaga stabbed his wife before turning the blade on himself.

The accomplice attacked the driver with a samurai sword and pursued him as he ran out of the temple grounds down a road, police said.

At the time, his sister had held a post known as negi, the second-highest rank at a Shinto shrine after the chief priest.

The newspaper reports: "Shigenaga Tomioka was arrested some 10 years ago for blackmailing his sister". After he left the post of chief priest in 2001, he sent a threatening postcard to his sister in January 2006 in which he wrote, among other things, that he would send her to hell.

The Tomioka Hachimangu shrine, established in 1927, has a close link with sumo and the emperor and empress visited in 2012.

After their father retired in 2010, Ms Tomioka became the chief priestess, breaking with a Shinto shrine umbrella organisation after it failed to rubberstamp the succession, according to the Asahi Shimbun.

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