High Priestess of Tokyo Shrine Killed With Samurai Sword

Police say her brother also killed accomplice before taking own life
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2017 2:13 AM CST
High Priestess of Tokyo Shrine Killed With Samurai Sword
Police officers walk near the scene of a stabbing incident at Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo on Friday.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

The former high priest of a famous Tokyo shrine killed his older sister, an accomplice, and finally himself with a samurai sword Thursday in what police believe was a feud over succession. Police say 58-year-old Nagako Tomioka, the high priestess of the Tomioka Hachimangu shrine, was killed by her brother, Shigenaga Tomioka, on the temple grounds after she got out of her car, the AP reports. His female accomplice attacked the driver, inflicting non-life-threatening injuries and chasing him hundreds of feet down a road, leaving a trail of blood. Shigenaga Tomioka is believed to have then killed his accomplice before taking his own life.

The BBC reports that, according to local media, 56-year-old Shigenaga Tomioka became high priest of the 400-year-old shrine, which has close ties to sumo wrestling, in the 1990s after his father retired. But after he was fired in 2001, his father took over as main priest again and made his daughter his deputy. She became high priestess after her father retired for a second time in 2010. Shigenaga Tomioka was arrested in 2006 after sending his sister a threatening letter, telling her he would "send her to hell," Reuters reports. His accomplice's identity—and his reason for killing her—is still unclear.

(More Japan stories.)

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