US Resident Wanted By Police for Serial Shrine Vandalism

A monk shows damage to a shrine vandalized by the man.A monk shows damage to a shrine vandalized by the man.

A monk shows damage to a shrine vandalized by the man.

Chiba police have issued an arrest warrant for an American resident suspected of vandalizing multiple shrines and temples across Japan in what appears to be a series of religiously motivated rituals. A 50-something doctor from New York has emerged as the most likely suspect behind multiple incidents where perfumed oil was poured over shrines and temples in the Kanto and Kansai areas of Japan. Although pouring oil may initially seem like a trivial crime, these acts of vandalism have targeted designated Important Cultural Properties and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which are very important cultural and historical landmarks that are protected by special legislation in Japan and could potentially be permanently damaged by these acts of vandalism.

Although the name of the man behind this bizarre string of crimes has not been released, we do know that he founded a Christian-affiliated organization in 2013 and has been proselytizing ever since. The netouyo over at Yahoo! Japan, paranoid and single-minded as ever, immediately latched on to the fact that the man’s nationality has not been released as evidence that he is secretly Korean.

From Yahoo! Japan:

Arrest Warrant for Man Living In America: Suspected Of Sprinkling Oil At Chiba Shrines And Temples, Possible Participation In Vandalism In Nara And Elsewhere

It was revealed in an interview with investigators on June 1 that the Chiba police have issued an arrest warrant for a male doctor in his 50s who lives in New York, charging him with property damage related to an incident last March in which a liquid that appeared to be oil was scattered around Katori Shrine in Katori, Chiba. A man resembling the man filmed by a security camera installed at the Chiba shrine has also been seen on footage from security cameras installed in various locations, including Nara and Ibaraki, and police from both prefectures are sharing information with the Chiba police in order to determine the man’s whereabouts.

According to officials involved in the investigation, the man founded a Christian organization in 2013. It seems that he has been giving speeches in various cities across the Kanto and Kansai areas in order to gain more followers. He has also done proselytizing in other countries, including in Manila, Philippines. In addition to the idea that the scattering of oil at the shrine was part of a religious ceremony, investigating authorities are looking into the possibility that other believers may have scattered the oil under the man’s instructions.

According to the male employee who discovered the damage at Katori Shrine, the oil gave off a sweet aroma. Experts at the Ibaraki Police Crime Laboratory have confirmed that the oil was a type of vegetable oil.

Damages to the Narita-san Shinsho-ji (in Narita) and the Katori Shrine came to light in Chiba in late March. At Katori Shrine, there was an oil-like stain about five centimeters in diameter on a pillar of the romon, which has been designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan. In addition, there were many similar stains scattered near the shrine’s offertory box.

The man who was filmed scattering the oil by the shrine’s security camera was wearing a hooded jacket and had a camera hanging around his neck. Since then, a man of similar appearance has been seen on security camera footage from Ibaraki’s Kashima Shrine (in Kashima) and various shrines and temples in Nara, and police from all three prefectures are proceeding with investigations into suspected property damage and violations of the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties.

In a series of similar incidents, starting with the discovery of stains that appeared to be caused by oil at Kyoto’s Nijo Castle, a World Heritage Site, in February, successive acts of vandalism are occurring nationwide.


Why do they only report where he lives, and not his nationality?


I get the feeling that his nationality is not Japanese. The fact that he’s a religious zealot and a doctor somehow makes it seem like he’s no good.


If he thinks what he’s doing is right, then why does he cover his face with a hood and hide his identity? What a nuisance to the Gods and Buddha.


The rumor on the internet is that he’s a ob-gyn living in New York named “Kanayama.” He entered high school in 1978 and founded a religious organization in 2013, so he fits the profile that’s being reported. There’s a certain something about his name, and if you look at a picture of him, he’s got a wide face and his eyes are a bit slanty. But I don’t know his nationality.


Based on the description of a suspicious kind of Christianity based in America, I can imagine his nationality, but…


The fact that they didn’t report his nationality means he’s Zapanese

[NB: Netouyo sometimes use this term to refer to Zainichi Koreans, based on the idea that Korean language speakers sometimes confuse “J” and “Z” sounds.]


What a pain. He did this with the intention of purifying these places, but it would be better to “purify” the world of this person himself.


The Christian-affiliated part doesn’t make sense, but in Southeast Asia and Tibet it’s a normal occurrence for Esoteric Buddhists to sprinkle perfumed oil as part of their shrine or temple visits. There’s a sense of a living symbol more than a cultural property. I thought it was something like that, but why Christianity? Is that really correct? That’s how I feel about it.

No Name。:

I think they’ll release his name after they’ve completed the arrest.

wired ghost:

I think it was right on the money to ask, isn’t it a ritual that the officials are describing?


I’ve got a hunch he’s a Korean. Honestly a lot of them are Christians.


There was a certain country that said some ambiguous stuff about the disaster in Nepal, like “If they had only believed in Christianity…” and tried to use that for missionary activities. Could he be from that country?


They don’t release his nationality but do say he’s Christian, isn’t it weird which items they choose to reveal? For some reason, this feels like our neighboring country K…


What if he’s pretending to be a Christian, but he’s really from the Unification Church?


“the scattering of oil at the shrine was part of a religious ceremony”
If so, why hasn’t he come forward in the midst of all this uproar? It must be because he understands that what he did was truly wrong. He’s a coward.


“the man founded a Christian organization in 2013.” As soon as I saw this, I knew it.


Is there really somewhere in the Bible where it teaches you to treat other religions this way?


Shouldn’t they publish his nationality? Our next-door neighbors are quite zealous about Christianity too, aren’t they? When they should have been doing disaster relief, they were doing missionary work instead…


At any rate, this is really great investigative work.


And why doesn’t he use that oil to purify his own dirty heart?

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