Graffiti Spray-Painted on Zenkoji Temple

April 21, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Buddhist Channel/The Yomiuri Shimbun,6267,0,0,1,0

Graffiti were found on the main building of Zenkoji temple in Nagano on Sunday morning, two days after the temple decided not to serve as the starting point of the Beijing Olympic torch relay, which starts Saturday.

The police, who suspect somebody targeted Zenkoji due to the temple's recent high profile as a result of the torch relay issue, are investigating the case on suspicion of damaging buildings and a violation of the Cultural Properties Protection Law.

A temple official found the graffiti on pillars and doors of the main building, which is a designated national treasure, at about 5:40 a.m., and reported the incident to police.

Six white ellipses up to 80 centimeters in diameter were found on a door and five pillars standing along the corridors running on the northern and western sides of the main building, and a 1.3-meter-long, 5-centimeter-wide line was found on another door on the building's north side, according to the temple. All the graffiti apparently were done with spray paint. Though the front and the northeast side of the main building are illuminated at night, there is no such lighting on the northwest side.