Japanese priestess stabbed to death at shrine in apparent family feud

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Shinto priestess was killed on the grounds of a famous Tokyo shrine by a man wielding a traditional Japanese sword who then killed another woman before committing suicide, police said on Friday, in what local media described as an apparent family feud.

Nagako Tomioka, 58, chief priestess of Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo, was attacked by Shigenaga Tomioka, 56, as she got out of a car on Thursday evening. Media reports said he was her younger brother.

Also, a woman aged in her 30s who was with Shigenaga Tomioka attacked and stabbed the driver of the car with a Japanese sword, police said. The injuries to his shoulder and chest were not life-threatening.

After slashing the priestess, Shigenaga Tomioka then stabbed the younger woman to death with a sword, before killing himself, police said. The woman's identity was not given.

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Shrines and temples in Tokyo, Japan
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Shrines and temples in Tokyo, Japan
TOKYO, ASAKUSA, JAPAN - 2017/05/14: Tourists at the Edo era Hozomon entrance of Sensoji, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple. (Photo by Olaf Protze/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Women dressed in yukata, or a casual summer kimonos, walk through red-coloured wooden torii gates at the Nezu shrine in Tokyo, Japan August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People stand in line to offer New Year prayers at the Sensoji temple in Tokyo, Japan, January 1, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A woman sits on a bench in front of the Bentendo Temple on a sunny day in Ueno Park, Ueno District, Taito, Tokyo, Japan, November, 2017. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Sensoji-ji Temple in Asakusa with Tokyo Skytree in background during morning sunrise in Tokyo, Japan. Also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple, a famous tourist attraction in Tokyo.
Yamanashi, Japan - November 10, 2016: Mount Fuji and Chureito Pagoda at sunrise in autumn. Chureito pagoda is located in Fujiyoshida, Japan. Mount Fuji, Fuji san is famous natural landmark in Japan. Fuji is Japan's highest mountain.
Kanda Shrine at dusk in Tokyo, Japan. The shrine's history dates to the year 730.
Tokyo, Japan - March 02, 2015 - Big red Japanese lantern around with Cherry Blossom in Sensoji Temple.
Fujiyoshida, Japan - May 18, 2015: Mt. Fuji with red pagoda in Spring season at Fujiyoshida, Japan
Kyoto, Japan - November 8, 2014 : Daigoji temple, Japanese buddhism temple and a designated world heritage site, one of the most popular spot for view the cherry blossom bloom and autumn leaves, was built in 874.
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Police declined to comment on the motive for the killings, but domestic media said the incident appeared to stem from a family feud.

Shigenaga sent a threatening letter to his sister in 2006, saying he would "send her to hell", the Sankei newspaper said.

Japan has very restrictive gun laws and gun-related killings are rare.

Shinto is the traditional religion of Japan and many shrines dot the country. The Tomioka Hachimangu shrine, established in 1927, has a close link with sumo and the emperor and empress visited in 2012.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; editing by Malcolm Foster and Richard Pullin)

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