KYOTO — A Mie Prefecture resident has been arrested in connection with the theft of a statue from Kennin-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, police said.
Police have arrested Itsuo Abe, 59, from Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, on suspicion of stealing a wooden statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy from Kennin-ji, Japan’s oldest known Zen Buddhist temple.
The statue itself is 70 centimeters high, weighs about 3 kilograms, and dates back to the early Edo period, when it was donated to the temple by Masako Tokugawa, a daughter of shogun Hidetada Tokugawa. It is not a designated cultural asset.
Some readers may recall that this isn’t the first time I have posted such a story. I post these articles because they involve the theft of religious statues, and to draw attention to the fact that this kind of crime happens anywhere. In other countries Catholic statues are targeted usually by vandals and not stolen but a crime is a crime. I know in one article the guy stole many statues and then told police he did it because the statues kept him company and/or he thought they looked cold. In other cases though my guess is maybe they want to sell the statues.