Nagako Tomioka, 58, chief priestess of Tomioka Hachimangu shrine in Tokyo, was attacked by Shigenaga Tomoika, 56, as she got out of a auto on Thursday evening. The motive was unclear, though Japanese media reported there may have been a feud between the priest and her brother.
Nagako Tomioka's driver, 33, was also seriously injured in the attack.
Shigenaga Tomioka, 56, and an accomplice were hiding behind her house, police said. The driver suffered injuries to his right arm and chest, though they were not life-threatening. The brother then appears to have killed his accomplice before taking his own life.
At around 8:35 p.m., police received a distress call about a woman wielding a sword violently on a road near Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine.
A blood-stained samurai sword and survival knife were retrieved from the scene.
According to an acquaintance of a family member, Shigenaga was the chief priest of the shrine until he was dismissed about 10 years ago. After he left the post of chief priest in 2001, he sent a threatening postcard to his sister in January 2006 in which he wrote, among other things, that he would send her to hell. The Tomioka Hachinangu shrine, established in 1927, has a close link with sumo and the emperor and empress visited in 2012.
Founded in 1627, Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine is located about 300 meters from Tokyo Metro's Monzen-Nakacho Station.
It is believed there was some kind of confrontation among the four who were all associated with the shrine, Kyodo said. The shrine left the association on September 28 this year.
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