At around 5:45 p.m. on June 8, a security guard at a video rental shop in Fujimino, Saitama Prefecture peered around a shelf of titles to find a man with his pants down and masturbating in front of a female customer.
The exhibitionist, Shuko Araizumi, a 39-year-old assistant priest from the Tofuku-ji temple, located in Tokorozawa, was booked the next day by the Saitama Prefectural Police on public indecency charges.
Araizumi is the son of the chief priest of Tofuku-ji, a branch temple from within the Japanese Shingon Buddhist sect. With this not being his first lewd incident, Shukan Jitsuwa (July 18) reports that the patience of the local citizenry is wearing thin.
“The temple is influential, accommodating about 600 families,” says a local writer. “On the grounds in the back, there is a 16-meter-tall statue of Kannon (the Goddess of Mercy). At this time of year, the hydrangea are in bloom and this area is popular for picnics.”
In spite of this, Araizumi has garnered a reputation that is hardly family friendly. In September of 2002, he was convicted of violating child prostitution and pornography laws. Araizumi paid 10,000 yen to a 12-year-old female middle-school student he met on a deai-kei “encounter” matchmaking site to engage in indecent acts at a love hotel in Koshigaya City.
“He sent a mail to the girl asking if she was interested in earning money on the side,” says a local resident. “But at around that time he was already known for gleefully dropping his pants and displaying his penis to the local children. It got to the point where he was out of control.”
After the incident in the video store, Araizumi admitted to the allegations. “I couldn’t control my sexual desire,” the suspect is quoted by police.
Shukan Jitsuwa suspects that the pressure inherent in being the heir to the temple priesthood is forcing his hand, so to speak. Until then, the local citizens are hoping he can keep his pants zipped. (A.T.)
Source: “Kahanshin roshuttsu shita korinai toriwake jushoku,” Shukan Jitsuwa (July 18, pages 170-171)
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