Kyoto cops crack down on perverts at Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, via Flickr (Nam2@7676)
Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, via Flickr (Nam2@7676)

KYOTO (TR) – After repeated instances of female tourists being filmed illicitly on the Kiyozimu Temple grounds, Kyoto Prefectural Police have initiated a crackdown, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Nov. 28).

Police have established a 10-team patrol that makes arrests and issues warnings for the taking of video and still images that target the underwear of women.

Since the end of October, police have apprehended three photographers for such photography, which is termed tosatsu.

On the Internet, the stairs leading up to the UNESCO World Heritage site, located in Higashiyama Ward, have garnered a reputation as a top location for the hobby.

On November 22, police apprehended a 52-year-old company employee for filming a female university student, 19, seated on stairs. An inspection of the camera of the suspect, who was charged with violating a public nuisance ordinance, revealed video footage of the victim’s underwear. The day before, a 33-year-old care worker was charged with the same crime.

Comments on Internet bulletin board sites indicate that the illicit photographers select targets who are too preoccupied with the immense crowds that gather on the temple grounds to notice a camera.

After a souvenir shop registered a complaint about such photographers, law enforcement initiated the crackdown in September.  Since that time, police have sent four suspects to prosecutors and issued five warnings.

The crackdown has not been problem-free. In one case, a male photographer using a telephoto lens to shoot a commemoration ceremony on stairs became enraged after he was accused of taking tosatsu images.

For Kyoto police, the image of the former capital is at stake. “Tosatsu victims will have unpleasant memories, and the image of Kyoto will decline,” says says the head of the peace preservation division of the Higashiyama Police Station. “We want to eliminate tosatsu filming.”

A representative of the temple assures the paper that the hobby is not condoned on the grounds. “It is our desire to reduce the damage,” says the representative.

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