OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Prefectural Police have launched an investigation after hundreds of gravestones were found destroyed at cemeteries in Hannan City earlier this month, reports the Asahi Shimbun (July 26).
The Tottori Cemetery includes more than 3,000 tombs. On July 21, about 300 gravestones, some measuring 1.7 meters in height, were found to have been smashed in one location of the cemetery.
Also destroyed were six stone Jizo statues, which, according to Buddhist teachings, serve as protectors of children and unborn babies.
The Sennan Police Station believes the damage took place between July 19 and 21. According to Takuya Yukawa, a member of the management committee for the cemetery, a male neighbor said he heard “something like thunder” at around midnight on the day of the discovery.
“One or two people can not do this kind of thing,” said Yukawa.
On the same day, similar damage was observed at several gravestones at the Jinen Cemetery, located about two kilometers away. Damage to tombstones was also observed at the cemetery on July 11.
At the Tottori Cemetery, the incident comes at a most inopportune time. Each year, the cemetery receives between 4,000 and 5,000 visitors during the Obon holiday period in August. “I’m sorry to the people visiting the graves,” said Yukawa.
While investigating the case on suspicion of infliction of property damage, police are also investigating there is a connection to the theft of two Jizo statues from the Tottori Cemetery in June.
“I do not know whether this was the work of criminals who take pleasure in people’s reactions to their crimes, but I think that surely divine punishment will reach them,” said a 67-year-old female resident.