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Chief priest of Nara temple resigns after relationship with hostess emerges

Shukan Shincho May 24
Shukan Shincho May 24

NARA (TR) – The chief priest of the popular Yakushi-ji Temple in Nara City has resigned amid a report in a weekly magazine claiming that he is involved in “an inappropriate relationship with a woman,” reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (May 16).

On May 14, the temple announced the resignation of 71-year-old Taiin Murakami. The day before, Murakami submitted his resignation to the temple.

“Though I do not know the details, it was because of an inappropriate relationship with a woman,” said interim chief, Choin Kato, at a press conference on Tuesday night. “I would like to work to restore trust [with the public] as soon as possible.”

The resignation came two days before the release of a report in Shukan Shincho (May 24) that details Murakami’s alleged affair with a 44-year-old bar hostess.

Yakushi-ji Temple falls within the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara” group in being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Murakami joined the temple in 1956. He assumed the position of chief priest in August, 2016.