Photo: Wikipedia/Araisyohei
crime

Man arrested for writing graffiti on centuries-old Kyoto temple did so for extremely weird reason

13 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Kyoto  has long been considered the cultural heart of Japan, and with good reason. For centuries, the city’s temples, gardens, and other scenic sights have been prompting poets and painters to move brush and pen with their serene beauty.

However, last Sunday one would-be man of culture went too far when he used a Kyoto landmark not only for inspiration for its art, but for its canvas as well. While visiting Ryoanji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was founded in 1450, Tatsuya Onishi came to the conclusion that the backside wall of the temple’s main gate (pictured above) would be the perfect place to write some graffiti. Whipping out a pen, Onishi wrote:

“I am Seiryu

Thank you Suzaku

I kept you waiting

Byakko”

▼ The graffiti written on Ryoanji’s gate

Seiryu, Suzaku, and Byakko are not the names of gangs, ex-girlfriends, or any other common graffiti shout-outs. Instead, they’re the names of three mythical beasts from Japanese and Chinese folklore, Seiryu being a blue dragon, Suzaku a red bird, and Byakko a white tiger. Onishi even made sure to use the blue and red ink setting on his tri-color pen for the sentences referencing Seiryu and Suzaku, respectively.

But even if there’s an understandable logic to Onishi’s choice of colors, his choice to write on the wall is far more difficult to comprehend. He was quickly spotted performing the act of vandalism, which took place in broad daylight at about 3:40 in the afternoon, with a tourist who was visiting the temple at the time calling the police, who came and took Onishi into custody. When investigators asked Onishi why he’d done what he did, the 44-year-old resident of Yokohama said: “In the future, I want to become a writer of legends and science fiction stories. My creative juices overflowed, and so I wrote on the gate.”

On the one hand, you could argue that an uncontrollable need to share your artistic vision with the rest of the world is far nobler rationalization for tagging up a wall than staking out gang territory or the twisted adrenaline rush of engaging in illegal, destructive behavior. However, it’s still not going to get you off the hook, and Onishi has been arrested on charges of property damage, though thankfully the graffiti has already been cleaned off.

Making the whole thing extra-baffling is that neither Onishi’s prose nor his penmanship exhibit much in the way of artistic merit. Seiryu, Suzaku, and Byakko (along with Genbu the black tortoise) are such a common trope/motif in today’s Japanese fantasy storytelling that they’re practically a cliche now, and the animal Onishi’s sloppily scrawled kanji characters bring to mind is a chicken, as in chicken scratch.

Source: Kyodo via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- “Graffiti Temple” in Kyoto, where visitors are encouraged to deface the walls

-- Arashiyama bamboo forest in Kyoto “crying” as tourists vandalise trees

-- Shonen Jump’s anime heroes punch huge craters in Shinjuku Station, create photo spots

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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Next time, bring a sketch pad and a notebook for your "creativity" and leave UNESCO sites alone

9 ( +9 / -0 )

A 10 year stretch in prison will make him think about this action. Unforgivable.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Banksy paints and the world praises and everyone looks happy

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Why doesn’t he use those creative juices for getting a job and not living off mommy and daddy, loser.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Lord Byron narcissistically carves (not writes, but carves!) his name on the 2000 year old Temple of Poseidon in Greece, and it's now proudly cited as part of the attraction. This guy gets arrested.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"A 10 year stretch in prison will make him think about this action. Unforgivable."

I agree he needs punishment but your recommendation seems rather severe.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A 10 year stretch in prison will make him think about this action. Unforgivable.

10 years for graffiti is a little bit 17 - 19 century. 30 days and clean it up is more 21st century (and maybe some community service).

Mind you, even 30 days in Japanese detention will make him even more mentally disturbed than he already is. (I believe Japans re-offending rate is 63%).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No as bad as the article title suggests - It’s not a case of physical destruction to any part of the historical object itself - there is a big difference.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Banksy paints and the world praises and everyone looks happy

Banksy doesn't paint on world heritage sites or listed buildings.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That's really sad. These kind of people are why treasures are put behind fences and glass to protect them from the general public. Don't touch or deface the art.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

44-year-old resident of Yokohama said: “In the future, I want to become a writer of legends and science fiction stories. My creative juices overflowed, and so I wrote on the gate.”

When I read the title, I said to myself "what dumb*** student went and got himself in trouble?" This guy is 44 and talking about what he wants to do in the future. While it's never late to change your career, at 44 you shouldn't have already made the choice to pursue your dream or given up on it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A 10 year stretch in prison will make him think about this action. Unforgivable.

Then he would just write on the cell walls. Those creative juices need a place to flow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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