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Yanaka Five-Storied Pagoda Double-Suicide Arson Case

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The Yanaka five-storied pagoda double-suicide arson case (谷中五重塔放火心中事件, Yanaka Gojūnotō Hōka Shinjū Jiken) was a dramatic case of arson in 1957 of a five-storied wooden pagoda in Yanaka Cemetery, Taitō, Tokyo. The pagoda was set on fire by two lovers who committed suicide together – their bodies were found in the remains of the structure.

The Pagoda, circa 1930

Originally part of the Buddhist temple Tennō-ji, the five-storied pagoda was built in 1644. It burned down in 1771 and was rebuilt some 20 years later in 1791. This last version, built of Japanese zelkova wood was, at almost 35 meters, the tallest of its kind in the Kantō area.

In 1908, the five-storied pagoda was donated by Tennō-ji to the city of Tokyo and became the model for Kōda Rohan's novel The Five-Storied Pagoda. It was a famous city landmark and the very symbol of Yanaka Cemetery, but it was completely destroyed by fire at around 3 o'clock in the morning on July 6, 1957.

The pagoda burned to the ground on July 6, 1957. Next to the middle pillar of the pagoda, among the ruins, were found the two charred bodies of a man and a woman. The bodies were too badly burned for a positive identification to be possible, but their identities were established to a near-certainty thanks to a thimble found among the ruins.

The remaining foundation stones.

A seamstress in her twenties working in a sewing shop in Tokyo and her middle-aged (and married) lover had gone missing. Witnesses testified that the two had wanted to burn themselves to atone for their adulterous relationship, and therefore the two bodies were likely to be theirs. The destruction of the cultural asset was nonetheless universally and severely criticized. It was decided that the pagoda would not be rebuilt, and that only the five foundation stones would be preserved.

In 2007, researchers at the Tokyo University of the Arts claimed to have found blueprints of the pagoda drawn in 1970, and a movement to rebuild it was born. The cost was estimated to be almost a billion yen, but nonetheless even the University's President Hirayama Kunio approved of the project.

  1. "Remains of Five-Story Pagoda of Tenno-ji Temple". Tokyo Cultural Heritage Map. Retrieved23 March 2021.

Coordinates:35°43′31″N139°46′15″E /35.725254°N 139.770813°E /35.725254; 139.770813

Yanaka Five-Storied Pagoda Double-Suicide Arson Case
Yanaka Five Storied Pagoda Double Suicide Arson Case Language Watch Edit This article needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources Yanaka Five Storied Pagoda Double Suicide Arson Case news newspapers books scholar JSTOR October 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message The Yanaka five storied pagoda double suicide arson case 谷中五重塔放火心中事件 Yanaka Gojunotō Hōka Shinju Jiken was a dramatic case of arson in 1957 of a five storied wooden pagoda in Yanaka Cemetery Taitō Tokyo The pagoda was set on fire by two lovers who committed suicide together their bodies were found in the remains of the structure The Pagoda circa 1930Five storied pagoda EditOriginally part of the Buddhist temple Tennō ji the five storied pagoda was built in 1644 It burned down in 1771 and was rebuilt some 20 years later in 1791 This last version built of Japanese zelkova wood was at almost 35 meters the tallest of its kind in the Kantō area In 1908 the five storied pagoda was donated by Tennō ji to the city of Tokyo and became the model for Kōda Rohan s novel The Five Storied Pagoda It was a famous city landmark and the very symbol of Yanaka Cemetery but it was completely destroyed by fire at around 3 o clock in the morning on July 6 1957 1 Arson case EditThe pagoda burned to the ground on July 6 1957 Next to the middle pillar of the pagoda among the ruins were found the two charred bodies of a man and a woman The bodies were too badly burned for a positive identification to be possible but their identities were established to a near certainty thanks to a thimble found among the ruins The remaining foundation stones A seamstress in her twenties working in a sewing shop in Tokyo and her middle aged and married lover had gone missing Witnesses testified that the two had wanted to burn themselves to atone for their adulterous relationship and therefore the two bodies were likely to be theirs The destruction of the cultural asset was nonetheless universally and severely criticized It was decided that the pagoda would not be rebuilt and that only the five foundation stones would be preserved 1 In 2007 researchers at the Tokyo University of the Arts claimed to have found blueprints of the pagoda drawn in 1970 and a movement to rebuild it was born The cost was estimated to be almost a billion yen but nonetheless even the University s President Hirayama Kunio approved of the project References Edit a b Remains of Five Story Pagoda of Tenno ji Temple Tokyo Cultural Heritage Map Retrieved 23 March 2021 Coordinates 35 43 31 N 139 46 15 E 35 725254 N 139 770813 E 35 725254 139 770813 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Yanaka Five Storied Pagoda Double Suicide Arson Case amp oldid 1048982317, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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