Man Drowns 13-Year Old Daughter During Attempted Exorcism; Belongs to Recognized Buddhist Sect with 300,000 Believers

This story hit so close to home I literally shuddered when I read it. I’ve been to Nagasu a couple times; it was a 30-minute drive from my town in Japan. The student who died was likely taught English by a good friend of mine who left the town earlier this year after finishing her contract.

Man Drowns 13-Year Old Daughter During Attempted Exorcism
Yomiuri Shimbun: 除霊すると13歳の娘に水浴びせ死なす
September 27, 2011


The Tamana County Nakayama Shingon Buddhist Church in Nagasu, Kumamoto, where a man drowned his 13-year old daughter during an attempted exorcism.

Inside the “Waterfall Room” where Tomomi was drowned. Water was poured from the tap [between the two flags]. (Photo taken on the morning of the 27th in Miyano, Nagasu-machi, Kumamoto-ken)

The location of the Tamana County Nakayama Shingon Buddhist Church.

On the 27th, the Kumamoto Prefectural Police arrested Kumamoto City Obiyama 3 employee Atsushi Maishigi (50) and fellow Nagasu-machi Miyano resident Kazuaki Kinoshita (56) on suspicion of drowning Maishigi’s 13-year old daughter to death by pouring water on her as part of an exorcism technique nicknamed the “Way of the Waterfall”.

The two allegedly performed this same kind of “exorcism” over 100 times since March.

According to the indictment, at 9 AM on August 27, the two suspects went to the Tamana County Nakayama Shingon Buddhist Church. Mr. Maishigi made his daughter Tomomi (13) sit in a chair and tied her arms and legs to it with belts, and subjected her to the “waterfall” for 5 minutes, holding her face upward while water was poured onto it from above. This is the suspected cause of her death.

After Tomomi lost consciousness, an ambulance was called which took her to the hospital, but at 3:40 AM the next day she was pronounced dead by asphyxiation.

The two testified to investigators, “There was a demon inside [my/his] daughter. She would recover if we exorcised it, so we used the Way of the Waterfall. Because she would violently resist it, we tied her to the chair.” They denied guilt: “It was not assault.”

“The Way of the Waterfall” was performed in a 3.5 square meter building separate from the main facility inside a small concrete “Waterfall Room”. Ground water was collected and poured from a height of 2.5 meters with the aid of equipment. While Atsushi Maishigi forced Tomomi to stay underwater, Kinoshita would utter incantations, according to the police report.

Men Who Performed Fatal Exorcism Belong to Recognized Religious Sect with 300,000 Believers
Yomiuri Shimbun: 「除霊」致死の宗教法人、信者は30万人
September 27, 2011
A junior high school student was drowned by her father during an attempted exorcism called “The Way of the Waterfall” at Tamana County Nakayama Shingon Buddhist Church.

According to the Cultural Department, the Nakayama Shingon Buddhism was recognized as a religion in 1952.

It has 350 temples and churches throughout the country, and as of December 2008 it had 305,555 believers. Its head temple is the Ryūkōtoku Temple in Miyaura, Kiyamae-machi, Saga Prefecture. In response to an interview request by this newspaper, a representative said, “We don’t know anything because we hadn’t heard about this until now.”

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