Teenager Carves Name at Ancient Temple

Police in Japan question and release 17-year-old, who still could face charges
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2023 4:30 PM CDT
Teenager Carves Name at Ancient Temple
The Todaiji temple in Nara, Japan, part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.   (Getty/Wirestock)

A teenage boy was caught scratching a name into an 8th-century temple in Japan, police say, weeks after a young tourist was filmed leaving his mark on the Colosseum in Rome. The 17-year-old Canadian carved "Julian" on a wooden pillar with his fingernail at the Toshodaiji Kondo temple complex in Nara on Friday, the BBC reports. The complex's "Golden Hall" is one of one of eight sites in the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A Japanese tourist saw the teenager defacing the column and told employees.

"The boy admitted his act and says it was done not with the intent of harming Japanese culture," an official said, per CNN. Police questioned the teenager but did not detain him. If an investigation finds he violated Japan's Law for Protection of Cultural Properties, the official said, police will refer him for charges. He was with his parents at the time, police said. "We are worried that the same thing could happen again," a monk at the temple said, per the Toronto Star. "Even though it may have been done without malice, it is still regrettable and sad." (More Japan stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.