Local government finds new way to invite misery to 2020.

At an intersection along Highway 407 in Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka City, there stands a rather large torii, a gate traditionally found at Shinto shrines. While it’s not too uncommon for these structures to straddle urban roads as cities develop around the sites of shrines, this one is unique in that no one knows who it belongs to.

Three years ago someone filed an inquiry into the owner of this gate, the kind of which is believed to represent the boundary of a sacred space. However, much to everyone’s surprise, there was no known owner. According to the city records, it was erected 45 years ago to replace an older torii when the road underneath it was built, but that’s about all that’s known about it.

▼ Few records from the dark era of 1975 exist aside from scant archaeological evidence depicting arcane face painting and possibly cannibalistic hunting rituals

As time passed an increasing number of residents were contacting the city and asking that the torii be taken down. Large chips in its concrete were easily visible and without proper maintenance it was becoming a growing safety risk, so the Shizuoka municipal government issued a public statement asking whoever owned the 12-meter (39-feet) spirit gate to come and deal with it.

▼ Local politician Ken Tanaka 42-Years-Old (to distinguish him from another guy named Ken Tanaka on the ballot) visits the torii to survey its damage

Of course no one answered, so the city decided to get it done themselves and ordered it to come down on 8 September at an expected cost of 11 million yen (US$104,000).

This news did not sit well with many online who feel spiritual monuments with mysterious and forgotten pasts are best left alone, if scores of horror movie plots are anything to go by.

“This certainly seems like it will unleash some kind of misfortune.”
“Man, I don’t want to be working on the crew that has to take that thing down.”
“By removing that torii, the boundary with the other side will be gone.”
“If we get a big earthquake in the next few months, I know who I’m blaming.”
“But it’s made of concrete, so it’s probably not all that magical.”

Some also put on their detective pants and deduced that it might belong to a local shrine – probably by the giant sign on the torii and stone monument next to it which both read “Kusanagi Shrine.”

However, when approached by the government about the matter, Kusanagi said it was never responsible for putting a torii in that spot. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop one Twitter user from further looking into the relationship.

▼ (Translation below)

“This torii…
Originally this whole area was part of a shrine’s precincts but gradually the city developed over it and only the torii remained. If you look into it, you’ll find that it was connected to Kusanagi Shrine but also another one, Kubitsukainari Shrine. There are various theories about the latter but it has an extremely bloody history.
According to one theory, this torii was located at the site of a battle during the eastern conquest of Yamato Takeru and its fallen soldiers were buried there. Ever since that time, a river that runs in the area has been called the Ketsuryu [Bloodflow] River for that reason. Moreover, paranormal spots have been concentrated around the area. I just hope nothing happens when they take that torii down…”

So it would seem the unleashing of an army of the undead is on the table for the tail end of 2020. But as luck would have it, we’ve already determined that the lifespan of ghosts is about 400 years and Yamato Takeru’s campaign took place sometime in the first century AD, making those dead people way past their prime haunting and cursing years.

So that brings us back to a giant torii suddenly collapsing on a busy road as the most likely threat going on here, so it’s probably wise to bring that thing down if no one’s willing or scared enough to step up and take care of it.

Source: Yahoo! News/Daiichi TV, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Wikipedia/Saigen Jiro
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