Looks like he’s either really happy or really angry about online retail.

On 15 December, the normally tranquil precincts of Sakuragi Shrine in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, were sullied by a mysterious vandal with a permanent black marker. A total of 13 locations, including signs and stone monuments, were scrawled upon with different phrases, but most commonly “Amazon!”

▼ News report about the incident

Luckily, surveillance cameras at the shrine caught the perpetrator in the act, and the footage, along with eyewitness testimony, led police to the recent arrest of 34-year-old Rentaro Shimada. After being charged with vandalism, Shimada admitted to the crime, but left us without an answer to the big question of “why,” or at least “why Amazon.”

While the word “Amazon!” was central to most of his scrawling, Shimada also left several messages, some of which outright defied grammatical or logical sense. Perhaps we can glean a motive based on some of the messages that he wrote, as best we can understand them.

“Amazon! These guys aren’t here!” 
“Messenger from Brazil, Amazon!”
“It’s thin! Amazon!”

Or not… Though, the “Brazil” reference might indicate he was referring to the rainforest rather than the retailer. Many comments online also struggled to rationalize what happened there last December.

“Amazon fan.”
“I don’t get it at all. I guess it’s just fun for him.”
“I sometimes thank God for Amazon, but I don’t go writing it on a shrine.”
“Maybe he wrote Amazon because the shrine is surrounded by a lot of trees.”
“I wonder if any of the news outlets sponsored by Rakuten are running this story.”
“Amazon lol.”
“It’s probably some stealth marketing. They’re worried people are going to forget about Amazon.”
“The one time he wrote it above an arrow, like a play on the logo. That doesn’t explain the other 12 times though.”

Police also believe Shimada is responsible for five cases of Amazon-themed graffiti at Atago Shrine in the heart of Noda City. These writings were limited to the word “Amazon!” and focused on the chozuya basin where guests purify their hands with water. The estimated cost of cleaning up all these messes came to 300,000 yen (US$2,600). In particular, the writing on wooden surfaces required scraping or chemical treatments to remove.

It’ll probably take a fair bit of psychological scrubbing to get to the real motive for this peculiar defacement. Although purely coincidental, we here at SoraNews24 have also been conducting our own experiment to push an adult man over the edge by making him buy the worst products sold on Amazon. Come to think of it, after his really tiny gloves, Masanuki has been carrying his crayons everywhere he goes and is staring unusually long at places of worship these days.

We’ll keep you posted…

Source: FNN Prime Online, Iza Topic, Chiba Nippo, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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