Vandalism is already a crime, but it feels like being this bad at drawing should be too.

Todaiji Temple is one of Nara’s most beautiful and culturally significant locations, and a major draw for travelers both from across Japan and abroad. So the nation was shocked to see that the temple had been vandalized…and in a shockingly uncute way to boot.

On Thursday morning, a worker at the temple noticed discoloration on the exterior side of a door in the Nigatsudo prayer hall complex (pictured above). Upon closer inspection, it was discovered to be a drawing of a cat, or as many media outlets in Japan are describing it, “a cat-like shape.”

Why the lack of certainty? Well, because it looks like this.

You could make a pretty solid argument that anyone with drawing skills of that humble caliber shouldn’t be displaying their art in public under any circumstances, let alone committing vandalism to do so. Reports also pointedly mention that the graffiti, which measures roughly 30 by 40 centimeters (11.8 by 15.7 inches), was drawn on the door at a height of about 180 centimeters (70.9 inches), so while it may look like it was drawn by a small child, the actual perpetrator is someone with adult, or at least teenager, height.

The specific building on which the graffiti was found is the Nigatsudo’s dining hall, which was constructed in the Kamakura period of Japanese history (1185-1333) and has been legally designated as a national important cultural property since 1906. Surprisingly, the “cat” appears to have been drawn by someone simply pressing their finger strongly enough against the wood to leave lasting marks, as the graffiti shows no signs of painting.

The section of the complex where the graffiti was found is not off-limits to visitors, but Todaiji head abbot Eisho Kamitsukasa has said that the temple will be considering countermeasures to prevent such an incident from occurring again. “This is very regrettable,” Kamitsukasa commented. “Not just cultural properties, but all things should be treated with respect.”

Graffitiing such specially designated buildings does come with its own supplementary charge to common vandalism though, violation of the law for the protection of cultural properties, and the police are now analyzing security camera footage as part of their efforts to identify the culprit.

Source: Nitele News, NHK News Web, MBS News, The Sankei News
Top image: Wikipedia/663highland
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