Female priest and another woman fatally stabbed at Tokyo shrine

A stabbing at Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine on Thursday left three persons dead

An apparent murder-suicide involving a samurai sword at a Tokyo religious shrine has left the head priestess dead, along with her assailant brother and his girlfriend.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police say the 59-year-old priest appears to have been ambushed by her younger brother and a female accomplice on Thursday night.

The Japan Times reports that police suspect that Shigenaga Tomioka killed his sister, stabbing her in the chest and stomach with a knife as his companion chased down the driver with a tradition Japanese sword, slashing him in the arm and chest. He received injuries not considered life-threatening, police said.

Nagako Tomioka, 58, chief priestess of Tomioka Hachimangū in Tokyo, was attacked by Shigenaga Tomioka, 56, as she got out of a vehicle on Thursday evening.

A blood-stained samurai sword and survival knife were retrieved from the scene.

Shigenaga and the other woman, who was his girlfriend and believed to be in her 30s, apparently ambushed Nagako after she got out of a vehicle on the grounds of the shrine in Tokyo's eastern ward of Koto.

Japanese media said he is the victim's brother, but police would not confirm that.

According to an acquaintance of a family member, Shigenaga was the chief priest of the shrine until he was dismissed about 10 years ago.

Shigenaga sent a threatening letter to his sister in 2006, saying he would "send her to hell", newspaper Sankei Shimbun said.

At the time, his sister had held a post known as negi, the second-highest rank at a Shinto shrine after the chief priest.

Tomioka was chief priest of Tomioka Hachiman shrine. The shrine, located roughly 100 meters east of Monzen-Nakacho Station, is also the birthplace of the Edo-period fundraising sumo.