Overworked monk sues temple in Japan

Last Updated: May 17 2018 16:31

His lawyer said that a Japanese monk is suing his temple, claiming he was forced to work non-stop catering to visiting tourists and that the heavy workload gave him depression.

The monk in his forties is seeking 8.6 million yen (USD 78,000) from his temple on Mount Koya, a World Heritage Site also known as Koyasan that regarded as one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Japan.

“If you work as a monk, too often you work without work-hour management,” Shirakura said.

“You provide labour, but you are told it’s part of religious training. And if it’s training, you must endure even it causes you significant hardship. Through this case, we will argue that such a notion is outdated,” he said.

Shirakura said that the case argues that the monk was forced to perform paid labour far beyond his spiritual duties, and at times worked for more than two months straight. 

In 2015, when the Koyasan area celebrated its 1,200th anniversary, he was forced to work for up to 64 days in a row to handle a surge of tourists to the site.

Some days, he worked 17 hours straight, performing various temple functions including attending to visitors, the lawyer said.