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Putin hex dolls found nailed to sacred trees in Chiba Pref.

Courtesy of Mikazuki Shrine
A straw doll is seen nailed to a sacred tree.

MATSUDO, Chiba — Japanese hex dolls bearing a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face have been found nailed to sacred trees at shrines in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, since the Golden Week holiday period ended in early May.

These dolls made of straw are apparently intended to protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but a shrine official criticized the act, saying, “Damaging the sacred trees is unacceptable.”

According to the Matsudo Higashi Police Station, similar effigies have been discovered at about 10 shrines, mainly along the JR Joban Line. The police are looking into whether a charge of destruction of property could apply to such an act.

On May 24, a straw doll was found affixed to a sacred tree with two long nails at Mikazuki Shrine in the city. A piece of paper was also found inserted into the doll. It read: “Vladimir Putin, born on Oct. 7, 1952. Age 70. Wishing for his death.”

A security camera showed a man, carrying a bag containing what appears to be a straw doll on his shoulder, heading toward the main shrine building shortly after noon on May 19. Another camera showed this man heading toward the sacred tree after worshipping.

“I understand the man’s feelings for Ukraine, but holes from the nails were left on the sacred tree,” a high-ranking official of the shrine said.

A few hundred meters from the shrine, another straw effigy was also found nailed up near a sacred rope wrapped around a tree at Sobataka Shrine.

“Cursed straw dolls are creepy,” said a man who cleans the shrine on a volunteer basis and discovered the doll. “I pray every day for peace to come to Ukraine soon, but this is not the right way to do it.”