Buddhist monk sues temple saying work gave him depression

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  • A monk working at the World Heritage site of Mount Koya in Wakayama Prefecture has filed a lawsuit against the organization that operates the temple
  • He said he is suing because of heavy workload, unpaid wages and claiming that the early starts and late nights have made him depressed

A Buddhist monk working at the famed temple is suing his employers over his heavy workload, unpaid wages and claiming that the early starts and late nights have made him depressed.

The 46-year-old monk, who was not named, is working at the World Heritage site of Mount Koya in Wakayama Prefecture and is seeking $78,000 in damages.

“The problem with working at a temple is that there’s no work-hour management and there are no records how many hours the man actually worked,” his lawyer, Noritake Shirakura said.

“The man is hard-working and earnest, and treated all of his duties as part of his training,” Shirakura added. “Because of that, he found himself in a very tough position and severe working environment.”

According to the complaint, his schedule included making preparations from before 5 a.m. for guests to take part in morning prayers at the temple’s shukubo, a lodging built for monks and worshippers. He sometimes worked late into the night attending to guests and fulfilling other duties at the temple.

A local labor bureau has already backed the monk since the extended period of working days without holidays met the definition of overwork.

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