The temple is one of eight sites that make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.
A Canadian teenager is being questioned by police in Japan after he allegedly defaced a 1,200-year-old temple in Japan by carving his name into a wooden pillar, BBC reported.
The incident took place at the centuries-old Toshodaiji Kondo temple complex in Nara, Japan on the afternoon of July 7. Notably, the temple is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of eight sites that make up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.
The teenager is reported to have written the word ''Julian'', scratching the name into the 8th-century woodwork using his bare hands. The incident came to light after a Japanese tourist saw the teen defacing the pillar and told him to stop before notifying temple employees.
''On the southwest side of Toshodaiji Kondo, there are wooden pillars supporting the roof. On the pillars to the side, the boy carved ‘Julian' on a wooden pillar about 170 centimeters above the ground with his nail,'' a police official told CNN.
After the incident, temple staff alerted nearby police and the teenager was brought in for questioning the following day, said the official.
''The boy admitted his act and says it was done not with the intent of harming Japanese culture. He is now with his parents, who were with him when the incident occurred,'' the official added.
However, a monk at the temple told the Japanese newspaper The Mainichi that "even though it may have been done without malice, it is still regrettable and sad".
The official further said that if the teen is found to be in violation of the Law for Protection of Cultural Properties he will be referred to prosecutors. However, he will not be detained.
Under Japanese law, any person who has damaged an object of ''important cultural property'' could face up to five years in prison or a fine of 300,000 Yen (about $2,819), reports BBC.