The Japanese Doomsday Cult

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POLICY PAPER Aum Shinrikyo: The Japanese Doomsday Cult Lisa Bertsch – lmb5956@psu.edu HLS 805: Political Violence, Threats, and Insurgency Summer 2015 – Dr. Paul Gill Table of Contents Abstract Pg. 3 Chizuo Matsumoto, aka Asahara Shoko Pg. 4 Syncretism Pg. 4 The early years: 1984-1989 Pg. 4 Organizational Goals and the Means of Achieving Them Pg. 5 Recruitment Pg. 6 Examples of Violent Attacks Pg. 7 The Split Pg. 9 Conclusion Pg. 10 References Pg. 12 Abstract The insurgency group of interest for this research paper is that of Chizuo Matsumoto, aka Asahara Shoko, and the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo. The reason behind the choosing of this particular group is to provide commentary to that…show more content…
(Simons, 2006) Syncretism Aum Shinrikyo is a syncretism of Tibetan Buddhism and early Indian Buddhism, and Hinduism, with Shiva, one of the main deities of Hinduism, as the main image of worship. It also draws teachings from Yoga, Christianity’s Book of Revelation, and even some of the wisdom of Nostradamus. Since its establishment, Asahara claimed to be that of a Christ like figure sent to take on the sins of the world for man’s salvation. He predicted a 1997 doomsday prophecy in the form of an Armageddon like scenario where the United States would instigate World War III with nuclear war being the culprit of the end of humanity. (Juergensmayer, 2007) The early years: 1984-1989 Between 1984 and 1989 Aum Shinrikyo conducted many recruitment endeavors and eventually was recognized as a religious organization in 1989. Due to this status of being recognized as a religious group he was able to act without the Japanese authorities having oversight. This was due to the Religious Corporations Law that provided coverage for tax benefits, property ownership, and protection from state. In the law it states that the organization is protected against investigations of the religious activities and doctrine of the group. However, that same year is when several incidences of bad press had come out about the group. One case specifically was regarding the murder of an anti-cult lawyer and his family. The lawyer has tried to take Asahara Shoko to court on the claims that their

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