The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

Jul 13, 2018

With the execution of the Aum Shinrikyo leader and six of his followers, Japan looks to leave behind an era of tragedy.  On July 6, 2018, Japanese authorities executed seven members of the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo (Aum true religion, or supreme truth), which carried out the 1995 Tokyo...

The Tokyo Gas Attack Was Japan’s 9/11

Jul 11, 2018

On that fatal March morning in 1995, Aum Shinrikyō tried to mount an attack that would cause so much indiscriminate carnage that it would actually bring down the government. The execution by hanging in Tokyo on July 6 of the "doomsday cult" leader Shoko Asahara and six of his followers has...

Cult Attraction: Aum Shinrikyo’s Power of Persuasion

Jun 16, 2015

A former Aum Shinrikyo member reveals how difficult it is to distance oneself from the group once you decide to leave. Nagaoka’s son, who has asked for his name to be withheld to protect the privacy of his family, first joined Aum Shinrikyo in the fall of 1987 when he was still a college...

Aum Shinrikyo’s Spiritual Journey From Meditation to Mass Murder

Jun 13, 2015

How did Aum Shinrikyo, which began as a peaceful Buddhist sect, devolve into violence? Twenty years after Japan was shaken by Aum Shinrikyo’s nerve gas attack on March 20, 1995, which killed 13 people and injured thousands, the last of the court proceedings are finally coming to an end. In...