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A
A Documentary Film on Aum Shinrikyo
Date:25, Apr, 2019
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


A is a Japanese documentary film directed by Mori Tatsuya. It was released in 1998. They say that the film gained public favor overseas, not in Japan. Mori said he had many times got this question from foreigners who had watched the film, "why don't Japanese people watch the documentary film?"

This is a documentary film about Araki Hiroshi who had belonged to the public relations department of Aum Shinrikyo. What's that? you might say. Aum Shinrikyo is a Japanese doomsday cult founded by Matsumoto Chizuo (a.k.a. Asahara Shōkō) in 1980's. They caused the Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995 March. By the gas attack, killed were 13 people, damaged were many passengers and attendants. The documentary film shows how the Aum devotees were actually after the terrorism.

Matsumoto Chizuo became a pupil of Nishiyama Shōun in 1982 Tokyo. He gave Matsumoto a name Shōkō, it is said. And he gave Matsumoto counsel like this. "What you can be without money is a priest. Those too weak to decide what they should do knock on the door of religion all the time. What you should do is just catching and luring them like fishing." It is supposed that Matsumoto became a priest by the suggestion.

In 1983, he was excommunicated by Nishiyama for his badness. Next year, he established "Aum no kai" a yoga school in Shibuya, Tokyo. At the early times, it was just a small school which 6 persons belonged to. However, it grew up by his performances and public relations. It contained 600 followers in 1987 when they renamed the school Aum Shinrikyo. They officially changed into a newly-risen religion in 1987, it means.

At the same instant they began to assassinate those (including some followers of them) who criticized them. They planned to assassinate the Imperial Family. They purchased some former Soviet Union-made helicopter from Russia, and tried to purchase tanks. They purchased pieces of land and produced several chemical weapons like sarin and VX gas there. Doubtlessly, Matsumoto was an antisocial paranoia, and they were a terrorist organization.

Why did they enter such a dangerous organization? you must wonder. Even after the gas attack, many people decided to enter the Aum Shinrikyo. Why on earth? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind like Bob Dylan sang. Watching this documentary film perhaps makes you get (kind of) closer to the answer, but. It shows us what the devotees had to face after the Tokyo subway sarin attack, how they were actually treated by local neighbors hostile to them and Japanese public safety officers. There's no answer, you must consider by yourselves.

about A

・Directed by Mori Tatsuya
・Produced by Yasuoka Takaharu
・Edited by Mori Tatsuya & Yasuoka Takaharu
・Released on September 9, 1998
・Running Time: 135 minutes





 

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