Religion and culture have existed as long as human beings have. People have such a strong belief system that sometimes it’s very easy to fool them in the name of cults.
And one such weird place where people do whatever they want and get away with in Japan. From their fashion to the different cults the Japanese people have been following all these years, it’s safe to say that bizarre equals to normal in Japan.
It was especially after World War II that the government of Japan permitted a greater religious freedom to the people which led to more people come up with all sorts of bizarre and insane cults. And these movements were called the Japanese new religious movements.
Almost all these cults have their own teachings and beliefs with thousands of followers not just in Japan but also all over the world. They tend to preach peace and better living to all its followers.
However, it’s not always likely that they do as they preach. Because most of these cults are run by hoaxers and the beliefs and teachings they spread are only to fool people and earn money from them.
Here are 7 bizarre Japanese cults that ever existed.
Japanese Internet Suicide Clubs.
Japan has the highest suicide rate than any other country and for years now the numbers are only getting higher.
Recently a trend that has been spreading like wildfire in Japan is the Internet Suicide Clubs.
It’s been termed “Netto shinju” in Japanese language and more people have been drawn towards it every year.
The first suicide related to the internet suicide pacts occurred in October 2000 which garnered a lot of attention from the media and became a landmark incident.
Since then, the numbers have alarmingly gone up with more and more people joining in every year.
People use different methods of suicide in this pact like inhaling charcoal fumes or poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide inside a sealed car of room.
Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan (World True Light Civilization Religious Organization).
Sekai Mahkar Bunmei Kyodan or simply Mahikari is a Japanese new religious movement founded by Yoshikazu Okada in 1959.
Okada first received a commandment from the Creator God, Mioya Mahkari Omikami that the world was about to face destruction and the whole human race was about to be cleansed through social turmoil and abnormal weather.
They also believed that the whole world revolved around Japan and that the ancient Japanese ruled a beautiful place or a global utopia that also included other civilization like the Mesopotamian civilization and the Egyptian civilization and also taught the Jews how to speak Hebrew.
Another bizarre belief that the people following the World True Light Civilization Religious Organization is that it is their responsibility to reunite all the races and religions and create a Japanese paradise on earth to be ruled by their emperor.
People follow religion and cults based on the beliefs it preaches. But what happens when the religion you’re following is teaching the opposite of what religion should actually be preaching?
This is exactly where Aum Shinrikyo stands. The cult which is also known as Aleph is a Japanese new religious movement that does future predictions and prophecies like doomsdays and third world war which apparently will be instigated by the United States of America.
This bizarre cult was founded by Shoko Asahara who claims that humanity would come to an end and only the people who join Aum would survive.
Ironically, Asahara along with six other followers was recently executed by the Japanese government and Aum Shinrikyo has been formally designated a terrorist organization due to the cult being involved to a deadly Tokyo subway sarin attack back in 1995 and another smaller sarin attack in 1994.
Ho No Hana Sanpogyo (Flower of Buddhist Teaching).
Ho No Hana Sanpogyo is a perfect example as to why you shouldn’t blindly believe in everything people has to say, especially cult leaders and “spiritual leaders”.
Ho No Hana or the Flower of Buddhist Teaching is often known as the “foot reading cult” as the founder of this cult “His Holiness” Hogen Fukunaga formed the cult claiming that he had the ability to read the foot of a person and make a diagnosis.
However, he started preaching a while back in around 1980 after “realizing” that he was the incarnation of Jesus Christ and Buddha and apparently he was the world’s final savior.
The cult that was formed in 1987 was shut down for fraud as Fukunaga along with other followers were apparently robbing people off in the name of fortune telling.
Well, the first thing to consider was his $900 fees just for one reading. Attending a cult seminar would cost 2.25 million yen and to be a part of it, the followers were supposed to donate up to 14.3 million yen to the cult.
Making false diagnosis, they would ask the followers to buy high-priced scrolls or ornaments that supposedly “ward off evil,” “deliver from sin,” “cure illness,” and “break family curses”.
But apparently, the money the cult was making wouldn’t go to a better use. Instead, Fukunaga, the founder of the cult would use it all for his and his family’s benefit.
Fukunaga was sentenced to 12 years in prison for scamming almost 150 million yen from his followers just in the name of religion. He also might face manslaughter charges for the death of four of his recruits who died during rigorous initiation rites in Mount Fiji.
Other members also faced imprisonment for the charges of mass fraud and practicing medicine without a license.
PL Kyodan (Church of Perfect Liberty).
PL Kyodan was originally founded by Shinto priest Tokumitsu Kanada with the name Shinto Tokumitsu-kyo. But it was his grandson Tokuchika who re-established the group after World War II and named it Perfect Liberty Kyodan.
PL Kyodan aims in bringing about world peace and the teachings it preaches are very interesting as well.
The Church of Perfect Liberty lives by 21 simple precepts. It teaches that “Life is Art,” and “to live is to express one’s life”.
With more than 500 churches and a million followers worldwide, PL Kyodan assists its followers in improving their lives and overcoming hardships and live in perfect liberty.
East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front.
Rather than being a religious organization. The East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front is a terrorist organization that was responsible for terrorist bombings around Japan in the 1970s, the most remarkable being the bombing at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries back in 1974 which resulted in the killing of 8 people.
The group was formed by the extremist left-wing students who were against Japan’s historical aggressions regarding the minorities and other countries.
If someone ever asks you what could be the most dangerous thing in this world that’s threatening our existence, you might come up with a lot of answers. However, electromagnetic waves might be the last thing on your mind.
Well, that isn’t the case with people who follow the Pana-Wave Laboratory. Pana-Wave is a Japanese new religious movement formed by a woman named Yuko Chino in 1977.
It combines the elements of Buddhism, Christianity, and New Age doctrines and as crazy as it sounds, the followers of this bizarre cult claim that electromagnetic waves are what is causing catastrophic environmental destruction and climate change.
According to them, it is also something that was being used by communists against them in order to kill their leader.
The followers of Pana-Wave dress in all white and drive around an all-white van going from places to places in search for a safer place where waves won’t harm them.
They garnered attention back in 2003 when the members tried abduction a stranded wild seal in Tokyo’s main rivers.
They even made doomsday prophecies a couple of times, which turned out to be a failure due to which the group faded into obscurity.