Thursday, April 12, 2018


February 6, 2018

Now that all of the procedures of the court cases regarding Aum have finished, I again feel so sorry about what we have done, and how much pain we have caused for the victims and the people around.
I have constantly been thinkingwhy we did such a thing. At the time, we truly believed that we were rescuing the people from Armageddon. That, of course, was an imaginary scenario that Asahara made up. But we believed that Asahara was the only person who could possibly know Gods’ will.
 I was 18 years old when I ran away from my family and started to live in the sect, where is remote and totally closed from the society. Since then, I have abandoned to think for myself and given up all of my responsibilities as a grown up person. This is the scariest thing that Aum has done to me.
Asahara used everything from classical yoga, buddhism to drugs in order to destroy the individuality of the believers manipulated us into being his tools. We stopped thinking about social norms, became numb to conscience and lost our senses of judgements. This was how our minds became controlled by Asahara. The harder we followed Asahara’s practices,the more we were controlled, losing ourselves, our humanities and emotions.
All of us, including Asahara lost the sense of responsibilities we hold within the society. We all felt superior, that somehow, our action was the definite justice beyond common sense. This mindset led us to committing horrible crimes.
Our lack of responsibilities reflected on the court cases.
Asahara just shut his mouth and kept quiet. Ex-believers, including me explained and apologized for what happened. But I regret to this day that I could have talked more about individual responsibilities by reflecting what I was thinking inside.
I wonder; how did I lose my sense of responsibility?
This question reminds me of the time when I started to adore Asahara.During my summer break, the third year of high school, I went to one of his lectures. He said to the audience “Salvation is to be a drop of water. Stay clear and dive into the bigriver”. I remember thinking strongly; “I want to be like that!”. I learned it much later that this thought is called the totalitarianism and that the Japanese military during the war acted upon this idea. I now realize that I had the tendency to appreciate such an idea - to deny individuality in order to serve the public. That was my problem. But being under the influence of totalitarianism doesn't excuse any of us from our own responsibilities, no matter how heavily or lightly we were involved. After all, it was my choice to believe in Asahara, which was the start to all of the crimes.
Now, I am awaiting my death penalty, facing guilt and death.
Facing guilt, I realize the victims’ sadness, pain, sorrow, but it is never enough. Facing death, I realize how meaningful our lives are. Taking away somebody’s life is unforgivable and I know I have no way to compensate for what I have done. I am constantly in search for what I can do. This has made me feel incomparable desperation over and over again. There were times where I thought I cannot stand it anymore and that I will go crazy.                 
In Japan after world war two, as the economy grew, we were going more and more materialistic. On the other hand, many people lost their mental footing, and Aum attracted those, especially young people.Aum was supposed to rescue people, however, what we did was totally the opposite.I don’t know how to express how sorry I am.
Since then, an organization called Aleph has succeeded Aum without knowing how awful and dangerous their thoughts are. They are using yoga and Buddhism as before, which attract young people who are lost in their lives, enlarging their organization. They do not realize how responsible we are for the case - they even argue that Asahara is not guilty. Now Aleph is under government observation, however, this does not mean this stops them from brainwashing their believers. I am so afraid that they will repeat the crime sooner or later.
As long as I have my life, I will think of the victims and my responsibilities. I will also try to find what I can do, even if it is a tiny thing to prevent this crime from repeating itself.

Yoshihiro Inoue

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Thoughts on the movie "Lincoln"

Criminals on Japan's death row can watch 4 movies in a month. Yoshihiro watched "Lincoln" and will be posting his impressions of it, which he wrote down.

September 7, 2016

Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States who declared the emancipation of slaves and led the North to victory in the Civil War. The main cause of the Civil War was the South's opposition to the North's movement to free the slaves. Therefore, it was said that emancipation and the end of the Civil War were mutually exclusive and that the two realities could never coexist. I felt as if the heart and character of Lincoln, as he worked towards this seemingly impossible goal, may hold a key to solving the problems of war and terrorism currently going on in the world today.

"Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other." There was a scene in which Lincoln spoke of this belief which he shared with the mathematician Euclid from over 2000 years ago. Lincoln says, as if questioning himself, that Euclid declared this to be a self evident truth. "We begin with equality. That's the origin, isn't it? That's balance, that's fairness, that's justice," he continues, and makes a decision to work towards the seemingly impossible goal of the unification of North and South.

I was  surprised and moved by the sense of justice he espoused because it uproots the justice found in the stark contrast of good versus evil seen in war, terrorism and cult religion and replaces it with the notion of equality as justice.

There are many episodes throughout the movie in which he makes offhanded remarks implying that this is not simple equality or ideology. I felt that this is not a set form of justice, rather, it has no form, and encompasses and ties together a myriad of contradictions.

I learned for the first time the historical context in which a "government of the people, by the people, for the people," a democratic reality which Lincoln risked and spent his life protecting, came to be and flourish.

I deeply feel the sinfulness of the high crime that I committed in the name of salvation and the value of life. I cannot help praying that this kind of incident never happens again.

Yoshihiro Inoue

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Request for help with our petition

"The group supporting Yoshihiro Inoue, a criminal condemned to live and continue to atone for his crimes and sins," which was established in Kyoto, where Yoshihiro Inoue was born and raised, is collecting signatures for a petition to prevent his execution.  

We are against the death penalty system itself, based on the belief that any form of killing is unforgivable, for any reason. There is a possibility that Yoshihiro's death sentence could be overturned if a retrial were to take place. Yoshihiro was sentenced to life imprisonment during his first trial and to death during his second, indicating that opinions on the death penalty differ, even among judges. 

Yoshihiro called upon the Aum believers to withdraw from the religious community through his court testimonies. He has also devoted himself to uncovering the truth of the incident. If his death penalty were to be carried out, we would lose an important clue for preventing the reoccurrence of, and solving problems related to, such terrorist incidents. Therefore, in order to prevent similar incidents, we desire that Yoshihiro continue to live so that he can atone for his sins in the future as well. In addition, we would like him to devote himself to revealing the whole picture of the Aum incident, which is still not clear to this day.

We would be very grateful for your signature and support.
If you agree with our cause, please download a signature sheet from the link below and send it with your signature thereon to the address written on it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The 20th Year of The Sarin Gas Attack on Tokyo Subway

We post a letter written by Yoshihiro in 2015.

March 22, 2015

It is 20 years since the sarin gas attack on Tokyo subway occurred. I cannot help reflecting on how the fatalities, the bereaved families and the injured persons suffering from the aftereffects would have spent their days if we hadn’t caused the incident. All I can do is just to make my apologies to them and to contemplate the pain of my crime.

Every time I see and hear the news that wars and terrorist attacks in the name of God occurred all over the world, many people were robbed of their irreplaceable lives in them or have suffered from them, those news acutely grieve me overlapping with my thoughts on the victims of my high crime.

Why do such incidents occur in the name of God?
I simply outline terrorist attacks based on religion from the perspective of the person who has committed the high crime in the name of God, namely me.

Looking back on those days, I got to leave judgment between right and wrong up to Asahara, the founder of Aum Shinrikyo, regarded as the only person who knew God’s will by blindly believing the just cause of saving people from the Armageddon (the final war in the world based on eschatology) in accordance with God’s will which Asahara set.

As a result, I gave up a sense of responsibility for my own words and actions which I should have had as a member of society naturally by following the teaching that we must not think for ourselves after I became a priest at the age of 18, and I stayed unchanged.

Asahara who had his followers at his beck and call in the name of salvation completely lacked a sense of responsibility for what resulted from his instructions to them as a member of society.

As described above, actually we all the followers of Asahara were not aware of the responsibility for our own words and actions as a member of society and conceited ourselves to be men of absolute justice which led to God beyond morality, and such our irresponsible behaviors escalated into the high crimes. “A lack of awareness of having committed a crime in the name of God” is probably one of the essences of cult religion.

By delving into this actual state in terms of the relationship between the founder and his follower for God as transcendent existence, it is clarified that the practice of the religious faith functions to deviate from the rules.

According to Asahara, the founder of the cult religion, when practicing asceticism on the beach in 1986, he was ordered to be “the Lord leading the navy and fighting” by God, asked God “May I use the force as a means?” and received the revelation “take the order” from God. It can be said that this revelation was the beginning of all the incidents caused by Aum.

Afterwards, Asahara began to preach on a theory of religious conflict and to justify himself by saying that God delegated the right and the power to overstep the social rules to him in his arrogance to distinguish the savers from the saved, the unordinary from the ordinary. He blindly believed himself to be transcendent existence like God, and by identifying himself with God that he imaged, he replaced his ambitions with the orders from God and ordered us his followers to achieve them.

We his followers blindly believed Asahara to be transcendent existence as God and were mistaken in thinking that we could be identified with God as transcendent existence and saved by obeying him(it was buddhistically interpreted as attainment of enlightenment in the group of Aum). I can say that in such a relationship between the founder as God and his followers, we really assumed that the orders in the name of God were given the power to overstep the social rules and obedience to them was absolute justice of God beyond right and wrong in human society because God was transcendent existence, and we obeyed the founder.
Is this the mechanism common to terrorist attacks based on religion all over the world?

While I think that there are various religions around the world and each of the religious persons considers God whom he believes in to be right, I keenly realize from my mistakes that we need to have a sense of humility to be aware that even if God whom we believe in is an absolute being for us, it doesn’t necessarily mean that our judgments or actions based on the belief in God are absolutely right as well. It is because we human beings are different from God, cannot become God no matter how firmly we believe in God, stay human beings permanently and sometimes make mistakes. That is to say the group of Aum should never have justified its own desires by replacing them with the orders from God.

Reviewing what I thought and carried out, I have noticed that the loss of empathy with others, namely dehumanization started exactly when I thirsted for the salvation and tried to identify myself with God or the person worshiped as an absolute being. In the Aum incidents, we imposed the salvation in which we believed on society at the sacrifice of many irreplaceable lives. I feel full of remorse for having done such excessively sinful and foolish acts.

As a person, I intend to face up to my crimes, be aware of the responsibility for them, consider continuously what I can do and put it into action one by one as long as my life lasts so that this kind of incident can never occur again in the name of salvation.

Yoshihiro Inoue

Thursday, December 8, 2016

So As Not to Have the Mistake Repeated by Future Generations, Chapter 10

Click here for the ninth chapter.

Chapter 10 Sorrow and Love

I began to read the novels of Dostoevsky on the advice of my teachers, in order to learn what it means to atone for a crime, identifying my crimes with the crimes described in his books. I felt Dostoevsky gave a cold look at a person tortured by a guilty conscience, and I thought the reason for it was that a pang of guilt resulted from regret for having committed a crime, but didn't mean awareness of responsibility for a crime yet. And I found this passage when I read on, considering what responsibility for a crime is:

"Mother, everyone is really responsible to all men for all men and for everything. I don't know how to explain it to you, but I feel it is so, painfully even." (The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky)

When I read this passage, tears were flowing down my face for some reason. And then I felt I realized when I had radically strayed from the right path, that was when I had been deeply impressed with Asahara during summer vacation in my third year of high school. In his idle talk with his disciples, Asahara stated "emancipation is like becoming a drop of water. The practice of salvation is that a transparent drop of water melts into a great river as it is". I strongly wanted to melt into the flow of a great river made of mercy, as a transparent drop of water. This wish was my starting point of my activities in Aum Shinrikyo.

Asahara called the person who was a drop of water the "new breed of humans" who had developed one's spirituality by training. Then he regarded enlightening humans by the "new breed of humans" as salvation.

Now, I think the "new breed of humans" philosophy itself was the reason for my serious crime. That is because the way of thinking was absolutely an arrogant assumption of salvation, which excluded all meanings of existence by others who had different values, and was absolutely his own narcissistic work. It was Aum's training which deepened such narcissism.

At that time, I underwent various mystical experiences by training. Then, because of a light inside of me and because of an enlargement of my consciousness, I had a feeling that I was trying to touch life itself. Through that, I deepened my belief that, rather than rules of real society, it was Asahara's teaching based on such mystical experiences that were true. Soon I started to believe that Asahara, as the person who had reached final enlightenment, embodied life itself. As a result, I felt afraid of him dominating and depriving the lives of others, but I felt a sense that there was no way to go against him.

In the final analysis my error was that I entrapped myself in Asahara's exclusive possession of my life. I felt the opposite of such exclusive possession of life in the story of "The Brothers Karamazov".

When I was a first year high school student, I saw lonely old men and old women in a hospital for seniors. I felt that old people were abandoned, which made me angry. I thought, "I should do something to change this". Back then, although I didn't know "how to explain", at that time, in front of these old people who seemed to be abandoned, without feeling true sympathy or love to others, I merely looked on them, in this sense, I was a criminal. Rather than feeling anger, I should have felt deep sorrow. By feeling deep, deep sorrow about human suffering, I should have been aware of the human state in which he or she couldn't live without committing some sin.

Now, I feel that "the great transparent river of mercy" doesn't exist, and should not exist. If one person separates himself or herself from others, and if he or she believe that he or she is only excellent compared with others, and believes that he or she is absolutely right, how can the person understand the sorrow and suffering of humans who can't live without sinning? How can he or she sincerely sympathize with others, understand others, and love others? I didn't understand even one of those important points.

On top of that, according to what I have learned after my arrest, the mystical experience induced by the training was essentially to realize the common state which existed inside of the life. It was for a deep understanding of "even if the state of life is very different, all creatures are kept alive equally by all life". However, because of my mystical experience, I fooled myself into thinking I was special. And then, I had a huge ego thinking that I was allowed to do more things than others on the pretext of saving many people.

I should have dived into the vast expanse of experiences made up of people's lives - their uncleanness, sufferings and sorrows - rather than "the great transparent river of mercy", which was nothing more than narcissism. And then I should have personally learned what it meant to love someone in the sorrow of living.

"What can I do?" When I can do nothing and I am crouching down in a prison cell, it seems that sorrow related to various crimes come to me. The indescribable sufferings of victims of various crimes overlap with my thoughts on the victims of my crime. I feel a stabbing pain in my chest. Everyone who is in prison didn't want to commit a crime, did they?  I keenly feel the sorrow of criminals who committed crimes despite that. 

Is there salvation for those who suffer from a sense of sin by this awareness? I can't help asking myself. But I just can't come up with the right answer. But once more, I have come to the painful realization of how foolish it is to have blindly believed that there was salvation through the cause, and how deeply sinful it is to have pretended to be a saint, to have talked about saving people.

When I was in middle and high school, I despised the sins and contradictions that humans created and I rejected them. Because of this rejection, I was driven by a sense of justice that I should reform modern-day society as it heads toward Armageddon. I pretended to be a good person thinking that I was a prominent leader. But in fact, I was self-absorbed in our salvation story, I immured myself, I lost sympathy which a person should have towards others.

Nevertheless, I was under the vain conceit of presuming that I was a Bodhisattva-destined to bear the burden of the suffering of others. And so I had come to view all things on my own convenient terms, on the mistaken premise that I was doing good for the sake of my fellow man. In the end, we imposed our "salvation" on a general public who didn't want Aum's salvation at all. We took the irreplaceable lives of others.

As I look on such serious crimes, I become dejected at the seriousness of my crime and the sorrow. However, the more my despair deepens, the more I feel the power of life that thrives within me. I feel that this power visits me not only from my desire to live, but also from life's love, which is more grand and keeps an eye on every life.

The more I feel the love for the life of the boundless affection of living creatures, I keenly feel how horrible and sinful it is to have taken away these lives. I feel so sorry for the victims. I was overflowing with tears that wouldn't stop.

Why did this kind of thing happen?

At least, I can't help asking myself again and again so that this kind of incident can never occur again in the name of salvation.

The End.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

So As Not to Have the Mistake Repeated by Future Generations, Chapter 9

Click here for the eighth chapter.

Chapter 9 The Awareness of the Crimes

When I turned my face toward my parents just after the second trial judgment was pronounced in court, my mother called my name strongly in no voice and cried with her face crumpling, and my father closed his eyes still with his face distorted bitterly. The figures of my parents are branded in my mind, and tears well up in my eyes whenever I remember them.

I terribly worried about my parents than myself and keenly recognized for the first time how deeply the families who had been suddenly bereaved of their family members were pained, sad and tortured. The thoughts how much the fatalities would have been concerned about their families, been regretful and fearful about being suddenly snatched were approaching me clearly. And I understood I absolutely had to reward my too serious crime.

On the other hand, I was incredibly shocked that the life imprisonment sentence of the first trial was assumed to be misconception and therefore I was sentenced to death in the second though no new criminal evidences were presented, the fact situation was not confirmed by the examination of the accused and I was not given even an opportunity to explain the misconception from the beginning in the second court.

However, this cannot be compared with the regret of the victims who lost their lives though there were no faults on their parts, so I just bowed my head without being able to find the words.

I agreed to the proposal of my legal counsel for the final appeal. All my words and actions were by no means such that the second trial judgment could assume the first to be misconception.

"The Group supporting Yoshihiro Inoue, a criminal condemned to live and continue atoning for his crimes and sins" started on January 11th, 2007 in relation to Mr. Yusyo Koto who had taught me religious studies in my first year at Rakunan Senior High School and gave testimony at the first trial. Mr. Gyoyo Kodama acting as a representative of the group is the former director of the institute for Shinshu sect religious doctrines of Otani school of Shinshu sect and one of the Buddhist priests inheriting the teachings of Shinran. Furthermore, my teachers and friends of the group besides my parents lent me a helping hand and gave me the opportunity to look back on my own crimes and sins.

I had thought it my responsibility to have committed the crimes until then, but in the back of my mind, I had defended myself by thinking "I had no choice but to commit the crimes because I had been deceived and given the fear of death by Asahara". To put it another way, I had attributed my crimes to Asahara and turned my eyes away from them actually. However by facing up to my death, I got to be aware of having to take the full responsibility for the crimes and also the sins of having believed his teaching by myself. Thereby the overwhelmingly strong sense of not excusing myself for them any more surges up within me.

In the admonition given in the first trial judgment, Mr. Hiromichi Inoue spoke to me as follows:
"You must throw away all of your pride, self-esteem, arrogance and conceit that caused you to commit these incidents, and spend your days apologizing as an obedient person."

What I think honestly when I apply myself to his words and phrases again now is described below.

My pride caused me to try to support the murder deceiving myself though I realized that I was not able to carry out it. Because of my pride in saving others and being ascetic, I avoided accepting my inability to act as required.

My self-esteem caused me to join Aum Shinrikyo and to be absorbed in it. I was confident of my ability in the religious training. The other members of the Aum group believed it to be unusual as well and I was proud of it. Such my self-esteem made me try to deal with the difficult tasks assigned by Asahara. As a result, I had committed many crimes.

My arrogance caused me to take the irreplaceable lives of others in the name of salvation. I thought the world to be destroyed by Armageddon seriously as if I had understood everything in it despite no sufficient experiences in the complex society. In addition, I didn't try to know the reality of living of others and looked down on them for spending their lives meaninglessly in ignorance of the truth. And, I blindly believed that we had to save many people from Armageddon even though there would be sacrifices to be made by. Such my thoughts were arrogance itself.

My conceit caused me to lose the social skills. At that time, I entirely believed that guru's will were absolutely right and I could not make a mistake as long as I practiced what the guru intended to do. And I completely lost the viewpoint of judgment on my actions and was not be able to look at the world outside of Aum Shinrikyo any more. Such my conceit made me lose the social skills and the human heart gradually.
In conclusion, such my desire caused me to commit the incidents.

I continued suppressing my conscience by my pride, self-esteem, arrogance and conceit. This is why I supported the murder without considering the lives of others and the other followers of Aum. I denied the dignity of others that should be called "life" by suppressing my conscience.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

So As Not to Have the Mistake Repeated by Future Generations, Chapter 8

Click here for the seventh chapter.

Chapter 8 The heinous criminal

Why did the religious sect aim for the armed revolution?
In the chapter "Blind Nightmare" in "Underground" by Haruki Murakami, he raises a question that there is the possibility that the logic and the system of ordinary people and the logic and the system of Aum Shinrikyo shared images like a kind of two mirrors. On top of that, he states that, in the system (highly controlled society), the power process aimed at attaining autonomy is only the mirror image of the other-dependent power process enforced by the system, autonomy and dependency are like light and shade, caught in the pull of each other's gravity, after considerable trial and error, each individual can find his or her own place in the world. And he said "The reason why a person fails to achieve this balance is that balanced and soft self-development is impeded at some stage for some reason. When shelving that impediment, he or she tries to overcome only by a hard logic called "the power process aimed at attaining autonomy", a physical (legal) friction occurs between social logic and individual."

When I look back on those days with considering both the sect's actual condition and Mr. Murakami's quotation, I can say that Asahara concluded that "the other-dependent power process" of the modern society would trigger off Armageddon and would kill all humans, on the other hand, he concluded that only "autonomy" whom Asahara who said guru's will was absolute gave would save humans from Armageddon, and would lead his disciples to a spiritual awakening.

As for this dualism, it lacked the viewpoint that individual autonomy was created as the mirror image of dependency in the first place. So, there was no idea itself that the sect tried to find its position in the system of this modern society, it can be said that, more than a physical (legal) friction between social ethics and individuals, Asahara concluded that changing the logic of his doctrine into the social logic was salvation. This was nothing short of a fundamental shakeup of the social system, and it can be said that this was nothing but the system that could provoke an armed revolution.

According to what I have learned after my arrest, in true training, it seems that even if you have a mystical experience, you should not see it by objectifying it. Because if you see it by objectifying it, you give it special value, and you fall into deviation in which you form self-satisfied autonomy which lacks the feeling of dependency. I think the revelation "the Load leading the navy and fighting" that Asahara received from god is a typical example of this deviation.

In Buddhism, the importance of removing self-obsession and having mercy to all sentient beings is talked. It could be said that these are processes to tear down the ego which differentiates the self from others; to attain awareness of the interdependent stream in which humans, along with animals, nature, and the cosmos are as one; and to awaken this stream in each individual. In short, it can be said that this is a process to regain the balance of both the power processes.

However, Asahara abused the training method to tear down the ego, made his disciples have mystical experiences, he replaced the experiences with the world of truth. So, more trained, his disciples lost his or her self more, lost the feeling of dependency, swallowed the world of autonomy which was Asahara's fancies, and were identified with it.

In Asahara's religious war logic, he justified himself by saying that god delegated the right and the power to overstep the social rules to him in his arrogance to distinguish the savers from the saved, the unordinary from the ordinary. And then, in the sect, both Asahara and his disciples, being motivated by the desire to be identified with god, they put themselves in the position of absolute truth, absolute good beyond right and wrong, on the pretext of saving many people from Armageddon, did various barbarous behaviors which were included in an armed revolution. I think this is one truth of the sect's sins.

At that time, I believed that the identification with god which was said to have the will to save humans was only the path to save myself, I didn't think it would be desire. Reviewing what I thought and carried out, I have noticed that the loss of empathy with others, namely dehumanization started exactly when I thirsted for salvation and tried to identify myself with God or the person worshiped as an absolute being.

About "a kind of images of two mirrors", Mr. Murakami said "it is, in a way, our inner ghosts (underground) whom we evade to face, consciously or unconsciously exclude from the face of the reality, isn't it?" As for these "inner ghosts", I think from my mistakes that these "inner ghosts" means that humans tend to lose sight of dependency, to be self-satisfied, to be identified with stories that others make up, and to be swallowed by them. In wars, armed revolutions, religious wars repeated in human history, in order to knock the foundation of the social system which is the origin of dependency, justification of killings by collective violence was made because of these "inner ghosts", I think.

It is said that, about World War II, propaganda saying "it is a crusade to realize Arcadia and establish the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" was spread throughout Japan. The Aum Incidents were smaller in scale, but on the point that killing others was justified as good in the name of god, it should be no different from the war.

In order not to repeat tragedy, I keenly realize that we need to have a sense of humility to think that there is no cause to deny the dignity of life, to think that this world is full of contradictions, and to think that we human beings sometimes make mistakes.

Continued to the ninth chapter.