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Broadcaster TBS on the Unification Church June 14, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in general, Japan, Media.

Japanese broadcaster TBS had a piece on air at the moment about the Unification Church on Sunday.

"Holy books" being sold for JPY30M each (yes, that is more than a quarter of a million US dollars). Vases and other artefacts are also available. Trips to the indoctrination center – oops I mean educuation center are also "encouraged", and available for a not inconsiderable fee of several thousand dollars. (You can go to South Korea for a weekend for as little as a couple of hundred dollars including airfare and hotels, by way of comparison)

"Donations" being demanded using psychological pressuring techniques, endoctrination sessions, and manipulative group psychology being used to ensnare unwitting victims (all par for the course for a religious cult). The Unification Church apparently tells its followers that unfortunate events in this life are due to the acts of one's ancestors, and tells followers that they should attend sessions where they are absolved of their ancestors' sins.

Promotional material claims that the burdens are responsible for a whole range of ills. Illness, infertility, personal problems, etc etc, and that absolution can resolve these problems.

There are laws and case law precedents which outlaw the recruiting of members preying on vulnerabilities, or using spiritual and self-improvement seminars or other apparently non-religious events to attract recruits. However there continue to be a long list of cases brought by ex-followers who are demanding the return of their hard earned money.

The program also revealed that the Unification Church, a major property developer in South Korea, is the biggest developer in the area which was bidding (and lost out to Vancouver) for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games owning the ski resort which would have hosted the Games.

It should be noted that TBS itself is rumoured to be closely associated with another major religious group (one that backs a major political party in Japan), so this piece is seen in some parts as competitor bashing disgused as journalism.



1. Kurt - June 15, 2006

referring to your last paragraph, just curious why you wouldn’t name said religious group and said major political party by name. of course everyone in Japan can figure it out in a milisecond — and probably others could google it — but your caginess struck me as curious

2. fukumimi - June 15, 2006

Well, we all know how efficient search engines are, don’t we.

Given that unlike 90% of Japanese bloggers, I am not anonymous, and I err on the side of caution when I use qualifiers like “rumoured” and when I don’t put the names of the TV company and the religious group in close proximity.

Or maybe it is an attempt to see how far their surveillance net reaches. If I start getting visits from the religious group or from the police or tax authorities (which are amongst the institutions which the group has sucessfully infiltrated), it will make for a bit of interesting investigative journalism, methinks.

3. Kurt - June 16, 2006

fair enough, but it seems to be symptomatic of much of the discussion related to this group….often private students of mine will lower their voice to the point of inaudibility when talking about this said religious group, which seems to me a sort of white flag admission of being intimidated and therefore, believer or not, somehow one is de facto, a believer….of course this phenomenon in japan is not limited to said religious group

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