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Conflict between Aum Critics and Human-Rights Advocates in Japan

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Title: Conflict between Aum Critics and Human-Rights Advocates in Japan
Authors: Sakurai, Yoshihide1 Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Authors(alt): 櫻井, 義秀1
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: International Cultic Studies Association
Journal Title: Cultic studies review
Volume: 7
Issue: 3
Start Page: 254
End Page: 278
Abstract: Japanese society has experienced two phases of cult controversy over the past decade. The public reacted to the Aum incidents in the 1990s with avoidance, declining belief in religion, and moral revulsion. As a result, criticism of cults in the mass media by academics and laypersons grew markedly. However, excessive criticism of cult members who had not faced criminal charges provoked a human-rights backlash in Japan. Human-rights advocates and intellectuals who were protective of Aum (which had changed its name to Aleph) declared cults to be “religious minorities” and “ordinary people”; hence, they should not be subjected to discrimination. The refusal by some municipalities to permit residence to Aum members or entrance of their children into school was judged unconstitutional by courts. Although security police have kept Aleph under surveillance and have sought to prevent them from recruiting new members and engaging in illegal fund-raising, the Japanese people remain unconvinced that the approximately 1,500 members of Aleph do not still pose a threat. This study examines the disparity between Japanese intellectuals‟ arguments in support of Aleph and the common-sense views of ordinary people concerning recent cult controversies by examining chronological data of the Aum/Aleph movement and social responses to it.
Type: article (author version)
Appears in Collections:文学院・文学研究院 (Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences / Faculty of Humanities and Human Sciences) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

Submitter: 櫻井 義秀

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