Famous People in Japan

Asahara Shoukou

Original Name Matsumoto Chizuo
Date of Birth March 2, 1955
Place of Birth Kumamoto-ken, Yatsushiro-shi

Asahara Shoukou is the master of Aum Shinrikyou. He went to the school for the blind in Kumamoto from elementary school to high school. He got a license to practice acupuncture and moxibustion and came to Tokyo. He ran a drugstore in Chiba-Prefecture. In 1982, he was arrested as an offence against the law of medicine. In 1986, he was spiritually awakened and emancipated himself in the Himalayas. He became the founder of the Aum Shinrikyou. In 1989, the Aum Shinrikyou became an ecclesiastical corporation. He says he is the only final emancipator and he gets many supernatural powers by special ascetic exercises.

In 1990, he ran for general election, but he couldn't be elected. It is said after this event Aum Shinrikyo began to be armed and aim at indiscriminate terrorism under him. In 1995 on May, he was arrested on suspicion of many illegal activities, and he was prosecuted on seventeen counts. He didn't admit that he committed these offenses though his disciples confess that he did. But in his trial on October eighteenth he said that he shouldered the responsibility for all these offences, and stopped his disciple's cross-examination. But contradictorily, at the same time insisted that he was "innocent". It is said that he would impatient with his keeping silence, so he may have changed his trial tactics.

References: Gendai Nihonjin Meiroku 94, News file No.191, The Yomiuri Shinbun Evening Edition 1996.10.18

Reported by: Ota Masakazu
Data verified by: Manabe Youichi
Date of Report: November 1996
Updated by: Shimada Masato, May 1998

Back to the main page