Aum Shinrikyo Cult Head Joyu to Dump Materials That Lead to Asahara Worship

TOKYO, Oct. 26–(Kyodo) — Fumihiro Joyu, leader of the AUM Shinrikyo cult, said Thursday he and his followers are considering abandoning educational materials that promote the personality cult of AUM founder Shoko Asahara, as part of their efforts to emerge from Asahara’s shadow.

Joyu, 43, said in an interview with Kyodo News that the materials he has in mind include photos and videotapes of the former guru and that he and his group members plan to sort out the items to be ditched and decide when to do so by the end of November.

“To break away from the former leader, we’ll advance reform of our educational materials, and make the changes visible by February next year,” Joyu said at the cult’s premises in Tokyo.

“We’ll then decide on a new name for our group and educational materials,” the former AUM spokesman said.

Joyu heads a group of followers who are critical of Asahara, 51, and agreed to abandon such materials in the cult, which now calls itself Aleph. Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, is on death row, having recently had his sentence finalized.

But Joyu indicated that even his group may have difficulty in determining which materials could directly lead to individual worship of Asahara as many of them, such as Buddhist sutras and books written by Asahara, have been used by the cult followers for a long time.

“We’re going to abandon anything that can be associated with the former leader, including meditation methods that worship him and the name ‘Guru Asahara,'” Joyu said.

Joyu said he will discuss with other group members exactly which items should be covered by the policy and try to iron out differences among them.

In September, the Supreme Court finalized the death sentence for Asahara over the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in which 12 people were killed and other charges.

We appreciate your support

One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Kyodo News Service, Japan
Oct. 26, 2006

More About This Subject

This post was last updated: Monday, November 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM, Central European Time (CET)