War of the prophets

While we are on the subject of Soka Gakkai, let us not forget that while they may be the largest creepy somewhat religious organization in Japan, they are far from the creepiest. That honor, naturally, goes to our old friends Aum Shinrikyo. Now, Soka Gakkai and Aum Shinrikyo may be rivals in terms of how much they creep us out, but did you ever know that they actually had some more direct rivalry? More specifically, that Shoko Asahara, the Guru of Aum, actually attempted to assassinate Daisaku Ikeda.

Here are a few relevant passages from Aum & I, by former Aum conspirator Ikuo Hayashi MD.

At the same time, Asahara was in that story blatantly attacking Daisaku Ikeda, the honorary chairman of Soka Gakkai, Morihiro Hosokawa, and Ichiro Ozawa as immediate enemies, saying that they were being controlled by the shadow organization that was controlling America and selling out Japan.

For more of Asahara’s enemies list, see this earlier post.

Later in the book is a section entitled The Daisaku Ikeda Poa Incident. I will explain Poa in detail in another post, but basically it is is a Tibetan term for reincarnation that Asahara used to mean ritual assassination.

Although Dr. Hayashi would eventually be one of the perpetrators of the Sarin attack in the subway, he only learned about the assassination attempt on Ikeda after the fact. As he explains it:

On December 18th, one of the final remaining days of 1993, a situation occurred where Nakamura came into AHI carrying Tomomitsu Niimi, who was experiencing difficulty breathing.

Later, the event known as the Daisaku Ikeda Poa Incident became the trigger for me to actually learn the religious group’s shadowy operations, which I had not been aware of until that time. This incident would also become the trigger for my getting involved in the “secret work” that would lead to the execution of the sarin incident on the subway.

“What in the world is the cause of this? I can’t properly treat him if I don’t know what the cause is!” I said.


“Actually, it’s sarin. Would you mind coming with me for a minute?” Nakagawa requested.


Nakagawa opened the door and stuck his head inside the car. After saying something [to the person inside] he immediately turned toward me and motioned for me to get in the backseat. It was the first time I had ever ridden in Asahara’s car and I was nervous as I sat down in the rear. As soon as the door was closed, Asahara, who was sitting in the front left passenger’s seat, said without even turning around, “We tried to perform Poa on Daisaku Ikeda with sarin but failed.”

There are a few pages here describing the symptoms and treatment for sarin poisoning and so on. Interesting stuff, but let’s skip ahead to Ikeda.

Limiting the assumptions to my personal feelings towards Daisaku Ikeda and the judgment expressed by the guru to whom I devoted myself, Daisaku Ikeda was an object that we must fight. Since this was so, and Asahara could fully see this karma, the act of having Poa performed upon oneself was something that would be a “happy” outcome for the person.

The main thing was about karma: that since Ikeda was a mastermind secretly trying to kill Asahara, by preventing the disaster of his carrying out this evil act of assassination, which would lead him to the Avici Hell [Buddhism’s Limbo], Aum was just trying to save him.

So there you have it. Asahara was convinced that Ikeda was plotting to kill him, and so sent his agents to kill Ikeda through Sarin poisoning. This was not just as an act of self-defense, but by killing Ikeda they would prevent him from committing awful crimes and he would therefore avoid punishment in the next life. Everybody wins! Murder as altruism- don’t you love religion?.

13 thoughts on “War of the prophets”

  1. Let’s not forget Aum’s completely bungled attempt to run for the Diet. Aum was always jealous of the far more sophisticated (and way less crazy) SGI.

  2. All the literature I’ve read indicates it was pure jealousy on Asahara’s part. Basically every new religion in Japan is jealous of Soka Gakkai, just go ask someone from Tenrikyo about them, for example.

    “The Cult at the End of the World” goes into some detail about Aum’s attempt to assassinate Ikeda, I presume it is this same “Poa Incident.” On a related note, Murakami Haruki’s “Underground” describes how the sarin bags used in the subway attack were wrapped in pages from the Komei Shimbun, to misdirect blame for the attack onto the Soka Gakkai.

  3. Interesting stuff again, thanks!

    However, 1) there’s just one ‘k’ in Soka, and 2) I wouldn’t really describe Avici hell as Limbo. And 3), I suppose, ISTR reading on the BBC that the Pope planning on abolishing Limbo.

  4. 1) Fixed the spelling
    2) It may not be much like Limbo, but for some reason that struck me as a somewhat equivalent single word term when I was translating this half a year ago. Trying to avoid long explanatory notes…
    3) I know about the Pope ditching Limbo, but what is ISTR?

  5. ISTR – I seem to remember.

    Avichi Hell is more like a Jack Chick sort of hell; fire and brimstone and evil minions poking you constantly with pitchforks and the like. Limbo is where all the dead babies go, or something. There’s perhaps a similar sort of holding tank for souls in Buddhism before rebirth, but I’m not really too familiar with all that sort of stuff, and it probably varies per sect depending on how they see rebirth. SG, for instance, I think describes an ether of conciousness that you merge with after you die, and being (re)born takes a spoonful of soul soup containing just bits of the previous you and bits of previous everyone else.

    Quite frankly, the above sounds like a load of old cobblers…

  6. Aum hates SGI, and vice-versa… the Komeito is the sworn enemy of the JCP, and vice-versa.

    Sorta reminds me what Senator Harry Truman said when Hitler invaded the USSR and before the US entered WWII: “If we see that Germany is winning, we ought to help Russia, and if we see that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany and that way let them kill as many as possible.”

  7. Yawnz X 2. There’s no direct rivalry, you parrot.

    Don’t use you low-level IQ to read someone like Dr.Daisaku. It was Aum Shinrikyo who had wanted to assasinate Daisaku. Diasaku has no intention of fighting back or revenge, till this very minute. Get it? So there’s no rivalry, only a one-sided hatred, get it? (Gawd, are Caucasians getting weaker in their brains just because China is rising??)

    It’s as good as your ex lover comes back for your present one, alleging that she has robbed you from her arms. But your current is magnanimous enough to treat her with understanding and warmth. Still your ex hates her and wants her dead. So there’s no rivalry here; only stupid hatred.

    Don’t use one topic and blow up another. Just because in your Caucasian brain you dislike SGI you seize the chance of talking about Aum Shinrikyo to paint SGI bad. Kudos to you for being so pathetically funnie! Cheers!

  8. Stormrider – are you on a first name basis with Dr. Daisaku, or do you just not know which is his first name and which is his last name? My Caucasian brain was able to figure it out.

  9. Yawnz. M-Bone, allow me to allow you to find fault with me on my usage of first and second name.

    This IS probably the only thing you can do with that Caucasian brain of yours.

    Fact + truth is: you are nowhere near to where Dr.Daisaku is. He has 200 honorary degrees from all around the world. You? Hiding in some virtual online corner, trying oh-so-hard to get some pitiful, fancy snigger at him?

    Kudos to whoever your teachers and parents are. I’m sure they’d be proud of you being so brilliant in failing to distiguish tabloid facts from supra-mundance truths.

  10. Can we see a list of those 200 universities? The sheer number of honorary degrees would probably make him an interesting case study in how various colleges decide who to award those things to.

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