Kikuchi Naoko’s sarin, as described by another Aum member

By now everyone knows that Kikuchi Naoko, one of the last members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult wanted for the 1995 sarin gas Tokyo subway attacks, was arrested on Sunday. Although her face had been plastered on posters found in and around pretty much single police and train station in the country, she managed to remain at large for 17 years, until someone reported seeing her in the Tokyo suburb of Sagamihara.

Back in early 2006, Adam and I collaborated on a large job translating material about Aum Shinrikyo into English for some kind of security researcher down in DC doing a report about religious terrorism. The biggest single document in the project was the massive book Aum and I by Ikuo Hayashi, a medical doctor and member of the cult, who participated in the sarin release, which we translated a significant portion of.

I have previously posted a few excerpts from this book, including Hayashi’s description of the actual subway attack itself, the bizarre and stillborn plot to assassinate Ikeda Daisaku, leader of Sokka Gakkai, and a description of the gross practice of how cult members ate their own feces in a weird attempt to emulate the Buddha.

In honor of Kikuchi’s arrest, here is Hayashi’s memoir of his first encounter with sarin, found on pages 271-274 of the tankobon edition of the book.

*     *     *     *     *

The first sarin dispersal experiment

At the end of April there was a phone call from Nakagawa to me at AHI. “Make the same preparations as when you treated Niimi and come to the Seventh Satyam, in Kamiku,” he said. The only treatment I had given Niimi was when he had been poisoned by sarin gas during the Daisaku Ikeda Poa incident, so I loaded up the station wagon with drugs, a respirator, an oxygen cylinder, and the other necessary supplies and went to Kamiku. Nakagawa went into the prefab that it was said Tomomi Tsuchiya had been assigned to, and came out carrying a box.


He told me that it had sarin inside it.

In the flask was a triangular flask, protected by a buffering agent. When I saw the liquid at that time, it was a faint fluorescent green. Since Nakagawa had said that it was sarin, I always thought of sarin as being that color a liquid afterwards. “So, Aum has sarin after all,” I thought. However, at this time I still had no confirmation that Tsuchiya was making sarin.

At that juncture, I still had no realization of what degree of chemist this Tsuchiya person was. Nakagawa said that because he and Tsuchiya were performing sarin experiments together, if by any chance one of them was poisoned, that I should come and treat them. I had a feeling that I had learned yet another secret. I myself was not receding, not progressing, being shown the true forms of Aum’s “secret work” one by one. I naturally felt the discomfort, the unsettlement of the treatment that came with it,

Those “sarin experiments” were to discover the volatilization volume of airborne sarin. I thought that this sarin was meant to be one means of defense against the American military and the [Japanese] Self Defense Force when the “war” broke out.

A truck was parked in front of the Seventh Satyam. It was loaded with several canisters, large storage batteries and a converter, plastic bottles and a sprayer that seemed to be the type used for the spraying of agricultural chemicals and pest removal. Driving the truck was a Samana in the Truth Science Research Department.

Nakagawa and Tsuchiya got in the car together saying to me and the young Samana that we should follow them and set off.


I had no idea whatsoever where we were going, but when we arrived it looking like a dry riverbed near the mouth of theFujiRiver. The time was night, just before dawn, and in the vicinity were no other people or vehicles. The riverbed was a broad area, and I got the feeling that they had chosen the location in advance, and we had gone to that place.

They used an ultrasonic nebulizer (sprayer) places on top of an electric balance to spray sarin into the air, measured the wind velocity and force at that instant, and checked the amount of sarin consumed based on the change in mass.

When the experiment was over, he sprayed some neutralizing agent from the nebulizer, but because he had been poisoned I gave him two intravenous injections each of two ampoules of PAM and atropine sulfate. When I examined Nakagawa it looked like there was some mild pupil dilation, but I couldn’t really tell. I treated Nakagawa based on his subjective symptoms.

Nakagawa and Tsuchiya didn’t say in what way they were going to use that data. I didn’t ask. The experiment was over, and we went back to Kamiku. Seeing this experiment, I thought that they really were going to use sarin for defense at the time of the “war.”

Thinking about it now, a much greater volume of sarin would be needed for defense and so the question of how they could get such a quantity comes up is raised, but at this time I was not thinking such thoughts very strictly, and only thought loosely about this.

Why was I called at this time? I think that it may be because I was supposed to perform treatment for sarin poisoning later on. At this time I was thinking that it would be fine if Asahara used me to treat sarin poisoning.


I supposes that Asahara must have had the intention of making me participate as a member of the medical team in his plans, particularly his plans to use sarin.

Now I think that Asahara had me join the on-site activities with a notion to “acclimate” or “condition” me, and made me participate in that experiment as a first step.

I think that after the Daisaku Ikeda Poa incident, Asahara stepped up the “fumie” [tests of faith] and “narashi”[habituation, conditioning] that he been giving me to the next level.


No retrial for Asahara – clock ticking

Tokyo Court Rejects Aum Cult Leader’s Retrial Plea, Kyodo Says


By Stuart Biggs

March 19 (Bloomberg) — The Tokyo District Court turned down a request for a retrial for Shoko Asahara, the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult who was sentenced to death for the murder of 19 people in sarin gas attacks in Japan, Kyodo News reported.

The retrial plea, filed in November by Asahara’s second daughter, was turned down because what it claims is new evidence wouldn’t be sufficient to overturn his sentence, Kyodo said, citing unidentified people familiar with the case. The report didn’t provide further details of the contents of the plea.

Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, was sentenced to death in February 2004 for the attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995 that killed 12 people and another attack in the city of Matsumoto a year earlier that left seven people dead. The group is alleged to have killed 27 people in total.

Asahara, 54, lost a final appeal against the death sentence in September 2006, Kyodo said.

14 years later, Asahara might face the gallows this year…

A Bathing Shoko

A few days ago I spotted the following sticker just outside Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills:

It’s an ironic tribute to former Aum Supreme Truth Cult leader* Shoko Asahara that combines his ugly mug with the iconic BAPE clothing logo (see below). I absolutely loved the image for my own reasons (I am a BAPE fan and an avid consumer of Aum-related developments), but it has taken on new relevance now that the BBC informs me that this year marks the 40th anniversary of Che Guevara’s death. The article discusses the enduring popularity of that one image of him glancing out somewhere with the utmost intensity:

Combined with the mystique and allure of Che and the spirit of revolution, another key to the spread of the image was the complete and intentional lack of intellectual property management on the part of the original photographer and designer, and it has certainly been effective for better or worse. Anyone with a pair of eyes who has visited US college campuses will know how pervasive this image is. And more importantly, the BBC article notes that in Latin America he remains an inspiration for his life and what he stood for, rather than just being a part of the trustafarian poster collection.

However, in Japan the story is a little different. A far more recognizable but similar image is the logo for hip clothing brand A Bathing Ape (aka BAPE) which derives its flagship logo from a combination of the Che image with the Planet of the Apes movies (stunning in their own right). While Che’s logo may stand for the combination of “capitalism and commerce, religion and revolution,” notwithstanding some recent dilution of the brand BAPE’s message is more along the lines of “wear this if you are young and listen to Cornelius”:

I should point out, however, that BAPE has none of the revolutionary hype nor is it even close to the level of pervasiveness of the Che image. It is just a hip clothing brand with a slightly creepy but somehow irresistible logo.

(*Asahara is apparently still revered in one sect of former Aum followers according to recent reports. He will be headed for the gallows for orchestrating the deadly 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subways whenever the Justice Minister gets around to it.)

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?.

Liquid terrorism

Andrew Sullivan says that the most interesting thing about the recently foiled terror plot is that the terrorists were planning on using “liquids” of some kind in the attack. Since the authorities are still being tight-lipped about the actual details of the attack we have no idea what exactly that liquid was, but there are a number of possibilities. Andrew’s pet theory seems to be that they were using a device that combines liquids from two different chambers to create hydrogen-cyanide gas. According to this BBC article, it was in fact liquid explosives, with electronic detonators hidden inside portable devices, which presumably would be dis and reassembled within the plane.

Whatever the exact nature of the liquid being used in this particular attack was, there is one major past terrorist attack perpetrated through the release of liquids inside a vehicle. I am of course talking about the Aum Shinrikyo Tokyo subway sarin gas attack of March 20, 1995.

Earlier this year I had a large translation project in which I translated a couple of hundred pages of Aum Shinrikyo related material, including a large portion of Aum and I by Ikuo Hayashi, a medical doctor and member of the cult, who participated in the sarin release. Below are some excerpts describing the preparation for, and actual release of the sarin inside the subway.
Continue reading Liquid terrorism

Asahara – still crazy

For all you Aum watchers, make sure to take in this article on the English Mainichi. It’s actually been posted for a week or so, but I just ran across it. The former cult leader, who is responsible for a number of atrocities, was sentenced to death a little while back, but seems to be working very hard to delay the (cough, cough) execution of that sentence for as long as possible by faking insanity.

“He took off his trousers and diapers, exposed his genitalia and masturbated. He repeated the same action frequently. Whenever he acts like that, he drops his trousers, his diaper and diaper cover to his knees, finishes the act, then raises his trousers up to his waist again,” Friday quotes the Nishiyama Report as saying.

The weekly goes on to note that Asahara does not restrain his self-ministrations to times when he’s alone in his cell at the Tokyo Detention Center.

“In April 2005, just before the accused’s lawyer entered a visiting room, the accused exposed his penis and began masturbating, continuing until he had finished while the lawyer stood before him the entire time. He has repeated this act of masturbation in the visiting room, as well as in his solitary confinement cell since being placed under observation in May. He also performed the act in front of his daughters when they came to visit him in August of the same year,” the Nishiyama Report says.

On the other hand, Asahara is well documented as having been bat-shit crazy at the very least since 1983, so who am I to accuse him of just putting on a show?

Death sentence of Aum sarin subway terrorist upheld

Saru forwarded me the AP story, but I don’t have a link so I’ll just post it below.

Japan: Death for Man in Subway Gassing

The Associated Press


Tokyo’s High Court upheld the death penalty for a doomsday cult member convicted in the 1995 Tokyo subway nerve gas attack that killed 12 people, a court official said Wednesday.

Tomomitsu Niimi, a high-ranking member of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, was sentenced in 2002 to hang for murdering 26 people in seven separate attacks.
Continue reading Death sentence of Aum sarin subway terrorist upheld

Best hits of Aum – Part I

Earlier this year I spent an entire month working fulltime translating documents about Aum Shinrikyo into English to be used as research materials for a report on international religious terrorism being created by a Washington DC based organization that shall remain nameless.

While I did a couple of articles and some excerpts from various books, I spent almost the entire time translating large sections of Aum and I, the confessional jailhouse memoir of Ikuo Hayashi, a former medical doctor who helped to spread sarin gas in the Tokyo subway on that infamous day.

Although I was paid to do this translation, it was not intended for publication and my client has no rights over the material, only requesting the translation in the first place for their own reference. Therefore, I’ve decided to excerpt some of my very favorite sections of evil cult related goodness to post every once in a while.

Here is the very first installment – my translation of page 133 of Aum and I.


There was nothing I could say in response to that, but I do remember feeling terribly remorseful about delaying the salvation plan. Because of that., I thought that maybe I could perhaps advance my training a bit, and even performed a bit of secret surgery, cutting my tongue’s frenulum with the aim of perfecting my Yoga’s “Nagomdoni.” I also thought I had failed to become a Siddha because I hadn’t pushed myself to the limit, so I started fasting. The result was that my body became progressively weaker, and I became unable to do breathing exercises. Whenever I tried I would develop an irregular pulse.

Over the course of three days of fasting I was able to maintain consciousness even without getting any sleep. I tasted one part of the “experience” described as the so-called “sequential states of consciousness.” As a “prithag-jana” [an unenlightened person still a slave to their worldly desires], I had trouble during the period after the fasting, when I started eating again. I was reading an article by someone who had achieved Siddha, which contained some sections specifically talking about people tormented by gluttony, or pained by fasting. Upon reading these sections, I was swept up by the images of food, and felt the same lust to eat say, eel or bread. I thought that I had been overcome.

At exactly that time, the Aum magazine Mayahana printed a story about the Buddhist training from the time of Shakyamuni. It said that during the time of Shakyamuni’s spiritual training, there was a practice of eating the feces of some animal, say a dog. Thinking that the reason I hadn’t yet become a Siddha was because I just hadn’t been pushing my limits, I thought that perhaps I should try doing the same thing as the original Buddha. I decided to begin eating my own feces.

When first facing my own feces I seriously hesitated. It was originally a part of me though, and there are even living things that eat feces. Since it’s the same E. Coli that just came out of me, it couldn’t upset my stomach, right? Inflammation of the pharanyx is a possibility though… I tried to reason through the various possibilities before finally eating it.

Perhaps because at that time I had been eating nothing but roots and vegetables for three months solid, there was actually no smell.

What do the Dalai Lama and Shoko Asahara have in common?

The new February 2006 issue of Wired has an article on how the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Buddhist sect has gotten involved with Western neuroscientologists to do research into this field.

A decade later, [Doctor Richardson] got a chance to examine Tibetan Buddhists in his own lab. In June 2002, Davidson’s associate Antoine Lutz positioned 128 electrodes on the head of Mattieu Ricard. A French-born monk from the Shechen Monastery in Katmandu, Ricard had racked up more than of 10,000 hours of meditation.

Lutz asked Ricard to meditate on “unconditional loving-kindness and compassion.” He immediately noticed powerful gamma activity – brain waves oscillating at roughly 40 cycles per second – indicating intensely focused thought. Gamma waves are usually weak and difficult to see. Those emanating from Ricard were easily visible, even in the raw EEG output. Moreover, oscillations from various parts of the cortex were synchronized – a phenomenon that sometimes occurs in patients under anesthesia.

The researchers had never seen anything like it. Worried that something might be wrong with their equipment or methods, they brought in more monks, as well as a control group of college students inexperienced in meditation. The monks produced gamma waves that were 30 times as strong as the students’. In addition, larger areas of the meditators’ brains were active, particularly in the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions.

Compare with this brief excert I translated the book Aum and I, written by convicted former cult member and medical doctor Ikuo Hayashi.

A book called Bodhisattva Sutra was published in September. The book tells that an initiation using what was later known as PSI had been developed. This was done by reading Asahara’s brain waves during meditation using electrodes, channel them, resonate another’s brain to match Asahara’s brain waves and cause then to have the same experience of meditation.

In the phone call, Asahara said to me, “Krishna Nanda, there is an interesting experiment that I wish to show you. Bring Nurse Komiya and Doctor K, and come quickly to the Seiryu Vihara.

When I arrived, I was surprised to see that there was an honest to God brain wave meter, and a room that has been electrically shielded how one has to for measuring brain waves that they called the shield room had been built. Murai, Nakagawa, and Dr. S has done research and written a program that could read brain waves into a computer and then re-send them.

If they could infuse the data of Asahara’s meditation, it would mean the birth of a new enlightened one, possessing the same “enlightenment” as Asahara.

Which possibility sounds best?

A) Both the Dalai Lama and Shoko Asahara are crazy to be interested in this field.

B) Studying the brain waves of a meditative state makes sense, but Asahara’s plan to transfer that state was insane.

C) Asahara had the right idea.

Or am I missing one?