Aum Shinrikyo and the Aum Incident

Martin Repp

in Controversial New Religions

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156829
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784806 | DOI:
 Aum Shinrikyo and the Aum Incident

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This essay presents a systematic overview of Aum Shinrikyo, its historical development, and the significant body of scholarship that has been carried out on the movement. The analyses of Aum Shinrikyo, now called Aleph, must come to grips with explaining the 1995 poison gas attack on the Tokyo subway system; this and other criminal acts became known as the Aum incident. The discussion is built around the question: How did a group that began life as a peaceful yoga group transform into an apocalyptic doomsday religion, capable of acts of terrorism? It is argued that the Aum incident is too complex to be grasped sufficiently by monocausal explanations, and it is the complex interaction of various factors that made it happen as it did.

Keywords: Aum Shinrikyo; Tokyo; subway; Aum incident; terrorism

Chapter.  19946 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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