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Episode 9: Aumaggedon (Aum Shinrikyo)

As the founder and undisputed leader of Aum Shinrikyo, Shoko Asahara did everything he could to thrust himself into the public eye. Before Aum Shinrikyo's political party lost its only round of elections in 1990, Asahara appeared on several Japanese talk shows. You can view a clip from one here. Asahara also produced anime that his followers distributed as part of their recruitment efforts. You can view a clip from one here.

In writing this episode, we consulted the following monographs and article:


Lifton, Robert Jay. Destroying the World to Save It: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999. 

Metraux, Daniel A. Aum Shinrikyo and Japanese Youth. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1999. 

Reader, Ian. Religious Violence in Contemporary Japan: The Case of Aum Shinrikyo. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2000. 


Baffelli, Erica. "Aum Shinrikyo and Hikari no Wa." In Revisionism and Diversification in New Religious Movements. Edited by Eileen Barker. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2013.

Repp, Martin. "Aum Shinriko and the Aum Incident: A Critical Introduction." In Controversial New Religions. Edited by James R. Lewis and Jesper Aaraard Petersen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. 

Repp, Martin. "Religion and Violence in  Japan: The Case of Aum Shinrikyo." In Violence and New Religious Movements. Edited by James R. Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. 

To learn more about these sources, check out this episode's accompanying blog post

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