|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Strong parallels between AUM,Soka Gakkai revealed
Shukan Jitsuwa 6/8 By Masuo Kamiyama
Once upon a time in Japan, a new religious group sprang up under the guidance of a charismatic leader.
It built sprawling facilities at the foot of Mt.Fuji and created its own kingdom, in which it appointed top leaders to such posts as the "Minister of Education,""Minister of Construction,""Minister of Propaganda" and "Minister of Military Procurement."
It engaged in scathing denunciations of rival religious groups.
Members ran for seats in the Dict.
Large monetary offerings were an obligatory part of belonging.
And disillusioned members bold enough to try and leave it were roughed up,threatened, followed on the street and subjected to a variety of harassment that resulted in numerous clashes with the law.
If anything,writes Shukan Jitsuwa,the number of incidents involving this group far surpasses the acts of the relative newcomer AUM Shinrikyo.
The group's name is Soka Gakkai.
The members of the "value-creating society,"whose unofficial numbers incorporate at least six million households in Japan,were shocked recently by the revelation that their Chairman Emeritus,Daisaku Ikeda,had been targeted for assassination by AUM's"Interior Minister" Tomomasa Niimi.
Before Niimi could go through with the attack, however he inadvertently exposed himself to the sarin he had intended to use on Ikeda and had to undergo emergency treatment.
Masatomo Yamazaki,a former legal counselor for Soka Gakkai,tells Shukan Jitsuwa that comparisons between the two religious leaders reveal some remarkable parallels.
"Asahara told AUM followers he was the 'last savior of the century' and 'the final sole survivor';to his adherents,Ikeda is the 'one true Buddha.'
Both men are driven about in luxury limousines.
Asahara's activities are administered by a 'Special Affairs department'; Ikeda's by the 'No.1 General Affairs section.'
Both groups follow the practice of having believers consume the scraps left over from their leaders' meals.
And close similarities can also be found in both men's tendency toward being suspicious of almost everyone, as well as their fondness for female companionship and preoccupation with money."
But that's not all,Shukan Jitsuwa also notes that Soka Gakkai has also made efforts to extend its mission to Russia and other foreign countries, browbeats followers into making large donations, has attempted to cultivate academics and placed its spies inside government organizations.
The scenes of police searching AUM facilities came as a major shock to Soka Gakkai.
Ikeda reportedly ordered his legal advisers to consider the implications that any new legislation may have on his group.
Not surprisingly,Soka Gakkai is said to be totally opposed to revisions in the law, using its political influence and other measures to block any passage.
One side effect of the scrutiny directed towards AUM is that to avoid drawing further attention to itself.
Soka Gakkai appears to be relaxing its campaign against harassment of priests and lay members of Nichiren Shoshu, the parent Buddhist seet that excommunicated Soka Gakkai several years ago.
Even more fearsome to Soka Gakkai than a nerve gas attack against its leader, Shukan Jitsuwa suggests, is it revision in the law governing the activities of religious bodies.
The Buddhist lay group,it says,is likely to pull out all the stops to prevent such a move from taking place.(MK)