The Tokyo subway terrorist attack

20 Mar

Today is the nineteenth anniversary of the 1995 March 20th sarin gas attack on three lines of the Tokyo subway system.

sarin attack

I remember that day well.

Prior to that cowardly attack, I had never heard of “sarin gas”. But it’s a nerve agent that is deadly and is easily airborne.

This attack was carried out by the bizarre followers of the equally bizarre Asahara Shoko in the weird “Aum Shinrikyo” cult.

I had known about this cult before the March 1995 attacks. I had seen some of their brainwashed followers in a public park doing some kind of yoga-like stretches and chanting. So I knew they were strange…but until 1995 March 20th, I didn’t know they were dangerous, as well.

It was reported after the attacks that the “reason” these people put containers of nerve gas on trains that killed thirteen people and injured thousands was because they were brainwashed by the cult’s leader, Asahara, that he was the second-coming of Christ and this attack was needed to hasten “Judgement Day”. Or something ridiculous like that.

After this attack, the train and subway lines in Japan were on “high alert”, public trash bins were removed from all stations (a number have since been replaced with a new “transparent” design), there were “Wanted” posters all over Japan for the people responsible, and the “Aum Shinrikyo” cult was designated as a terrorist organization and forced to close down.
Unfortunately though, the members of the cult who weren’t arrested simply changed the name of their group to “Aleph” and still meet under that name.

6 Responses to “The Tokyo subway terrorist attack”

  1. Metal Odyssey March 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    I just recently watched a televised special on various cults (through the years) and this one was one of them. That was a sad day for Japan. It’s difficult to comprehend the minds behind such cults. Unreal.


    • tokyo5 March 22, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

      Yeah, it seems people can be brainwashed to believe and do all kinds of terrible things.


  2. Metal Goddesses March 21, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    Horrible hopes it never happens again! great blog btw!


    • tokyo5 March 21, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

      Yes. It was terrible.

      Thank you for the compliment … please feel free to comment often!


  3. TonyJ2 March 20, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    A timely reminder about a terrible event. Haruki Murakami wrote a great non-fiction account.
    For a detailed exploration of the deeper social themes around the Aum sect a fellow blogger has serialised her thesis on this subject! See


    • tokyo5 March 20, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

      Thanks for the comment. I read that post you linked to…but I don’t think that the Aum cult pushed Japan toward secularism. Japan has never been a religious country. In my opinion, that’s a benefit. I’m glad that there are very few “religious” people in Japan.


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