Aum Shinrikyo and Japanese Youth offers insights into Japanese spirituality by analyzing the motivations of those who joined the Aum Shinrikyo religious sect. This group attracted worldwide attention after its poison gas attack on the Tokyo subways in March, 1995. Daniel A. Metraux explores the reasons that thousands of Japanese people, many of them youths, joined the sect. He questions why they joined it, what they expected of their membership, and why they stayed involved or left. Metraux finds that most of the members got involved for religious and social reasons and did not partake in the terrorist and criminal activities of the leaders of Aum Shinrikyo. In addition, the author examines how the Aum situation reflects a growing sense of alienation from the traditional Japanese religion and culture among some of the young and middle-aged Japanese people, providing important information about the present status of the Japanese people.
This book makes a contribution to rounding out the picture of Aum Shinrikyo, and lays the groundwork for future studies of members who stayed or joined Aum after the Tokyo subway attack.--Catherine Wessinger, Loyola University, New Orleans "Utopian Studies "