Aum Shinrikyo


November 15th, 2017

58 mins 32 secs

Season 1



Twenty years ago Japan was to become a nuclear wasteland, according to the leader of a sect who claimed that the only survivors would be his followers and 10% of the major cities. It was in the lead up to this year of the predicted apocalypse, 1997, that he ordered shocking acts that would eventually result in his group being labelled a terrorist organisation, and himself and 12 other sect members being sentenced to death.

CW: references to physical and emotional abuse, controlling behaviours, references to suicide, murder, and psychological trauma associated with being in a cult. Please consider whether you would like to listen on this basis. Content is not suitable for children.

UPDATE: An Aum Shinrikyo update episode was released on 21 March 2018. It includes a small correction from this episode.

UPDATE 2: The death penalty was carried out in Japan in July of 2018. Aum sympathizer Kazuhiro Kusakabe left 8 injured on 1 January 2019 when he drove into a crowd of people in the Harajuku district of Tokyo.

If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via, and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at