Executed former Aum member Yoshihiro Inoue left over 5,000 pages of personal notes

Japan Times/December 16, 2018

Former senior Aum Shinrikyo member Yoshihiro Inoue wrote personal notes until just before his execution in July, a nonfiction writer has said.

The notes, written on 400-character manuscript paper, amounted to over 5,000 pages, Ryusho Kadota, who has been acquainted with Inoue’s parents for 23 years, said last week.

The notes revealed Inoue’s inner struggle.

Inoue wrote that the opinions of the doomsday cult’s leader, Shoko Asahara, “meant everything” to him and that the only way to escape from his control was to kill him. But he also wrote: “I would go to interminable hell if I kill the guru. I cannot betray the guru.”

Inoue, 48 at the time of his execution, joined the cult at age 16 and was considered to be Asahara’s closest disciple. He was arrested in May 1995 for his involvement in many crimes including the deadly sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system in March that year. His death sentence was finalized in 2010.

Inoue claimed that he merely followed Asahara’s orders and was unable to resist them as he had been brainwashed by the leader. A few months after his arrest he left Aum and sought guidance from Buddhism.

Kadota wrote a nonfiction book based on Inoue’s notes and his 81-year-old father’s 600-page-long memoir, portraying how Inoue was drawn to Asahara, whose real name was Chizuo Matsumoto, and why he remained with the guru even after he came to have doubts about him. Kadota’s book is titled “Omu Shikeishu Tamashi no Henreki,” which translates to “Soul-searching of an Aum Death Row Inmate.”

Asahara and Inoue were among the seven former Aum members executed on July 6 this year.

The book also describes a meeting between Inoue and his father eleven days after his arrest. The elder Inoue told his son that the most important thing is to reveal everything honestly. “That is the only thing you can do,” he said.

The elder Inoue said he provided the personal notes to the writer to convey to the public his son’s hope that no young person would be like him.

Kadota said he wants many people to know how Inoue agonized over his crimes and kept wanting to atone for them. The book was published by PHP Institute Inc. and released Thursday.

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