Yoshihiros mother

Keiko Inoue


I sincerely apologize to the victims and their bereaving families regarding the Aum cult cases, which had sent waves of shock throughout Japan. Our second son, Yoshihiro Inoue, was involved in some of those horrible cases. I feel great sorrow from the bottom of my heart, and I have no other words other than apology to give. I feel very ashamed ? I regret that I had been a foolish mother for Yoshihiro. I regret we had not stopped him from leaving us and devoting himself to Aum Shinrikyo. Below is my recollection of Yoshihiros childhood incidents that may have led up to this mistake.  Im extremely grateful for those who will read it.


I will never forget May 15, 1995, the day when Yoshihiro was arrested. Early that morning, I kept watching the news of police searching Aum group plants. My eyes caught sight of one of the arrested mens face ? a close-up on the TV screen - but I didnt recognize who he was. Soon after, the announcer repeatedly called Yoshihiros name. I was in shock, realizing that the arrested person on TV was our son. I became upset, trembling over the thought of   how much damage was done, how serious my sons sins were. At last I got my senses together and decided to be strong in order to support Yoshihiro, who would be in jail and do his duty to confess all that he had been involved.


Yoshihiro was born in 1969 in Kyoto, the western part of Japan. When he was two years old, my husband decided to move to Uzumasa, a rural place of the ancient city.  I was very reluctant because I have no friends there to help me for childcare. As I did not have any way to adopt myself in the new place, I suffered from a nervous breakdown. I asked my husband for help, but a typical hard-working Japanese man in those days never understood his wifes emotional burdens. I plunged into deep despair and attempted suicide.


Fortunately, I survived. I fully regret such a senseless action. Then I became worried about our little children, especially Yoshihiro. I was afraid that this incident might leave deep scars in the little boys fragile mind. I worried if this had planted fear and mistrust, and wondered if little Yoshihiro felt hesitant to be in my arms. I again felt regret at how foolish my action had been.

However, even in my anxiety, Yoshihiro showed himself as a gentle and cheerful boy who made me smile. He picked and brought flowers for me when I was sick in bed. I will never forget this whole experience, but I told myself to spend the rest of my life as happily as I could in order to forget that awful decision.


Uzumasa, where we lived, had several old temples and shrines. Every day, we saw monks and heard them chanting sutras at the gate of every house in the early morning. Little Yoshihiro seemed to love offering whatever small amount of money he had to them. One day, I saw Yoshihiro bow to a monk and made offerings to him as usual. When he saw the monk off, Yoshihiro said to me that the monk reflects his future self. I did not realize at that time how eager and seriously he felt about being a monk. 

He grew older, and during his high school years, he kindly helped me in my part-time job to distribute books. One midsummer, after helping me, he went out for karate practice as usual. When he came back home, I was very surprised to see him in agony from physical pain. He hesitated to say what happened, but I finally found out that he as kicked in the groin. I felt frightened at the unusual sight, and he was promptly hospitalized. When his condition was better, he asked me bring some books for him, including a book written by Shoko Asahara, the guru of the Aum cult. At that time, I had not even heard of that name, and had no reason to worry that Yoshihiro was interested in such books.


A few days after he left hospital, he suddenly ran a fever of over 40 (104 F) and caught the bad shivers this time. I panicked to see such drastic change. But Yoshihiro just calmly said that these changes must come from fire and water elements competing in his body. He rushed me to telephone the Aum office for proper advice. I was hesitant but I did as he urged. The Aum staff said exactly what Yoshihiro told me, and added that Yoshihiro should concentrate his energy to his naval chakra. Just 30 minutes later, his fever died down. He was back to normal in 40 minutes.

 I think it was this mysterious experience that convinced Yoshihiro to place absolute faith in Asahara and Aum. Later on, Yoshihiro also encountered various other lucid experiences, or so-called supernatural experiences. Asahara might have continuously coaxed the naive teenager, saying such experiences was due to devotion towards him. It was also easy for Asahara to take advantage of Yoshihiros sensitive character and use it to advertise the cult.


Recently, a person whom I respect suggested that Yoshihiro had depended on external things like religion and martial arts as a form of refuge, because he lacked his mothers love in his childhood. This is a shock to me. But if it is true, I have to take responsibility for Yoshihiro. My foolishness might have fueled his fanaticism towards the Aum cult.


I have to confess that continuous quarrels between me and my husband might have been the biggest factor that drove Yoshihiro towards Aum.

The parents of my husband had money problems, and that soon spread into our household. Little Yoshihiro was unable to find any peace at home. I also didnt put enough efforts to understand what he went through. Instead, I made him listen to my own problems and complaints. I think Yoshihiro might owe the root cause of his grave crimes to his mother.


Celebrating Yoshihiros recovery from the injury in karate practice, all of my family members visited Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, for summer holidays. It was the last family vacation for us. At night, Yoshihiro might have stayed overnight at the porch of the hotel. I think he was seriously thinking whether he would participate in an Aum seminar. FigureA is the picture of him then.


He ended up joining a one-week seminar after getting permission from his father. But when he came back home, I felt uneasy about him. He looked quite changed; his attitude became very arrogant. When Yoshihiro expressed that he wanted to follow the Aum cult, his father immediately raged at him. Yoshihiro seemed totally disappointed. Fortunately, thanks to a school teachers heed, we managed to barely stop Yoshihiro from leaving school altogether. To appease our son, we gave permission to go to Aum seminars. After joining his second seminar, he started doing strange practices like cleansing the inside of his body. Worried at such practices, I rushed to the doctor, but his body turned out fine.


 My husband and I decided to meet Asahara for the first time to talk about Yoshihiros future.  Yoshihiro was determined to join the Aum group soon after graduating high school. The news was a thunderbolt to us - we could not agree to it. It was then that Asahara and my husband began quarreling. Finally, we settled on having Yoshihiro at least attend college in the day time.


  During that time, we had no doubts that our decision was wrong. We were even relieved when we watched TV programs talking about the Aum group with favor. Even I decided to believe in the Aum group, but I left the group just before the sarin gas attack cases occurred in 1995. Id never thought the group would cause such scares throughout Japan.

To this day, I dont know the full reasons why Yoshihiro was entranced by the Aum cult, but I believe it is because he wished, through some twisted form of logic, that it would actually bring happiness to others.


My husband says he feels great sorrow, and blames himself because he hadnt scrutinized Asahara enough before entrusting our son to him and to Aum. We send our deepest apologies to the victims and their bereaving families.


Thank you sincerely for reading.


Keiko Inoue

July 2nd, 2012