A team of 100 Japanese riot police is presently tracking the “cult” Pana Wave, reports The Guardian.

Village after village has protested the group and made it clear they are unwelcome.

But Pana Wave has not been connected to any crime.

However, the ominous predictions of coming doom made by its leader Yuko Chino, deeply disturb many Japanese who remember the cult Aum.

An editorial in Asahi News noted, “In hindsight…Aum became increasingly bloody-minded, the police were late in taking appropriate action” and warned they should now “be prepared to move swift and sure if [Pana Wave] breaks any laws.”

However, that same editorial said, “Police need to keep in mind the possibility that groups of this sort, when pressed too hard, can sometimes lash out dangerously.”

So Japanese authorities are engaged in a precarious balancing act, between protecting the public from a potentially unsafe group, while being sensitive to the group itself.

Even the Prime Minister of Japan weighed in and said, “I would like groups, whatever kind, not to cause inconvenience to local areas and other people,” reported Japan Today.

Of course the crucial ingredient in all this remains Yuko Chino.

Much like Aum leader Shoko Asahara, Chino is the impetus behind her group and she largely defines it. The 69-year-old woman has the power to keep Pana Wave peaceful, or act as its ignition point.

Asahi lamented the intense nonstop TV coverage of the “cult” citing this as “One of the main reasons so much attention is being drawn to this group.”

However, Chino seems to be directing her followers in a series of sensational stunts that have garnered the group increasing attention.

Maybe with so many news cameras now focused on her group, 100 police engaged in ongoing surveillance and the Japanese Prime Minister commenting about Pana Wave, Chino is satisfied and has finally received all the attention she wants.

“Tama-chan the “little seal with a lousy sense of direction” became a TV star in Japan. A whole series titled “The World According to Tama-chan,” chronicled the life of this ocean orphan lost in the Tama River.

The adorable mammal became a “national sweetheart” as his exploits were watched in a series of episodes on Japanese national television. He even had a fan club, reports Daily Yomiuri.

But by Episode 4, Tama-chan had some trouble from strange new fans that wanted to “rescue” him. And that “fan club” is now known as the “cult” called Pana Wave.

“Cult leader” Yuko Chino and her devoted cohorts tried to kidnap little Tama-chan. Later she would claim that the seal’s “rescue” would somehow “save humanity.”

But perhaps all Chino really had in mind was moving into the limelight generated by darling seal, rather than rescuing either Tama-chan or the human race.

Eventually the media dug a little too deep and made Chino unhappy. She then had her followers chase them off with a bulldozer.

So is Yuko Chino a dangerous doomsday cult leader, or a manipulative media hound?

Maybe she is both rolled up into one odd combination?

It wasn’t that long ago that another “cult” known as the “Raelians” burst into prime time, claiming they had produced the “first human clone.”

However, all they really ever produced was an orchestrated media blitz.

Perhaps then Chino’s fascination with Tama-chan is telling. It does seem to mirror a Raelian-like publicity stunt.

Raelian leader Claude Vorilhon (“Rael”) seems to feed his voracious ego on such self-indulgent fare. Is Chino cut from the same cloth? They are both “cult leaders,” do they have more in common?

Everything has now seemingly come around full circle. Yuko Chino and Pana Wave are now the stars of their very own media series, seen through daily news coverage.

If the cult leader craved attention, she has certainly fulfilled her dream.

But it may turn out that the odd woman in the white van, will once again not like her close up.

Japanese authorities continue to closely monitor a strange “cult” called “Pana Wave.”

The nomadic group’s eerie caravan of white vans continues to roam across Japan, reports The Japan Times.

Pana Wave’s leader Yuko Chino makes increasingly strange pronouncements and proclamations.

In one statement the 69-year-old woman said, “approach of the Nibiru star will be delayed nearly a week from Monday, and those who do not listen to this message will face death.”

This may mean her previous prophecy that the world would end May 15th has been “delayed.”

Chino claims she is dying from cancer, which her followers attribute to a conspiracy by “extremists” and “radicals” bombarding her with “harmful electromagnetic transmissions.”

Pana Wave members wear white to protect themselves from these alleged death rays.

In one recent interview the cult’s leader said that a baby seal “would spare mankind from certain destruction,” reports Mainichi Daily News.

It must be understood that the Japanese have good reason to be disturbed by doomsday cults. After all, in 1995 the city of Tokyo endured a poison gas attack launched by the doomsday cult called Aum.

Aum’s leader Shoko Asahara, much like Yuko Chino, fed his followers with constant prophecies of coming catastrophe.

Eventually, this madman personally fulfilled his dark visions by creating a catastrophe himself that sent thousands of Japanese to hospitals and killed twelve.

Asahara’s long trial only recently ended and he is likely to be sentenced to death by hanging.

However, it is also possible that Chino and her cult following are simply publicity seekers. After all, most cult leaders are ego-driven and appear to need and feed upon attention.

Despite reports that the Pana Wave leader will die in days, it seems Ms. Chino is well enough to do demanding interviews and prepare public statements, reports BBC.

It may be that Pana Wave has more in common with a “cult” called the Raelians than it does with Aum.

The Raelians and their leader “Rael” (Claude Vorilhon) became known through a series of publicity stunts. The most recent was the claim that they had produced the “first human clone,” which now appears to have been a deliberate hoax.

Perhaps Chino like Rael craves the media spotlight. And the strange activities of Pana Wave are cynically calculated to garner as much attention for the cult and its leader as possible.

Let’s hope so.

After the horrors of Aum the Japanese could use a good laugh.

A strange cult called Pana Wave ceased blocking a road in Japan and moved on, but only after Japanese police searched the group’s vans and insisted they leave, reports the Herald Sun.

An apparently terminally ill woman named Yuko Chino 69 leads the group. The self-proclaimed “prophet” is reportedly dying from cancer.

Literature produced by the cult focuses on disturbing doomsday scenarios, with Chino as the exclusive savior of humanity, reports Associated Press.

Many Pana Wave members now live nomadically in tents and wander about Japan in a van caravan, most likely this has been directed by their “prophet” and motivated by her delusions.

One Japanese cult watcher said, “This is a cult in its terminal phase.”

Cults can be extremely volatile under such circumstances.

After the horrific attack of Tokyo’s subway system by another doomsday cult Aum in 1995, the Japanese are not taking any chances with another potentially dangerous group.

Authorities in Japan seem to be closely monitoring Pana Wave.

A bizarre cult has recently drawn heightened media attention in Japan through its strange behavior, reports BBC.

The group is called “Pana Wave,” led by 69-year old Hiroko Chino, a woman who began drawing a cult following during the 1970s.

Pana Wave overwhelmed and temporarily obstructed an isolated roadway near Giffo, Japan.

Their actions were prompted by a paranoid conspiracy theory, which claims there is an ongoing plot to kill their leader with a “weapon using electromagnetic waves.”

It appears Chino is dying from terminal cancer. And rather than accept that illness, she has spun a paranoid world of lurking enemies to maintain control and manipulate her followers further through fear.

Members of the group wore all white, including facemasks, to protect themselves from “harmful electromagnetic waves.” Even their vehicles were covered with white cloth.

Pana Wave members believe that white cloth blocks out the suspected destructive transmissions.

Chino has predicted the earth’s end is near. And Pana Wave reportedly has about 1,200 adherents.

One pamphlet states that if the leader dies cult members should “exterminate all humankind at once,” reports Reuters.

After the devastating gas attack of Tokyo’s subways in 1995 by another doomsday cult called Aum, the Japanese view such cult threats very seriously.

Police surrounded, questioned and eventually dispersed Chino’s followers. But the group remains under investigation.

Doomsday groups like Pana Wave are relatively common within the world of cults. And their leaders often manipulate members through fear of annihilation.

Marshall Applewhite, David Koresh and Jim Jones all used such dire predictions of coming catastrophe to draw their followers into compound life, within an insulated and isolated world of dread.

Rather than seeking to block out “electromagnetic waves,” Chino actually seems to be engaged in an ongoing process of blocking an outside frame of reference, which might provide her disciples with accurate feedback.

But historically as such a leader’s physical and/or mental well being unravels, a situation of high risk may develop.

Cult followers are often deeply dependent upon their leader to determine and/or define reality. They also typically allow that leader to do much of their thinking for them.

Given the history of destructive cults and Chino’s reported deteriorating health, the Japanese authorities have good reason to be concerned and monitor Pana Wave closely.

A Japanese reporter said Shoko Asahara’s conduct was impulsive and that the Aum cult leader seemed to disregard “the consequences of his actions,” reports The Japan Times.

But this should come as no great revelation.

Destructive cult leaders most often appear to fit the profile of a sociopath, devoid of conscience. And mental health experts have also frequently found such leaders are “psychopaths.”

The “brainwashing” of Aum members was also described.

This process included sleep deprivation and apparent trance induction through “acetic training.” At times hallucinogenic drugs were used.

According to the reporter, “If [Aum members] felt their actions were wrong, they would automatically shake off such misgivings, thinking: ‘This is training to rid me of doubt. The order cannot be wrong, because only Asahara sees the whole picture.’ ”

The net result was essentially total obedience achieved through an organized process of specific training to suppress critical thinking.

Moreover, after giving up their former lives and property, most Aum members had little to go back to if they seriously considered the possibility of leaving.

Many destructive cults around the world use virtually the same process of isolation, intensive training and indoctrination to make their members submissive and easy to manipulate.

Despite the fact that many Aum devotees were highly educated and from good families, they were still vulnerable to such techniques of coercive persuasion.

A destructive cult is most often defined by its dependence upon a living leader that controls and defines its purpose. His or her personality is the pivotal element and focus of the group.

Leading cult expert and author Margaret Singer said within her book Cults in Our Midst, “In most cases, there is one person, typically the founder at the top…decision making centers in him or her.”

However, the “one person” that defined Aum of Japan is now gone and isolated from his followers.

As a direct result Aum devotees appear to be “flailing” in a “vacuum,” reports The Japan Times.

Shoko Asahara, imprisoned pending final sentencing for his poison gas attack upon Tokyo’s subways, cannot direct his followers who are “starving for direct messages.” And “die-hard members are wondering whether there is any point in preserving the group.”

This current dilemma amongst Aum devotees reflects that rather than creating a “new religion,” Asahara actually brought forth a cult dependent and based upon his personality. And it is apparently not a viable religious belief system that can sustain itself independently without him.

Robert Jay Lifton, author of Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism wrote a paper titled Cult Formation. He noted that despite a destructive cult’s claims it is really “a charismatic leader” that defines such a group. That person “increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power.”

One Japanese devotee put it this way, “Everything tied to Aum, including its religious goals, doctrines, training programs and organizational structures, is based on Asahara’s presence as leader.”

An old analogy comes to mind.

A destructive cult without its leader can be seen much like “a chicken with its head cut off.”

“Flailing,” but ultimately collapsing in a heap without its head.

Asahara won’t be coming back. It appears almost certain that the cult leader will be sentenced to death and hang for his crimes–ending his life “flailing” himself.

Japanese cult leader Chizuo Matsumoto, known as Shoko Asahara, once led thousands who hung on his every word.

But now the leader previously known for rambling rants, sits silent in a Tokyo courtroom, as he faces murder charges for the 1995 poison gas attack on the city’s subways.

Why won’t Asahara speak?

The trial of the guru has gone on for seven years, is he bored? Some speculate this might be a legal strategy, reports Asahi.

More likely the former cult leader doesn’t enjoy being in a situation that he doesn’t control.

Matsumoto has already been indicted on 27 murder counts and the outcome of this long trial seems certain.

Asahara will likely hang in accordance with Japanese law and the wishes of families that he victimized.

In another related story an Aum devotee just released from prison flew to Moscow in an attempt to rally the faithful remnant there, reports News24.

That devotee Fumihiro Joyu claims he has “lost faith” in his jailed guru, because Asahara’s prophecies failed regarding the end of the world.

But that disappointment did not persuade Joyu to dissolve the group. After all, the cult business is often quite lucrative.

The Japanese government sitll considers Aum a threat, reports the BBC.

It wouldn’t be prophetic to predict the end for Asahara now. Despite his silence Chizuo Matsumoto will be executed and find his ultimate fulfillment at the end of a rope.

Japanese cult leader Shoko Asahara, once the head of Aum, the group responsible for the 1995 poison gas attack upon Tokyo’s subway system, is still on trial.

Asahara, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, has been sitting in court for almost seven years, reports Kyodo News Service.

Japanese justice grinds very slowly, but finely.

But now the man once revered as a virtual god and whose bath water was sold to followers refuses to speak.

Asahara who can barely see has chosen to also become mute, refusing to cooperate even with his attorneys. It seems the man who once spoke endlessly now thinks by not responding he is somehow in control.


Delusion dies hard. And Asahara’s variety of megalomania, relatively common amongst cult leaders, seems irrepressible.

However, whether Asahara deigns to speak or not the overwhelming evidence and testimony presented by prosecutors speaks for itself.

Asahara will be convicted and then probably sentenced to death.

A California university established by a controversial Japanese Buddhist organization, which has been called a “cult,” is having serious problems.

25% of the faculty at the newly established Soka Gakkai University in Aliso Veijo, California have been dismissed and/or walked out. And students are dropping out in protest, reports the Orange Country Register.

Japanese businessman Daisaku Ikeda is the founder and leader of the modern Soka Gakkai sect. His organization seems to be in the midst of a public relations meltdown regarding its newest school in the United States.

The controversial Buddhist sect spent nearly a half billion dollars to get the 103-acre campus up and running.

But despite the group’s wealth and expensive effort it seems that teachers and students alike don’t appreciate the way it runs the school.

Soka Gakkai previously promised the new university would not be focused on its beliefs, proselytizing and religious indoctrination, but instead would reflect “an open, nonsectarian environment.”

However, professors and students say, “most decisions are made by an administration composed entirely of Soka Gakkai Buddhists.”

One professor said the university is “secretive, hierarchical, coercive and deceitful.” Another who was fired has taken legal action, alleging “religious discrimination.” And the university’s Dean of Faculty is gone, seemingly as the result of a purge.

There is a sharp divergence of opinion between those faculty and students affiliated with Soka Gakkai and others outside the group. Those within the organization essentially deny the seriousness of allegations.

It seems Soka Gakkai is having considerable difficulty adapting to an academic setting based upon openness and dialog. The organization is instead historically known for its autocratic and authoritarian tendencies.

A lawyer for one former teacher said, “In a university environment, you’re supposed to be able to ask questions.” One teacher added, “This is the least powerful faculty I have ever seen in my life.”

But the sect and its political party known as Komeito in Japan has a deeply troubled history of aggressive proselytizing, allegations of abuse and purported blind reverence and obedience to its leader Ikeda.

Maybe these academics and students should have done their homework before going to Soka U?