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Political and Social Activism behind Oppression

Political and social activism

Japanese author exposes how political and social activism aided by media are at the root of current wave of persecution against religious minority

What was the reporting intended to convey? Report with data on the hounding of the Unification Church

Part 5 of a presentation by Fumihiro Kato (加藤文宏), writer, author and  and photographer, at a symposium on the theme “Why Did Reporting Go Astray? Thorough Examination by Journalists on Reporting on the Former Unification Church”, (organized by UPF-Japan) held 20th January 2024 in Tokyo to investigate the media’s continued coverage persecuting the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (formerly known as the Unification Church).

See part 1Author: Japan’s ‘Apartheid-Style Social Exclusion’”, see part 2, part 3, part 4.

Intention of media and what was conveyed
English reconstruction of one of the slides Fumihiro Kato used 20th Jan. 2024. Illustration: FFWPU

Let’s summarize what the media intended and conveyed.

The reporting on the Unification Church was a phenomenon where opinion leaders and mass media influenced the commotion by asserting, with little evidence, that “the church is controlling Japanese politics.” Although the relationship between the Unification Church and politics was constantly brought up, the frenzy was limited to a very small segment of society.

Not only did it have strong political undertones, but it also assumed that it was natural to isolate believers from society and deprive them of their human rights. So, wasn’t this social ativism, an activism that works on society? In fact, the relationship between opinion leaders, the media, and a very small number of zealous people is exactly the same as the scenario where reputational damage caused by the nuclear plant accident occurred.

As you can see, before July 2022 the activities and claims of opinion leaders such as Eito Suzuki, Masaki Kito, and Yoshifu Arita [all of them leftwing activists vehemently opposed to the Unification Church] had only limited influence. Today at the symposium, we explained, based on data, how the media transformed their activities and assertions into a huge illusion.

Media frenzy and wild rumours
English reconstruction of one of the slides Fumihiro Kato used 20th Jan. 2024. Illustration: FFWPU

The image of the Unification Church that was depicted as an illusion (false image), stimulated the easily agitated segment of society, who repeatedly called out the words “tsubo” (壺(ツボ)– pot, word used to mock followers) and “zubuzubu” (‘corrupt relationships not easy to cut’ or ‘deeply involved’). Those easily agitated people came to eagerly support the opinion leaders. This triangular feedback loop between the illusion, the easily agitated segment, and the opinion leaders creates a circuit that fuels frenzy and wild rumours. Furthermore, within that relationship of the three parties involved, there is a structure in which opinion leaders indicate the targets for the anger of the agitated group.

The targets of their anger were the Unification Church and the Liberal Democratic Party. It seems that the intentions of the so-called “cult experts” and politicians who participated in the commotion were intertwined here. This dual-loop structure not only affected the Unification Church and its believers, but also harmed religious freedom and led to social divisions. In other words, it was a circuit that caused an information disaster.

Information disaster
English reconstruction of one of the slides Fumihiro Kato used 20th Jan. 2024. Illustration: FFWPU

The hounding of the Unification Church is not just a problem for the religious organization, but has also caused problems for society as a whole. In other words, just like in the case of the nuclear power plant accident, from this same dual-loop structure, demagogy about nosebleeds and deformities and incitement of anger towards TEPCO [Tokyo Electric Power Company] and the government were created, thus creating a false narrative and having a negative impact on society.

The hounding of the Unification Church was both political and social activism. It is undeniable that the media also participated in this activism. The evidence for hounding the Unification Church was weak. Testimonies were accepted only from those involved who could support the case for the hounding, and not from other believers. Data like the ones I have presented were also not addressed.

Trends overseas and reports from the U.S. State Department are completely ignored. As a Buddhist, I was curious about how religions other than the Unification Church view the request for dissolution. Therefore, I spoke to clergy from traditional and new religions. They expressed concerns such as,

  • “We cannot openly talk about the Unification Church.”
  • “If we say something, we are labeled as cult-like clergy who support the church, or a cult-like religion, and are attacked.”
  • “People who are incited do not understand reason.”
  • “Some believers may say, ‘I regret believing in this.’ What then if one-sided claims like refunding donations are unilaterally accepted?”
  • “Every religion has extreme believers, and there are donation problems and family problems, so if we are targeted, we will be cornered in the same way as the church (Unification Church). We have realized it now.”

They are in a state where they cannot speak freely.

Political and social activism
English reconstruction of one of the slides Fumihiro Kato used 20th Jan. 2024. Illustration: FFWPU

Human rights are at stake. This situation is reminiscent of the circumstances during the nuclear power plant accident. I would like to reiterate one last time that the hounding of the Unification Church has had a detrimental effect on Japanese society, causing both discrimination- and non-discrimination-based divisions. The damage was inflicted not only on the believers of the religious organization, but also on Japanese society as a whole.

I would like to conclude my presentation by discussing what constitutes both political and social activism, and what structures generate divisions. The hounding of the Unification Church was both political and social activism. I would be happy to provide further details about it if given the opportunity.

See part 1Author: Japan’s ‘Apartheid-Style Social Exclusion’”, see part 2, part 3, part 4.

Fumihiro Kato (加藤文宏) has contributed to various media outlets, including opinion magazines. Under the pen name Fumi Kato (かとう ふみ), he has published works such as “Chushi Ruro” (厨師流浪 – Wandering Chef), “Kakai Fuki” (花開富貴 – Blossoming, Prosperous and Noble), and “Denko no Otoko” (電光の男 – Lightning Man). Last year, he contributed with an article titled “Can News and Talk Shows Determine Good and Evil?” in the February issue of Monthly Seiron (月刊正論), challenging the approach to reporting on the Unification Church.

Featured image above: English reconstruction of one of the slides Fumihiro Kato used 20th Jan. 2024. Illustration: FFWPU

“Political and Social Activism behind Oppression”  – text: Fumihiro Kato

More about political and social activism: Media and Activists Creating False Narrative

Yet more about political and social activism: Maverick Minister Lets “3 Foxes in the Henhouse”

Still more about political and social activism: Opposition Inciting Regime to Excessive Steps

Even more about political and social activism: Journalist Reveals Ugly Leftwing Conspiracy

And yet more about political and social activism: Media/Legal Expert: Communism Behind Persecution

And still more about political and social activism: Gingrich: Kishida Joining Communist Campaign

And even more about political and social activism: Lawyer Exposes Dirty Leftwing Plot

More about political and social activism: Inhuman Government-Supported Mass Deprogramming

More about political and social activism: Collusion to Rob Minority of Its Rights

More about political and social activism: State and Media Creating “Today’s Non-Citizens”

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