SHOKO ASAHARA Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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Name: Shoko Asahara                                                                 
Born: 2 March 1955 Yatsushiro, Kumamoto, Japan                                     
Shoko Asahara (born on March 2, 1955) is a founder of Japan's controversial Buddhist
religious group Aum Shinrikyo (now known as Aleph) and identified him as "Sacred   
Emperor of Japan" and his children as "princes" in                                 
his revolution plan which was named "Japan Åšambhalization Plan"                   
( Nihon Shambara-ka Keikaku?). Asahara has been convicted of masterminding the     
1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway and several other crimes, and has been   
sentenced to death. His legal team appealed the sentence, but the appeal has       
been declined, and he is currently awaiting execution.                             
Asahara was born into a large, poor family of tatami mat makers in Japan's         
remote Kumamoto Prefecture. Afflicted at birth with infantile glaucoma, he went     
blind at a young age in his left eye and is only partially sighted in his right.   
As a child, Asahara was enrolled in a school for the blind.                         
Asahara graduated in 1977 and turned to the study of acupuncture and traditional   
Chinese medicine, which are traditional careers for the blind in Japan.             
He married in 1978.                                                                 
In 1981, Asahara was convicted of practising pharmacy without a license and         
fined 200,000 yen.                                                                 
Asahara's religious quest reportedly started at this time, while he was             
intensely working to support his family. He dedicated his free time to the study   
of various religious concepts, starting with Chinese astrology and Taoism. Later,   
Asahara practised Indian esoteric yoga and Buddhism.                               
Relatively little is known about this period of Asahara's life.