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Title Victimhood in the aftermath of Aum Japan: a social group creation through NPO's activities
Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree Level masters
University/Publisher Leiden University
Abstract This thesis will examine the ways in which the concept of victimhood is produced by victims’ groups connected with the Aum affair and how it was received by Japanese media in terms of a renovated mutual understanding between victims and journalists, which resulted in an improvement of the victims’ treatment on information channels. The research takes into consideration the experience of three support groups (Chikatetsu Sarin Jiken Higaisha no Kai, Kanariya no Kai and RSC) that will be used as case studies to analyze the evolution and the impact they had both on victims’ lives and information media. It aims to investigate the role of NPOs and victims’ group activities in influencing public opinion regarding victims’ redressing issues. Furthermore, it intends to explore victims’ struggle against the proliferation of New Religious Movements derived from the disbanding of Aum Shinrikyō and constituted mainly by its former members, such as Hikari no Wa 光の環 and Aleph アレフ, which are suspected of harboring the same doctrines that led Aum to be a danger for Japanese society. In doing so, victims used memory, both individual and collective, as a tool to make their case and highlight their instances even when the attention towards the Aum affair declined in Japanese media. Memorial constructions regarding the incidents, commemorative events, documentaries and victims’ groups’ activities accounts established a legacy that goes beyond the individual experience as a victim or a perpetrator, rather producing a collective instance of victimhood.
Subjects/Keywords Japan Society; Victimhood; New Religious Movement; Aum Shinrikyo; NPO; victim
Contributors Van der Veere, H (advisor)
Language en
Country of Publication nl
Record ID handle:1887/63688
Repository leiden
Date Indexed 2020-08-08
Issued Date 2018-08-31 00:00:00

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…issue reached its peak after Hirohito’s death in 1989, as the event shifted the focus on issues that had never been completely overcome in Japanese society. Coincidentally with the series of violent attacks perpetrated by Aum Shinrikyō, 1990s became a…

…third parties’ perceptions, as a means of contextualizing and directing salience towards victims’ groups, in order for them to reach target audiences and gain leverage with the State institutions.26 In the case of the Aum affair, precisely because…

…of the terrorist attack. Credibility is linked to both the “empirical verifiability of victims’ claims and the perceived organizational legitimacy of the victim group”.27 As for the Aum case, both the two factors were given as a matter of fact…

…Tokyo subway sarin incident resulted in an attack towards the whole national corpus and its security, rather than the sole victims of the terrorist act, reverses the relationship between credibility, salience and the purposes of Aum Shinrikyō victims…

…urging issues concerning victims.31 As for the victims’ groups related to the Aum affair, although their claims were mostly directed to the Aum Shinrikyō members considered responsible for the terrorist attack, they indirectly points out their…

…dissatisfaction regarding how the State dealt with public security and the subsequent management of the legal procedures in the Aum trials. Thus, the activity of Aum victims’ groups and support groups reflects the characteristics described by Arrington, which are…

…victims’ case. Thus, narratives of victimhood are impermanent and contested.33 Again, media portrayal of Aum victims had a 29 Arrington 2016, p. 61. Ibid., p. 52. 31 Ibidem. 32 Arrington 2016, p. 65. 33 Ibidem. 30 15 strong impact on their perception…

…within society. However, the role played by media in the Aum case stepped outside the boundaries set by Arrington, as we will see in more details in the next chapters. In this sense, although Aum Shinrikyō victims’ groups correspond to the characteristics…