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Aum Shinrikyô is a millennial Japanese new religion that attained notoriety through its March 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway. It is significant because it manufactured and used chemical and biological weapons against civilian populations and because its violence was redolent with religious meanings and underpinned by doctrines and apocalyptic visions that made it view violence and killing as legitimate. Thus, it is a striking example of apocalyptic millennialism and a prominent case study in the examination of the relationship between religion and violence.

Aum, Millennialism, and Mission

Founded in the 1980s by Asahara Shôkô (b. 1955), a blind prophet and guru (as his disciples called him), Aum Shinrikyô (“Aum Supreme Truth”) was legally registered as a religious organization in 1989, and it grew ...

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