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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3G44HZ96

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From Karuto or “Cult” to the Mainstream: The Reconstruction of Public Images by a Japanese Religious Group Open Access

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Other title
Subject/Keyword
cults
Japanese religion
Japanese culture
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Miyamoto, Tomoka
Supervisor and department
Ono, Tsuyoshi (East Asian Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Nedashkivska, Alla (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Dunch, Ryan (East Asian Studies)
Department
Department of East Asian Studies
Specialization
Japanese Language and Linguistics
Date accepted
2014-01-31T09:39:31Z
Graduation date
2014-06
Degree
Master of Arts
Degree level
Master's
Abstract
Aum Shinrikyo, a religious sect generally seen as a karuto or “cult” in Japanese society, carried out sarin gas attacks in 1995. Today, a successor group called Aleph has successfully recruited numerous converts, despite the negative profile of Aum in the Japanese media. This study seeks to understand this phenomenon. It first investigates Japanese public representations of new religious movements. Then, it examines discourses presented by Aleph on its official website and studies its recruitment strategies, paying attention to its use of symbols and images. It finds that Aleph highlights certain cultural themes that have meaning and value to many Japanese people, which contrasts with the hostile public depictions of Aum and other such groups. In particular, I argue that Aleph’s use of symbols and images plays a significant role in the recent, rapid increase of new converts because the symbols and images rehabilitate its reputation in the Japanese public.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3G44HZ96
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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