Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements
H. O. (name withheld by request)
Confined: April-June 1998
Faith-breakers: Husband and family, minister from the Hiroshima YMCA
[no date given]
I was born on March 25, 1960. My father is Tagaji and my mother is Sumako. My siblings are my brother Toshihide, who is two years older than me, and sisters Mitsue and Takako, two years and five years younger, respectively. I joined the Unification Church in March 1992.
I became a victim of kidnapping and confinement for two and half months from April to mid June of 1998. I was confined in Futaba Hospital, a psychiatric hospital of the medical corporation Wakokai located in Hiromachi, Kure.
In April 1998, when I tried to go to church, my husband prevented me from leaving. So, I tried to ride a bicycle to the church. About 100 meters from home, my sister-in-law blocked the way with her car and I was stopped. My husband came after me and I was held by them from both sides and dragged into the house.
Immediately after that, four or five men and women in white clothes came into the house, and I was overpowered by them. I was given an injection and lost consciousness. Unconscious, I was taken to a psychiatric hospital in Hiromachi, Kure. Around the time I arrived, I regained consciousness but lost it again because I was given another injection. It was evening when I regained consciousness, and none of my family members was around.
I was later told that I was initially placed in a large room shared by other people, but my husband, who had accompanied me, might have felt sorry for me and requested a private room. A small amount of money to make telephone calls was left for me at the nurses’ station. I called my home and was told to “stay there for the time being.” Then I called the church, but that was discovered by a nurse, who chastised me. It was decided that someone should always accompany me when I made a telephone call, and I was prevented from calling anyplace other than my home. I was also prevented from borrowing a telephone card.
Iron bars had been installed in the windows, and it was not possible to go outside from that floor. I was placed on the fifth or sixth floor of the building. It was necessary to use an elevator to go to a different floor, and I was not allowed to ride an elevator without hospital staff accompanying me. I stayed in the room all the time. A man came in the room and said something strange at night, so I raised my voice and shouted. A nurse came and the man was calmed down and taken away.
The room was not equipped with a door lock inside or outside. Anyone could come into the room anytime, and I felt very uneasy. After every meal medicine was always delivered to me, and I was forced to take it in the presence of other people. Initially, I was spitting it out secretly, but they started checking inside my mouth and I had no choice but to take the medicine. I was also given injections, and I started losing full control over my body and losing mental energy. When my husband came to see me alone, I appealed to him saying, “I want to go home.” But he did nothing and left quickly.
I told the doctor, Hiroshi Hayakawa, “There is nothing wrong with me. I was hospitalized only because I believe in religion.” But the doctor said, “You are too excited,” gave me an injection and ignored what I was saying. The permission for my hospitalization was apparently given on the basis of the fact that I talk about the spirit world or some such unfounded reason. It appeared that I would not be allowed to get out soon. Nevertheless, I was diagnosed to have no particular ailment and discharged after two and a half months with a lot of medicine. I did not take the prescribed medicine, but I was like a sleepwalker due to the medicine given during the hospitalization. So I remained idle at home.
A few days later, a Christian minister from Hiroshima YMCA visited me to persuade me to leave the church. He made various accusations against Rev. Sun Myung Moon and criticized the Unification Church.
While the minister was present I remained silent and did not react negatively. My faith was not superficial, so I told my husband later, “If I am not willing, a court case is not possible and you cannot make me leave the church. I do not have such an intention!”
My sister-in-law and others came and criticized my faith harshly, but I could not move my body and silently listened to them without saying anything.
The process that had led to visits by the minister was as follows. My husband called the consulting center. He was treated as a Unification Church victim and introduced to the minister. My husband first visited Hiroshima alone, and then my father accompanied him to meet the minister. They were told that it was possible to make me leave the church and get a refund from the Unification Church. My husband believed the words of the minister. My husband paid remuneration and was told, “Please bring her to an isolated place where she cannot communicate with anyone.” My father and husband apparently came up with their plan based on these instructions.
Of course, my mother knew about the plan too. My mother told me, “Since you were causing trouble to everyone, we had no choice but to do this.”
As my physical condition gradually recovered, I regained my health, started working and spent quiet time without going to the church. It was discovered that my husband was terminally ill with lung cancer in 2001, and he passed away in March 2003.
My sister-in-law and others were researching the contents of church-related court cases in Japan and books written by former church members through a lawyer friend. My elder brother-in-law was a reporter for the Mainichi newspaper and trying to initiate a procedure to get a refund from the church. But I kept declining their suggestions.
During the first anniversary ceremony of my husband’s death, suggestions for the refunding of donations to the church were directed toward my parents and siblings and their spouses. Because of this, my parents were hurt emotionally and were cornered to the extent that they did not want to relate to me any more.
I told them, “I am not going to the church any more,” and “I will quit the church,” but they insisted that they could not simply believe my words. They kept insisting, “Let’s initiate a court case! We can absolutely win! We can get a refund.”
I then responded, “Because I believe in Rev. Moon, it is meaningless for me to live if I cannot continue my faith.” They told me, “If you continue your faith, we will have you divorced.” I told them, “I want to remain committed to my deceased husband to the end,” and I begged them, “I don’t want to get a divorce! Please allow me to keep this house!”
My eldest aunt who was there told me, “I don’t want you to do Unification Church activities using the name of O. If you insist on doing that, get out immediately!” and pushed me to get a divorce. Under such pressure, my parents, younger sister and her husband returned home late one night, saying they had some errands to do.
That night, I was alone with my daughter, and she said to me, “Mother, the two of us can leave this house. Let’s get out.” It was a really difficult thing for me to do, but I decided to leave the house in which I had lived for 21 years.
I was active as an officer of a women’s association and PTA and did my best in my home area. But I had no choice but to abandon a small agricultural field, tombs, Buddhist altar and everything else. I really hate irresponsible acts, but I gave up everything. I prayed to God and my ancestors that I would be able to come back to this house where I had lived with all my family members someday, and I left the house.
Even now I hear that my deceased husband’s elder sister has been visiting my mother and younger sister’s homes and telling them not to relate with me. There was an occasion when I had a bone fracture and was hospitalized. At that time, my mother felt pity for me and visited me with my father to help me with some money. She told me, “You can come and visit our house,” and I visited my mother to help her work every Sunday for a while.
However, when I visited my parents on New Year’s Day, my younger sister’s husband stopped coming there. My elder sister-in-law ended up controlling my deceased husband’s bank account, and my son and daughter stopped relating with me based on instructions from her.
My mother told me, “You don’t know what [your husband’s] elder sister and others are telling us, do you? If you quit your religion, we can together see the grandchildren and go out for shopping and dinner together.”
I feel that all of these actions are caused not by my elder sister-in-law and others, but by a big anti-Unification Church force behind them. I believe that both my husband and father were persuaded by anti-Unification Church people to believe that forced conversions and refunds are easy and thus carried out actions to confine me in the psychiatric hospital.
It is not easy to change one’s religious faith. The same thing can be said about religious donations. Those donations were made voluntarily, but my husband and my father were persuaded to believe that the Unification Church was making people donate by coercion.
My son got married and left my house, but he does not even let me know his current address. He does not call or e-mail me. It is really a sad situation. It is my sincere desire from the bottom of my heart that the day will come when I can live with my family members in a good friendly atmosphere while I am alive.
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