The “origin” of political connections
Behind the Unification Church’s expansion of power in Japan during the Showa period was the patronage of influential people. These were Nobusuke Kishi, a right-wing politician of the Liberal Democratic Party, and Ryoichi Sasakawa, a major right-winger. The political connections that connect them to some of the current LDP members and other figures in the political world originate from the deep relationships that existed during this period.
The Unification Church was founded in South Korea in 1954 by Moon Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church. In 1961, the church joined forces with the Park Chung Hee administration, which seized full power in South Korea in a coup d’etat, and in particular with the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), the secret police led by Kim Jong Suk, the first director of the KCIA, to push anti-communism to the forefront. The power relations at the time suggest that the KCIA used the Unification Church as a p awn to strengthen the anti-communist movement.
At the time, the Cold War was intensifying. Anti-communist camps in the East Asian region naturally collaborated with each other. The Unification Church first entered Japan in 1958, but as mentioned above, when Park Chung Hee came to power in South Korea in 1961, it shifted to political campaigning as an anti-communist front organization and accordingly became closer to the right wing camp in Japan. It was not until 1964 that the Unification Church was recognized as a religious corporation in Japan, and in 1968 that the International Union for Victory was established as a right-wing organization in Japan and Korea.
At this time, the Unification Church in Japan was backed by Nobusuke Kishi and Ryoichi Sasakawa, who established connections with right-wing politicians in the Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Socialist Party (at that time). The fact that the powerful Kishi and Sasakawa were, in the terminology of the chivalrous world, “ass-holders” was the most powerful in Showa-era Japan. Kishi, a former prime minister, was of course a powerful member of the Liberal Democratic Party and had a large voice in the government, but Sasakawa’s influence was even greater.
Ryoichi Sasakawa had huge temple money interests in public gambling “boat races,” and as a very powerful right-winger, he had influence in right-wing circles as well as in underground circles. Sasakawa and Bunshin, together with a deputy of another major right-winger, Kodama Eishio, met at Motosu Lake in Yamanashi Prefecture in 1967, and when the International Union for Victory was founded the following year, Sasakawa became the organization’s honorary president.
The presence of these ass-kickers helped the Unification Church to advance its activities in Japan.
Its power spread throughout the world.
Thus, the Unification Church expanded its power by joining forces with the KCIA in Korea and the Liberal Democratic Party and right-wing camps in Japan, but its sphere of activity was not limited to East Asia. They also expanded their reach around the world, especially in the United States.
However, the connections were not without foundation. In 1954, at the beginning of the Cold War, the Asian People’sAnti-CominternLeague (APACLE), an anti-communist organization formed by the CIA in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, was established. The WACL was joined by anti-communist organizations from all over the world, but all of them were anti-communist connections centered on the CIA and the right-wing of the U.S. Republican Party. The de facto sponsor in Japan was Ryoichi Sasakawa, in Taiwan it was the Chiang Kai-shek administration, and in Korea it was the KCIA and the Unification Church.
The Unification Church used these connections to link up with anti-communist contacts around the world. In particular, it developed a deep relationship with the U.S. Republican right in Washington and the U.S. branch of the WACL, which is connected to the right. This network, in cooperation with the CIA, was active in supporting anti-communist guerrillas in Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere.
Japanese in Nicaraguan “armed guerrilla” organizations.
The Unification Church and the International Union for Victory in Japan were also in such a network in terms of human networks, and the author speculates that one of these groups may have actually participated in the anti-communist guerrilla struggle in Central America in the 1980s. At the time, the group was a part of KISAN ( Nicaraguan Coastal Indigenous Peoples Alliance), a local Indio-based armed guerrilla group that was fighting against the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, Central America, with the support of the CIA.
In fact, the author had conducted long-term military coverage of an anti-communist guerrilla group called “YATAMA,” the successor organization to KISAN, in the late 1980s, and obtained solid information that a group of Japanese had come to Nicaragua in the mid-1980s.
This group consisted of about a dozen people in all. Basically, they came as instructors to teach karate to the guerrillas, but some of them served with the guerrillas in the area and participated in actual battles. In particular, the commander, “Captain Murata,” in addition to being proficient in the handling of small arms, had extensive knowledge of platoon-sized tactics, and was believed by local guerrilla leaders to have been a former Japanese Self Defense Force officer.
Most of the members of the unit returned home after a short stay, but only one person, who called himself “Captain Takeda,” stayed in the area for more than half a year and interacted deeply not only with the guerrilla soldiers but also with the general population. He seemed to be quite a friendly person, and many soldiers and residents adored Captain Takeda.
Other than that, he did not leave a strong impression because of his short stay, but there was also one woman. Her name was probably “Katou. There was also a testimony that a younger person whose name seemed to be “Muto” said that he had fought in Angola before.
A completely secretive presence, though.
This Japanese group was invited by then-Commander Stedman Fagot KISAN, who had close ties with the CIA and the WACL, through his connections in Washington. Since it supports anti-communist guerrillas, there is no doubt that it is a right-wing group, but in fact, this group has never revealed any information about itself to the outside world. To this day, it maintains complete secrecy, and the author is the only person who has confirmed its existence.
I am aware of a network of Japanese volunteer soldiers who supported anti-communist guerrillas in Afghanistan and Burma (now Myanmar), but the mainstream of these volunteers is the network of people around the nationalist right wing, and they do not conceal the anti-communist guerrilla support activities that they carried out as their own belief. In this respect, this Nicaraguan group, which has maintained complete secrecy, is quite different.
According to the then YATAMA commander, this Japanese group brought several million Japanese yen worth of aid money with them when they entered the region. Unlike the participation of volunteer soldiers in Afghanistan and Myanmar on an individual basis, this too suggests a well-financed organizational background.
Speaking of right-wing connections among Japanese who had strong connections with the right-wing camps in Washington politics at the time, the Unification Church was at the top of the list. If the Unification Church were a religious group calling itself Christian, it would fit the regional selection of Central America, where Christianity is the mainstream, rather than Afghanistan, which is an Islamic society.
Although not directly related to this group, the existence of a group of former Self-Defense Force officers who were former members of the Unification Church surfaced at the time of the Red Bulletin incident, and there is a strong possibility that one of them, named “Itou,” had experience as a volunteer soldier in Africa, although this information has not been confirmed by
Such personal connections suggest the presence of anti-communist connections centering on the right wing in Washington. Based on these facts, the author strongly suspects that this Japanese group of Central American guerrilla participants may have been related to the Unification Church and the International Union for Victory and Co-operation.
Later, in the early 1990s, the Cold War structure collapsed. The Unification Church also became closer to North Korea and is no longer a key player in the international anti-communist network. In Japan, Ryoichi Sasakawa, who had backed the Unification Church, died in 1995.
However, this “cult” was involved in such a tremendous international conspiracy during the Cold War period of the Showa era. And this also tells us something about the peculiarity of this cult.
Buntaro Kuroi: Born in 1963. Military journalist. Based in Moscow, New York, and Cairo, he has covered many conflict zones. Also researches the history of special operations and intelligence. His research also covers special operations and intelligence history, and he has written extensively on Showa history. A new edition of “Conspiracy on the Backside of the Showa Era” (Takarajimasya Shinsho ), which includes “Ryoichi Sasakawa and the Taboo of the Unification Church,” was released on September 9, 2011.
Interview, text, and photography by： Buntaro Kuroi