Full Moon

John Gorenfeld (who else?) notes recent developments in South Korea, where followers of Rev Moon have expressed their displeasure with certain elements of the media. Gorenfeld cites two newspapers; firstly, the JoongAng Daily:

About 700 Unification Church members sat in at the Dong-A Ilbo building in central Seoul yesterday to complain about Shindonga magazine’s coverage of their religion. The Dong-A Ilbo’s monthly magazine featured the religion in its September issue in articles the church members said was malicious.

The Dong-A Ilbo adds:

The [Family Federation for World Peace and Unification] worshippers destroyed the computers and office fixtures of the Shindonga journalists and stole the coverage documents of journalist Cho Seong-sik, the one who wrote the report concerned. They threatened to “throw sand on the rotary press of Dong-A Ilbo” and even sent more than 200 text messages to Cho’s cell phone, saying, “We’ll kill you.” Also, a photojournalist of this newspaper company Gang Byeong-gi and a CBS reporter Kim Jae-pyeong were attacked with violence and threats by the worshippers.

This kind of strategy is not unique to the Unification Church – back in 1999 followers of the neo-Pentecostal faith healer Lee Jae-Rock tried to suppress a critical documentary by invading a TV studio.


Meanwhile, Kurt Easterwood blogs from across the water, where Moon has long-standing links with Japanese rightist politicians. These connections go back to the 1960s, when Moon ally Ryoichi Sasakawa was close to Japanese PM (and former war criminal) Nobusuke Kishi; now Kishi’s powerful grandson Shinzo Abe maintains the family tradition (links in original; alas, the video links are dead):

As reported on some blogs in June, this YouTube video shows two Unification Church wedding ceremony events in May to which Shinzo Abe apparently sent congratulatory telegrams…Not surprisingly, TBS was the only TV network I know of that ran a story about the Abe/Unification Church connection. I say not surprisingly because TBS has often been linked to Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist organization (cult?) that is rather powerful here in Japan, and therefore perhaps a media outfit with some sort of axe to grind against the Unification Church and Abe.

Abe – who provoked criticism in Korea back in April after visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine – is a strong contender to succeed Junichiro Koizumi as PM next month.

Easterwood also notes a second link:

In this YouTube video clip, you can see the same Katsumi Otsuka who was presiding over the wedding ceremonies in the other YouTube video here opening a meeting of the UPF (Universal Peace Federation) Rally for the Restoration of the Homeland held in Yokohama (this year?). What’s interesting about this clip is that one of the dignitaries introduced is one Tadashi Kobayashi, Chairman of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (Wikipedia link), a group that authored a controversial revisionist textbook on Japanese history that was published last year, and which predictably drew the ire of South Korea and China. The clip ends with some dignitaries, including the aforementioned Kobayashi, on stage being blessed rather strangely by two Koreans.

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