5.Police tolerated confinement, twice
Written by: Michiyo Miyakoshi
Parents' opposition agitated by media biase
It was June 1987. My mother was reading a newspaper article critical of the Unification Church. Then she asked me: "These days you come home late. Aren't you involved in this?" I momentarily paused because I had applied for a membership to the very church a month before.
"I won't be angry. Please tell me honestly", said mother. "Yes, I am attending the church", I replied, counting on her words. But she got upset and warned: "You know how your father would react! ". My parents were not religious. They would say, "Religions are for the weak and faint-hearted. There is no god." So, they did not like my involvement. Nonetheless, for one and a half year, they remained rather quiet.
In early November 1988, having consulted with my teacher, I made up my mind to decline a job offer which he had arranged for me. On January 1st next year, I conveyed to parents my decision to devote myself to the church. For the successive two months, I faced severe oppositions from them. In early March, they heard a brief explanation at the Toyonaka Church, Osaka.
On April 1st 1989, they allowed my dedication to the church. Father said to church leaders, "We count on you to take care of our daughter." Subsequently, the church fellows paid several visits to my parents, only to find their heightened frustration and little understanding on the faith.
Later, I was assigned to a mission in Tokyo around January 1991. My parents called me once a month. At one time, they requested for my financial help for their difficult business. I sent a remittance of 30,000 yen. As it turned out, it was a mere pretext to solicit my home coming, as the money was found in a desk's drawer.
In January 1992, I went home for about one month to take care of my grandmother who was hospitalized. In June the same year, I went home to report about my participation in the 30,000 Couples Blessing. It was the time when Japanese media flooded reports about the church and the international marriage blessings, especially after a well-known female Olympic gymnast Hiroko Yamazaki joined the church. My parents became so agitated by bigotry-prone reports supplied by anti-UC individuals including Christian priests, former church members and left-leaning journalists. They got much more hostile to the church.
At the dawn of August 13th, I had a dream in which True Father was sitting at a long desk. As I sat down facing him, Father questioned, "How much do you know the ocean occupies the earth?" I answered, "It is about 70 percents of the earth's surface." Then, he said something to someone standing nearby. On that day, I was notified by a church leader that I was matched to a Korean brother. The information must be received with wholehearted joy. Imagining my parents' countenances, however, I was scared by a possible consequence, for there had occurred many cases involving abduction and detention of church members.
My spiritual parent was also missing under these circumstances (later he showed up all right, though.) I thought it prudent to make a phone call only to my parents before taking part in the Blessing on August 25th in Korea. Upon returning from the Korea trip, I wrote to the parents explaining about the Blessing. But they were so influenced by massive negative information that they were convinced that the Blessing Ceremony was another ploy to make profits. It turned out extremely hard to persuade them with the Blessing's merits.
Their mental state was increasingly aggravated to the extent that my father lied to me about my mother's suicide in one of his frequent phone calls. After consulting with my church leader, I went home on September 10th. Contrary to my desire of witnessing the parents, father was drunk and shouting, never to listen to me. Even worse, he called my church and requested for termination of my membership. Accordingly, I turned my hope to mother. I introduced True Mother's publications. I invited my mother to one of True Mother's Japan speech rallies, only to be ignored, though.
Honestly speaking, I could not respect my parents so much until I encountered the Divine Principle. I used to think either of leaving home or committing suicide. The church's teachings changed my perception about parents, whom I could appreciate. But my desire of witnessing and guiding them to the Blessing seemed to be going nowhere. Heavily dejected, I planned to consult with my husband. So, I arranged a flight reservation for another Korea trip between 3rd and 5th of March 1993.
Around the beginning of February that year, my mother went to a civic counselors' office of Takatsuki City, Osaka. There, a lawyer advised her to meet one of the anti-UC priests, Pastor Rikio Matsuzawa of the Osaka Eiko Church, Japan Holiness Church. My mother revealed this fact later during my detention. My father agreed to hear about the Blessing on February 27th at the Toyonaka Church. That was nothing but a trap to loosen my alertness.
Led to detention site by brother's 'traffic accident'
On February 24th, I came home from shopping at 8 o'clock in the evening. As soon as I joined them for dinner, a telephone was ringing. Upon receiving the phone, mother said that the younger son "apparently had a traffic accident near the Joto Police Station and was taken to a nearby hospital!" The brother had said to me earlier that he was to take care of some college business today. Perhaps he had an accident around the college.
I urged the motionless father to stop eating and promptly dash to the hospital. He told us to go fast by car, asking mother to bring a map. He ordered me to check the map. I found the Higashi Osaka Hospital across the Joto Police Station. Maybe he was hospitalized there.
Father drove the car with mother at his side, while their elder son and myself at the back seats. The route to the hospital was complicated but, to my amazement, mother was directing father to negotiate the path. When mother looked down trying to contain her emotion, father comforted her not to worry with his eyes fixed at road posters. With hindsight, she was anxious whether their detention scheme would take its course.
At the signboard of the hospital, father took a left turn as if looking for a parking space, then stopped the car in front of an apartment. I got off the car and about to dash to the hospital. But my father stood in front of me and pushed me towards the apartment. The stout elder son grabbed my hand and pushed my back, while mother was behind him.
"This is not the hospital, is it?", I said. "Yes, this is it!", replied father vehemently. Probably this is a backdoor entrance to the hospital, I thought. But as I was forced up to the second floor, I belatedly realized this is my turn of destiny. I grabbed the stairs' sidebars leading to the third floor with all my strength. My hands were momentarily loosened. So, I desperately knocked doors or rang their bells for help. But they gagged my mouth and forced me into a room on the fourth floor with my shoes on. My own family did this to me! My shock was escalated when I found in the room the younger brother who was supposed to be hospitalized after the traffic accident! I was betrayed by everyone at home.
Confinement site arranged under pastor's direction
I was detained for the period of 103 days between February 24th to June 6th in 1993 on the fourth floor of the apartment in Joto-ku, Osaka City. It was a 4.5-tatami-wide, one-room apartment with a kitchen and bus / toilet separated by a partition.
Its entrance door was secured with an ordinary inner lock, whose chain was cut short and attached with a padlock so that the door could not be opened easily. Additionally, a numerical lock was attached. (This was later removed as my mother had difficulty in unlocking it owing to her old sight.) The glass door at the porch was locked at the lower metal frame. The toilet did not have a lock, lest I could lock myself inside, according to father's explanation.
Blade items including a kitchen knife were strictly kept away from me. My request for a razor blade was flatly turned down. According to mother, my pillow was rented from the Osaka Eiko Church. No telephone nor TV set were installed in the room. Though father once asked about a TV set, Pastor Matsuzawa categorically rejected the suggestion.
Now I am in detention. What about my job? Absence without notice is against social norms! Somebody had to replace my position. "What happens to my work tomorrow?", I asked father. He said, "I have already called your company and informed a prolonged sick leave." What a unilateral behavior he did. I felt really angry. Anyhow, as I heard from detained victims, I had to make myself ready for a prolonged detention.
Pastor recruiting new followers through deprogramming
My mother never showed interest in any of the UC-related books for six years since I joined the church. But now she persisted otherwise, saying, "Why don't you tell me what you have learned during the six years in the church?" She must be dictated by the priests, so I suspected and never responded to such an agitation. With hindsight, if I opened my mind, assuming it was a great opportunity to witness to the parents, it would have cornered me into further difficulty.
After dusk that night, I went to see the entrance, where its door chain and door were locked firmly. Tension-high mother woke up immediately, while father and brother gradually followed her. Confined in such a small room under their watchful eyes, I could hardly find a moment of liberty at all. Nor any certain future! I became indulged in scheming a deceptive attempt to quit the church.
My spiritual parent was also detained prior to the 30,000 Couples Blessing but escaped safely from Pastor Funada in Kyoto. But I was obsessed by an ominous prospect of the deception discovered. In the end, there would be one of the two options; my escape or parents' giving up of the deprogramming. In either case, my detention may be long. Can I spiritually sustain the lengthy ordeal? Will my husband wait until I escape? Many thoughts plagued my mind.
Several days after I was detained, Pastor Matsuzawa, together with several former UC members, showed up to the apartment. Since then, the encounter took place, often times with the asymmetry of 7 vs 1 (=myself). I protested, "If you want fair debates, I am ready. But my church people never forced me to learn the DP in such an unfair manner. I studied willingly. If you are sincere to listen to the DP, you should invite the equal number of UC people here."
As an only element of hope under the detention, Pastor Matsuzawa said: "Let her read any publications she wants so that she will realize the UC's errors herself." As he put it, he was working on making ten former UC members to join his church. He reportedly deprogrammed them one after another, as he boasted about his methods, to my strong disappointment and indignation.
I asked my brother to bring UC-related books including "The Will and the World", "The Path of God's Will" and some books dealing with the anti-UC priests. In order to respond to their criticism, I had to examine the materials and wrote down relevant points on paper under the futon cover, lest this is discovered. I spent any spare time to study, repenting that I had not studied truth this much seriously.
For about 40 days, upon waking up in the morning, I examined whether any change occurred in my mind. If no change is detected, I would offer a prayer of thanks for this 'miracle', because it was indeed a spiritual battle. I could follow suit of the former members who accompanied the deprogrammer priest. In order not to allow Satanic invasion into my mind and spirit, I had to reflect my past course and repent for struggles with church members etc.
Life-threatening violence by father
The former members kept showing up, soliciting me to leave the church. For them, the detention was 'a protection' leading to a rehabilitation at the Osaka Eiko Church. I was treated like a patient. One of them told me frankly that I should feel grateful for being isolated. "Now you can express anything out of your heart. This is such a place", she told me.
Though I did not respond at all, she talked a lot about her resentment from what her former church leaders had pressured her to do. She tried to portray the UC members as arrogant bunch of individuals, in an attempt to undermine my trust on the church leaders.
Likewise, Pastor Matsuzawa was categorical. Referring to a 1984 incident in which a former executive of the Sekai Nippo was assaulted by mobs and injured, Matsuzawa said, "That heinous crime was committed by unificationists" even though the culprits were not identified at all. Another former member also described the UC as a terror group, saying, "Wonwa Do team is a terrorist organization belonging to UC, you know."
Many such claims, though unfounded, did agitate my parents' anxiety, defining the UC as an evil entity and justifying their acts of detention and deprogramming. When I argued against these claims, Pastor Matsuzawa screamed out vehemently, uttering all sorts of abuses against the church. My parents were like door guards charged not to allow my escape. In a way they were 'hostages' until the day of my conversion. What a miserable situation! I said to him, "I shall surely indict you when I am out of this confinement." The priest hit back, saying, "Do as you wish. I was already at the Supreme Court. You surely will meet me there. I am not afraid."
My father got drunk every night, indulged with menacing words: "Until you quit the church, you never leave here. No change after six months, and you will see yourself in a psychiatric hospital. You know I have association with a Yakuza group, who may be after the UC people if they ever try to take you back. When the Yakuza people take responsibility, they cut their own fingers. You may die earlier than us."
He even acted violently to me, as if he had been possessed by evil spirits. Particularly after Pastor Matsuzawa left the apartment, I was hit much more severely than any other time. As I was truly scared for my life, I kept a kitchen knife at night. "I may be liberated from here only on the verge of my death."
When mother noticed the kitchen knife missing (though it was made of plastic and not so sharp), she and the brother tried to take it away from me. In a tug of war that ensued, my brother was slightly injured. I felt so sorry for him. In the last resort, I had to keep a tuna can's metal cover, with which I would cut my wrist if no option would be found to protect myself.
Day after day, everybody blamed me and attacked all that I believed. It was such an excruciating and painful situation that I became increasingly desperate to get out of this environment. In one dream, a UC workshop's group leader scolded me, saying, "Why don't you read so and so pages in a booklet 'Living with the Original Nature'?" The following day I asked a former member to bring the booklet. As I read the paragraphs indicated by the dream, I found answers to some of their accusation.
Many dreams, indeed. Encouraging one like True Father taking a stroll with some disciples. Exhausting kind like myself desperately stabbing zombie-like spirits who tried to come over me one after another.
Disappointed by police overlooking confinement
After 20 days in detention, a salesperson rang the door bell. I dashed to the entrance and knocked the door for help. The person alerted police, who was persuaded by mother that "This is a family matter", while I was screaming out but subdued down by my brother in the room. The police went away! My father later told me: "We planned to do this near the police, because in this way 95 percents of the detained would give up and quit the church." His remark was a clear proof of their close collaboration with the deprogrammer priests. The proximity to the police could convince victims that police will be of no help.
Around the 30th day into the detention, Pastor Matsuzawa looked physically bad. One day, only the former members came to the apartment. I questioned to them about contradictions specified in 'Biblical Critique'. They were stunned and wordless because I somehow overturned their belief that the Bible is infallible. Later on, Pastor Matsuzawa barely responded to my argument.
35 days in detention, Pastor Matsuzawa was hospitalized for his gall stone operation. Perhaps my time is soon up, I thought. But to my disappointment, another priest, Mamoru Takazawa of the Kobe Makoto Church was brought in by a former member. The originally-hired priest was out of the picture but my saga did not end there.
Pastor Takazawa was in the 90-day driving license suspension period. Thus, he came by train from Kobe City, carrying a large bag full of anti-UC materials. Though not in good command of the DP, he liked to brandish the UC terminology. For instance, he claimed, "I am in the perfection-stage anti-UC priest, having undergone this course for the past 21 years." He was boastful, saying, "I have Rev. Moon's official registry, a list of the 36 Couples, statements by those who left the church as well as the original 'Explanation of Principles'".
He admitted that he converted 24 UC members last year and 21 members the year before last. He was full of guts, ready to apply force if necessary. He liked to get indulged in scandalous or abject talks rather than theological discussions. He said he was deprogramming five more people at the same time, quoting what the others said or ridiculing those who pretended to quit the church.
His talk about a deception sounded like hinting to my parents not to be complacent. He was proud of his extensive anti-UC activities in Tokyo or Hiroshima. "Yesterday I took part in a lawyers' meeting in Tokyo", he said. So, I said, "Do you know lawyers like Yamaguchi or Higashizawa?" He said, "I am not aware of Higashizawa but I know chaps called Hiroshi Yamaguchi and Ito." He also had strong feeling of paranoid as to claim that he was targeted by the UC. "I have been already attacked twice", he said.
Every day Pastor Takazawa bombarded me with harsh words of rebukes against Father Moon for an average of three hours. If I started arguing against his words, however, he began shouting loudly and would usually leave the apartment without offering prayers.
I was desperately looking for a window of opportunity to escape. About the 43rd day in detention, I could unlock the inner key of the entrance door and threw a letter for help through a slight opening. Though highly risky, I hoped that someone passing through the stairs might pick it up. It was found by none other than my father! He hit me really hard.
My father shouted to me, "You still try to escape, don't you?" He showed my letter to Pastor Takazawa, who dared to describe my detention as 'dialogue session', even though I was not allowed to contact my husband. He flatly said, "Your marriage certificate can be nullified properly through a due legal procedure." My heart was deeply broken.
Three days after the brawl over my letter, another policeman happened to knock on the door to check residence status. There were only myself and the mother. "Please help me! I am detained here!", I pleaded with the policeman. "Don't worry", he said. "Let me hear in the room". I explained that I could not leave this place for about two months, as priests and former church members tried to deprogram me in the pretext of 'family talks between parents and a child'. The policeman said, "The best thing is to settle matters exclusively among family members." He collected an address and telephone number to which I wanted to contact most. He also obtained my father's contact information.
As he was leaving us, he said, "I shall consult with my superiors and get back to you. So, please do not fuss about this!" He may lead my liberation, so I cherished hope. However, the Joto Police Station later heard my father's one-sided story and said, "We shall not intervene in religious matters". I was in a confinement and anything could occur in the circumstance. Two policemen have come and gone, without rectifying my rights or life. My disappointment was indescribable!
Pastor escalating parents' anxiety to prolong detention
Because of my uproar, however, the apartment's landlord solicited vacating the room. But he withdrew his request after talking with my father. Anybody enters the scene. Anything happens around us. But nothing happens to my rescue. I became so dejected and resigned.
What if I make a fuss like lighting a fire on curtain clothes? I may be evacuated in the panic. But it may inflict damages to other apartment residents, only confirming already negative prejudices that unificationists could do malicious behaviors. Thus, I stopped short of executing it.
Past the 55th day, perhaps as I became fairly contained, I was left with my mother in daytime. It occurred to me that I could violently overcome my mother and get out. I was in such an abnormal condition. After Pastor Takazawa poured out many abusive words on the UC and left the apartment, I had to pray a lot, hitting the wall and crying out loud that True Father is the Messiah. Otherwise, I could not contain my emotional outburst. As I hit the wall, my right hand was swollen like a pale glove and powerless. "Thank God, now I cannot attack my mother any longer", I said to myself.
After 80 days of detention, when mother was out for shopping, my father got so irritated by my intransigence that he gave me wicked blow with my hairs pulled for about 20 minutes. I fell down from the back, breaking wire-applied glass door to the porch. "Two more weeks and this will be stopped! ", father shouted. Upon returning from shopping, mother told father to contact the priest. The next day, father contacted Pastor Matsuzawa. This may really be the beginning of the end of my ordeal, I thought. But father was persuaded against his words.
The following day, Pastor Takazawa came. I inquired to mother what they discussed with Pastor Matsuzawa. She answered, "I only asked if anything happened because the pastor did not show up." The father of one former member was at the entrance, advising my father not to give up the deprogramming efforts. I realized that my father's promise of "Two more weeks!" was completely turned upside down through their talks totally excluding me.
Pastor Takazawa suggested my father to continue detention no matter how many times I would escape, referring to a former member who was detained ten times before quitting the church. Takazawa even offered financing, saying, "Your family must have financial difficulty as your son studies at a college. My church followers are so helpful that they may support you financially (for the continued detention). Then, you can continue for another year or two."
Moreover, Pastor Takazawa aroused my parents' apprehension, saying, "Suppose you let her go now, she will surely and promptly go to Korea. That is the UC's way". He thus urged the prolonged detention. I was so upset about his remarks that I challenged him by saying, "Are you here to help reconcile our family or break it? Which is your objective?" "Neither!", Pastor Takazawa responded. My mind and body were almost at the breaking point.
Around the 90th day in detention, Pastor Takazawa's wife was hospitalized for an operation. Then again, in his place, a former member brought Atsuyoshi Ojima, follower of the Aoyama Church, West Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church. He was the kind of person indulged in tracing the UC's mistakes and mishaps by reading lots of UC-related books. Mr. Ojima had such a twisted mentality that he sarcastically called his church as "Kurutteru (insane) Church" or "Lucifer (devil) Church".
He was critical of his own church. "The problems with the UC stem from the established churches", he said. According to Ojima, "The Christian churches and their pastors exclude the UC people as the heretics. But, compared with the UC, I don't believe many people will flock to our church." He even said: "I envy the UC which attract many followers, as I went to see even the UC's video center." I am not sure where his motive lay but he had a full of choplogics.
I challenged him by saying, "Should you think that your dogmas are right, why don't you preach to people?" Moreover, I asked, "Have you ever met Rev. Moon?" "Never!", he replied. Pastor Takazawa also responded negatively to my similar question. How can such deprogrammers dare to claim something that even the UC followers do not know? They confine people, attack them with rebukes about Father Moon, and eventually try to take them to their own congregation! What kind of hypocrites they are!
About the 100th day in detention, while I was reading the New Testament, I found Rev. Moon's life course overlapping that of Jesus Christ. I told my observation to Pastor Takazawa. He put it, "Someone else said the same thing", showing a book "Orthodoxy of Unification Church", which he said had read half of it.
103rd day: Escape at their moment off guard
Late in the evening of the 102nd day in detention, my father came home drunk. His smells from alcohol and garlic filled the small room. I could hardly sleep throughout the night. The following morning Sunday, I was about to offer prayers at 5:00 AM and switched on a air ventilator. Around 5:40, mother went to buy milk. "Poor Michiyo!" , she uttered a word scolding her husband.
Every Sunday, my mother made it a rule to go home and clean it. That was why she locked the inner key only and left the chain unfastened after returning from the shopping. She was doing some kitchen work. I was pretending asleep, hoping she goes to the toilet. Then, she actually did enter the toilet! "This is the only moment!" , I felt. My father was still deep in sleep. I dashed to the entrance, unlocked the inner key and rushed down the stairs bare-footed, never looking back even for a glance.
Because my feet became so feeble after the long detention, I had my right foot twisted in the rush. But never mind! Persevering the pains, I ran out to a road for about 50 meters and hid myself behind a byway. A dog started barking, sending its sound waves around. "My goodness!" I jumped over a fence and stood in a corridor of one apartment. I rang all the bells one after another until a lady showed up out of a room in the middle of the wing.
"May I use your telephone?" Then, a young man came out and allowed me in. As I briefly explained my situation, he reassured never to open the door to anyone but my church fellows. He even closed the curtains. They were so kind. Here are total strangers caring me so well right after the desperate exodus. I could not but feel Heaven's embrace. Whatever had happened till then could be gone like an illusion. Subsequently, fellows of the Toyonaka Church came to set me free!
"Parent-child matter", a justification for detention?
After the escape, a sort of PSTD of closeness phobia plagued me. Nightmares of another detention annoyed me, as well. The trauma after being forcibly deprogrammed in a hopeless confinement and having my marriage nullified would not die hard. Slowly, however, I could regain courage to face my parents, primarily thanks to my husband and our children.
My detention was actually executed by the hands of my own family, who could hardly thought out such a meticulous plan. It was obvious that my parents received specific advices from the deprogrammer priests and former UC members at a counseling session supervised by Pastor Matsuzawa or Pastor Funada.
People like my parents, very susceptible to parental anxiety, heard offensive rumors and gossips about the church. Besides, they were unable to ascertain their truthfulness, In desperation, they resorted to such malicious methods as abduction, detention and forced deprogramming. Knowing parents' agony, the deprogrammers have turned the forced deprogramming as 'parent-child matter' and maneuvered the entire process through legal loopholes.
The detention deprived me of the precious three and a half months as well as my job. It could have been much longer until I would renounce my faith. In a society that tolerates such an evil, how could I live in peace and safety?
During the detention, I repeatedly solicited my parents to talk it out at home. But all my pleas were ignored by the priests. It was not my exclusive experience. A great number of the UC members are undergoing the similar ordeals and forced to renounce their faith. Even now, there are UC members who cannot dare to visit their own parents nor can they disclose their addresses for fear of their parents' association with the anti-UC priests, if not outright detention. The abduction and confinement are horrible crimes that deprive happiness of all those involved. I strongly and sincerely wish that Japan should totally and quickly eliminate any hazards inflicted upon by abduction and detention.
Japan Victims' Association against Religious Kidnapping & Forced Conversion