The Japanese cult accused of carrying out the 1995 nerve gas attack on Tokyo’s subway once raised money by selling mouthfuls of blood to its followers, a witness testified Friday.
Kazuo Konya, a former cult member, told the court that he was given a “blood initiation” in 1988, drinking what was described as blood from cult leader Shoko Asahara. Konya said he paid more than $8,100 for the ritual.
He testified in Tokyo District Court, where Asahara is on trial on 17 charges, including masterminding the subway attack, which killed 12 people and sickened thousands, and murdering an anti-cult lawyer and his family in 1989.
Other former cult members have also said followers paid for blood or strands of Asahara’s hair and his bathwater during rituals. They said some paid $2,400 for an injection of an unknown substance.
All this occurred while the Aum Supreme Truth cult preached that its followers should renounce materialism.
Konya testified that drinking blood was the most expensive ritual.
“The little glass contained light pink liquid, and it somehow tasted salty,” Konya testified.
He quit the cult in 1989, decided to sue it and contacted lawyer Tsutsumi Sakamoto. The lawyer disappeared along with his wife and son, and the family was later found dead.