Full Name: Kouhuku-kai-Yamagishi-kai (Yamagishi Association for Happiness)
Alternative spelling: Kofukukai-Yamagishikai
The Yamagishi Association, which was launched in the Japanese town of Iga, Mie Prefecture, in the 1950s, believes communal living based largely on agriculture is indispensable to producing a humane society. (Japan Times)
People inspired by the philosophy of the late Miyozo Yamagishi -- called ''Yamagishism'' -- founded Yamagishi-kai in 1953. According to sources close to the organization, the goal of the movement is the achievement of ''society financed by one wallet,'' in which people live together without any personal belongings. (Kyodo)
A reclusive cult that ''manipulated'' a distraught woman must return 240 million yen in assets that she signed over to it, the Tokyo District Court ruled Wednesday.
Presiding Judge Yukihiro Okahisa ruled that Kofukukai-Yamagishikai, a cult that operates farming communes, was acting unfairly in refusing to return assets to a 52-year-old Yokohama woman after she severed her links to the organization.
Although the judge denied the cult brainwashed her, he recognized that it psychologically pressured her against the nation's Constitution.
''It violates all public order and morals and is invalid,'' Okahisa said in reference to a contract giving Yamagishi control over the woman's assets that she had signed.
Of 10 similar lawsuits filed against Yamagishi demanding the return of once-surrendered assets, Wednesday's ruling was the first to be issued.
Yamagishi was created in 1953 and has led to the formation of over 40 communes, including some overseas. It advocates communal life and forbids personal wealth.
Cult to return 'brainwashed' member's assets, Mainichi Daily News (Japan), Feb. 1, 2001
The Tokyo District Court ordered an agriculture commune Wednesday to return about 240 million yen to a former follower who claimed she was brainwashed into donating the money.
The ruling ordered the Yamagishi Life Demonstration Community in Tsu, Mie Prefecture, and other Yamagishi entities affiliated with the parent Yamagishi Association to repay the money.
The Yamagishi Association, which was launched in the town of Iga, Mie Prefecture, in the 1950s, believes communal living based largely on agriculture is indispensable to producing a humane society.
The woman left the group in 1994 after becoming disillusioned by the extravagant lifestyles of some of the group's leaders and realizing she was simply a source of money and free labor, according to the court.
While the woman signed a contract with the organization stating the money would not be returned if she left the group, the court said the contract ran contrary to public order and accepted social customs.
(...) Although the court ordered the group to return her money, her claim that the group used unjust canvassing measures such as the seminar was rejected, with the court saying it was socially acceptable. According to the plaintiff's lawyer, around 10 civil suits demanding the Yamagishi affiliates return donations or pay compensation have been filed by former followers across the country.
Commune ordered to return 'brainwashed' woman's cash, Japan Times (Japan), Feb. 1, 2001
The women left the commune in 1994 after she became disappointed with the organization, saying some of the senior members were living in luxury while she was forced to work for free.
People inspired by the philosophy of the late Miyozo Yamagishi -- called ''Yamagishism'' -- founded Yamagishi-kai in 1953. According to sources close to the organization, the goal of the movement is the achievement of ''society financed by one wallet,'' in which people live together without any personal belongings.
The Yamagishi Association owns about 40 communes where some 4,200 people live by working on the group's farms and selling farm products.
Court tells Yamagishi-kai group to return ex-member's property, Kyodo (Japan), Jan. 31, 2001
Recent arrests of religious cult leaders, prompted by the deaths of several devotees who were refused medical treatment, have underscored the continuing appeal gurus have for many Japanese.
The book ''Kyoso Taiho'' (Gurus under arrest) by Kazuhiro Yonemoto, published by Takarajima-sha (1,500 yen), reveals how these self-styled gurus persuade people that they are the saviors of Japan, or the Earth, and entrap them into donating millions of yen to their various cults.
Detailed investigation by Yonemoto-a free-lance journalist well known for his extensive reports on such cults as Kofuku-no-kagaku and Yamagishikai-demonstrates that financial needs inspired these leaders to act as gurus, and that they regarded their followers as significant sources of income.
Supreme and ugly truths, Asahi News (Japan), May 7, 2000
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations are this summer to investigate a Mie-based organization for human rights violations of children in the group. The Yamagishi Association, established in 1953, is known for its unique principles that call for reconciliation of human acts with nature. The followers live in more than 30 locations owned by the group nationwide and make their living mainly by farming. Children, separated from their parents, live in those facilities while attending local schools. A group, formed by family members of the children, last year reportedly requested that the JFBA investigate cases of human rights violations, including forced agricultural labor and serving restricted portions at meal time as a form of punishment.
Yamagishism to be put under investigation, Daily News Nagoya (Japan), June 29, 1998
What's Yamagishi? "The Idea, the History and the Present state of Yamagishi Kai ( Association )". An article on the association's official web site.
Yamagishi-Vereinigung (in German) Article published by Evangelische Informationsstelle Kirchen-Sekten-Religionen
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