Unification Church

The Unification Church is a far right-wing Christian cult-like church which is influential in South Korea and Japan. Its official names are the “World Peace and Unification Family League” and the “Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity”, and it is also often known as the Moonies, in reference to its North Korean-born founder, Moon Son Myung.

One offshoot of the church was the International Federation for Victory Over Communism, which Moon launched in cahoots with the Taiwanese dictator Chiang Kai-shek and two Japanese far right-wingers, Kodama Yoshio and Sasakawa Ryoichi. This league was strongly promoted by Shinzo Abe’s grandfather, Kishi Nobusuke, who was also a prime minister of Japan between 1957 and 1960. Shinzo Abe seems to have maintained that connection (e.g. he gave the keynote speech at the Unification Church’s September 2021 convention), which is what motivated his assassin to kill him. Abe is not the only Japanese politician linked to the Unification Church; as of August 2022, 106 members of the Diet (Japan’s parliament) appear on the church’s membership rolls, including 82 members of the ruling LDP. 19 out of 54 members of cabinet are also listed as members. On August 31, the Japanese PM announced he would cut ties between his party and the church.

The Unification Church is known to have exhorted its followers to donate their entire life savings to it. It’s also known for conducting “mass wedding ceremonies” between followers who barely know each other.

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