The Words of the Tomizawa Family
The abominable Treatment of adult Japanese Unification Church members abducted and held against their will by "deprogrammers" who make tens of thousands of dollars in what amounts to organized and violent criminal activity is receiving renewed attention. Despite thousands of such cases stretching back decades, not one kidnapper has yet been held criminally accountable, ostensibly because the police treat these cases as family matters.
At an event in Seoul, at which a number of kidnapping victims spoke out, a mother of three gave the following testimony. Her story is unusual in that she was the first to bring a successful civil suit against the perpetrators. The problem is ongoing; members in Japan continue to practice their faith under threat. As of today five abducted Japanese members are being held against their will.
Hello. I am one of the kidnapping victims. The police became involved in my case, and I took it to court. That was the first court case over kidnapping in Japan, and I won! A leader from the headquarters, one who is here today, reported this to Father. [She holds up a document]. This is my treasure. Father signed it. Thank you. I was kidnapped twice. When I finally emerged from the kidnappings, I received great blessings.
I'm from Tottori. The first time I was kidnapped, in 1994, I was held for eighty days. I was kept at a Christian church in Tottori. Those who have experienced being kidnapped are well aware of what this means -- the door has three or four locks and the window is crisscrossed with wire to prevent escape; sheets cover the windows so no one can see in or out. During the eighty days I was held, I watched for a moment when they dropped their guard, and I escaped.
I'm going to speak today about the second experience, in 1997, when I was held for a year and three months. While I was being held that time, one Christian minister told me they were holding a man named Goto who is very obstinate. [Laughter] He's the same man we saw in the video.
The first time I was kidnapped, I escaped to our Hiroshima church. In Hiroshima, I used a false name, Yoshida Megumi. I was hiding in the Hiroshima church in 1995 at the time of the 360,000-couple blessing. I wanted to be blessed, but I could not tell my parents. I made up my mind to meet my parents one more time and to tell them that I want to receive the blessing and I want to live in this way. I went back to Tottori, but I didn't go back to my house.
I stayed at the church and some elder member's house. At the Tottori church, we arranged for me to talk to my parents.
When my mother visited the Tottori church for the third time, in 1997, the second kidnapping happened. While a church leader, my mother and I were talking, suddenly there was a lot of noise outside -- shouting and then the pounding feet coming up the steps. They were coming to get me, I realized. "Oh, again! It's happening again." I held on to the door and screamed, "No! Help me!"
That time, not only my family members came, but also hired detectives.
Around twenty people, including some of my relatives, came in with iron pipes, stun guns and chains. I was just thinking of how to protect myself, so I didn't pay attention, but in court I found out that one of our Tottori church members was shot with a stun gun. He was a Korean leader, blessed among the 30,000 couples. Even now when I think back on this, I feel sorry for him. One detective zapped him in the abdomen. He was also bleeding from blows to his face and had to go to the hospital to be treated. A Japanese brother who knew judo fought them. I heard these stories only after I got away.
I was forced into a van in which the doors could not be opened from the inside. One of the detectives was driving. Between the driver's area and me was a clear Plexiglas wall. They'd cut a round hole in the Plexiglas to pass things through. The van had been prepared for I use in abductions.
Takazawa Mamoru, Ojima Atsuyoshi and Miamura Takashi are the names of the Christian ministers who kidnapped me. From Tottori, I was eventually taken and held in Osaka.
Because the kidnappers broke a window to get inside the Tottori church, church members called the police and policemen came, but only after a long delay.
They drove me to Okayama and onto the Seto-Ohashi Bridge to Tokushima, where I was held in a vacation apartment for three days. That apartment belonged to a Japanese Christian school. I learned that fact after I had escaped, from members working in the Japanese headquarters who had done research for my court case. After three days, I was moved by ferry to Osaka. Onboard the ferry, I remained in the van, with people sitting on either side of me.
The fact is that my father was a policeman. He knew many things about our church including mistakes we have made. My younger sister graduated from a university in Kyoto. Kyoto is a leftist city. These are reasons my family was strongly against me.
I was handcuffed to my father. I wondered did I steal something. Did I kill someone? My father put the handcuffs on me himself. I felt so miserable.
The next four hundred and fifty days When I arrived in Osaka, the real deprogramming started. The door was locked with multiple locks as before. There was no television, telephone or radio -- no scissors or nail clippers; they even hid my father's razor. There were no metal objects, such as knives or frying pans. The dishes were all plastic or disposable.
I have all the transcripts from my trial ten years ago, everything in detail. I made statements in court. I looked through everything again before coming to speak today. Reading this hurts my heart. Anyway, I feel we have to reveal Satan's true colors. After emerging, I received so many blessings from God. I felt I have to give a testimony, so I came here.
The first words the main minister said to me were "Hey Hiroko, do you know me? I'm Takazawa from Kobe." That was the first thing he said. The words remain clear in my mind. "Can you die for me? I can die for you."
That was absolutely a threat. I wanted to reply, "Can you really die for me?" [Laughter] But because this kidnapping was the second one for me, I was so afraid. My body was shaking.
I was so shocked that second time, I could not breathe normally, I was panting. I couldn't physically resist, my body wouldn't move. I didn't have any power to speak. That's why I was just listening. It was a one-way conversation. Whenever that minister came, he called me a despicable fool. It was June. He said, "You June slug!" because I was just laying there, shaking from fear. "You near-dead cockroach! You mouse in the ceiling!" He insulted me many times.
If I didn't answer; he would slap me on my back with the back of his hand. He hit me on the buttocks with a Divine Principle book. In court, I said that was sexual harassment. [Mrs. Tomizawa laughs.] He often hit my knees hard. If I didn't speak, he would put his fist flat against my forehead and then forcefully push my forehead back. "Speak out!" He really acted like a Yakuza. But when he talked about Christianity, he would say [in a sweet voice], "Jesus... Jesus." He would act as if he were a very good pastor. Yet his attitude toward me was a hundred and eighty degrees different from that. I wondered what my parents would think if they had seen that.
Once, he brought a knife and pressed it into my hands. If you want to leave here, you can kill me with this knife. This [allusion to violence] was an obvious threat.
Many ex-members and especially ex-members' parents came. Someone's father came and comforted my father. My father was thankful to hear that the man's daughter had been "freed" from the Unification Church. My mother cried. I was next to them and had to watch. I couldn't say anything. I was under so much stress from the long captivity, and I had a bladder infection. I wanted to go to the hospital. Takazawa told me I would recover by taking some medicine he gave me. I took the medicine, but the pain persisted for a long time.
My situation included the church in Tottori being forcefully broken into. A criminal trial over the break-in was going on; I didn't know about it at first, but the ministers did. My parents heard about it from the ministers; I didn't even know a court case had started, but little by little, somehow the atmosphere was changing. They were agitated. I have a younger sister and a younger brother who would come and go bringing thick sheaves of papers. I realized by inspiration that a court case was underway.
I don't know if that was the cause, but I had to be moved to a different apartment. We moved to another part of Osaka. At that time, a minister's son drove me. I overheard the conversation between the minister and his son. The son called his father "jiji." [Laughter: Though he was speaking to his father, he used a rude word for "grandfather."] "What happened jiji, another kidnapping?" he asked. It seemed the son felt taken advantage of by the father for having to help with his kidnapping work.
That they had alternative locations shows how organized they were. Takazawa and people like him are members of an association of ministers opposed to our church. They hold Christian gatherings to talk about kidnapping. At one of those meetings, Takazawa spoke to another minister who had read about the attack on the Tottori Church in our church members' newsletter and in Sekai Nippo. "Who instigated the attack on the Tottori church?" people asked. It caused friction even in their association. Takazawa said, "They told me, 'If you do things like this, you make it difficult for us to abduct people. You should have left it for the parents to get her out! The other ministers felt I went too far."
Under the circumstances, it was difficult for my parents. Because my father had been a policeman, he has a conscience. He listened to the anti-church ministers, so he broke the law, which he had once upheld. When I think about him now, I feel sorry for him. My father is also a victim; my mother is a victim.
I lost a lot of weight during that year and three months. I was thirty-one years old at the time of the abduction and weighed forty-eight kilograms. I lost about ten kilograms. My clothes didn't fit me. From the stress of being captive for a long time, I was going mad. I was panic-stricken. I could not calm down. I screamed. Even though nobody heard, I screamed. In a small room I paced back and forth saying in my heart, Please help me!
In that situation what allowed me to keep my faith was the Divine Principle book they had given me. I read Divine Principle tens of times. Takazawa said, "You can read the Divine Principle and the Bible. Please compare your teachings and Christian teachings." I was lucky, very lucky. I read many Christian books. If I hadn't come to understand Christianity, I would have been defeated. An understanding of Christianity was a weapon. I read as many books as they brought, such as hagiographies for children. I learned about the heart that loved Jesus and God. Christians believe Jesus will return with the clouds of heaven and that he can do magical things. I cannot believe that, even though I tried to understand. I told Takazawa, "That's the only point I cannot believe. Can Jesus Christ actually come with the clouds? Do you think the world will become a peaceful place in one second?" Takazawa said he did believe that. He actually believes it will happen one day.
For me, the most important point was deciding whether Father is really the Messiah, or not. I prayed a lot about that. I read Divine Principle looking for the answer. I read Rev. Lee Yo-han's book too. I read it many times. I did research on whether Father is the Messiah, because I couldn't defeat the Christian ministers with only a feeling. I had to understand about Father's role intellectually.
Because they had created the incident that resulted in the trial, during the trial they definitely couldn't allow me to go; they absolutely couldn't allow me to escape. If I were to be strong enough to escape under these tightened circumstances, I had to have absolute conviction. If I was ever to get out, I had to make effort every day. I prayed when going to the toilet. Every day, I did Hoon Dok Hae, praying and bowing in the bathroom. I read the Bible a lot.
They were desperate, too, because the ministers themselves were in danger of going to jail if they lost the criminal case. I had lost hope of ever escaping. If that was the case, how could I find some way out? I would have to fake leaving the church. In my heart, I still believed, but I had to pretend to have lost faith.
Deciding to do that took time. If I had deeper faith, I might have faked leaving the church sooner. It was necessary to forgive everyone involved in my abduction in order to pretend I had left the church, and I was too immature to do that at first. I wasn't able to achieve a forgiving state of mind. To fake leaving the church I had to forget everything they had done. "You did this to me! Mother, you did this! Mother, what are you crying for?" If you have this kind of thinking, the words will come out of your mouth, or your facial expression will give you away.
Perhaps some of you in the audience had to pretend to have left the church with a smile on your faces How could I say, "It means nothing to me now; I won't go to the Unification Church anymore"? How could I be convincing enough for them to feel relieved?
Through prayer, I sought the ability to forget and to love, but it took so long. It took several months of prayer. I strongly felt how difficult it was to forgive others.
Eventually I spoke to one of the other ministers, Miamura Takashi -- who resembles a toad but in a very frightening way. I was very afraid of him. He behaved so much like a Yakuza. The things he said were worse than what Takazawa would say. I felt that if I argued with him, he would make me feel like an idiot. I quickly told him, "I've quit the Unification Church." Then, I took off my blessing ring and gave it to him. The ones who were happiest about this were my parents.
Takazawa looked relieved, but the legal proceedings were still going on, so they couldn't soon let me leave. Ex-members and their parents started to worry about me, "When will they let Hiroko go?" My parents wanted them to let me go.
So, in what they called rehabilitation, I was taken to the Kobe True Church, Takazawa's church, to study the Bible and attend services while staying in the church. Other people, members of the church, lived there also. I was not being held, but if I wanted to go somewhere,
I could never go alone. I had more freedom but I wasn't free. My mother, at least, went with me everywhere. One day, the members of the Kobe True Church went to Ojima's church for a bazaar. My mother was with me the whole time, but I asked her if I could go back early. I went back alone to Takagawa's church.
After this second abduction, I ran away at the risk of my life. I quickly packed a bag with the minimum of clothing. To my mother, I wrote a note, "I'm sorry. I cannot abandon my faith. I'm going back to the Unification Church."
I took a taxi to a commuter train station and a train to northern Osaka. I went to an area where I used to witness years earlier when I first joined the church. There I found a member witnessing. He took me to his church to connect to his Abel. As it happened that person was my spiritual grandfather. I stayed at that center for about a week until the man in charge of dealing with the kidnapping problem came to Osaka and took me back with him to Tokyo.
In the aftermath, I assessed the situation. My heart was deeply injured. I felt it would be difficult for my Korean husband and his family to understand, but I decided to sue my parents in court. The kidnapping happened through the anti-church Christian ministers and my parents working together. From the viewpoint of the maple, unless I solve this on the earth, my parents will go into the depths of hell. On earth, people might criticize a daughter suing her parents, taking them to trial. My parents might suffer on earth because of me, but when they die they will not suffer as badly as they would have. I want to lighten my parents' sin; I don't care about the anti-church ministers. This doesn't seem like common sense, but I sued them and I won.
I went to a twenty-one-day women's workshop at Chung Pyung. I had sent a letter to Hoon-mo nim about the court case, asking her to please help us win, so she knew about it. During the workshop, she mentioned she had received the letter. She said, "I went to the spirit world, found her ancestors and ordered them to cooperate with her in court."
I was so surprised. At that time, I was with my children, so I was in the back of the room. I wondered, "Does she know I'm here?" I felt that the spiritual world and Dae-mo nim and Heung-jin nim would protect my court case.
While preparing for court, I received Father's signature, too. Recalling my memories is bitter but they have become a central part of my life of faith. I have only this way to go. No matter what anything has to say about it, I won't be defeated. Many people came today. Thank you. If I have a chance to say more, I will. I feel the time has finally come for me to speak out publicly.
Mrs. Tomizawa, who was blessed among the 360,000-couple blessing group, lives with her family in Pyonchon, South Korea.