The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun's Nov. 13 issue.
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Whenever I hear mention of the incident in which a lawyer's family was killed by members of the Aum Supreme Truth cult, I remember a lady's face and a piece of poetry she wrote.
The poem, "Tatsu-bo no Nyugakushiki" (An entrance ceremony for Tatsu-bo), was written by the lady, Sachiyo Sakamoto, now 80, on the day her grandson Tatsuhiko, who was reported missing when he was 14 months old, might otherwise have begun attending primary school.
Children's legs swing back and forth in time as they sit on their chairs, but "Tatsu-bo's legs don't...I wrote your name on your clothes and indoor shoes. Sorry...It was really a sad day."
Tastsuhiko's father Tsutsumi and mother Satoko, then 33 and 29, respectively, also went missing.
Remains of the three were discovered in mountains far from their home in 1995, six years after they were reported missing. It is alleged that senior cult members, including Tomomasa Nakagawa, committed the murders at the behest of Aum founder and guru Chizuo Matsumoto, who is now a convict on death row.
In connection with a series of Aum-related incidents--including the sarin gas attacks in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, and on the Tokyo subway system--189 cult members were indicted, and the death penalty has been finalized for 11 of them.
During a Buddhist service held the other day to mark the 22nd anniversary of his three relatives' deaths, Satoko's father Tomoyuki Oyama, 80, said: "When will we be able to forget about this? I want the court trials to end as soon as possible."
The Supreme Court will soon hand down rulings on Nakagawa and fellow defendant Seiichi Endo, who were sentenced to death by lower courts. The top court is due to rule on Nakagawa on Friday, and on Endo on Monday. The end is in sight for these trials, which have been running for as long as 16 years.
Why did the Aum cult come into being? Society has yet to find an answer.
(Nov. 17, 2011)