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Panawave

Leader Wins Defamation Decision
Chino Shokokai, the parent organization of Panawave, and leader Yuko Chino, have been awarded two million yen by a Tokyo District Court that ruled the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshan had defamed Panawave by claiming the cult was to blame for a railway disaster in 1998. The magazine said it was only reporting what authorities said at the time. Panawave gained great attention when it traveled through central Japan last year “covering areas completely in white cloth as it crawled along.” (Mainichi Shimbun, Internet, 5/14/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

About the Guru
Yuka Chino, 69, guru of the Panawave Laboratory group that is predicting the imminent end of the world due to a Communist conspiracy and harmful electro-magnetic waves, quit her office job in the late 1970s and started a cram school for high school students. She in fact recruited them for the group that eventually became Panawave, which had about 1,000 followers, a publishing company, and a health supplement/water purifier business. The number of followers has dwindled to an estimated several hundred today, and the group seems to be showing “terminal symptoms,” according to attorney Taro Takimoto, the secretary General of the “Japan De-cult Council.” (Shane Green, The Age, Australia, Internet, 5/10/03)[csr 2.2 2003]

People who knew Chino as a younger person say she was odd. She allegedly kept 20 cats at home and ran naked through town when “streaking” was trendy in the U.S. In a book she wrote, she tells of an attempted suicide when she lost the man she coveted to another, and thereafter she seems to have become a man-hater. She is today a recluse, even among her followers, as they seek a place safe from the electro-magnetic waves that will hasten her death from the cancer she reportedly suffers. (Mainichi Shimbun, 5/8/03)[csr 2.2 2003]

Fuki Prefecture has urged the Panawave convoy traveling around central Japan not to enter its territory. (Kyodo News, Internet, 5/9/03) [csr 2.2 2003]

Microwaves and the End of the World
A caravan of vehicles carrying members of the Panawave Laboratory “cult”—which claims thousands of members—wandered remote roads in central Japan for months and came into popular view when a TV crew reported on them in late April. [csr 2.2 2003]

White-robed followers believe that an undiscovered planet will soon knock the Earth off its axis and that electromagnetic waves, from TV cameras for example, or directed by left-wing guerillas, cause cancer. They say that their guru, Yuko Chino, contracted cancer from such attacks and that they are searching for an area free from electricity pylons, where she can recover.[csr 2.2 2003]

Panawave beliefs seem to be an amalgam of Christianity, Buddhism, and science fiction created in the 1980s by the “beautiful and elegant” Chino, now 69, who was obsessed by the notion that the Soviet Union would invade Japan. Chino’s followers constructed facilities in remote Fukui Prefecture in 1987 to protect her; she became increasingly reclusive and ill as the years passed. Followers have threatened to take revenge for her possible death with the extermination “of all mankind.” (BBC News, Internet, 5/6/03)[csr 2.2 2003]

Fuki locals are not worried about Panawave, saying that the members are strange but harmless. But “right-wing” residents are upset because Panawave is “giving anti-communism a bad name.” (Davis McNeill, The Independent, Internet, 5/14/03) [csr 2.2 2003]