The experiences of Japanese Ms. K who was forced to marry a Korean man she did not like. Getting the divorce took five years.
August 13, 2013
Hello, I will now tell you about my experiences.
The first contact which led me to join the Unification Church was in July 1998 in the Kansai District (2) where I lived. I was approached and asked to answer a questionnaire titled ‘Youth Consciousness Survey.’ The people told me they were showing educational videos and they invited me to come, but I did not want to go. However, they said that they really wanted to just be friends with me, so I gave them my name and contact information. Following that, they called me several times. I was given directions to an apartment.
I later found out this was the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon. Their beliefs interested me, and I felt I couldn’t refuse because my spiritual parents (the people who introduced me to the UC) kindly helped me. So I started going along to watch videos or listen to lectures on the Principles of the church.
In March 1999, I was invited to have my fortune read. I was told that my fortune was bad and I was forced to buy a seal for 150,000 yen and also to receive a genealogy (family tree) analysis. Then I was told that I would die at the age of 33 if I didn’t follow their way. I was forced to give all my savings to resolve the grudges of my ancestors. I donated 1.6 million yen, which was all my savings at that time. After that, I was told by my spiritual parents to go to the Church Youth Branch in Osaka to start my life in the Unification Church. A video center counselor in Osaka told me to go to Ivision, where I was forced to buy a necklace to improve my fortune. I refused many times saying that I had no money, but in the end I borrowed money and bought a necklace for 1,060,000 yen. After a one-day workshop, followed by a two-day workshop, new member training and practical training, I joined the training center in the youth branch house in November 1999.
My schedule was strictly managed since I was going to a workplace during the day and listening to lectures on the Divine Principle every night. Then I participated in a third workshop, and I got more and more deeply involved in the Unification Church.
In February 2000 the church held the 400 million couples Blessing at the Seoul Stadium in Korea. I was a participant. I first met my Jucheja (= subject partner = groom / husband) (3) at the Stadium. It was difficult for me to accept my subject partner, so I went to the church secretariat because I wanted to cancel being married to this man. However, they worked hard to convince me, and I eventually accepted the match.
After returning to the center in Japan, every day was filled with witnessing and Divine Principle lectures. My fatigue became chronic due to my double life of work and the demands of my faith. In that situation in June 2000, under pressure from my Abel and worn down by physical and mental exhaustion, I made a commitment to the church. After making that, I was put in charge of a witnessing team, made education training group leader, and responsible for micro (a mobile microbus fundraising team) (4), and meal duty. I lived there for about a year. In the meantime, I participated in a Cheongpyeong workshop and a 21-day workshop in Chiba. My faith gradually became stronger. During my religious life, there were a number of faxes and letters from my subject partner who wanted to start our couple life as soon as possible. Finally, in September 2001, my subject partner visited the church house where I was staying. He threatened to break our blessing if I did not move to Korea within that year. He asked me to quickly complete the marriage registration. He returned to Korea and made my seal and sent it twice, with a copy of his family register.
My subject partner had already experienced a Korea-Japan blessing once before, at the time of the Blessing of 360,000 couples. However the Japanese woman broke off the marriage. Following that I think he was somehow determined to keep ‘the Blessing’ with me. Since there was such a a strong request from my subject partner, and we were really registered as married, I removed myself from my own family register without my family’s consent. I did that because I had no time to explain or persuade my parents since I was in a hurry to go to Korea.
I arrived there on December 31, 2001. Because I am weak in my heart [not good at standing up for myself], I was instructed not to tell my parents when I had removed my name from my own family register. However, if I suddenly disappeared from Japan, my parents would be worried, so I was instructed to make sure a letter from me arrived the day I crossed over to Korea. In my letter I should not say that I was involved with the Unification Church, but that I was going to Korea to marry a Korean man I had met at work. In the end, I was too busy with my cooking duties until just before my departure for Korea, so I could not even write such a letter before I arrived in Korea.
On the flight to Korea, I thought I would never be able to return to Japan again since I was really becoming cut off from my parents and friends. I felt like Korea was the only place I could be. Many thoughts raced through my mind. I felt tears of sadness and feelings of anxiety and expectation for what the future held for my life.
After arriving in Korea I completed a Japanese Family workshop and lived in a church center. This had many Japanese members centered on the president of the Japanese Women’s Federation for World Peace and Unification (WFWPU). My duties there included preparing meals for the church, cleaning, studying Korean and witnessing by distributing leaflets that promoted the ‘Blessing’ (Unification Church mass marriage).
Translation of the poster (Korean on the left and Japanese on the right):
True Marriage to a Japanese Woman
Nonprofit community service organization: Registration No. 1300
♥ Junior college or higher educational background
♥ Healthy body and mind
♥ For a young man who has stable employment (around 30 years old)
(Previously married men and women, now single, must be aged 60 or less)
Ideal spouse with a chaste sense of values.
We will match you up.
True Family Practice in conjunction with ◯◯ Committee
Counselor / Consultation Staff
Occasionally I met with my subject partner. He spoke a little Japanese, and we could only manage basic conversation. The president of the Japanese Women’s Federation (WFWP) always interpreted for us when we wanted to convey anything important. However, the greater conflict for me was that someday I would have to live with someone I didn’t like. That was worse than not being able to communicate well with my subject partner. If it could be possible I wanted to just continue living in the church center without starting couple life. I wondered if I lacked faith because I kept thinking in such a way from in my personal thoughts rather than from a perspective of faith. I made more effort in witnessing and prayer, and I repented for my feelings.
About a week after living in the church center in Korea, I received a call from the Youth Branch saying that my mother and sister, who had not yet received any letter from me, had visited the UC in Japan because they were not able to contact me and were worried about me. At the direction of the WFWP president, I phoned them and said I was in Korea and doing well.
In early February 2002, my father, sister, and an uncle in my family suddenly came with an interpreter to Korea to bring me home to Japan. At the direction of the WFWP president, I had sent a letter to my parents, but with my subject partner’s home address written on the letter. However, it would have been very difficult to find the exact location because I had not given the street number. The person who came as an interpreter was actually a pastor in a Korean Christian church. I heard that they had to ask an elder from a local Korean Christian church, whom he knew, in order to find me. Under instructions of the UC district leader and the WFWP president I was hiding in the president’s house. However, my father threatened that he would contact the police to file a search request, so I decided to meet him the next day. I insisted that, when I was ready, I would return to Japan on my own. At that time, from the attitude of my father and sister’s responses, I thought that there might be a pastor who was working against the Unification Church helping them. Our discussions were going nowhere. After more than two hours passed, my father asked me to have a meal together with them. At that moment, as I had been instructed by the church, I pushed my father away and caught a taxi as if I was running away.
In the taxi I could not stop crying. I had met my parents after years of church life in Japan. I had felt joy because my father, who had never traveled abroad, had gathered all his strength to come to Korea to search for me, but I also felt that my father looked rather thin and small. I knew he was doing his best to bring me home to Japan. I had conflicting emotions; I felt sorry for causing him to worry and I felt pain because I had to shake off such a father who cared so much. But [as I had been taught in the church] I desperately pushed myself not to be overwhelmed by those human feelings.
As part of our witnessing effort, Japanese members taught Japanese language lessons to Koreans twice a week. And at the same time, on a shift-basis, we were doing volunteer activities such as cleaning, lunch preparation, childcare, and supporting church projects.
In April, the district leader changed. Spiritual conditions, led by the WFWP president, such as late night prayer meetings, started every night from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am. This continued for a year until the district leader was again changed. Since I did not leave the center to start my couple life, I was specifically entrusted with cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and childcare at the district leader’s house. I worked all day from morning to night, and I sometimes worked even all night. On top of that, there was a long prayer meeting until dawn every night, so I was chronically sleep deprived. However, I continued that life every day, repeating to myself that this is really a training of devotion so I would be better able to love my subject partner.
In the meantime, in order to maintain a connection with me, my sister communicated with me by e-mail through my subject partner, who was proficient in using computers. In mid-May my older sister came to visit me in Korea, this time she was the only one from my own family. She came with a pastor, but she did not show any feelings against the UC, and acted as if she was just worried about me as a sister. She also asked if my subject partner and I could temporarily return to Japan. After that, I received education for starting couple life so that I could start soon. However, I was unable to accept my subject partner. Under instructions from the WFWP president I was told that I had to overcome Satan and somehow start couple life. My subject partner and I participated in a 40-day workshop in Cheongpyeong.
After that, I started couple life with him in August 2002. Even though I started living with my subject partner, I felt that our cultural differences and language barriers were huge. Communicating with my subject partner was difficult, and only simple everyday conversations were possible. For that reason I couldn’t understand what my subject partner was really thinking. Also, it was difficult for me to accept my subject partner even after starting our life together. Nevertheless, I kept reminding myself of how happy and grateful I should be to have a husband from the Adam country of Korea. Japanese church members should serve as slaves to their Korean husbands of the Adam country. And so I repented for my immature faith and made an effort to love my subject partner.
[The Unification Church teaches that Japan is the Eve nation to Korea as Adam. Rev Moon has said that Korea is shaped like a penis. He has also said that Japan, as a mother, should financially support Korea and make restitution for all the material things that were taken from Korea during the Japanese occupation of Korea which lasted until 1945.]
In September, I was given the opportunity to temporarily return to Japan for a week with my subject partner. In my sister’s e-mails, or by her appearance when she came to see me, it did not really seem like there was an anti-pastor (working against the UC) behind her efforts, so the Unification Church did not notice anything unusual. I returned to Japan thinking that it would be good to have my Japanese relatives meet my subject partner and come to understand him better. For a short time after our return home, my family treated my subject partner kindly, taking him out to nice meals and on shopping trips. However, when my father and sister were talking through an interpreter, or were asking details about the Divine Principle, it was as if they had been studying little by little to understand the Unification Church. Then I suspected that an anti-pastor might be working with them. However, rather than that thought, I had questions about the Divine Principle myself, and I was angry with myself for not being able to not answer their questions when I wanted to.
During that initial visit, they did not try to force me and my subject partner to stay, and let us go back to Korea. As I was leaving, it felt so good when my mother hugged me and cried, saying I can come back home anytime. When I had first left for Korea, I thought I would never be able to return again, but now I came to think that I could actually return to Japan at anytime. I even came to think that there was no difference between Sun Myung Moon’s mass wedding ceremony and an ordinary wedding ceremony. It had been a while since I felt the joy and warmth of my family, and I was caught between the thought of wanting to remain in Japan or returning to Korea.
After our return to Korea, my life with my subject partner, centered on church life, began again. To find answers to the questions I had from my father and my sister I even asked a Japanese church member. She said that the teachings of the Unification Church are not limited to the Divine Principle, but there are more detailed books such as Unification Theology [by Young-oon Kim and Unification Thought by Sang-Hun Lee], that are deep in their teachings. And she said that if I kept studying until I was convinced, I would again see how good the teachings of the Unification Church were. However, in Korea, because every book was written in Korean, it was difficult for me to study such books. Anyway I could not find enough time to do that due to my everyday training.
My subject partner was working in a factory and earning an average of 70,000 yen per month. However, he often quit his job and stayed at home or changed his job. Moreover, there were also transfers, so our life was difficult. All the time I tried to save money. I wanted to go to a dentist in Korea, but I couldn’t afford it. In September 2003, one year after I had last visited Japan, the church allowed me to return to Japan on my own to get dental treatment. However, just in case, they asked me to give my contact information to the nearest branch of the UC and to run away if anything happened.
On my return to Japan, I wanted to study more about the Unification Church. I started getting the dental treatment I needed. Several times I tried to phone the nearest UC without my family knowing, but I could never reach them. Meanwhile, my family asked me to meet with a pastor, saying they hoped I would understand what they had been studying. My father begged me with a very serious face saying it was his once-in-a-lifetime request.
I knew then that my father was sincere and serious when he said that. I agreed but said that I would only be willing to meet the pastor once I had attended the worship service of the local Unification Church. So I tried to call them again, but I still couldn’t get through. Finally I had no choice but to meet the pastor. In my mind I thought this would be a catastrophe, but I eventually agreed to meet the pastor by telling myself that I shouldn’t be a frog in a well, and that knowing about other religions would help me to see the Unification Church more objectively and to know the splendor of the Unification Church more deeply.
But in reality, it was the complete opposite. I came to know what was wrong with the Unification Church and I fell to the bottom of hell. I had quit my job, cut off all contact with my friends and my free will had been destroyed. I had believed that the work I had been doing was the truth, and I had put the rest of my life at risk in order to hold on to this precious truth, only to realize in the end that it was not genuine. I could not control my sorrow and resentment. The pastor told me that I can always leave the UC any time now. I decided to quit the Unification Church. Even after I decided to leave, I continued to read books and research until I could fully understand what had happened to me. I came to realize that I had been under mind control. As soon as I knew that the Unification Church was wrong, I decided to get a divorce because I could not sustain a false marriage even if it was deemed a ‘Blessed marriage’ in the doctrine of the Unification Church.
However, the divorce was not resolved quickly. First of all, at the end of December 2003, two months after my withdrawal from the Church, all my family members and the pastor went to the house of the parent’s of my husband, where he was living, to ask for a divorce. An elder of a Korean Christian Church also accompanied us and talked with them. They refused, so I couldn’t get divorced. My husband was shocked when I told him of my intention to divorce. He caused a scene and said he would commit suicide, and we had to call the police.
However, I was relieved to know that he was really living in his mother’s house. After returning home to Japan, I was introduced to a lawyer and tried to get my divorce through the courts. But in my situation I discovered that the longer the period of not living as a couple, the greater the probability of getting a divorce, so I decided not to go to trial immediately. Then there was a request by e-mail from my husband for me to pay 10 million yen to get the divorce. Of course I had no intention of paying, and I had no ability to pay such a sum. Also, after several e-mails going back and forth, I also sent him a Japanese divorce application form and requested that he accept the divorce application. He again refused. Meanwhile, the amount of alimony kept decreasing, so my father thought about my future and considered paying the alimony. However, I did not respond to the requests for money. I thought I should not set a bad precedent for subsequent UC victims who were trying to get divorced.
On January 17, 2006, two years after visiting Korea to request a divorce, my sister and I participated in the Japan-Korea Unification Church Problem Forum in Seoul, with our lawyer and the Korean pastor who had helped us before.
After the conference was over, I traveled to Daegu together with my lawyer and the Christian pastor. We again asked my husband and his parents to allow the divorce to proceed without alimony. They still would not accept. Then the pastor suggested going to a Korean lawyer to have a trial in Korea. But, although during UC divorce trials in Japan some courts ruled that marriages in the Unification Church were not valid, it seemed such a route would be more difficult in Korea because there was less consensus in Korea concerning the fraudulent nature of the Unification Church and their use of mind control [and sleep deprivation, etc.]. All my family members were depressed and anxious about how to go about having a trial in Korea and gaining the divorce.
In January 2008, five years after leaving the Church, just as I was considering the option of a trial in Japan, an e-mail came from my husband stating that he would agree to a divorce without alimony. My pastor and all six family members went to Korea. At the city hall, my husband and I went through divorce procedures and we got divorced.
My husband did not smile as he used to. We finished the divorce process perfunctorily. I said I was sorry to my husband and wished that he would find happiness in the future. It was not that either of us had faults. Both of us were really victims of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church and our experiences only confirmed the heartlessness of the Unification Church. After that, due to our different nationalities, the Japanese court divorce procedures were not very smooth. I and my father had to go to the Korean Consulate several times. We were finally able to complete the divorce in June 2008. At that time, I felt relieved and reborn. I felt I was finally free and had truly left the Unification Church.
Ten years had passed since I joined the Unification Church. For the first five years I had immersed myself in the UC. Even after I left the church I spent another five years struggling with the after-effects of mind control and the divorce process. The fact that I was rescued from the Unification Church and that I am now able to live a free life like this, is all thanks to the help of my parents, my older sister, my pastor, lawyer, and those former members who gave me psychological support. And the elder who gave me tremendous support in the foreign land of Korea – I sincerely thank you all.
The divorce, especially, took a long time. This was partly because of the great language barrier. In my case, Elder Lee was an immense help. Elder Lee accompanied me every time I went to Daegu, even though he had problems with both his legs. When there was no progress in the divorce, he delivered the letters my father had written; he visited my husband’s parents many times to try to persuade them to accept the divorce. Elder Lee’s help was crucial. As seen in my case, if a Christian Church in Korea accurately understands the fraudulent nature of the Unification Church and serves as a bridge between Japan and Korea, I think there can be a considerable chance of a successful rescue. Also, Japanese UC members who are married to Korean men do not know what to do when a problem occurs in the Unification Church. If a Christian Church in Korea has an understanding of the Unification Church, it can be a great help. I hope that the Christian Church in Korea will accurately and deeply understand the illegality of the Unification Church and lend its strength to help further rescues. I am now studying in Korea, free from the Unification Church. Living in Korea this time is of my own choice and for my own benefit.
One day, while walking in Myeong-dong, Seoul, I accidentally met a woman who was the class leader at the UC training center. She was outside in the cold handing out leaflets that advertised a massage salon. She had been in Korea for 12 years, and she was giving out leaflets to see if that work would help her to support her family of three.
Also, when I visited an island, I saw a UC woman baking and selling fish cakes and taiyaki pastries (5) from the back of a small truck. She was a woman in her late 40s, but in the 15 years since she had been married, she had been baking taiyaki and her face had been burned by the heat from that work. She did not wear any makeup. It was a cold winter, but she said she was working from morning to night. I felt sorry for her, and it felt as if it was my own problem. I wondered if I might have been living such a life if I had not quit the UC.
It is known that there are more than 6,000 Japanese wives who have been married to Korean men through the Unification Church mass weddings. Seeing them first-hand, it hurts me to know what difficult lives the Japanese wives have, and how they struggle in Korea. I feel anger towards the Unification Church which ruins people’s lives.
I was very surprised to hear about the incident of the Japanese UC wife, Miyuki Park, last year.(6) I don’t know what would have happened if I had continued living in Korea without leaving the Unification Church. When I think about what Miyuki Park did, I feel very sorry. We hope that she will be released from prison as soon as possible, so she can live a peaceful life with the help of her family and supporting volunteers.
When I was given this opportunity to tell my story, I had to revisit the events and emotions of those times. As I wrote these words I could not help but shed tears as powerful memories swept over me. After ten years, I thought that my time in the Unification Church was a thing of the past, but I was amazed to find that the wounds in my heart still remain to this day.
The Unification Church is a terrifying organization that controls minds with manipulative techniques and easily comes to dominate the minds and hearts of unsuspecting people. Absolute cooperation and solidarity between families is necessary in order to rescue as many victims of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church as possible. In particular, in the case of Korea-Japan ‘blessings’, I think the key is the full support and cooperation of the Christian Churches in Korea. I hope that such a way will open quickly in the future. I thank you for reading this.
1) A term describing a married couple of Korean male believer and Japanese female believer.
2) The Kansai District lies in the southern-central region of Japan’s main island, Honshū.
3) ‘Subject partner’ – in mass marriages, the term a bride uses to address her groom. Wives are called ‘object partners.’
4) Micro – abbreviation for economic activities such as traveling by microbus to different areas to fundraise. Members sometimes lived in the microbuses for weeks at a time.
5) Taiyaki (鯛焼き, literally ‘baked sea bream’) is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. It imitates the shape of the 鯛, Tai (Japanese red seabream), which it is named after. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings may be custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato. Some shops even sell taiyaki with okonomiyaki, gyoza filling, or a sausage inside. In South Korea, Taiyaki are known as bungeo-ppang. Taiyaki are similar to imagawayaki, which are thick round cakes also filled with sweet azuki bean paste or custard.
6) A Japanese female UC member, Miyuki Park, murdered her abusive, alcoholic unemployed Korean husband and is currently serving time in jail.