Forced De-Conversion Victim Statements
Y. S. (name withheld by request)
Confined: December 1997
I was born to my father Yoshinori and my mother Toshiko in Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture, on October 5, 1970. I have a brother who is three years older than me. I was introduced to the Unification Church in May 1992 and began studying the Divine Principle. I joined the church in August of the same year.
I was planning to attend the International Blessing of Marriage to be held in the United States on November 29, 1997. When I told my parents in October, they objected and told me to cancel the marriage. I was working at a boutique at the time. My parents had just built a new house about 15 minutes’ away from the old house. They were living there, while my brother and I continued to live in the old house because it was more convenient to commute.
At the end of October, when I came out of the store after work, my parents were waiting for me outside in a car. They told me they wanted to talk to me and half forced me to go with them. From that day on, my parents wanted to “talk” with me every night and they kept criticizing the church until late at night. They handed me books and copies of excerpts of books written by anti-UC people, and told me to read them. They showed me the memoir written by Ms. Hiroko Yamazaki as well as the one written by the wife of the first son of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. They also told me about “blood sharing” and about Rev. Moon’s relationships with different women.
The president of my company even sent for me after work and tried to persuade me to quit the church. The managing director also tried. On weekends, my uncle would come, or my aunt would come with my cousin, a former member, and try to persuade me. My friends called me to tell me I should leave the church. In this way, people were incessantly on my case, and I lost a lot of weight because it was giving me stomach problems. I told my parents that I would cancel my marriage plans this time, because I felt that I couldn’t handle much more. That calmed my parents down for the time being.
Kidnapping and confinement
About a week later, I called my parents from Aomori Airport and told them I was leaving for the United States. When I came back at the beginning of December, my parents, elder brother, uncle, aunt and cousin were waiting for me as I was exiting Aomori Airport. They grabbed both my arms and forced me into a car with my belongings and brought me back home. My uncle told me later that an anti-UC minister told them that once you receive the Blessing, you will be sent abroad to suffer forced labor. That is why they felt that they had to bring me home no matter what.
There were many things that my family said to me, but at the end, my father said “I am going to quit my job and risk everything to talk you out of this faith, so I would like you to quit your job too.” I told him that being the responsible person that I am, I couldn’t just quit my job the next day. I asked him to let me at least work for one more month, and he accepted.
However, my parents escorted me to and from work, and they wanted to “talk” every night until around midnight. They let me eat and go to the bathroom and take a bath like a normal person, but they didn’t let me go out except to go [under escort] to work. Sometimes when I became upset and tried to leave the room, my mother would angrily grab me from the back and tell me not to go. Because of stress, I started having stomach pains when my stomach was empty. Sometimes I would hide in my room and boycott the discussions.
At those times, my uncle was called and we talked in my bedroom. My uncle was the only person I sometimes complained to, because he would listen to me from an objective position. My parents never changed their attitudes.
Once, my uncle, aunt, brother, cousin and I went out to dinner together. I remember it being a little strange because they didn’t bring up the church at all. One or two days later, I heard my father talking on the phone in the living room, and when I listened from the other side of the door, I heard him say “we took our daughter out for dinner thinking it might change her but it didn’t do any good.” It sounded like he was reporting to someone, and it made me question what he was doing.
At dawn on December 28, I decided to escape because I felt that I would lose my mind if I stayed home any longer. I cut my bed sheets, tied them together and secured them to a window frame on the second floor. I attempted to get down holding on to the makeshift rope, but I wasn’t strong enough to support myself and ended up letting go, thus falling to the ground. I twisted my left ankle when I hit the ground, but I continued to run until I was sure no one was coming after me. I called the church from a pay phone and asked them to come pick me up. They brought me to a church member’s home. I had to see a doctor because my foot swelled up where it was twisted.
After eight or nine years, my uncle told me that, at the time, my parents became alarmed at the extent of my commitment to my faith and called a TV station to get a referral to a pastor. It seems that they were following his directions when they were attempting to persuade me to leave the church. My parents gathered my brother, uncle and aunt to discuss plans with this pastor. The pastor suggested using a house he had in Aomori City for the family and I to have discussions. My uncle said the pastor gave him the impression that he dealt with this kind of problem thoughtlessly, as if it were a game of some sort. My parents decided not to take me to the house but to do it at home. I don’t know how much they had to do with the pastor and how much they paid him, but he was surely a big influence on them.
Afterward, when I spoke to my mother, she said, “You probably haven’t forgiven me yet, have you?” I felt that not only me but my parents were hurt by this ordeal.
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