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    "Our Unpleasant Neighbors" Chapter 6 "Families torn apart" PDF Print E-mail

    Kazuhiro Yonemoto
    December 2009

    Screaming mad with itch

    Soon after moving into an apartment in Totsuka, Asako found her atopic eczema back again from her days in Gunma prefecture. The apartment was supposed to be her long-awaited safe haven, but she felt too itchy to appreciate the new environment.

    She had to pay visits to her dermatologist, only to be treated with stronger steroids with more side effects. The medication showed quick effects, but soon with more spreading rash. It seemed the more medication was applied, the stronger the atopic resistance became and shorter its effects lasted. At its worst, as much as 20 units of steroids were applied in a month!

    In the following spring and summer of 1997, she had to be hospitalized twice. When discharged, her condition looked slightly improved, just to find one-inch-large reddish rashes around her body, driving her mad in scrabbling them but little effect. Eventually, she decided to end this vicious cycle by stopping steroids in July 1998.

    But then the rebound! The rash spread all over -- her face, ankles, abdomen and all the way to her back. Reluctantly, she had to ask her mother's help. Five days a week, she had her father drive to her doctor, who was to undo the steroid. Her conditions were horrible: her skin was like a snake with 5-millimeter-square, dry 'scales' peeled off before 'fresh atopic rash' coming up. She saw a total stranger in the mirror with the swollen red face and smashed eyes.

    Along with the spreading rash, she began having nightmares. They followed three patterns:

    In one pattern, she was chased after by a monster inside a closed room. Her desperate run ended up her being caught.

    In another, while she was asleep, she saw an invisible zombie-like object talking out all kinds of abusive words to her ear, poking her in the back or clinging to her. Out of frustration and fear, she tried to escape, to no avail as if she had been tied up.

    The third pattern concerns her family persistently bullying her psychologically. Though full of rage and humiliation, she was unable to rebut. Its location was always her family home.

    She woke up sweating all over her body, which was nearly out of the bed. Though she struggled to stay in the middle, she felt immobile like being bound hand and foot. The dreams were so real to Asako that their negative impacts persisted with palpitation all day long.

    Her drinking habit from the days in Gunma continued, even resorting to whisky while she felt in the high. Her whisky consumption increased from one month a bottle, two weeks, one week, four days and, by the year 2000 only two days to finish a bottle!

    There was little regular pattern between sleep and arousal. For instance, the conditions of one week in January of a certain year was as follows:

    January 23rd: 4 AM - 8 AM asleep 4 hours
    January 23rd: 8 AM - 5 AM of 24th awake for 21 hrs
    January 24th: 5 AM - 3 PM asleep 10 hrs
    January 24th: 3 PM - 10 AM of 25th awake for 19 hours
    January 25th: 10 AM - 3 PM asleep 5 hrs
    January 25th: 3 PM - 12 noon of 26th awake for 20 hours
    January 26th: 12 noon - 6 PM asleep for 6 hrs
    January 26th: 6 PM - 10 PM of 27th awake for 28 hrs
    January 27th: 10 PM - 5 PM of 28th asleep for 19 hrs
    January 28th: 5 PM - 12 noon of the 29th awake for 19 hrs
    January 29th: 12 noon - 6 PM asleep for 6 hours

    Physically exhausted and drunk with large daily dose of whisky, she still kept aroused for long hours. Dejected and alone in her apartment, she felt taken by abrupt rage or sadness. In a morbid mood, recollection of her confinement suddenly tormented her, sending her spirit in the high and agitating her brain spinning.

    Maybe better to concentrate on something. Shortly after relocating to the new apartment, she began working on its interior arrangements. Over the next six months, she got indulged in painting all over the walls with white paints as well as changing sliding-doors and screens. But in the intermissions, she succumbed to negative emotions. An abandoned cat 'Mie', as she named it, was her only comfort.

    Shortly after the relocation, she and her parents paid a visit to the Totsuka Church. Its pastor, Sakae Kurotori received them with all smiles and introduced Asako to his congregation.

    The pastor said, "Her custody period lasted four and a half months. It could be longer, as she was such a strong character!" Trembling at his remark, Asako mumbled, "Definitely no way!"

    Asako's parents were greeted by other families. "God bless you! Your daughter could quit (the Unification Church)." Until a few months before, the Asako's parents were hearing advice from these people as 'a family with an active (Unification Church) member'. But now Asako's parents are standing in their camp together with the daughter! The parents were uplifted with joy.

    Asako started attending the Totsuka Church, for services and study sessions on Sundays as well as the Bible study on Wednesdays. In the earlier half of the study session, all the participants encircled Pastor Kurotori. The latter half was split into three groups: former Unification Church members; family members of the former members; and families with active Unification Church members. Each group sat around respective tables, discussing and exchanging information. Fathers of 'the active members' normally attended on Sundays owing to their jobs.

    Asako was not so talkative in those meetings, nonetheless, she did report about problems of the Unification Church and offered advices to the members' families.

    To one man whose wife had joined the Unification Church, Asako advised: "Why don't you talk with her at home, rather than resorting to 'custody (abduction and confinement)'? Don't you trust her? Based on your trust and accepting her whole being, you had better carefully and thoroughly listen to what she believes, instead of emotionally reacting or opposing to her outright. Then, you discuss on whatever you feel dubious on the Unification Church."

    About two months later, the man came up to Asako with overwhelming expression of joy. He said: "You know what! I did how you advised me. My wife did quit (the Unification Church) smoothly! I feel great that I did not adopt 'custody' on her. I owe you a lot!"

    Some time later, his wife showed up to the church and the couple expressed their appreciation to Asako.

    Until she was hospitalized on atopic eczema in spring 1997, Asako attended every church session. Even after the atopy interruption, she participated intermittently until the fall of 1999. Her parents did the same twice a week until around that time.

    There were about 20 former Unification Church members. Some of them lived alone near the Totsuka Church and attended those study sessions. It was not for Asako only, as it turned out, that Pastor Kurotori promised a free living space. They were not willing to live with their parents.

    Why do we have to attend the church, having discontinued our association with the Unification Church? Pastor Kurotori explained to Asako and her parents as follows:

    The former members would remain under the influences of the Unification Church for some time, such as its mindset, behavioral patterns and remnants of the mind control. Thus, they are susceptible to frustration or mental disorder if exposed to work places right away. They will be much better off if they take some time to rest and rehabilitate before going back to the society.

    Moreover, they are in an unstable mental state, having renounced and lost the faith. In the study sessions, as they chat among the former members or provide advice to families with active members, they will sort things out and be convinced of their quitting of the Unification Church. In this way, they can gradually fill the spiritual vacuum and stabilize their minds.

    Even though Asako abided by the pastor's advice and participated in the sessions, she was not at all convinced of what they called 'custody and persuasion'. The agony she has now did not stem from her days in the Unification Church nor from the vacuum created after quitting it. It is the very flashback of the abduction and confinement that excruciates her! At times, speaking about agonies in detention, she argued about stopping the method altogether'.

    It was only Misa Takasu that agreed to her argument, as mentioned in the Chapter One earlier.

    A story of Misa

    Away from Asako's story, let me write down about how Misa came to the Totsuka Church.

    Misa began to show up at the Unification Church's seminars around the end of 1988, she was 27 years old. Not following the church's directives, she was interested in other religions' programs or self-improvement seminars. Hardly an exemplary member. She had least desire to receive the blessing marriage conducted by the church.

    In 1994 she was made to engage in the Women Federation for World Peace, an affiliation of the Unification Church. In November, she traveled to Fiji, a Pacific island nation, as a missionary with an official status as 'a volunteer member' of WFWP.

    She came back to Japan in May the following year. After spending several days at her parents' home, she signed up for a temporary work. While in Fiji, Misa had harbored some doubts about the Unification Church. She thought: when she finds a job, it may be the end of her involvement with the church.

    One day on her way home from the temporary work, her parents were at the station to fetch her by car. Misa noticed the car was not heading towards her house. Her parents said: "Let us go and see your sister's new apartment!"

    As they approached the apartment, she felt something uncomfortable with hives getting conspicuously itchy.

    As she entered, she found the place unlike her sister's apartment. Abruptly, her parents told her, "Here, let us discuss about the Unification Church without interruptions or noise."

    As she looked around, the existing lock was equipped with additional key. The toilet's door was unlatched so that anyone cannot lock in. Overwhelmed by shock and panic, Misa was unable to talk or eat, just lying down for several days.

    Misa was made captive in the apartment in front of Yayoi Dai Station, which was the same one that would be used to confine Asako. In other words, Misa used it in May 1995, then Asako from November the same year. Before Misa, someone else was detained there.

    When Kurotori showed up to the apartment, after three months in captivity, Misa found her body trembling then freezing in horror. Not bothered by her condition, though, Pastor Kurotori offered a piece of Jell-O, in grin and silky voice, "Let us eat this together!"

    While Misa stayed stiffed, Kurotori suddenly changed his demeanor to a grim face. He took out 'anti-Unification Church books' from his bag and piled them on the table. "Read these books!" he instructed and slandered the Unification Church with scandalous abuses.

    One and a half months later, Kurotori came with a former member and announced to move to another place. Unlike the case of Asako, it was a unilateral order. Misa put up some resistance, but to no avail facing four people including her parents. She was forced out and dragged to another apartment in Gunma. Her car was led by another vehicle.

    In the following night, six former members accompanied Pastor Yoshio Shimizu of the Oota Hachiman Church to the apartment. Shocked and dejected, Misa refused to eat for the next 16 days. Her mother expressed worry of her daughter getting skinnier each passing day, Pastor Shimizu said impassively, "If anything happens, we shall put her on a drip infusion."

    Only once, Pastor Kurotori came over the apartment to deal with her fasting situation. He said that he would grant anything she desires. But when she responded by pleading, "For God's sake, please get me out of this place! I want to go where I can think freely", Kurotori bluntly rejected it, saying "Anything but that one!"

    Gradually, Misa started to wonder how stupid of her just sitting at the room's corner in depression and without much appetite. Moreover, she was disappointed to see her parents asking the pastors for instructions on anything. They had told me time and again: "We want to discuss things between parents and the child". But, what matters most for them was not what their own child says but what those ministers would instruct. She finally realized that her talks do not mean anything to the parents.

    In defiance, Misa began indulging herself in reading those "anti-Unification Church books", which she had ignored for months. In those books, Misa could find some convincing answers on her questions about the Unification Church.

    Misa eventually declared to quit the Unification Church. Subsequently, just like Asako, she attended the Oota Hachiman Church and accompanied people to the sites of other confinements.

    After two weeks, she was told to leave the apartment for home, because "A new member is to be brought here." Instead of going home, Misa rented an apartment in Tokyo and resumed a temporary work.

    She kept remembering the members in detention with strained countenances like Noh masks. So, she went to Gunma every weekend not to press them to leave the Unification Church but to ease their hearts from dread and horror of captivity and confinement.

    After two-month shuttles between Tokyo and Gunma, Misa began attending the Totsuka Church where her mother attended in study sessions. She was intent to suggest Kurotori to stop the abduction and confinement. She was so serious about it that she canceled the Tokyo apartment and moved into a new one near the Totsuka Church. It was a few months later that Asako showed up to the Totsuka Church.

    Double bind

    Whenever they found opportunities, Asako and Misa advised Kurotori to stop the 'persuasion through custody' method. Each of them also spoke with him in private, with little positive responses. He at times shouted: "What alternatives do you have other than the persuasion through custody?"

    On the other hand, once Asako pleaded about bitterness which she experienced when she was abducted in broad daylight. Pastor Kurotori responded by talking to everybody, "Let us not carry out custody on the street!"

    Asako also consulted with Kurotori about her severe atopic eczema or sleeping disorder, never to receive his advice. In time, Kurotori's attitude became unsympathetic. Her calls were disconnected by his saying, "I am busy!" She felt kind of betrayed.

    Apart from Kurotori's attitudes, Asako was shocked by a remark of one male former member. He said: "You talk about pains and agony, don't you? Do you prefer to be the Unification Church member?" His words sounded like cutting through her heart with a knife.

    The question which he posed is known as 'double bind', a dangerous communication pattern which may cause schizophrenia. For example, a child is called by his father and approaches him, but his father would kick the child away. But if the child ignores father's call, the child would be reprimanded. The child will be at a loss on which action he should take.

    The former member was posing the similar question. If one disagrees with the method of persuasion through custody, he/she has no alternative to being a member of the Unification Church. If one is unwilling to continue being a member, he/she must accept the persuasion through custody. Asako could not choose either option.

    On the other hand, her parents kept attending the church, even when Asako could not owing to her sickness. They often met Misa's mother there. Parents whose children had already withdrawn from the Unification Church had to support families with active Unification Church members. These practices free of charge were called 'service of thanks' among the families. They were supposed not only to talk about their successful experiences but also to help in the actual process of 'persuasion through custody'. Asako's parents were involved in three such cases.

    Parents' service of thanks

    One case involved the abduction and confinement of Soichiro Kobayashi, 36 years old, who recalled his experience as follows:

    "In the morning of April 1997, I was on my way to a temporary work near the Senju Police Station in Tokyo. Suddenly, my father appeared and shouted, "That is Soichiro!" He dashed to me so fast, accompanied by about 20 people including my mother and some relatives. The father and four of them assaulted me, got hold of my hands and legs, hoisted my body up and pushed me into a wagon car".

    Among these 20 some people were Asako's parents, who were fellows at the Totsuka Church's study sessions.

    Kobayashi's parents obviously followed Soichiro every day around his Adachi Church and could identify his whereabouts. Right away, the abduction and confinement plans were prepared under the direction of Shiono (nom de guerre). Soichiro's photos were distributed to all those involved in the scheme. From the Totsuka Church, nine people including Asako's parents took part on the very day with the role of preventing possible hindrances.

    In another case, they caught a former member who fled away. It was in December 1996 during the study session, when Kurotori with a pale face shouted upon entering the study room: "Just now, we received a call from Pastor Shimizu that Nobuko (not real name) escaped bare-footed from the Gunma apartment! Can anyone go and search for her right away?"

    Nobuko's parents living in Kamakura were also study fellows. Their first confinement on Nobuko ended up in failure but the second one was successful. They heard that she was being persuaded by Pastor Shimizu at the Sunrise Ota apartment.

    Standing up in response were Asako's parents and four female former members. Though unsure about their direction, they drove fast to a likely destination, namely, a church home where Nobuko used to stay near the church facilities in Setagaya, Tokyo.

    As their vehicle was stopped near the church facility, it happened, a taxi stopped beside their car and none other than Noboko stepped out. An accompanying female former member invited Nobuko. "This way, please!" Apparently confused, Nobuko got into the vehicle of Asako's parents.

    They drove her all the way back to Gunma and handed her over to waiting Pastor Shimizu near the Tone River.

    A few months later, Nobuko and her parents came over to the Totsuka Church. The parents said, "We apologize for all your troubles because of our poor daughter."

    Asako was furious, thinking in her mind: "How could they blame their child who tried to be away from such parents who confined her?" One of the female former members who took part in bringing Nobuko back admitted: "I am scared to meet Nobuko, as we caught her on her way to flee." This woman herself had an experience of escape from confinement. "While I was running around bare-footed in the mountain, I heard voices shouting "Over there!" or "This way!" as if I had been hunted down."

    The third case ended up in a blow. Rie Imari, 38 years old, was the target of this abduction. Rie was the eldest among three sisters, all of whom were members of the Unification Church.

    In October 1995, a month before Asako was abducted, Rie and her younger sister were confined almost simultaneously in the apartment in Gunma. (Her younger sister later denied that she was abducted). The younger sister was persuaded out and quit the Unification Church, while Rie escaped from the second floor of the apartment through the rain pipe.

    While Asako was confined in an apartment in Yokohama, Asako's younger sister came and handed a memo of a good news to her parents. "Rie's younger daughter was persuaded last year and the result was positive. Great, isn't it?" The memo meant Rie's sister quitting the Unification Church.

    Soon after her escape, Rie fled into a house of Tomoya Imari, with whom she had been blessed in marriage. Subsequently, they completed their marriage registry.

    A plan to abduct Rie was stirred again by Shiono. The role to bring Rie out was assigned by her younger sister who had left the Unification Church. The site was a restaurant located in the Miyamae Ward of Kawasaki city. It was examined beforehand by Asako's parents. Though Tomoya and Rie Imari had actually come to this restaurant, for some reason they did not enter.

    Though Asako's parents were not involved, Rie was attacked and abducted by about ten people including her parents, relatives, parents' acquaintances and Shionoya. At that time they were about to finish the birthday party for Rie's younger sister at a restaurant called the Denney's. They left Tomoya behind injured with his eyeglasses broken.

    Rie's confinement site was changed from Yokohama, Fujisawa and finally to Fukaya, Saitama prefecture. There, Pastor Shimizu of the Ohta Hachiman Church took care of her. After six months of confinement, she was released thanks to her deception of quitting the church. She returned to her husband Tomoya again.

    These were what they call 'service of thanks' carried out by Asako's parents.

    They were not necessarily obliged to get involved. When they were to detain Nobuko who was fleeing from the Gunma apartment, they drove their car swiftly. They were damn serious to rescue children from the wicked cult by taking them into 'custody'. For them, there was no alternative in sight.

    Parents are actively supporting the 'custody', while their daughters are suffering from the 'custody's aftereffects. What a tragedy!

    Totsuka Church in 'wartime'

    Let me go ahead with the story. Around the beginning of 1999, Asako's atopic symptom was improving at last. After a long interval, Asako visited the Totsuka Church and found its totally different atmosphere. It was because Rie and Tomoya Imari, the couple previously mentioned, had sued Pastor Kurotori. As it turned, the couple filed a claim of compensation in January 1999 at the Yokohama District Court for their damages against a total of eight individuals including Kurotori, Shimizu, their own parents and relatives.

    After this court case began, the relationship between the Totsuka Church and Misa, Asako and her parents was drastically altered.

    Since the court proceedings began, Pastor Kurotori was often seen with his jerking face and screeching voice. Probably in panic facing the court inquiry, he was heard blurting out words like, "I have no knowledge of Rie's mother, do I?" Or, he was heard casting dirt on Shimizu who was talking to Asako's parents.

    "Because I ended up teaming up with Pastor Shimizu, that girl managed to escape by a faked withdrawal and I am now sued! Pastor Shimizu is still under the influence of the Unification Church. How comes our church assigned a former Unification Church member as one of our pastors?" "Am I supposed to ravel out the mind control effects on Pastor Shimizu, as well? I don't want that!"

    If Kurotori did not know Rie's parents so well, Shiono, who assisted the abduction at the Denney's restaurant, would be thrown into a real trouble with implication that he acted on his own regardless of Kurotori's complicity. "How could it be?" Shiono complained to Asako's parents at one point.

    Asako and her parents along with other study fellows of the Totsuka Church went to the hearings at the Yokohama District Court several times.

    After each hearing, the defense team would have a summary meeting at the Bar Association Center or a near-by park. At one meeting, Asako mustered up all her courage and said, "Though I recognize problems of the Unification Church, I also sympathize the very agony and pains experienced by the plaintiff during her confinement, the very reason she filed the case for. I had the similar, horrible experience under detention. Why don't you hear what the plaintiff has to say?" Asako's mother offered a comment of consent.

    The reaction was harsh. Several people at the meeting screamed all at once. "Which side are you taking? Are you supporting the Unification Church?"

    There was a circumstance behind their hysteric reaction. In another similar court case filed a month after the Rie's complaint, Pastor Shimizu was sued by Mitsuko Andor (Her husband is an American.).

    The two consecutive court filings were taken by the pastors, lawyers and supporters as an all-out offensive by the Unification Church against the United Church of Christ in Japan as well as anti-Unification Church group.

    Thus, they took a combat readiness! The defense argument should be: "There was no abduction nor confinement!" as against the accusation: "The plaintiff should not be coerced to renounce her faith by means of abduction and confinement."

    After the summary meeting, Asako was reprimanded by Pastor Kurotori; "How comes you dare say such a remark? Isn't it a matter of course for you to support this court case to pay some debts to their service?"

    Once the defense team took a position "There was no abduction nor confinement!" they now see nuisance in people like Asako who would appeal the torments associated with the detention. Since that meeting at the park, Asako's parents did not receive regular correspondence such as the court case reports or monthly requests for support funds. Even phone calls from closest study fellows stopped.

    Worsening symptoms

    The study sessions were more and more devoted to discuss measures for the court cases. Finding no room to express their torments related to the confinement, Misa and Asako found their mental conditions drastically deteriorating.

    Misa used to experience a few days of depression and dejection every three months when she began showing up at the Totsuka Church's study sessions. But as she faced Pastor Kurotori's indifference to her appeals about the agony in confinement, Misa's depression became rather routine, coupled with headaches, palpitation, bout of vomiting and sleeping disorder.

    A hideous news of a girl's prolonged confinement in Niigata acted like a trigger to blast off Misa's symptoms.

    A 4th-grade girl in an elementary school went into missing on her way home in November 1990 in Sanjo city, Niigata. In January 2000, ten years later, she was found in a state of confinement in a room of her male abductor. It was one year after the Yokohama District Court initiated the case.

    The news was spread across the nation, with the word 'confinement' flew around. Asako had to face the word every day and suffer from the frequent flashbacks of her own saga.

    Both Misa and Asako started to write their experiences and thoughts online from the latter half of 2000. Misa wrote the following:

    "That confinement incident (of a Niigata girl) is in the media every day. The word 'confinement', so conspicuous on advertisements inside commuter trains, caused flashbacks of my own confinement. Reported comments by the girl's parents and the kin would send me into a state of panic."

    "This girl could cling to a hope that her parents would one day come to rescue her! Shedding tears with envy, I was screaming inside my heart because I could not have that hope! It was my own parents that put me into confinement! It was my own family and kin that consented to it. Even the police was of no help! I had to live only with the feeling of despair that I would not be freed from that situation all my life."

    No matter how stormy was the parent-child relationship in adolescence, parents are always like a mother-ship, to which a child can return at a time of hardship or expect a rescue when the he/she is in danger.

    What if the mother-ship itself afflicts hardship and danger in the form of confinement? Far worse and shocking than the confinement by the hands of strangers! It may hardly be appreciated by people other than the afflicted.

    Asako's mental conditions increasingly deteriorated by the day. "Suffering from advanced autonomic imbalance, my body did not stop sweating in the cold, its sodden skins ripped off sending burning pains and, in a cooled room my muscles ached all around."

    "Unable or unwilling to move out. No interest in anything. No joy of living, wishing for quick death. Overwhelmed by irritation and frustration, I cannot do anything."
    (Excerpt from her diary)

    Rejected by Kurotori and ignored by the Totsuka Church, Asako felt like crawling in quagmire. She was told by Kurotori, "Now you are free to live on your own!" But she found nowhere to go outside the apartment or anything worth doing.

    She went to 'a home' of the Unification Church to say hello and collect some of her stuff, after she moved to the apartment in Totsuka. She also consulted with a lawyer by the name of Hiroshi Yamaguchi, whom Kurotori introduced to her, concerning reimbursement of her donations and cancellation of her engagement with a Korean man as matched at the church's mass wedding.

    Hiroshi Yamaguchi assumed a position as the secretary general of the National Network of Lawyers against Spiritual Sales (NNL), a main force behind legal battles against the Unification Church. He was also the attorney on behalf of Kurotori and Shimizu in the court case filed by Rie.

    The engagement cancellation took time in communication in two different languages. Nonetheless, the Korean man accepted the request.

    As for the reimbursement claims, she had to trace all the bank accounts, memos etc. to assess the amounts of donations and purchase of church-related items. And that was done in atopic agony! It has taken over two years to settle the matters. Thanks to Yamaguchi's negotiation, it was settled in a manner that a total of about four million yen will be refunded in monthly installment as against her initial claim for about eight million yen. She has done what has to be done!

    Asako sometimes attended a Japanese calligraphy school or observed a care center of the disabled. But she was hardly at ease in communicating with people as she gets tense even in speaking to a supermarket staff.

    When she also paid visits to her family, she almost vomited out of tension. The same situation occurred when they managed a family outing. Her family tried to uplift her spirit with cheerful manners, which reminded her of the disgusting recollection of 'a family play' which she was obliged to do during the confinement in the Yokohama apartment.

    "Deep into the bottom of my emotion lies 'anger' settling like murky heavy oil, constantly emitting poison of rage, oppressing positive emotions like happiness, delight or cheerfulness. These feelings do not last long in my mind."
    (From Asako's Diary)

    Having reached their limits in their lone struggles, first Misa then Asako visited psychosomatic clinic. They were diagnosed as PTSD. Asako was 36 years old.

    PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, was first used by American psychiatrists to describe peculiar symptoms observed with American soldiers returning from the frontlines in the Vietnam War. The term was registered officially in the Systematic Psychiatric Medicine after the concept was included in the "DSM Mental Disorder Classification & Manual" in 1980. Later, as similar symptoms were observed with rape victims and abused minors, the concept of PTSD has been accepted by many psychotherapeutic doctors and psychiatrists.

    In Japan, PTSD became known widely when America-educated pioneering psychotherapists introduced the concept at the time of the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake in 1995. One of them, Dr. Hisao Nakai, a neuro-psychiatrist at Kobe University (now its professor emeritus), promptly translated Dr. Judith Lewis Herman's book entitled 'Trauma and Recovery'. This book contributed a lot to psychiatrists and clinical psychotherapists. Now, PTSD aftereffects are acknowledged as elements for compensation or legal claims in traffic accidents.

    Let me put it in plain terms.

    We at times undergo mental injuries from one's superior's careless behaviors, sweetheart's cold words or demise of the kin. You may digest and send them away into the past by sharing them with your friends, relief-seeking trips or other ways.

    But you may confront extremely shocking adversity which is beyond the natural healing capacity, something like blade cuts into your body and hard to send away to the past. They may include such direct encounters with wars, assault and battery, plunder, kidnapping, hostage-taking, terrorism incidents, torture, confinement, disasters and accidents.

    How about Asako's case? Her doctor explained to me as follows:

    "(Asako) is suffering from the multiple PTSD from prolonged, sustained and repetitive traumatic injuries under the bodily constraints stemming from 'abduction and confinement against one's will', the forcible deprivation of one's freedom of faith and the breach of trust through "confinement by the hands of her closest kin."

    Having undergone traumatic experiences beyond one's natural healing capacity, this injury becomes like a crust that never heals, causing various symptoms. A clinical psychotherapist Dr. Satoro Nishizawa calls it 'extraneous substance in the mind'. If it were a physical wound, it could be contained with its suppuration or necrosis. But a psychical trauma could cause other mental or bodily symptoms.

    Main psychological symptoms of PTSD are: hyper-arousal (tension and nervousness), intrusive recollection (flashback), abstention and measles. Its physical symptoms are: sleep disorder, headache, abdominal pains, thirst, chill, qualm, eczema, convulsion, vomiting, dizziness, chest pains, high-blood pressure, palpitation, muscular quivering, tooth grinding, deteriorating eyesight, sweating, suffocation feelings etc.

    Examine these symptoms one by one, and you will find that all of them were experienced by Asako and Misa.

    It is not uncommon that PTSD ignites behavioral changes like dependence on alcohol and drugs as well as eating disorders from lost appetite to impulsive overeating.

    Asako's doctor pointed out about her drinking habit as associated with "her attempt to avoid repetitive intrusive recollection of images and memories from the days in confinement."

    In the previously-mentioned influential book, "Trauma and Recovery", Dr. Herman dealt with 'State of Confinement' exclusively in one chapter along with 'Child Abuse'. He writes:

    "The sense of being safe in this world, namely; the primary trust is attained through relations with ones who take care of him/her in the earliest stage of one's life. --- In a situation of fear, one automatically seeks for the primary source of solace and protection. Wounded soldiers or raped women would cry out for their mothers or God. If and when their cries are not responded, their primary trust will be shattered!"

    Dr. Herman pointed out: "Wounded soldiers or raped women would cry out for their mothers or God." Asako and the like were forced into confinement by the very mothers and fathers!