Closeup: After the Tokyo Subway Attack

In 1995, a doomsday cult perpetrated an attack on the Tokyo subway that killed twelve and injured thousands. Learn what happened afterward in this in-depth series.

This 11-episode series is written like a documentary and contains legal and other terminology that might be unfamiliar to many readers. This warrants a difficulty rating of Advanced, but it also represents a great opportunity to to learn the kind of vocabulary and grammar that appear in this sort of writing.

Note: For those unfamiliar with the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack, you may be interested in a three-part story in our News series that covers the attack, including survivor reports. (The linked series requires a subscription. If you're not a subscriber and you'd like to read the background, there is also good coverage on Wikipedia: English | Japanese.)

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Episode 1
Starts at the end, reviewing what happened for the leader of Aum Shinri Kyou and his associates.
Notes: The first sentence of a news piece is often the most information-dense, and this one is no exception. An extensive note helps you to break it down and determine if this series, which contains challenging Japanese, will be right for you.
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 3168
Episode 2
At the trials of leaders of the cult, a clearer picture begins to emerge.
Notes: This episode contains excellent criminal justice vocabulary, as well as notes clarifying what several terms mean.
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 882
Pro
Episode 3
Asahara's legal team tries two tactics that do not have the intended effect.
Notes: This episode contains a breakdown of a very information-dense sentence, plus a detailed explanation of the word uttaeru, which has several senses.
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 405
Pro
Episode 4
What was the motive for the sarin attack? Asahara's early teachings provide a clue.
Notes: This episode contains several uses of the word yo, "world," and notes on how to understand them.
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 224
Pro
Episode 5
As the religious group prepares for an attack, the police begin to move too.
Notes: This episode features a breakdown of a tricky sentence, plus a note on how to understand the kanji-packed names of crimes as you might see them in the news.
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 176
Pro
Episode 6
Accounts of members shed light on one of the reasons Asahara commanded such belief.
Notes: This episode contains a note on the root meaning of the words mieru and kikoeru.
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 166
Pro
Episode 7
A former member reveals more about how powerful the mystical experiences were.
Notes: This episode considers the difference between two words for "experience," as well as a common word for a news interview.
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 142
Pro
Episode 8
Asahara skillfully motivates his followers to push his plans forward.
Notes: This episode contains excellent vocabulary, such as the word for "rationalization" and an expression that means "in the name of (justice, etc.)."
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 122
Pro
Episode 9
Not everyone agrees with the sentences given to the top leaders. One lawyer explains why.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a secondary use of the common word tsumori, and one on a word that was born from a misspelling.
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 104
Pro
Episode 10
The arrests and executions were not the end for Aum. Learn more about its current form.
Notes: This episode contains a note on the common pattern X wo Y ni, as well as interesting vocabulary like the words for "recruit," "conspiracy," and "false charges."
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 101
Pro
Episode 11
A journalist with a long history of covering Aum shares his view of the young people in it.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a special use of the verb mukaeru, "to greet; to welcome."
Editions Status Total Readers
Standard Unread 99