Japan tourist scam: Aussie grabbed by Buddhist cult at Tokyo station as YouTuber warns others

How Aussie tourist’s curiosity almost got the best of him after he was conned into joining a cult – before two women whisked him away to the middle of nowhere

  • Aussie tourist Andrew wrote about his encounter with a Buddhist cult in Japan
  • Approached at Tokyo train station, he was lured to the residential headquarters
  • The cult claimed their brand of Buddhism would ‘bring about world peace’
  • Youtuber Christopher Broad urged tourists to take the cult threat seriously 

An Aussie tourist being sold ‘world peace and happiness’ by two mysterious Japanese women has told how he barely escaped their cult after they approached him at a Tokyo train station and lured him to an office in the ‘middle of nowhere’. 

The Australian, referred to only as ‘Andrew’, described his eerie encounter to YouTuber Christopher Broad, who runs the channel ‘Abroad in Japan’.

In a letter to Mr Broad, Andrew explained how he was enjoying a typical day as a tourist in Tokyo back in 2017 when he was approached by the woman.

Andrew was passing through a bustling train station when the women, both around the age of 30, grabbed him.

They offered him a handful of pamphlets, which described how the brand of Buddhism they followed would ‘bring about world peace and happiness’. 

Andrew was approached by two women at Tokyo Station (above) claiming their branch of Buddhism would ‘bring about world peace’. He was then lured to their headquarters

According to Japan’s Bureau of Statistics, 67.2 per cent of Japanese people identified as Buddhist in 2020 with numerous branches having been created in recent decades.

One of these branches was ‘Aum Shinrikyo’, the cult behind the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attacks, where 14 people were killed and thousands injured. 

Despite that attack, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world and has some of the lowest robbery and murder rates of anywhere. 

It’s not known what branch of Buddhism the two women who Andrew was approached by adhered to, but according to the Aussie, they were persistent.  

Andrew refused their offer a number of times before his curiosity got the better of him and he accepted their invitation to get further information about the Buddhism group. 

The two women then whisked him away to an office building in a quiet residential area in ‘the middle of nowhere in Tokyo’. 

Once in the building, Andrew said that he was given prayer beads and a book of prayers written in Japanese and forced to meditate and chant for more than 40 minutes in front of a golden-plated shrine.

The two women stood nearby and kept a close eye on him.

‘Imagine this, you’re just on your day out on your holiday in Tokyo. Next thing you know you’re chanting in a room and holding prayer beads for 40 minutes,’ Broad said in the video.

After the prayers, Andrew was then taken to an initiation ceremony where he was coerced into signing documents that ratified his membership into the club. 

The two women who lured him to the office then received some sort of award, seemingly promoted.

‘The cult it seems, was some sort of pyramid scheme,’ Andrew wrote in his letter.

‘They were very persistent that I “bring my friends” next time I come.’

After leaving the office, Andrew quickly cut off all communication from the group, giving them a fake address and blocked the two women on Facebook.

After recounting Andrew’s story, Mr Broad urged other tourists to be careful in foreign countries and stay alert. 

‘This isn’t something to be skeptical about, this is something that happens. I’ve heard this story dozens of times from various viewers and listeners,’ he said. 

Christopher Broad (above), the Youtuber who read Andrew's story, said 'this isn't something to be skeptical about, this is something that happens'

Christopher Broad (above), the Youtuber who read Andrew’s story, said ‘this isn’t something to be skeptical about, this is something that happens’

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