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2011年9月25日 (日)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:甘い言葉にご用心 /東京

(Mainichi Japan) September 25, 2011
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Don't be fooled by spiritual fraudsters
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:甘い言葉にご用心 /東京

Recently, the head of a religious group called "Shinsekai" (World of God) was arrested for tricking customers into paying for expensive "prayers" and "spiritual items." The transactions didn't happen at a cult hall somewhere, but at around 200 "healing salons" around the country. It's said that over the course of seven years, the salons received almost 18 billion yen from their customers.

I once saw on television an interview with a woman who went to a similar salon and paid over one million yen after the staff there tricked her with words like, "A prayer is necessary to improve your fortune." The woman was living in Tokyo alone and trying to make a career for herself, but she started to feel discouraged, that her efforts were not being rewarded. That was when the salon's advertisement of a "detox of mind and body" drew her in. The salon had seemed nice to the woman and had given her hope that she could maybe change her life for the better.

The kinds of people who fall victim to this kind of fraud are generally hard working, sincere types who are troubled by work, health, or love. They wonder why, even though they have worked so hard, they are not better rewarded. Before they know it, they are pulled in by fraudsters' claims that "the key to solving your problems is here." and they put themselves under the control of fraudsters.

Of course, the people most at blame here are the fraudsters, who try to make profit off of other people's problems.

Still, we who can become their victims need to keep something in mind: be careful of help or goodwill that comes with strings attached.

We have a tendency to think we mustn't depend on others and therefore push ourselves too hard. I think that it would be OK for us to show more weakness to others and let them know when we need help.

However, when we ask for help and those who approach ask for large sums of money or conversion to a religion, we should be on guard.

There is a saying in Japanese that "a drowning person will clutch at even a straw," and I can understand such feelings well. However, these days there is help on offer besides fraudsters and religious cults. There are NPOs and government-run counseling services for a variety of problems that trouble us. Though it may take some work to discover the one we need, it is a much better option than being drawn into a spiritual healing salon that promises on its signboard to solve all of our problems.

Almost all the things that bother us can be solved. However, it takes a little time and effort. Please be wary of tempting claims that a single prayer or a single item can instantly solve your problems.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2011年9月20日 地方版


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