Shoko Asahara’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death

Netflix’s ‘How to Become a Cult Leader’ takes an interesting approach when it comes to sharing stories about various cults from across the world that were often responsible for unimaginable tragedies. One of the most interesting cases covered in the series was of Shoko Asahara, the leader of Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese cult that was highly active in the 1980s and 1990s. Given the fame and following that he had generated, it is no wonder that people are curious about just how wealthy Asahara was at the time of his death, and we are here to explore the same!

How Did Shoko Asahara Earn His Money?

Born Chizuo Matsumoto, Asahara learned acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine in his youth. However, his role as a religious/cult leader can be traced back to sometime around 1984, when he established Aum Shinsen no Kai, a religious group whose name Asahara changed in 1987 to Aum Shinrikyo. Unlike many cult leaders that you may have heard of, Asahara seemed to thrive in the public spotlight and even went so far as to get his organization registered by the government. Indeed in 1989, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government recognized Aum Shinrikyo as a religious corporation.

In order to cement its place in the mind of the general public, Asahara wanted someone recognizable and respected to become a part of his organization. His search was fulfilled by recruiting Hideo Murai, an astrophysicist who was quite well-known and soon became one of the most influential people within Aum Shinrikyo. There was a time that Asahara was also planning on entering the world of politics and submitted his own name, as well as many others, to participate in the 1990 elections for Japan’s House of Representatives.

As a leader of an organization that, at one point, had about 50,000 people in it, Asahara’s sources of income were not limited. Whether it was by the sales of his books like ‘Beyond Life and Death’ and ‘Supreme Initiation,’ or music videos which became popular among the masses, the cult leader had no shortage of money. Additionally, many of his followers likely made generous donations to Aum Shinrikyo itself, adding even more cash to Asahara’s pockets. After the 1995 tragedy that took place in the subway of Tokyo, Japan, Asahara was arrested and later convicted for planning the sarin gas attacks. On July 6, 2018, he was executed alongside many of his top followers.

Shoko Asahara’s Net Worth

Given that Asahara was the man behind Aum Shinsen, the organization’s value is directly related to how much the leader was worth. During the early phases of the group’s formation, prior to its legal registration, reports suggest that the company was worth around $4 million. This is certainly not a small number, and at the point of its peak popularity, Aum Shinsen may have been worth about a billion dollars. However, between the terrible tragedy and Asahara’s execution in 2018, his financial status likely changed, especially since his death conviction was given out in 2004. As such, we believe that at the time of his death, Shoko Asahara was worth about $10 million.

Read More: Where Are Shoko Asahara’s Wife and Kids Now?