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May 21, 2003

Pana Wave's Roots in English Teaching

Frenzied media coverage of the white-robed Pana Wave Laboratory cult and its journey through central Japan has largely died down, particularly since the apocalaptic date of May 15th came and went. But one little-known fact about cult guru Yuko Chino (69) is that she got started as an English tutor. Having grown up in a broken family in Osaka, Chino was regarded as attractive and intelligent but somewhat withdrawn at the junior college where she studied English. After graduating, she rarely left her home and her mother proudly told people that she regularly conversed with the Archangel Michael. It was at this time that she started teaching English to neighborhood children. She waived the fees provided they would join her in prayer. Those children became the first of her followers, a legion that swelled to a reported 2,000 members.

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