Hitoshi Jin describes his younger brother spending the booming 1980s "cult surfing," exploring what new religions had to offer to fill the gaping spiritual void left by a childhood scarred by an abusive father.

Like others seeking refuge from the rampant materialism of the era, he appeared to find a form of salvation in the Buddhist-Hindu influenced teachings espoused in what was then a yoga-training circle run by a long-haired, bearded former acupuncturist called Shoko Asahara.

Jin, a Buddhist priest, recalls his brother showing him a periodical published by the group claiming its guru could levitate. He brushed it aside as nonsense.