Unification Church business activities

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The Unification Church has been noted for its support and ownership a number of businesses in various countries.

David Bromley, a sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University, said: "The corporate section is understood to be the engine that funds the mission of the church. The wealth base is fairly substantial. But if you were to compare it to the LDS Church or the Catholic Church or other churches that have massive landholdings, this doesn't look on a global scale like a massive operation."[1]

In Eastern Europe Unification Church missionaries are using the church's business ties to win new converts.[2]


In South Korea the Tongil Group was founded in 1963 by church founder Sun Myung Moon as a nonprofit organization which would provide revenue for the church. Its core focus was manufacturing but in the 1970s and 1980s it expanded by founding or acquiring businesses in pharmaceuticals, tourism, and publishing. [3] In the 1990s Tongil Group suffered as a result of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. By 2004 it was losing money and was $3.6 billion in debt. In 2005 Sun Myung Moon’s son, Kook-jin Moon was appointed chairman of Tongil Group.[3] Among Tongil Group’s chief holdings are: The Ilwha Company, which produces ginseng and related products; Ilshin Stone, building materials; and Tongil Heavy Industries, machine parts including hardware for the South Korean military. The Tongil Group funds the Tongil Foundation which supports Unification Church projects including schools and the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea.[4]


Pyeonghwa Motors is an automobile manufacturer based in Seoul (South Korea) and owned by the church. It is involved in a joint-venture with the North Korean Ryonbong General Corp. The joint venture produces two small cars under license from Fiat,[5] and a pick-up truck and an SUV using complete knock down kits from Chinese manufacturer Dandong Shuguang. Pyeonghwa has the exclusive rights to car production, purchase, and sale of used cars in North Korea. However, most North Koreans are unable to afford a car. Because of the very small market for cars in the country, Pyeonghwa's output is reportedly very low. In 2003, only 314 cars were produced even though the factory had the facilities to produce up to 10,000 cars a year.[6] Erik van Ingen Schenau, author of the book Automobiles Made in North Korea, has estimated the company's total production in 2005 at not more than around 400 units.[7]


News World Communications, is an international news media corporation.[8] It was founded in New York City, in 1976, by Sun Myung Moon. Its first two newspapers, The News World (later renamed the New York City Tribune) and the Spanish-language Noticias del Mundo, were published in New York from 1976 until the early 1990s. In 1982 the New York Times described News World as "the newspaper unit of the Unification Church."[9] Rev. Moon's son Hyun Jin Moon is its chairman of the board.[10] News World Communications owns United Press International, The World and I, Tiempos del Mundo (Latin America), The Segye Ilbo (South Korea), The Sekai Nippo (Japan), the Zambezi Times (South Africa), The Middle East Times (Egypt).[11] Until 2008 it published the Washington D.C. based newsmagazine Insight on the News.[8] Until 2010, it owned the Washington Times. On November 2, 2010, Sun Myung Moon and a group of former Times editors purchased the paper from News World.[12]

Real estate[edit]

In the 1970s the Unification Church of the United States began making major real estate investments. Church buildings were purchased around the nation. In New York State the Belvedere Estate, the Unification Theological Seminary, and the New Yorker Hotel were purchased. The national headquarters of the church was established in New York City.[13] In Washington D.C. the church purchased a church building from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,[14] and in Seattle the historic Rolland Denny mansion for $175,000 in 1977.[15][16]In 1991 Donald Trump criticized Unification Church real estate investments as possibly disruptive to communities.[17] As of December 1994, Unification Church had invested $150 million in Uruguay. Members own the country's largest hotel, one of its leading banks, the second-largest newspaper and two of the largest printing plants.[18] In 2008 church related real estate investment partnership USP Rockets LLC was active in Richmond, Virginia.[19] In 2011 the church related National Hospitality Corporation sold the Sheraton National Hotel.[20]

Ocean related[edit]

In the United States the church used to own fishing and sea food interests. Among them are Master Marine, a shipbuilding and fishing company in Alabama;[21][22]International Seafood of Kodiak, Alaska;[23][24] and True World Foods, which runs a major portion of the sushi trade in the USA.[25] In 2011 Master Marine opened a factory in Las Vegas, Nevada to manufacture a 27-foot pleasure boat designed by Moon. [26][27]

Health care[edit]

Isshin Hospital is a church sponsored hospital in Japan which practices both modern and traditional Asian medicine.[28][29]


  1. ^ A Church in Flux Is Flush With Cash,
  2. ^ After Cold War, Cold Peace National Catholic Reporter October 1, 1999
  3. ^ a b Kim, Hyung-eun (April 12, 2010). "Business engine of a global faith". Joong Ang Daily. 
  4. ^ Kirk, Donald (May 2, 2010). "Sons rise in a Moon's shadow". Forbes. 
  5. ^ "Pyongwha Fiparam, el utilitario que anima la industria del automóvil de la RPDC" (in Spanish). Choson Digest. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  6. ^ http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200401/200401180004.html
  7. ^ China Car Forums - View Single Post - CBA partners with Pyeonghwa Motors of North Korea
  8. ^ a b "Who Owns What: News World Communications". The Columbia Journalism Review. 2003-11-24. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  9. ^ AROUND THE NATION; Sun Myung Moon Paper Appears in Washington from The New York Times
  10. ^ Global Peace Festival stirs Japan United Press International November 17, 2008
  11. ^ Yahoo! Finance profile
  12. ^ Shapira, Ian (November 3, 2010). "Moon group buys back Washington Times". Washington Post. p. C1. 
  13. ^ Introvigne, Massimo, 2000, The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, ISBN 1-56085-145-7, excerpt pages 13-16
  14. ^ Friends Forever gather to remember the Washington Ward, Deseret News, November 27, 2011
  15. ^ A Seattle jewel shines again, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 22, 2007
  16. ^ Architect Data Base
  17. ^ Unification Church insists Trump apologize, New York Times, 1991-5-26
  18. ^ Luft, Kerry (December 8, 1994). "Unification Church Invests Heavily In Uruguay". Chicago Tribune. 
  19. ^ Riverfront developer's origins are tied to Moon Richmond Times-Dispatch January 11, 2008
  20. ^ Sheraton National Hotel Sold, ARL Now, May 27, 2011
  21. ^ "Bayou La Batre residents embrace church they once called a cult"
  22. ^ "Moon's church settles into quiet fishing town". Rome News-Tribune. November 27, 1985. 
  23. ^ Philippines political leader visits Kodiak, Kodiak Mirror, September 14, 2010
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ Sushi and Rev. Moon: How Americans' growing appetite for sushi is helping to support his controversial church Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2006
  26. ^ Unification Church ‘means business’ with Las Vegas facility, Las Vegas Sun, 9-2-2011
  27. ^ Innovative Sport Fishing Boat to Be Unveiled in Las Vegas, Boating World, 8-18-2011
  28. ^ Clarke, Peter Bernard, 1999, Bibliography of Japanese new religions, with annotations and an introduction to Japanese new religions at home and abroad, Japan Library
  29. ^ Dept. of Religious Studies, Punjabi University., 1988, Journal of Religious Studies: Volume 16

See also[edit]