Since the Sarin Gas Attacks in March 20th 1995, shinshinshuko (“New New Religions”) have become a taboo among contemporary Japanese society. The mere mentioning of this term can quickly end a conversation. However, the post-war phenomenon of New Religions has, if anything, been exacerbated in the post-bubble climate.
I’m particularly interested in the development of “Happy Science” (kofuku no kagakaku). Founded in 1986 by Ryuho Okawa, Happy Science promises spiritual healing to the alienated and disillusioned middle-class. Happy Science is a fast growing religious organization whose leader has outspokenly declared himself a reincarnation God, Buddha, Jesus Christ (to name a few). What separates this shinshinshuko from Aum Shinrikyo or Soka Gakkai, is the conservative right wing element to their organization. With the establishment of the “Happiness Realization Party” (kofukujitsukendo) just in this past summer, the organization’s militaristic and nationalistic elements should not be overlooked. Furthermore, as a student of East Asian studies, I believe it’s important to understand the cultural significance of “Happy Science” instead of simply labeling it a taboo.
- 1860s: Bakumatsu period sees founding of Tenrikyo, Kurozumikyo, Oomoto
- 1946: Emperor Showa (Hirohito) announces Ningen-sengen (Humanity Declaration), revealing that he is not living god, ending State Shinto.
- 1956: Ryuho Okawa is born in Tokushima, Japan
- 1981: Through Grand Enlightenment, “El Cantare” (the syncretic idol of various religious disciplines) reveals to Ryuho Okawa the religious mission of Kofuku no Kagaku.
- 1984: Shoko Asahara forms Aum Shinrikyo in Japan.
- 1986: Kofuku no Kagaku forms.
- 1994: “Nostradamus’ Horrible Revelation” releases in Japanese theaters.
- 1995: Sarin Gas Attack in Japan by Shoko Asahara’s guidance.
- 1997: “Hermes’ Love is like the Wind” releases in Japanese theaters.
- 2000: “The Laws of the Sun” releases in Japanese theaters.
- 2003: “The Golden Laws” releases in Japanese theaters.
- 2006: “The Laws of Eternity” releases in Japanese theaters.
- 2008: Kofuku no Kagaku changes from a romanized name to “Happy Science” in Foreign Countries.
- 2009: The Happiness Realization Party is founded with Ryuho Okawa as Prime Minister elect. There are 32 main temples (shojas or shoshinkans) and 200 local branches across the Japanese mainland.
From “the New Japanese National Constitution” by Ryuho Okawa, Leader and Founder of Happy Science and the Happiness Realization Party.
We the Japanese people—with the hearts of the gods and Buddhas, the aim of peace and prosperity on Earth in both Japan and the world, and with the sanctity as Nature’s, Buddha’s and God’s children as the foundation for humanity—hereby establish the New Japanese National Constitution.
Under this administration, a National Referendum by the People will enforce the Presidential system. The President’s electoral process and term limitations shall be fixed by the law.
The President shall serve as the country’s sovereign leader as well as the Chief Executive of the Country’s National Defense. The President shall also have the political power to appoint and dismiss the Cabinet Minister.
On behalf of the protection of our citizen’s right to life, security, and property, defense forces such as the Army, Navy, and Air Force shall be organized. Domestic order shall continue to be the responsibility of the police force.
In the event of a contradiction between the Executive and National Diet, the leader of the Supreme Court shall intermediate. If consensus cannot be reached within a fortnight, the President shall take precedence over matters.
The opportunity to equality and liberty shall be extended to all citizens with respect to the Law.
Happy Science’s Homepage
The Happiness Realization Party
Their new party, the Happiness Realization Party.
Entry contributed by Daniel Wolfe