Church of World Messianity
960 S. Kenmore Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
Sekai Kyusei Kyo, generally known by its English name, the Church of World Messianity, is also known as Johrei Fellowship. It was originally founded by Mokichi Okada (1882-1955), usually referred to by his honorific title, Meishu-sama. Raised in poverty and beset with illness and business failure, in the 1920s Okada turned to religion and joined Omoto, one of the newer religions of Japan. In 1926, however, he began to receive revelations, as a result of which, he began to see himself as a channel for the Light of God. He understood his mission as one of the transmission of Johrei, the Light of God for the purification of the spiritual body. Such purification would lead to the elimination of spiritual clouds, resulting in health, prosperity, and peace, ultimately creating an ideal world, a paradise on earth.
In 1934 Okada left Omoto and founded Dai Nihon Kannon Kai (Japan Kannon Society). As World War II approached, innovative religious groups were suppressed, and Okada had to give up the practice of Johrei until after the war, though the movement continued to grow. During the war, Okada moved to Hakone and constructed a "paradise," a model of a future paradise on earth. A second such model was built in Atami a few years later. After a series of name changes, the church assumed its present name Sekai Kyusei Kyo in 1957, two years after Okada's passing, which occurred on February 10, 1955. He was succeeded by his wife Yoshi, who served as Spiritual Leader until she passed away in 1962. Their daughter, Itsuki Fujieda, took over at that point and is still serving as the church's Spiritual Leader.
In the years after the war, members of the church immigrated to the United States. Okada sent Rev. Kiyoko Higuchi and Rev. Henry Ajiki to the United States to organize the church. The first center outside of Japan was incorporated in 1953 in Honolulu, Hawaii, followed by the second one in Los Angeles, California, in 1954.
Membership: During the past 40 years, more than a dozen centers have been established in many states, including the East coast. Internationally, the church has spread to nearly 40 countries, including Brazil, Korea, and Thailand.
Periodicals: Johrei Newsletter.
Clark, Peter B. "Modern Japanese Millenarian Movements: Their Changing Perception Japan's Global Mission with Special Reference to the Church of World Mesianity in Japanese New Religion." In Japanese New Religions in Global Perspective. London: Curzon Press, 2002.
Introductory Course of World Messianity and Joining the Church. Los Angeles: Church of World Messianity, 1976.
The Light from the East: Mokichi Okada. Atami, Japan: MOA Productions, 1983.
M. Okada, A Modern-Day Renaissance Man. New York: M. Okada Cultural Services Association, 1981.
Members' Handbook. Atami, Japan: Church of World Messianity, n.d.
Teachings of Meishu-Sama. 2 vols. Atami, Japan: Church of World Messianity, 1967-68.
2450 W. Broadway, No. 108
Mesa, AZ 85202
DahnHak is a movement that originated in Korea based upon the ancient Eastern practice of qigong. While related to ancient traditions, the modern DahnHak movement was founded by Seung-Han Lee who opened the first center in Seoul, Korea, in 1985. Following an enlightenment experience at Mo Ak mountain in Korea, he took the spiritual name Ilchi (literally "a finger pointing to the truth"), by which he is now known. Lee had engaged in a process of spiritual seeking and development that led him to explore older approaches to spirituality. He modernized what he had discovered to create DahnHak. The movement has subsequently spread to both North and South America.
The practice of DahnHak centers upon the appropriation and use of "ki" (also known as "chi"), the life force, a common element in various Eastern meditation systems, exercise formats, and martial arts. DahnHak defines ki as the cosmic energy that circulates throughout the universe, which is the true essence of every living entity. DahnHak practice follows a five-step program in which qigong exercises are introduced successively in order to introduce the individual to ki energy, to allow the accumulation of ki in the body's lower energy center (the Dahn-Jon), and the awakening and development of the Middle Dahn-Jon. The result of basic practice should be a state of habitual joy and peace. At a more advanced stage, the body energy meridians (the same energy paths identified in acupuncture systems) are opened so that the body is fully aligned to the energy flow of the universe. The goal of DahnHak practice is Human Perfection in which the illusion of the ego is released and one identifies with the True Self, at which point there is a mystic realization of one's Unity with all that exists.
Lee moved to the United States in 1994 and in 1997 established the Sedona Dahn Institute, now known as the healing Society in Action, which has become the center of the movement in the West. The many centers are headed by DahnHak master teachers trained by Lee.
In 2000, Lee joined together with Neale Donald Walsch, who had channeled the popular New Age volumes Conversations with God, to establish the New Millennium Peace Foundation that has as its goal the building of a lasting world peace by raising human awareness.
Membership: Not reported. The more than 300 DahnHak centers worldwide may be found in Korea, Japan, the United States, Canada, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.
DahnHak/Healing Society. http://www.healingsociety.com/. 25 January 2002.
Lee, Seung-Heun. DahnHak: The Way to Perfect Health. Seoul, Korea: Dahn Publications, 1999.
——. Healing Society: A Prescription for Global Enlightenment. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Road Publishing, 2000.
61 Puiwa Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96817
In 1882 the Japanese designated thirteen shinto sects as approved but at the same time withdrew government financial support from them (as opposed to Buddhism which was not sanctioned by the government). Honkyoku Shinto was among the more traditionalist sects included on the government list. It bases its beliefs on the ancient Shinto text, the Mojiki, and sees itself as the Way of Nature, the spontaneous manifestation of the order of being taking form in human life. Worship is centered upon Ameno-Minaka-Nushi-no-Kami (The Deity Who is Lord of the Center of Heaven), the primary source of all. On the altar of the Honkyoku shrine there is a mirror and a ball which symbolize God. This absolute deity gives rise to two other deities: Taka-Mimusibi-no-Kami and Kami-Musubi-no-Kami. The world arises from the interaction of these two very different deities. From them arise other deities, the Japanese Imperial family and the Japanese people. Through the ancestors of those now living, the people are tied to the divine as a great spiritual body. Shinto faith is best expressed in practice, reverence to the gods and one's ancestors, devotion to the Imperial family and patriotism.
Honkyoku Shinto prospered during the first half of the twentieth century. On the eve of World War II it could report over 3,300 centers and 1,200,000 members in Japan. It was also the earliest Shinto group to establish itself in Hawaii. The Daijingu Temple in Honolulu was founded around 1906 by Rev. Masasato Kawasaki. Because of its intense Japanese nationalism, it was closed, and the property confiscated, during World War II. A new temple was built after the war. In 1949 a statue of one of the Shinto goddesses confiscated and sent to Japan by the United States government was returned and enthroned at the Honolulu temple, then located on Buckle Street.
The Honkyoku temples in Hawaii hold monthly public services, but most worship is individual and private. There are annual festivals on New Year's Day and the second Sunday of September. Bishop Kazoe Kawasaki has succeeded his father as head of the Honkyoku in Hawaii.
Membership: Not reported. There are currently two temples, one in Honolulu and one in Hilo, Hawaii. In 1963 the Honolulu temple claimed to serve over 10,000 families.
Honmichi (Original Way)
4431 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Honmichi (Original Way) was established in 1925 as Tenri Association for the Study of Heavenly Truth (Tenri Kenkyukai) by Onishi Aijiro (1881-1958). Onishi, a former leader in Tenrikyo, believed that the founder of Tenrikyo, Nakayama Miki (1798-1887), was a mediator of divine truth to the Tenrikyo movement but that her mission ended in August 1913 at which time the kami of truth Kanrodai-Sama chose him as the tenkeisha (revealed one)and appointed him to replace her.
Onishi established his independent work after being expelled from Tenrikyo in 1924. However, he quickly ran into trouble with the government when in 1928 he and several members were arrested and charged with "lese majeste" for having distributed a pamphlet, Kenkyu Shiryo (Research Materials), that denied the divine status of the emperor and prophesized war and national crisis. He spent seven years in jail. Then in 1939, he distributed the pamphlet again and he and his members were again arrested for the same crime. His group was disbanded and he spent the rest of World War II in jail. In March 1946, under the new freedoms of the post-War era, Onishi restarted his movement under its new name, Tenri Honmichi (Original Way of Heavenly Truth), later dropping the first half of the name.
Honmichi's movement derives many of its beliefs from Tenrikyo and its scriptures–the Ofudesaki (Tip of Divine Writing Brush) and the Migakura-uta–revealed to Nakayam Miki. Honmichi worship centers on the veneration of a group of ten kami or gods, of whom the most prominent is Tenri-O-no-Maced. (God of Heavenly Reason). These kami form the core of the universe. Honmichi also emphasizes the Tenrikyo notion of hinokishin (voluntary activity of a mental and physical kind), which calls members to combine the movement's teachings with selfless service to others.
Honmichi considers 'right-mindfulness' as the key to health, happiness and peace. Right-mindfulness may be attained with the assistance of Kanrodai-Sama, the proper state of mind, and on aligning the mind with the will of God. A lack of right-mindfulness correlates with misfortune, sickness and unhappiness–evil forces that obstruct God's efforts to assist humankind. Honmichi members hope to create a paradise on earth in which humans can live in peace and harmony. However, it also believes that a world war and other catastrophes will afflict humanity prior to the manifestation of the paradise state.
Honmichi members began migrating to the United States in the 1970s and have recently formed the single overseas branch of the movement in Los Angeles.
Membership: As of 2000, the membership of Honmichi in Japan is estimated to stand at 316,000. There are several hundred adherents associated with the center in Los Angeles.
Clarke, Peter B. ed. A Bibliography of Japanese New Religions. Eastbourne, Kent: Japan Library, 1998.
Shimazono, Susumu. "The Development of Millennialistic Thought in Japan's New Religions: From Tenrikyo to Honmichi." In James Beckford, ed., New Religious Movements and Rapid Social Change. London: Sage, 1986, pp. 55-87.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
In Hawaii the Inari have departed from the Inari deities common to the group in Japan. The Hawaiian Inari worship a main deity, Shoichii Shi Sha. The Wakamiya Shrine in Honolulu was founded in 1912 by the Rev. Yoshio Akizaki. Since his passing in 1951, his son, the Rev. Takeo Akizaki, has been in charge. He has begun to assume the role of pastor and the temple has regular worship services. A second temple is located on Molokai.
Membership: Not reported. There are two Inari shrines in Hawaii, one in Honolulu and one in Molokai.
Hawaii Ichizuchi Jinga
2020 S. King St. Honolulu, HI 96817
The Rev. Shina Miyake founded the Hawaii Ichizuchi Jinga in Honolulu in 1913. In 1963, on the occasion of their fiftieth anniversary, a rebuilt shrine building was dedicated.
Membership: Not reported. There is one shrine in Honolulu, Hawaii.
2924 E. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Konko Kyo was founded in 1859 by Bunjiro Kawate (1814-1883) (later given the title Konko Daijin), a Shinto farmer, who after years of misfortune and illness had a revelation of God as Tenchi Kane-no-Kami, the parent God of the universe. God revealed to him that the prosperity of men is the ultimate purpose of creation and that God without that purpose realized is morally imperfect. In 1882 Konko Kyo was recognized as one of the thirteen approved forms of sectarian Shinto in Japan.
The interrelation of God and man is the key to Konko Kyo teaching. Man cannot exist apart from God, and God's work can only be complete through man. Konko Daijin was the mediator who informed all men of this fellowship. Priests continue to function as mediators, just as Konko Daijin functioned. The process of mediation (toritsugi) is quite similar to Roman Catholic confessions.
Rites and ceremonies follow Shinto practice, but are demythologized. Konko Kyo is monotheistic and does not practice divination or magic. Much more emphasis is placed on the sermon, piety, and social concern. Belief in God with sincerity and a pious life are cardinal virtues. Social concerns have led to the founding of a hospital, a public library, museum, leper missions, and prison work.
Konko Kyo was established in the United States in 1919 by Mr. & Mrs. Bunjiro Hirayama who founded the Konko Kyo Association of Seattle, Washington. A second center was opened in Tacoma in 1925. The following year, the Rev. Kokichi Katashima, a Konko official from Japan, visited the Washington centers and, on his return route to Japan, organized believers who had recently migrated to Los Angeles and Honolulu. The work grew until the disruption of World War II and the internment of most of the leadership. The San Francisco headquarters were reestablished in the fall of 1945. The post-World War II freedom of religion in Japan has allowed Konko Kyo to grow and spread as a vigorous movement. Setsutane Konko, the present mediator and leader, has supported the work outside of Japan and has spurred the production of English-language materials. In 1965 a radio show was inaugurated by Konko minister Masaru Okazaki.
Membership: Not reported. In 1982 there were seven churches in the United States (apart from Hawaii) and two in Canada. The Hawaii Mission had an additional six churches.
Periodicals: Konko Review.
Daily Service Book. San Francisco: Ministerial Staff of Konko Churches of America, 1971.
Fukuda, Yoshiaki. Outline of Sacred Teaching of Konko Religion. San Francisco: Konko Missions of North America, 1955.
Hombu, Konkokyo, ed. The Sacred Scriptures of Konkokyo. Konko-cho, Japan: Konkokyo Hombu, 1933.
Konko Daijin, A Biography. San Francisco: Konko Churches of America, 1981.
Konko Kyo's 50 Years in America. San Francisco: Konko Churches of America, 1976.
Mahikari of America
539 Medlock Rd.
Decatur, GA 33030
Alternate Address: International headquarters: 1517-8, Yamada-oho, Takayama-city, Gifu, Japan.
Mahikari is the Japanese word for Divine True Light, believed to be a spiritual and purifying energy. Mahikari began in 1959 when Kotama Okada (1901-1974), at the time a member of the Church of World Messianity, received a revelation from God concerning how the use of the Divine Light of the Creator could produce health, harmony, and prosperity. Mahikari is viewed as a cleansing energy sent by SUSHIN, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, that both spiritually awakens and tunes the soul to its divine purpose. In 1960, he organized what became known as the Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan (Church of World True Light Children). Okada soon became known as Sukuinushisama, Saviour.
God also revealed to Okada the existence of a Divine Plan. According to his teachings, all of the phenomena of the universe have been controlled by the Plan of the Creator. Under this plan, human souls are dispatched to the earth for the specific purpose of learning to utilize its material resources in order to establish a highly evolved civilization governed by spiritual wisdom. These revelations and teachings are to be found in Goseigen, The Holy Words, the Mahikari scriptures, an English-language edition of which was published in 1982.
Okada dedicated his life to teaching the art of the Divine Light to anyone desiring to be of service to the Creator. Today it is taught in a three-day session at which attendees may learn to radiate the Light through the palm of the hand, a process known as Mahikari no Waza. At the time of initiation, new members receive an Omitama, a pendent used to focus the light.
In 1974, just prior to his death Okada passed the mission to his daughter, Seishu Okada, the present spiritual leader. Under her guidance, a new headquarters complex has been established at Suza, Takayama City, Japan.
Membership: Not reported. In 1988, there were 18 centers in the United States, one in Puerto Rico, and three in Canada. There are associatied centers in 14 countries.
Periodicals: True Light.
Remarks: It should be noted that the Church of World Messianity, of which Okada was a member prior to his revelations concerning Mahikari, has a similar teaching concerning what it calls johrei, God's healing light.
Also, after Okada's death, the leadership of his daughter was challenged by a prominent member, Sekiguchi Sakae. He filed a lawsuit and upon winning, took possession of the former headquarters of the group. He now leads a second Mahikari group in Japan.
Davis, Winston. Dojo. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1980.
Goseigen, The Holy Words. Tujuna, CA: Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan, 1982.
Tebecis, A. K. Mahikari, Thank God for the Answers at Last. Tokyo: L. H. Yoko Shuppan, 1982.
11958 Hartsook St.
North Hollywood, CA 91607
Ryugu, U.S.A. is a Shinto organization headed by Himiko Fujita, known among her followers as Mother Otohime, and revered as a living Shinto goddess. She was born near Mt. Aso at Kumamoto, Japan. Her followers claim that her birth was heralded in the writings of Degichi Onisabuo (1871-1948), the founder of Omoto, and Yoshisane Tomokiyo, founder of Tenko-kyo Shinto, two Japanese new religions. As a child she had experiences of the ancient "holy spirits." Then in 1949 she was spiritually awakened and came to know the great love of Mother Deity.
In 1958 she felt led by Heaven to go to the Kansai district and began training herself for spiritual perfection at the sacred area on Ohmine Mountain. Her various spiritual experiences climaxed on October 7, 1973, as she stood before a great stone, Ama-no-lwato (the Heavenly Gate of the Rock Cave), at Himuki, Kumamoto Province. As she looked at the stone, it suddenly opened and the Shinto deity Amaterasu-Oho-Mikami (the Sun Goddess) appeared to her in the form of a mermaid. Striking Himiko on the forehead, the goddess said, "I have lain hidden behind the Great Rock Gate for twelve thousand years, but I have now come back to life again in thy soul in order to prevent the world from extinction." These words gave Mother Otohime her mission in life.
In 1981 Mother Otohime had a dream. A snow white horse carried her on a flight over a Shinto shrine at the foot of a mountain. A short time later she was taken by a friend to the Izumo Great Shrine in Tampa Province. It was the shrine of her dream. She decided to remain and serve Amaterasu as a shrine maiden. As part of her duties, she left the shrine on a tour of 46 countries, including the United States, to bring to each a special stone with divine energy from Ryugu Kai (the Sea Goddesses). Ryugu, U.S.A. was formed as a result of her visit.
Ryugu is an expression of the maternal love of the goddess and comes as a blessing on the world. Mother Otohime offers the opportunity to each human being to have their inner Rock Gate opened, which will bring to consciousness old memories of the love of Amaterasu and a merger of God and Human into a state of oneness.
Membership: Not reported.
℅ Kameo Kiyota
310C Uulani St.
Hilo, HI 96720
Shinreikyo is a post-World War II Japanese healing group based on Kami-no-michi, the Way of God. Shinreikyo was founded by Master Kanichi Otsuka, viewed by his followers as the great sage (who was to appear as Buddhism lost its power) and the messiah that Christians expected at the second coming. The message of Shinreikyo is that Kami-no-michi is the way to happiness and prosperity. It is identified with Nippon Seishin, the Japanese spirit, a way common to all since ancient times, based upon the laws of the universe. The intense nationalism is typical of much Shintoism.
The center of Shinreikyo is its healing miracles. Master Otsuka is said to attack disease in the three existences of past, present, and future. Accounts of healing of serious illnesses fill Shinreikyo literature. Shinreikyo came to the United States in 1963 when Mr. Kameo Kiyoto established a branch in Hilo, Hawaii. Literature in English is distributed by the Metaphysical Scientific Institute in Japan.
Membership: Not reported.
℅ Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu
1045 Kama Ln.
Honolulu, HI 96817-3349
Alternate Address: International headquarters: Dazaifu Tenmangu, 4-7-1 Zaifu-shi, Fukuoka Ken, Japan 818-01.
Representative of Japanese Shinto are two branch shrines, the Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha and Dazaifu Tenmangu in Honolulu.
Membership: In 1997, the Kotohira and Dazaifu Shrines reported 80,000 members worldwide and approximately 70 in Hawaii.
Periodicals: Kotohira. • Tobiume.
Society of Johrei
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Society of Johrei was formed in 1971 by former leaders of the Church of World Messianity who felt that it had departed from the teachings of founder Mokichi Okada. They began to work independently of the church and then organized the society. Their following included people in Korea and Brazil. An American office was opened in the 1980s and began to publicize the society through distribution of an edited volume of Okada's writings.
Membership: Not reported.
Okada, Mokichi. Johrei: Divine Light of Salvation. Kyoto, Japan: Society of Johrei, 1984.
215 N. Kukui St.
Honolulu, HI 96817
Izumo Taishakyo Shinto, also known as the Izumo Oyashirokyo, was one of the original 13 religious Shinto sects (as distinguished from the Shrine Shinto) existing before World War II. It was founded in 1882 by Takatomi Senge at the ancient Grand Shrine of Izumo located at Taishamachi, Shimane, Japan. The God enshrined at the shrine is Okuninushi-no-Mikoto, the God of the spiritual and physical world, who settled the world and brought the foundation upon which mankind and the rest of the universe might exist. Some of the teachings, as set forth in the "Great Way," a catechism published in 1881, are as follows: the world was created by Three Creator Gods; God established the path for man– perform deeds in a sincere and trustworthy manner, to help make society perfect, to perform various virtues, and to maintain the proper relationships with his family, society, the leader of the country, God, and his environment. Man has a soul, born without sin, and upon death, the soul returns to the divine world.
The Hawaii Izumo Taisha was founded in 1906 by the Rev. Katsuyoshi Miyao as an affiliate of the Taishakyo sect. In 1923, a master shrine builder was brought from Japan to construct a shrine in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 1935, after his death, the Rev. Shigemaru Miyao succeeded him. During World War II, the property was gifted to the city to avoid confiscation due to the relocation of the Rev. Shigemaru Miyao, his family, and other leaders of the shrine organization. After release from the relocation camp, he again resumed church work at a temporary structure and reorganized and reincorporated the shrine organization in July, 1952. After gathering over 10,000 petitions in 1953 and lengthy hearings at the Board of Supervisors followed by court hearings, the shrine property was finally returned in 1962. The original shrine built in 1923 was soon thereafter moved to its present site due to redevelopment of the original site. The shrine was finally repaired and restored in 1969. In 1996, the Shrine observed its 90th anniversary celebration together with the annual thanksgiving festival.
Membership: In 2001, there were approximately 200 members.
2727 E. First St.
2727 E. First St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Of the various groups termed "new religions" in Japan, Tenrikyo is one of the largest, with more than 2 million members. The teachings of Tenrikyo had their origin in 1838, when Miki Nakayama, the wife of a well-to-do farmer in central Japan, began to go into trances and spoke as if God were speaking through her. Shortly after that she began to give away her family's possessions, finally reaching the depths of poverty. For a period of nearly 50 years she taught what had been revealed to her in trances to an ever increasing number of followers attached to he initially by her spiritual healing. According to the teachings of Tenrikyo, which Nakayama gave to the followers, the world was completely sacramental: everything was God; there is nothing but God and that all human beings were originally created by God with the intent that they live a life of joy, in peace with one another, being all brothers and sisters and of God. Nakayama committed the teachings to a book called the Ofudesaki ("Tip of the Writing Brush"), and instructed the followers in several means of attaining the life of joy. The Ofudesaki is considered the Tenrikyo book of scriptures.
Tenrikyo teaches that human beings are essentially good but during one's daily lives "mental dust" is accumulated. The various kinds of dusts identified were miserliness, covetousness, hatred, self-love, grudge-bearing, anger, greed, stinginess, and arrogance. These dusts cloud the mind, preventing one from truly seeing and understanding God's intent for human beings. By working to sweep this dust away, the mind will be opened to God's intent and thus to a joyous live, which Tenrikyo equates to salvation.
Nakayama taught the followers several means of sweeping this constantly accumulating dust away. Most important was the service, to be performed with music, song, and dance. Currently the service is performed monthly at every Tenrikyo church and mission worldwide. The principal part of the Service is the repeated prayer, "Ashiki o harote tasuku tamae, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto" ("Sweeping away evils, please save us, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto"), accompanied by hand motions, symbolic of dust being brushed away from the mind. Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, or Lord of Divine Wisdom, is the formal name of God in Tenrikyo; another name more commonly used by followers is Oyagami-sama, or God the Parent, alluding to the father and mother nature of God as taught by Nakayama.
The rise of Tenrikyo coincided with a period of popular revolt in Japan. Because of the nature of its teachings, Tenrikyo is a strongly missionary religion, which brought it into conflict with the Japanese authorities in its early days. During the last 20 years of her life, Nakayama (called "Oyasama," or "beloved parent," by her followers) and many ardent followers were severely prosecuted by Japanese authorities, both civil and religious. It was not until after World War II that Tenrikyo as an independent religion was freed of government control.
Nakayama died in 1887. Her followers believe that she continues to reside and work, in spirit, for world salvation at the Jiba where Tenrikyo's main shrine is located in Tenri, Japan.
In its missionary activities, Tenrikyo spread to Korean and China in the first decades after receiving government recognition as a sect of Shinto in 1906. In 1927, at the time of Tenrikyo's fortieth anniversary, two missionaries, Yone Okazaki and Rinzo Torizawa were sent to Seattle and began to work among members already living in the Pacific Northwest. By the beginning of World War II, churches and parishes had been established along the West Coast from San Diego to Vancouver, and by 1973 congregations had spread eastward to Chicago and New York.
Membership: In 2001, the North American headquarters reported 62 churches, 67 fellowships, and 5 mission centers in the United States, mostly in California. There are 800 yoboku (missionaries), and an estimated membership of 3,000.
Educational Facilities: Tenri University;
Tenri Seminary Schools;
Tenri Language Institute (a school for missionaries going to countries overseas). All are located in Tenri City, Japan.
Periodicals: Tenrikyo Newsletter (English). • Progress (New York; English). • Ichiretsu (Japanese). • Seijin (New York; Japanese).
The Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri, Japan: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters, 1982.
Nishiyama, Teruo. Introduction to the Teachings of Tenrikyo. Tenri, Japan: Tenrikyo Overseas Mission Department, 1981.
Oyasato Research Institute, Tenri University. The Theological Perspectives of Tenrikyo. Tenri City, Japan: Tenri University Press, 1986.
Takano, Tomoji. The Missionary. Trans. by Mitsuru Yuge. Tenri, Japan: Tenrikyo Overseas Mission Department, 1981.
888 N. King St.
Honolulu, HI 96817
Tensho-Kotai-Jingu-Kyo is a religion built around the remarkable charismatic figure, Sayo Kitamura (1900-1967), usually addressed as "Ogamisama" (The Great God) by her followers. A Japanese woman married to a farmer, Ogamisama had no particular religious convictions until 1943, when a series of divine revelations began. She reported that the Absolute God, Tensho-kotai-jin, descended into her body and told her to be the founder of the "Kingdom of God on Earth." The new religion spread rapidly and was registered with the government in 1947.
Tensho-kotai-jin is seen as the Absolute God of the universe, the heavenly Father (as in Christianity), and the eternal Buddha. The almighty God is a male-female pair, who by possessing Sayo Kitamura, formed a trinity. Both she and her followers describe her in deific terms. She is seen to have powers of prophecy and healing. She proclaimed 1946 as the first year of the New Era.
Ogamisama's sermons were sometimes "sung" while in a state of ecstasy and were always delivered without preparation. She taught her followers the prayer she received from God for the redemption of negative spirits and for world peace. As one way to express inner joy and gratitude, the followers perform a dance (ecstasy dance) in the state of non-ego.
Ogamisama's role is to establish the kingdom here and now by expanding God's teaching to humanity. For the individual, the process begins with purifying the world of the six roots of evil, which are regret, desire, hatred, fondness, love, and being loved excessively; the saving of evil spirits; severing personal karma; and continuing to polish the soul with sincerity and courage.
Ogamisama made her first trip to Hawaii in 1952. She advised her listeners to burn the relics of Shintoism and Buddhism, because they belonged to the past. The result of her trip was the establishment of eight branches of her religion. In October 1964, she began a nine-month worldwide tour which brought her to America for the last time. The movement had become worldwide by the time of her death in 1967. She was succeeded by her granddaughter, Kiyokazu Kitamura, revered as "Himegamisama."
An active evangelistic program of the Tensho-Kotai-Jigu-Kyo is supported by a number of publications. The central document is Prophet of Tabuse, introducing very briefly the life and teachings of Ogamisama. A periodical is published in Japanese, English, and Spanish, and other literature is available in ten different languages. In the United States, there is an annual gathering of members (doshi) for a conference in each of the three divisions of work– Hawaii, Northern California, and Southern California.
Membership: In 1992, there were 13 branches in Hawaii. Most of the mainland membership is located in several communities of California as well as Seattle, Washington; Chicago, Illinois; and Bound Brook, New Jersey. Worldwide, centers are found in 76 countries. Membership count is inexact, and no strict head-count is kept on registration. A member is called a doshi (comrade), which means a person sharing with another the same purposes, to attain world peace and the establishment of God's kingdom on earth. Anyone willing to work for those goals is welcomed.
Periodicals: Voice from Heaven. Available from Tensho-Kotai-Jingu-Kyo, Tabuse, Yamaguchi Pref., Japan.
Clarke, Peter B. "Modern Japanese Millenarian Movements." In Japanese
New Religions. In Global Perspective. Richmond, Surrey, Curzon Press, 2000, pp. 129-182.
Hamrin, Tima. "Illness and Salvation in Tensho Kotai Jingukyo." In Japanese New Religions. In Global Perspective. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 2000, pp. 240-257.
Lebra, Takie Sugiyama. "Logic of Salvation: The Case of a Japanese Sect in Hawaii." The International Journal of Social Psychiatry 16, 1 (Winter 1969/70): 45-53.
Nishiyama Shigeru, and Fujii Takashi. "The Propagation and Spread of Tensho Kotai Jingukyo within Japanese American Society on Hawaii Island." New Religions. Contemporary Papers in Japanese Religions. Tokyo: Kokugakuin University, 1991.
Ogamisama Says…. Tabuse, Japan: Tensho-Kotai-Jingu-Kyo, 1963.
The Prophet of Tabuse. Tabuse, Japan: Tensho-Kotai-Jingu-Kyo, 1954.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Third Civilization is one of the "new religions" of Japan and represents a twentieth-century form of Shintoism based upon the work of Sen-sei Koji Ogasawara. Ogasawara retranslated the Kojiki and Nippon-Syoki (Nihongi), the Shinto scriptures, in such a way as to lift the veil of symbolic mythology and to put the name of God into sound. The Third Civilization is involved in the study of the Kototama principle. "Kototama" is equated with the Biblical "Logos," the Chinese "Tao," and is the underlying life-principle which is the source of all.
According to the Third Civilization, history can be divided into three periods. Ten thousand years ago, our human ancestors perfected the Kototama principle and lived as one family in a peaceful society. This perfect society was the First Civilization and is equated with the Garden of Eden. About 5,000 years ago, the Kototama principle was hidden from society and a new principle guiding society toward the material-scientific or Second Civilization emerged. During this time, man divided into tribes and nations and became competitive. Basic to the Second Civilization is the division between physical and spiritual. The present time, in which the pollution of the planet is monumental, is the hellfire prophesied in prior ages. Our only hope is the "messiah," the capacity of the human soul which has been dormant, the Kototama principle. With this principle, the Third Civilization will emerge.
Membership: Not reported. European centers are located in Paris and Uppsala, Sweden.
Periodicals: Third Civilization Monthly.
Nakazono, Masahilo. Kototama. Sante Fe, NM: Third Civilization, 1976.
——. Messiah's Return, The Hidden Kototama Principle. Santa Fe, NM: Third Civilization, 1972
——. My Past Way of Budo. Santa Fe: Kototama Institute, 1979.