Saturday, February 24, 2007

Okada, Sukyo Mahikari, and the Japanese military - Part 2

As promised, here is the information that shows almost conclusively that the Mahikari Tomomori and the war criminal Tomomori are the same person (or was, he's dead now).

According to the teachings given by Koya Okada at the June 2005 monthly ceremony, Kiyoharu Tomomori and Sadataka Matsudaira (a senior Mahikari staff member at the time of Okada's death, and subsequently within Sukyo Mahikari) were in the same class as Yoshikazu Okada at the military academy (the Rikugun Shikan Gakko, or Rikushi for short). A few of the graduates from each class are listed here. I'm afraid this website is in Japanese, but many Mahikari centers do have Japanese-speaking staff. You could perhaps ask for their help if you wish to check this information. Alternatively, copy and paste the following into your browser search function and use it to find the appropriate place in the website: 34期

[Note: If you see a funny square box instead of a Japanese character after the 34 above, and in other places below, you will need to change your browser's encoding (character set) setting to make the Japanese display correctly. Try the Japanese auto-detect (auto-select) setting, or just set Unicode (UTF-8). Look under "View" or one of the other menus at the top of your browser to find these settings.]

34期 means the 34th class that graduated from the Rikushi. On the same line, you will see 1922, which is the year Daiseishu says Okada graduated, and 345名 , which is the number of graduates in that year. On the third line below, at the end of the line, you will see 松平定堯 . That is Sadataka Matsudaira's name. This listing is not complete and does not included either Okada or Tomomori's names, but since they were in the same class as Matsudaira, we now know that Tomomori was a member of the 34th class that graduated from the Rikushi.

Now, I am told that Kiyoharu Tomomori is not a particularly common name, so it is highly unlikely that there were two people with this same name amongst those 345 graduates. If there were, and one was Okada's friend and the other was a war criminal, I imagine Daiseishu would have included a note to that effect. For the moment, let's proceed, assuming that there was only one Kiyoharu Tomomori in that class.

This next site is also in Japanese, but again I'll give you the kanji you need to check it for yourselves. This is the list of graduates from the Military Staff College (Rikugun Daigaku) in 1934...the 46th class of that college. It appears Tomomori, and other students too, did not enroll here immediately after graduation from the Rikushi (Daiseishu says Tomomori was assigned to a regiment in Kyushu immediately after graduation from the Rikushi). You can find Tomomori's name (written 友森 清晴 ) in the 4th column on the 11th line of the chart. The first column says his final ranking was Colonel (大佐 ). The third column says he was an infantry captain (歩兵大大尉 ) immediately after graduation. The 5th column says that his role at the end of the war was that of Staff Deputy Director in the Western District Army (Western region of Japan) (西部軍参謀副副長 ), and the 7th column shows he graduated in the 34th class (34期 ) at the Rikushi. So, this is the Tomomori who was in Okada's class, the 34th class, at the Rikushi.

Next we need to match up this new information we now know about Tomomori with the information given on the war criminal site, here. This one is in English, so you can see at a glance that the war criminal Tomomori was a Colonel and the Staff Deputy Director at the Western District Army, 16th Area Army Headquarters (this last is in the header of the table). This site does not say which Rikushi class Tomomori graduated in, but I think it is safe to assume that there would only have been one Tomomori who had that specific role and rank in that army region, so the Tomomori in this website must be the person in the list of graduates from the Military Staff College, and therefore must have been in Okada's Rikushi class.

We have not yet managed to get a complete listing of the graduates from the 34th Rikushi class. When we do, if there is only one graduate named Kiyoharu Tomomori, we will be 100% sure, instead of 99.9999% sure, that Okada's "close friend" was the war criminal.

To return to the original topic of Okada, Sukyo Mahikari, and the military, the author of one of the books I read recently commented on the lack of information given to the general public during Japan's war years. The Japanese were encouraged to regard the Emperor as divine, and to assume that whatever he said or did was correct. Instead of facts about Japan's military activities, they were fed slogans and patriotic hype. (Unfortunately, I was not taking notes, so I can't give a reference.) He used an expression which immediately reminded me of Okada's critical description of the five main religions: "The followers shall follow but they shall not know."

It struck me that "The followers shall follow but they shall not know" could apply equally well to Sukyo Mahikari. Sukyo Mahikari's leaders have not seen fit to inform kumite about even major matters, such as Okada's SKK and Makoto no Michi background, the extent of the succession dispute, or even the fact that Sukyo Mahikari is a new organization (rather than SMBK with a simple name change). In some recent teachings, Koya Okada (the acting leader) said, "The parent God conveys his commands through Sukuinushisama, Oshienushisama, and the acting oshienushi." It struck me that they are taking for themselves an emperor-like position. Kumite cannot question what they say. Isn't this, coupled with the lack of information, a dangerous situation?

In any case, during Japan's incursions into China and Manchuria (roughly 1930 till 1945), and during the Pacific war, the Japanese people were fed propaganda rather than facts. Japan was supposedly uniting Asia under Japan and its Emperor in accordance with the Jimmu decree of "all eight corners of the world under one roof" (八紘一宇). Japan had a divine mission to bring about world peace by uniting all nations "under one roof", so that all humanity could benefit from being ruled by the Emperor, the descendant of Amaterasu-Omikami, the Sun Goddess. (Okada, too, had a dream of uniting the world in a theocracy and bringing about world peace.) Japan was creating the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and Japan was freeing other Asian countries from Western colonialism. In reality, the Japanese military was invading, colonizing, appropriating resources for its own use, and causing immeasurable suffering. The exact implications of "peace" are not always immediately apparent.

In post-war years too, the war-time realities have been covered up. These days, some Japanese are crusading for the true stories of that era to be taught in Japanese school textbooks, but it seems progress is slow. Some Japanese, for example, still maintain that the Rape of Nanking is a lie fabricated by the Chinese!

Obviously, the Japanese public is well aware of their own suffering during the closing stages of the Pacific war...the horrendous fire-bombing of Tokyo and other cities and the atomic bombs, which between them claimed the lives of about 400,000 innocent civilians. Some scholars contend that this, in conjunction with the lack of comprehensive information about Japanese military actions in Asia, has resulted in Japan perceiving itself as the victim, rather than the aggressor, in the Pacific war.

I guess, therefore, that Koya Okada, like many of his countrymen, grew up being taught a white-washed version of his country's war-time history. Why else would he have said in his teachings, recently, that Japan was trying to liberate Asian countries from Western colonial rule?

Apparently, someone objected, and Koya's teachings were subsequently edited to remove the above claim, but it is quite alarming that he made that claim in the first place. I'm not about to defend Western colonialism in Asia. However, most of the material I've read suggests that "liberating Asia from Western colonialism" was a euphemistic slogan which really meant that Japan was trying to replace Western colonialism with Japanese colonialism. Under this slogan, the Japanese military caused the death of 24 million Asians, 20 million of whom were innocent civilians, and 90 million others were severely affected (according to Werner Gruhl, Ch. 14 of Japanese War Crimes, edited by Peter Li). Those severely affected include the wounded, raped, tortured, biological war and forced-slave labor victims, refugees, war orphans, Japanese-caused opium addicts, victims of severe war-caused malnutrition and diseases, POWs, internees, and most Asian military conscripts. [snip] The invasion also brought wide-scale destruction of the economies and infrastructure of many nations and territories, affecting the livelihood of hundreds of millions during and well after the war.

Koya became a kumite at age 17, and graduated top of the first doshi training class. One assumes he was always a very "good" kumite/kanbu, and that he must have devoted all his time and efforts to divine service and the study of Okada's teachings. I imagine he habitually believed that everything Yoshikazu Okada and Keishu said was true. He obviously has studied Mahikari matters, such as the meanings of ideograms and the contents of the prayer book, extensively. Perhaps he has had no time to also study recent world history.

I guess many nations are guilty to some degree of perceiving their own history with an ethnocentric slant. Perhaps the atomic bombs dropped on Japan are one exception...people all over the world are aware of and horrified at those. In Western countries, the next most well-known aspect of the Pacific war would probably be the horrors experienced by the Western Allied POWs. I wonder how many Westerners are aware that, China and other Asian nations experienced the costliest battles resulting in 99 percent of the Allied deaths (one percent were U.S. and Western Allies) in the Asia Pacific theatre, and most of the destruction of infrastructure and economies. (Gruhl, p.257)

Koya Okada himself may have been a product of Japan's education system, and had little chance to broaden his education during his lifetime within Sukyo Mahikari. However, doesn't a man who claims to convey the commands of the parent God also have some responsibility to be well informed about the recent history of his own country? I find it truly alarming that a man with such a severely distorted view of Japan's agenda and military actions in Asia should be shaping the beliefs of Sukyo Mahikari members.

And what about Yoshikazu Okada? What did he think about the role Japan took for itself in Asia? I don't recall him specifically saying, but I do recall hearing about his first religious awakening. He had just been discharged from hospital and told he had three years to live. He gazed at his navel in the bath and decided to leave everything up to his Maker. He threw out the contents of his medicine chest and resolved to spend the rest of his life serving God. He then proceeded to convert his family's textile factory into a factory for manufacturing war planes...

Perhaps he was more a product of the environment and times in which he lived than kumite like to think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so disturbed (no pun intended) at how Kumite are so willing to "fall in love" with these leaders they know nothing about. I quit right before he (Koya) came to our dojo in the U.S.A. What disturbed me was hearing our dojocho praying at the monthly ceremony that he couldn't believe that God was sending his representative on earth to our lil humble dojo... I was thinking... OH BROTHER... when he was saying that... and it started to make me wonder more who these people are... how can they claim things like that?

If anyone reading this is thinking about leaving Mahikari... Do it. I used to receive light every single day... I worried that I would be in pain, that I would be hurt or something terribly wrong would happen to my karma...

I can assure you that I feel much better now that I left... I LOVE THINKING MY OWN THOUGHTS! I can't reiterate how much it bugged me that I couldn't even be grateful for something without the back thought of "oh look... I'm practicing the teachings..." Maybe I was just egotistical... but now I can be grateful just because and no organazation gets to stake its claim in my soul. NO way!

I am happier than ever, training for a marathon and loving my new found freedom.

LEAVE! Its ok.

February 27, 2007  
Anonymous butterfly said...


There is so much info out there about Okada and Koya Okada but I haven’t seen anything mentioned about Keishu or her background. I understand her name is Kouko (Sachiko) Inoue.Who is she? Why was she adopted by Okada? When and how old was she adopted by him? Why did her parents abandon her? Did she go to University? What were her accomplishments and qualifications to start up a spiritual organisation? Why was it so important for her to take the advice of Tomomori, a convicted murderer? It smells very fishy, in fact it stinks. I hope someone can come forward with details of her illustrious past. By the way in Japan the meaning of “adopted daughter” can allude to one’s “mistress”.


March 07, 2007  

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