There was a group handing out flyers for a new film by the station so I made it a point to snag one. That’s the nice thing about living in Japan, you get to experience things on the ground floor. Anime is on the level here, man.
Rebirth of the Buddha, huh? The character designs look kind of generic. But I’d be interested to see a story about the Buddha in modern Japan.
Wait, Ryuho Okawa? I know I’ve heard that name before…
Even if you’re not familiar with his name, anyone who ventured near a train station without their tinfoil hat during last election’s campaign period was surely bombarded with his policies. Eliminating taxes, opening the door for foreign workers, stressing the nuclear danger that North Korea represents… I could only be talking about the leader of Japan’s most ineptly benign cult, Happy Science!
Happy Science started in the mid-80's as a new-religion fringe group. They made headlines at the time for their lawsuit against Kodansha claiming defamation of their holy leader, as well as their public fight against the Aum Shinrikyo shortly before they carried out their the infamous Sarin gas attack. Then, radio silence from the mid-90's until last year with the sudden formation of the Happiness Realization Party. But protest and politics make for a poor business model. How was Mr. Okawa funding his revolution?
Any self-respecting snake oil salesman in Japan these days claims to be a reincarnation of the Buddha. Ryuho Okawa needed something to help him breakthrough the entrenched competition, Sokka Gakkai International, who had beaten him to the punch by a good ten years. Say, aren’t we due for the Second Coming of Christ any day now? That’s right, the King of Kings has returned to our world to take up residence inside Ryuho Okawa with the Buddha. It’s like Saint Young Men, except the punch line is gullible old women being swindled out of their retirement money.
Wielding his divine powers, Mr. Okawa can reach back through the eons and speak to the spirits of leaders past. Gandhi, Lincoln, Florence Nightingale —Happy Science has them all on speed dial for consultation and has published countless books detailing their super-dimensional exchanges. Amongst them, The Terrifying Revelations of Nostradamus was made into a movie to bring their warnings of the Apocalypse to the masses.