English Sources on the Teachings of Onisaburō Deguchi

Divine Signposts at the Oomoto website – actually a retranslation from the Esperanto

Aizen-en on Onisaburo

Jinrui Aizenkai (ULBA — Universal Love and Brotherhood Association)

The Moon of Onisaburo Deguchi

The Oomoto movement : its origin, aims and objects and the Universal Love and Brotherhood Association, 1952

The Outline of Oomoto, 1958

Bankyo Dokon: Seventy Years of Inter-Religious Activity at Oomoto, 1997 – edited by Alex Kerr!

A Portrait of Oomoto

Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisaburō, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Religions in Imperial Japan (aka scholarly nonsense), 2008

Bonus fun facts about Onisaburo Deguchi!!

  • When his son entered elementary school, Deguchi listed his occupation as “World Remodeller”
  • He was the successor of Nao Deguchi who is regarded today as the founder of Oomoto, but he wrote a document denouncing her as “Yamaguchi Slime”.
  • When he was sentenced to life in prison for the Second Oomoto Incident, he turned to the visitors’ gallery and stuck out his tongue.

Posted: August 27th, 2012 | Oops! I forgot! 3 Comments »

Does God Exist? A Japanese Children’s Book Explains

かみさまはいる いない? (2012)
Shuntaro Tanikawa

I was surprised to see my local library put in its childrens’ rack a book about the existence of God, supplementing their amusing and popular series about the Buddhist Hells. This book is written in very simple script and it seems the audience is 4 to 7 year olds. Remember that Japanese has no plurals and sex is usually unspecified, so all instances of “he” could also be “she” or “they”.

God exists (it seems).

We can’t see Him anywhere

But God exists somewhere (it seems).

God doesn’t speak.

Instead, humans speak for him.

God can’t be seen.

Instead, humans depict him.

How many Gods are there?

Some people think there is one God.

These people build a house for God.

Some people think there are many Gods.

These people build a house for the Gods.

Some people think there is no need for God.

These people build a house for themselves instead.

Did God make Man?


Did Man make God?

Did God exist before the beginning of the world?

What is He doing now?

Is God not doing anything anymore?

Could it be that after leaving us with this bountiful world, He has nothing left to do?

The people who God left in charge of the world have big shoes to fill.

Posted: August 6th, 2012 | Secular-Religious 3 Comments »

The Three Ishes of Mito

It is said that the residents of Mito in Ibaraki Prefecture exhibit three ishes (水戸の三ぽい mito no sanpoi):

Rikutsuppoi: churlish

Okorippoi: snappish

Honeppoi: mulish

Sometimes you also hear akippoi, coquettish. If you regularly display all three ishes in the area, you may be called Mitoish (水戸っぽ mitoppo).

A psychologist once encountered the snappish folk of Mito on a crowded bus. As it pulled up to a stop where more people were waiting, the driver announced, “Folks in the middle, pack it in please!” Said the churlish passengers, “Hey, pops, which way are us people in the middle supposed to pack it in?” Everyone laughed.

It is unknown whether the three ishes of Mito are flaws or merits.

Posted: August 1st, 2012 | Japan 3 Comments »