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Ryuho Okawa (大川 隆法 Ōkawa Ryūhō?, born Takashi Nakagawa on July 7, 1956 in Tokushima Prefecture) is the CEO and founder of the Happy Science religious organization and the Happiness Realization Party in Japan.
After graduating from the University of Tokyo, he joined a Tokyo-based trading house. While working at its New York headquarters on the 40th floor of the 1 World Trade Center from 1982-1983, he studied finance at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Just as he got promoted, he resigned his business career and started Happy Science on October 6, 1986.
Happy Science is one of many Japanese new religions, or shinshūkyō, which are looked upon as "controversial" by the mainstream press and public. According to The Japan Times, "for many, the Happies smell suspiciously like a cult". Even though Happy Science protested against Aum Shinrikyo before the 1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, comparisons have been drawn between the two groups and they often clashed in the media during the 1990s.
Since the founding of Happy Science, Okawa has reportedly published over 500 books, with 7 films based on his teachings with titles like: The Laws of the Sun, The Laws of Eternity, and The Golden Laws. These three books contain the core teachings of Happy Science.
He was married to Kyoko Okawa (大川 きょう子 Ōkawa Kyōko?), former leader of the Happiness Realization Party and self-proclaimed "reborn Aphrodite and bodhisattva of wisdom and intellect", but it was reported in February 2011 that they had divorced. Happy Science announced that she had been permanently expelled for allegedly causing great personal and administrative damage to the organization, libeling the organization in various newspapers, and besmirching the name of Lord El Cantare.
- Trevor A s t l e y, The Transformation of a Recent Japanese New Religion: Okawa Ryuho and Kofuku no Kagaku; Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1995 22/3-4; http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/publications/jjrs/pdf/454.pdf
- 大川隆法ご紹介 [Profile of Ryuho Okawa]. Happy Science (in Japanese). Japan: IRH Press. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- Muhumza, Rodney (July 10, 2012). Huffington Post "Happy Science, Controversial Religion From Japan, Succeeds In Uganda". Associated Press. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
- McNeill, David (4 August 2009), Party offers a third way: happiness, The Japan Times, retrieved 6 August 2009
- Religion and Social Crisis in Japan. Understanding Japanese Society through the Aum Affair. Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Shūkan Bunshun 3 February 2011, p. 140–43
- Shūkan Shinchō 3 February 2011, pp.136–37
- 幸福の科学が大川きょう子氏を永久追放 [Happy Science permanently expels Kyoko Okawa]. The Liberty Web (in Japanese). IRH Press Co., Ltd. February 22, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- Danzig, Richard, Marc Sageman, Terrance Leighton, Lloyd Hough, Hidemi Yuki, Rui Kotani and Zachary M. Hosford, "Aum Shinrikyo: Insights Into How Terrorists Develop Biological and Chemical Weapons", Center for a New American Security, July 2011.