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Mahikari is a Japanese new religious movement (shinshūkyō) that was founded in 1959 by Yoshikazu Okada (岡田 良一) (1901–1974). The word "Mahikari" means "True (真, ma) Light (光, hikari)" in Japanese.[1]


This organization was founded based on a revelation dated February 27, 1959. Okada said that this revelation related to the mission of bringing purification to the world and humanity.[2] Thus, he founded the organization, "L.H. Yokoshi Tomo no Kai" (陽光子友乃会 – Association of Positive People [children] of Light). In 1963, he registered the organization under the name "Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan" (World Divine Light Organization).

Okada's world view[edit]

Okada claimed that the revelation was from the Creator God, Mioya Motosu Mahikari Omikami ("Great Parent, Great Origin, True Light, Great God"), or simply, "Su (主, Lord) God." He mentioned his role to pioneer the introduction of the art of True Light, a method of spiritual purification that cleanses the spirit, mind, and body, and serves as an expedient to attaining happiness.

Okada claimed that the world was approaching a time of great upheaval, "baptism by fire," in which humanity will be cleansed through abnormal weather, social turmoil, and so on. He emphasized that humanity had entered this period in earnest from January 1, 1962. Okada said an increase in what he called the spiritual energy of fire would result in phenomena such as flooding, cold snaps, and potable water would becoming increasingly scarce. He said humankind needed to work hastily to develop techniques of turning sea water into drinkable water.

The holy scriptures of Mahikari consist of The Holy Words (Goseigen) and The Yōkōshi Prayer Book (Norigotoshū).

Religious organization with similarities[edit]


Tenrikyo was founded by Miki Nakayama (1798–1886). Its name means “Heavenly Wisdom” ("tenri" means heavenly wisdom and "kyo" means teaching or religion). During a healing ceremony, Miki reportedly entered a trance and said, “I am the True and Original God. I have been predestined to reside here. I have descended from Heaven to save all human beings, and I want to take Miki as the Shrine of God and the mediatrix between God and men.”


Konkokyo, which may be translated as “Golden Light,” was founded by Bunjiro Kawate (1814–1883) in 1859. "[Kawate] found Parent of all men, the Parent-God of the Universe, who revealed himself ... as Tenchi-Kane-no-kami. It was on November the 15th of 1859 that the words of God came upon the Founder, calling him to the sacred mission of saving men, and revealing at the same time that the prosperity of mankind is the ultimate purpose of the Parent-God of the Universe, and that without the realization of that purpose God Himself is morally imperfect."[3]


Oomoto, which means “The Teaching of the Great Origin,” was founded in 1892 by Nao Deguchi (1836–1918). She claimed she had a visitation of a supernatural entity bestowing a mission on her to save humankind, that the origin was one, that mankind must return to that origin, and that humankind faced a great upheaval. Oomoto was promoted as the catalyst to unite all religions. Deguchi claimed to receive revelations from her god-deity, which she wrote down as the Ofudesaki, "From the Tip of the Brush," and used a healing method called Miteshiro (honorable hand-substitute) to drive out possessing spirits.

Sekai Kyūsei Kyō[edit]

Sekai Kyūsei Kyō (世界救世教 – Church of World Messianity) was founded by Mokichi Okada (1882–1955). In June 1920, he joined Oomoto. Okada was a teacher in an Oomoto church in Tokyo in 1934 when he started using a process different from the official Oomoto healing method and was expelled.

Some of the practices practiced by devotees of Sekai Kyūsei Kyō are very similar to those practiced by Mahikari members. For example, the practise of Johrei (Purification of the Spirit), the imagined energy radiating from the hand, is similar to Mahikari no waza (True Light), and the Ohikari, the pendant worn around the neck by members of Sekai Kyusei Kyo, is similar in concept to the Omitama pendant worn around the neck by Mahikari members.[4]

Other Influences upon Yoshikazu Okada[edit]

Hikari wa tōhō yori (Light from the East)[edit]

"In a collection of [Okada's] sermons we find a chapter entitled “Light from the East,” which explains that the founders of the world’s great religions realized their teachings could not reveal the ultimate truth, and knew that such the truth would eventually come from the East. [5]

Kojiki, Record of Ancient Matters[edit]

"Much earlier Mahikari mythology is attributed to the Kojiki, Records of Ancient Matters, which was written circa 712 CE. Though the Kojiki is a depository of Shinto myths, it is well known to scholars as a “late compilation in which political considerations and specifically Chinese conceptions intrude themselves almost everywhere.” Mahikari utilizes many of the mythological deities found in the Kojiki but focuses on the Su God who personally chose Okada as his savior." [6]

Mahikari organizations[edit]

The following organizations (listed in order of establishment date) are Shinshūkyō that were influenced by the world-view and practices of Yoshikazu Okada:

  • 1959 : "L.H. Yokoshi Tomo no Kai" (Company of Sun Light Children) – name later changed to Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan
  • 1963 : "Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan" – nominal membership – 50,000 to 100,000 worldwide (2007)
  • 1974 : "Shin Yu Gen Kyu Sei Mahikari Kyodan"
  • 1978 : "Sukyo Mahikari" (Japan) – nominal membership – 1,000,000+ worldwide (2009)
  • 1978–1979 : "The Light Center" (Belgium)
  • 1980 : "Suhikari Koha Sekai Shindan" – nominal membership – 4,500 (2007)
  • 1984 : "Yokoshi Tomo No Kai" (Singapore)

Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan[edit]

Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan (World Divine Light Organization) is the name of an independent organization founded by Yoshikazu Okada in 1959 as "Yokoshi Tomo no Kai" (Association of Positive People [children] of Light). Okada was the organization's first "Holy Master" (Holy name: Seio, Kotama). After Okada's death on June 23, 1974, the Reverend Seiho Sakae Sekiguchi (1909–1994) became the second "Holy Master" of the organization by "divine degree". During his leadership, the organization established the "Su-za World Main Shrine" in Mount Amagi on the Izu Peninsula on August 23, 1987. On January 3, 1994, the Reverend Seisho (Katsutoshi Sekiguchi (1939–) became the third "Holy Master" of the organization, also by "divine degree".

Sukyo Mahikari[edit]

Sukyo Mahikari (崇教真光) is the name of an independent organization founded by Keishu Okada in 1978, the adopted daughter of Yoshikazu Okada, following his death and the subsequent legal dispute over leadership of Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan. The Sukyo Mahikari World headquarters is located at the "World Shrine" to the Creator God, which was completed in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture, in 1984. The Takayama site also includes the Hikaru Museum, a museum opened in 1999 that depicts the life and world-view of Mr. Okada and the Sukyo Mahikari organization.

Suhikari Kōha Sekai Shindan[edit]

Suhikari Kōha Sekai Shindan was founded in 1980 by the spiritualist and manga artist Kuroda Minoru (1928– ).[7] Kuroda had been a follower of Yoshikazu Okada and Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyōdan. After Okada's death, Kuroda left that organization and, after receiving a revelation, established the "Shūkyō Dantai Kōrin" in 1980, registering the group as an independent religious body under the Religious Corporations Law (Shūkyō Hōjinhō). In 1984 the group assumed its current name. Its headquarters are in Hachiōji City, Tokyo.


  1. ^ Yasaka 1999, p. 25
  2. ^ McVeigh, Brian 1992, p. 41
  3. ^ Thomsen 1963, p. 70.
  4. ^ McVeigh, Brian 1992, p. 41. "The notion of a divine energy administered through the hand can be found in other New Religions. In Omoto there is the belief in shinki / reiki (divine spirit) that is radiated in a ritual called miteshiro (divine hand-substitute). Sekai Kyiiseikyb's hikari (light) is given in a ritual called jorei (spirit cleaning). Jorei is very similar to Mahikari's okijome, as is Omoto's miteshiro."
  5. ^ Knecht, Peter 1995, p. 337
  6. ^ Weston, Erin Leigh 2002, p. 45
  7. ^ Inoue, Nobutaka 1991 Kuroda is a known for his themes of ghost stories or the curses of spirits. His cartoons are popular especially among junior and senior high school girls. Since initiating his religious activities, Kuroda has used his cartoon drawings as a medium of missionary activities. He is also engaged in counseling young people.

See also[edit]


  • Clarke, Peter Bernard (1994), Japanese New Religions in the West, Routledge, ISBN 1-873410-24-7
  • Cornille, Catherine (1991), "The Phoenix Flies West: The Dynamics of the Inculturation of Mahikari in Western Europe" (pdf), Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 18 (2–3): 265–285, retrieved 2007-09-23
  • Davis, Winston (1982), Dojo: Magic and Exorcism in Modern Japan, Stanford University Press, ISBN 0-8047-1131-3
  • Inoue, Nobutaka (1991), "Recent Trends in the Study of Japanese New Religions" (webpage), Institute for Japanese Culture and Classics, Kokugakuin University, retrieved 2007-10-04
  • Knecht, Peter (1995), "The Crux of the Cross Mahikari's Core Symbol" (pdf), Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 22 (3–4): 321–340, retrieved 2007-09-23
  • McVeigh, Brian (1992), "The Vitalistic Conception of Salvation as Expressed in Sukyo Mahikari" (pdf), Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 19 (1): 41–68, retrieved 2007-09-23
  • Shibata, Kentaro (2003), Great and Holy Master?, L.H. Yoko Shuppan
  • Sukyo Mahikari (2004), Mahikari Primary Course Text, Sukyo Mahikari
  • Tebecis, Andris K. (2004), Is the Future in Our Hands? My Experiences with Sukyo Mahikari, Canberra, Australia: Sunrise Press, ISBN 0-9593677-4-8
  • Thomsen, Harry (1963), The New Religions of Japan, Charles E. Tuttle Co.
  • Tsushiro Hirofumi (2006), "Subikari Kōha Sekai Shindan" (webpage), Kokugakuin University, retrieved 2007-10-05
  • Tsushima, Michihito; et al. (1979), "The Vitalistic Conception of Salvation in Japanese New Religions: An Aspect of Modern Religious Consciousness" (pdf), Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 6 (1–2): 138–161, retrieved 2007-09-23
  • Weston, Erin Leigh (2002), "Transcultural Possessions in/of Mahikari: Religious Syncretism in Martinique" (pdf), Japanese Studies Review, 6 (1): 45–62, retrieved 2007-09-23
  • World Divine Light Organization web site, pp. holy master–history, archived from the original (webpage) on 1998-12-12, retrieved 2007-10-21
  • Yamane,Ichiro, (webpage), retrieved 2007-10-07 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  • Yasaka, T (1999), Hope for a Troubled Age, L H Yoko Publishers Tokyo
  • Young, Richard Fox (1988), "From Gokyo-dogen to Bankyo-dokon: A Study in the Self-Universalization of Omoto" (pdf), Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 15 (4): 263–286, retrieved 2007-09-23
  • Young, Richard Fox (1990), "Magic and Morality in Modern Japanese Exorcistic Technologies – A Study of Mahikari –" (pdf), Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 17 (1): 42, retrieved 2007-10-06
  • Broder, Anne (2008), "Mahikari in context" (pdf), Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 35 (2): 33–362, retrieved 2010-08-04

External links[edit]