The Life of Mokichi-Okada (Meishu-Sama)

Mokichi Okada (Meishu-Sama) was born in Tokyo in 1882. The latter half of the nineteenth century was a time when the tide of Western civilization was surging through Japan, transforming it from a feudalistic country to a modern state, and bringing new ideas in philosophy, fashion, and technology.

When he was just a child, with his sights set on becoming a painter, he entered the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (now the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music). Due to frail health, however, he had to abandon his goal midway, but not before learning the maki-e technique of lacquer ware, thus familiarizing himself with traditional Japanese design. In 1907, he embarked on a jewellery venture, functioning as both designer and entrepreneur; he became successful to the point of making a name for himself in the jewellery business.

Even at this early stage of his life, Okada expressed great concern for people in need, extending financial support to those in difficulty, and repeatedly contributing generously to social welfare concerns. Further, his desire for social justice prompted him to look into the possibility of publishing a newspaper to help rectify social inequalities.
In 1919 Okada was struck by the cruel lash of misfortune in the loss of both his wife and child. During the early 1920s, as a result of the Great Kantô Earthquake and the economic crisis that it precipitated, Okada suffered enormous financial burdens, and his jewellery firm also fell upon difficulties.

Okada had originally believed in pragmatism, which is generally based upon the principles of materialism. However, faced with repeated hardships, he came to revise his principles, believing that God and the existence of the spiritual world in reality do exist, and that they constitute the true nature of the cosmos.

Having opened his eyes to the fact that this world is God's creation, his days were filled with wonder and delight at each new revelation and discovery, and at the manifestation of the divine world, until eventually he came to be blessed with direct divine guidance. Through these divine revelations, Okada learned that the divine world is in fact a manifestation of the life force of the universe--the power that also governs the patterns of nature and the regular courses of the heavenly bodies.

He was also made aware that it was his mission to alter the course of humankind — to date characterized by civilization's deviation towards materialistic values — and to create a new civilization. This new civilization would reflect harmony between the material and the spiritual, and would realize true welfare for humankind.

The change in Okada's philosophy accompanying this transformation was not simply based on intellectual theory, but on a personal experience of the existence and power of God. However, he did not abandon his strong belief--developed during his adolescent years, when he was first drawn to the pragmatic philosophy propounded by William James, among others--that philosophy must be implemented and applied in everyday life.

Okada was now secure in the knowledge that civilization was destined to undergo a great transition in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, moving toward the creation of a true civilization beneficial to all humankind. In 1935, Okada took his first step toward this goal with the founding in Tokyo of a new religion, the Japan Kannon Society (known today as Sekai Kyusei Kyo). The reason for establishing a religion as the central organ of his operations lay in his underlying view of the spiritual nature of the cosmos, upon which rested his concept of recreating civilization. He stated that the existence of the spiritual world was a necessary antecedent, and that this spiritual realm in itself was fundamentally religious in nature.

A fan-shaped book of sketches
and poems by Meishu-Sama

Details from two of Meishu-Sama's paintings: Red Plum Blossoms and Green Pine Tree
Nonetheless, because Okada's ultimate objective was to create a new civilization, his activities inevitably transcended religion, coming to encompass the full spectrum of human endeavours. Unfortunately, however, for ten years his efforts were in effect blocked by the ideological regulations imposed by Japan's military. But in 1945, with the conclusion of World War II--and the freedom of thought and movement that resulted--Okada moved his base of operations from Tokyo to Hakone and Atami, and launched his full-scale activities for recreating civilization.

The new civilization that Mokichi Okada (by this time already kindly known by his followers as Meishu-Sama meaning “Lord of Light”) strove to establish was to be rooted in the safety and health of all humankind. These were to be promoted through research and widespread implementation of Johrei, and through Nature Farming (see related pages in our website). In addition, Meishu-Sama was convinced that enhancing people's awareness and appreciation of beauty and the arts would subdue humankind's brutal and savage tendencies, and he believed that beauty and art would be very highly esteemed in the coming civilization. He therefore devoted himself to developing a doctrine that would encourage the development of a mutually cooperative and beneficial relationship among all things.

Meishu-Sama then created gardens on the Society's grounds in Hakone and Atami (the Sacred Grounds), and initiated construction of a museum to serve as an oasis of beauty. He then began to collect superior works of art from Japan and other oriental countries. In 1952, the Hakone Museum of Art was completed, with he himself taking office as its first director. Another project involved purchasing 36 hectares of land on the outskirts of Atami for establishing a Johrei clinic and an experimental Nature Farming plantation.

A point of note with regard to this period in Meishu-Sama’s lifetime was his dedication to committing his ideas to writing, publishing them in his own newspapers and journals, or compiling them into books. In this way, he strove to enlighten others.

His love of and respect for art prompted him to compose about fifty-five hundred ‘waka’ poems (regarded as one of the most fundamental cultural arts of Japan), and to complete more than seven thousand Japanese-style paintings, and nearly one million works of calligraphy.

Mokichi Okada passed away in 1955, at the age of 72, leaving the construction of the new civilization in the hands of his followers. He firmly believed that the twenty-first century would be the era in which would be born humankind's ideal of a civilized world, marked by peace, beauty, and artistic qualities. He foresaw, however, that the dawning of this new civilization would be preceded by an unavoidable period of social instability and confusion throughout the world, arising from the fall of materialism. Concrete examples of this are readily apparent today in the form of environmental destruction, declining standards in agriculture, the many problems concerning human health, and the chaotic confusion of world affairs.

Nonetheless, His ideas have become the heritage of many who are empathetic to his philosophy and activities, and his plans have been steadily brought to realization in the years since his death.

A flower arrangement by Meishu-Sama