Interesting Religious Sects Japanese Golf Religion Part 1
About the religious sect known as Perfect Liberty Kyodan, history, size, and tradition of the Japanese Golf Religion.
JAPANESE GOLF RELIGION
Of the new religions of Japan, Perfect Liberty Kyodan (kyodan means church in Japanese) is one of the most successful. Generally known as PL to its members, it is also called the "Golf Religion" because several PL churches feature rooftop driving ranges so members don't have to travel to practice self-expression. The nickname was bestowed by outsiders, but the church accepts it, believing that by stirring curiosity, the name attracts converts to the fold.
Birth: Perfect Liberty Kyodan began in 1912, when spiritualist Kanada Tokumitsu met a Buddhist priest, Miki Tokuharu. Miki had a chronic disease, and doctors had given up on him. Kanada offered to "take the illness upon himself," and Miki's symptoms immediately transferred to him. When the symptoms left even the new host, Miki deserted Buddhism to follow Kanada.
When Kanada died, Miki planted a tree at the place of death and worshiped it, waiting for someone to appear and continue Kanada's work. Kanada had told Miki the successor would identify himself by adding three revelations to those Kanada had already received. After five years of worship, Miki realized that the man prophesied was himself.
Miki's religion was established in 1924, and a million Japanese joined the sect during its first decade. However, the Japanese government persecuted those who denied the divine absolutism of rulers, and Miki's religion was one of several sects which fell into that category. In 1937 Miki was one of numerous churchmen imprisoned by the imperialist regime. He died in prison.
When Americans occupied Japan during W. W. II. General MacArthur released religious prisoners. Among them was Miki Tokuchika, Tokuharu's son. The young Miki founded PL Kyodan in 1946 to continue his father's work.
Today, Miki Tokuharu is revered as Kyoso ("Founder") of the PL movement. His son is Oshie-oya ("Patriarch").
Growth: Every PL member is a missionary. Each small cell of believers must recruit 80 converts each year. Missionaries' names, together with those of their converts, are inscribed on their church walls. Although the core of believers is in Japan, PL has followers on five continents. Believers are primarily of Japanese descent.
The PL headquarters at Tondabayashi, Japan, is a massive compound which contains a hospital, schools, a youth center, an enormous golf course, several baseball diamonds, a temple, mausoleums, and the 550-ft. Peace Tower. Some of PL's million-plus members live at Tondabayashi, and the others try to make a pilgrimage there during their lifetime. During a pilgrimage, members learn to live artistically.
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