By Ruth Reiner
Hey everyone, welcome back! Hope you enjoyed the short break. I would like to bring to you the words from the first paragraph of chapter 15, from the book “The Great Onisaburo Deguchi” written by Mr. Kyotaro Deguchi, so you can remember where we left off last time and “get into the spirit” of what is going to occurr next.
“Oomoto, with it’s message of national upheaval, was spreading like wild fire among the military, the aristocracy and intellectuals. It was a cause for panic in the government that so many members of the upper classes were rallying to Oomoto and that Oomoto’s propaganda was beginning to reach even the families of the imperial princes.”
As I have mentioned before, it is crucial (as in any social situation in my view), to have some idea about the historical background and environment at the time. The beginning of the 1920’s in Japan, are in fact fascinating times for “hungry historians”. These are just a few of the “strong colors” in the back-drop of the stage: (information taken from chapter 15)
In 1919 fifty thousand people died from a terrible flue that hit Japan. The labor movement grew bigger and became more organized, and industrial clashes began to take place. There was a post war financial crisis in 1920 and uprisings of farmers against their landlords. Intellectual movements sprang up. And on top of this, criticism of the emperor system began to be heard. In reaction to the socialist and labor movements in Japan, extreme right wing parties were getting stronger, backed by the government. Into this great salad, Oomoto was to add the “salt” and “pepper”.
Excuse me today, I seem to be in a mood for many metaphors, so if you feel like ”A pumpkin in the middle of the fields”, in the end of this item, just blame me!
So in this environment, the accusations against Oomoto were getting quite out of hand, as incredible stories were published nationwide. Just a few to “tickle your ears”: (Ch 15)
* Oomoto has hidden eleven skeletons. These belong to young believers, who were killed for fear they will disclose “Oomoto’s secrets”.
* Oomoto has vast supplies of ammunition.
* And several incredible accusations of disrespect to the imperial family, which were then the most serious charges possible.
So as these accusations were made public, eventually the police decided to send a spy to investigate “The Real Story of Oomoto”! But, as I must state again, Onisaburo was a great man. Onisaburo, knowing “The force is with him”, saw through the man’s disguise, and appointed him into the front lines of Oomoto, into the post of secretary, allowing him to move freely in the system and have access to all the information!
You know why I think he was a great man? ‘Cause I bet you, that not many people would deal with such a situation like that. Most people, even if they know that the truth is on their side, and that they have nothing to hide, would get so preoccupied with their ego that they would most probably do anything else, but to let a spy walk freely. This is a very Oomoto approach, if I may say. You can find many calligraphy done by the spiritual leaders of Oomoto, relating to the same principle that Onisaburo followed, adopting with no doubts a spy to his main network. The idea, if I understand it right, is that if you go through life on the road of the truth, you should have no fears and so live a happy life.
All religions believe they go on the road of truth; to believe that is not the hard part! But going on that road and being happy…??? As long as religions are preoccupied with hatred and war, I find it hard to believe that they lead happy lives. I come from Israel. Israel and the middle east have constant religious wars in the name of “Truth”. I truly know from my experience that wars and hatred plant the seeds of unhappiness.
But as I said most people do not live with their truth happily, not today and not 75 years ago, and so they force war in the name of “their truth”. And so here in the book we get to the “First Oomoto Persecution”. I would like to bring you this outstanding description as written in the book (“The Great Onisaburo Deguchi”, ch 16):
“… exercising their judicial powers, they placed the post office under supervision and stopped the delivery of mail, the making of telephone calls and sending of telegrams. Meanwhile the main force encircled the Oomoto headquarters, and began the simultaneous search of the premises.
Sumiko (Onisabubo’s wife that was actually the second Spiritual Leader), and the other leaders and followers were herded into a single room (Onisaburo was away at that time), and looked uncomprehendingly at the policemen who loudly informed them, “You are under arrest for le’se-majeste’ and violations of the Press Law”.
“….But when they asked Sumiko, “Where is the imperial brocade banner?” she replied, “What you are referring to is not a flag, but a loom (both flag and loom are hata in Japanese)…Why should we have such things as imperial flags or banners here?” The investigators walked off making sour faces.”
another group went to a rock cave that was used for meditation:
“This was the cave where it was said that ten people have been shut away and left to die, women have been raped and money forged. The police, believing these absurd rumors, crawled around this cave in their underpants.”
Well yah, I did find this last paragraph quite funny actually. But it does show how seriously the accusations were taken. So anyway join me next time to see how things developed, as a snowball on a roll…