OKAWA, RYUHO (b. 1956) (Religious Movement)

Ryuho Okawa (Founder of Kofuku-no-Kagaku, IRH) was born as Takashi Nakagawa in Tokushima Prefecture in Japan on 7 July 1956. He came from neither a particularly wealthy nor poor family background. Okawa was a lively student; he was the editor of the school journal, enjoyed tennis and fishing, practised kendo (a martial art), and graduated from Tokyo University where he read law and politics. He married another Tokyo University graduate, Kyoko (1965-), with whom he has five children. On 23 March 1981, just before graduating from University, Okawa suddenly began to receive messages from a high spirit, and many more divine spirits started to contact him. In July 1981, he became aware of his mission to bring happiness to all humanity and of his identity as the incarnation of the grand spirit, El Cantare. Instead of immediately starting a religious movement, however, he worked in one of Japan’s major trading houses and was sent to its US head office in New York, where he also studied international finance at New York City University. Even during his secular life in the financial world his spiritual experiences continued. His father, Saburo Yoshikawa, taped the dialogues held between Okawa and various spirits and edited a vast amount of recordings. Over four years after Okawa’s religious experiences had first started, the first volume of these spiritual messages was published. It was entitled Nichiren no Reigen (The Spiritual Messages of Nichiren) and appeared under Yoshikawa’s name (1985). In 1986, at the age of thirty, Okawa left his firm and established Kofuku-no-Kagaku (The Institute for Research in Human Happiness), which obtained official religious body status in Tokyo in 1991. According to Kofukuno-Kagaku, the number of Okawa’s publications exceeds 400; these include booklets, and audio books. His trilogy The Laws of the Sun, The Golden Laws and The Laws of Eternity, are his principal writings.

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