Great Construction

The Anguish of Pioneers

     Lately, in the press and on the radio, whether it is because new religions appear to be experiencing an explosion of growth or for some other reason, scholars and journalists alike seem be making World Messianity the target of most of their criticism, so I here would like to put forward our position. For all their criticisms, what is most troubling is that no effort is made to investigate the truth of World Messianity, and statements are put in print or spoken simply based on imagination, so it would be fair to call these comments the height of irresponsibility. When it comes to content, there are so many misconstructions, it is annoying in the extreme. Of these annoyances, particularly to be noted is the lumping of World Messianity together with other new religions. When I read these articles, I sometimes even hallucinate that I am reading the criticism of another religion. That is because, as I always say, World Messianity differs fundamentally from other new religions, to the point where it would be fair to say that we have almost no similar points. Not only this, World Messianity differs greatly from any other religion that has been around since antiquity, and this is where lies the value of World Messianity as World Messianity.
     What I am saying about the uniqueness of World Messianity is that not only do I have no interest in undertaking what others have done up to the present, but also that there would be no need for me to do so. However, as can be understood from observing history, the achievements of the pioneers and forerunners of each age should be esteemed for their value. It would be fair to say that it was these very individuals who were the propulsive power for the development of culture. The creative new departures that I have initiated in many fields have no other meaning than this. And yet, since there is a need to improve all areas and aspects of existing culture and from that point continue development, the people to put this into form and practice are required, and even though it is good that the number of people is very great, there are really very few people who can be leaders for new discoveries and inventions to make the jump in culture. Within any century the number of such individuals is probably easily counted. Intriguingly, all these individuals, without exception, were placed in a whirlpool of misunderstanding, inundated with the arrows of censure, and there were even those in extreme circumstances whose very lives were in danger.
     It is for these very reasons that in each age, there are many obstinate individuals who find progress disagreeable, and what is more, these kinds of people are those who occupy pivotal roles in society. The persecution and oppression of which I have been a victim for so long is as I have occasionally described in our publications. Before the end of the war, lack of understanding by the authorities was acute, new religions received special treatment, not in a good way, and there was no room for activity. In those days the most sticky problem was being placed by legal authorities in cases involving lèse-majesté.
     The best examples of those who suffered for long periods in prison under the charge of lèse-majesté were the founder of Tenri-kyo who was imprisoned more than ten times, Omoto’s co-founder Onisaburo Deguchi, and Hito no Michi’s founder Tokuharu Miki. The reader can imagine how harsh their treatment was by the fact that both Deguchi and Miki passed away soon after their release from prison. Deguchi, imprisoned for seven years, was seventy-one years old when released. But, luckily enough, because society became democratic, freedom of belief came to be permitted, we became able to see the light of day after a long period of enduring the shadows, and religious activities became possible.
     To return to the main topic, because it could be said that all I undertake is a form of breaking the mold as I wrote in the beginning, it may be only natural that the old-fashioned and timid, ordinary individuals would not understand my work. Rather, they would be suspicious. An example of this is something that occurred recently. This account concerns publication of the book Salvation for Americans. When we went to advertise the book in all the major newspapers, of all the newspapers, only one would absolutely not carry the advertisement. The reader can understand why when you hear their reason for doing so: “Because the book’s theories are such a leap of logic, we were not able to consent to the danger of advertising it.” As can be seen by how the heliocentric theory as expounded by Copernicus and Galileo was heavily suppressed by the authorities of the times and even got them put in jail, that pioneers of religion and culture do not have an easy time gaining acceptance is a predisposition that applies to both East and West, so it probably cannot be measured how much these old-fashioned types have impeded the improvement of culture.
     In that respect, the United States differs. Free from any preconceived ideas, matters are viewed fairly, based on the results of actual achievement, and that which is considered superior to that which has existed before, is adopted. The attitude is that that such as deep-rooted habits and traditions are totally ignored. Needless to say, this country’s wonderful growth nowadays that has been accomplished results from this attitude. This point is well illustrated by the fact that it is said that compared to American culture, Japan is thirty years behind. Since what I teach is truth, when my teachings are put into action, that they will be much of a positive factor for the nation and the people should immediately be clear. What I teach, though, is so far ahead of its time, the one thing I find regrettable is that the longer implementation of my teachings is delayed, the more will increase the number of victims, so speaking from results, it will mean that those who should be saved will not be saved as a result of which sin will be created from good intentions. On this point, I demand careful deliberation on the part of you journalists. 

Eikō, Issue 202, April 1, 1953
translated by cynndd

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“Senkusha no Nayami,” originally carried in Eikō, Issue 202, April 1, 1953, and while Meishu-sama still alive, reprinted in the essays anthology for ministers Goshinsho: Shūkyō-hen (Divine Writings: Volume on Religion), March 25, 1954, page 310, has, as far as is known, not appeared in translation.