oomoto english visitor's review reading "The Great Onisaburo Deguchi" contact

Ruth Reiner


18. The Emperor


As Japan is coming closer step by step to World War 2: “Onisaburo undertook the job of trying to cure the critical patient, which was Japan...” (ch 23). This is just about wher we left off in the last item. The issues that Onisaburo dealt with regarding the war that was just around the corner were of various characters. One issue which seems quite unbelievable I will present as written in the book:

“A regular visitor to Oomoto was Onisaburo’s intimate friend Tadanori Nakayama, said to be the great-grandson of the Emperor Kokaku. One day this man said to Onisaburo, ”Let me have Ten’on-kyo (The Oomoto grounds in Kameoka).” Onisaburo said all right, it’s yours,” and asked what he was planning to use it for. Nakayama replied, “It is necessary to support Emperor Pu Yi in order to settle smoothly the present Sino-Japanese problem, and Ten’on-kyo is necessary to receive the Emperor.” (ch 24)

Onisaburo agreed and even built a pavilion for this purpose (among other purposes). Just to spice up a bit of the above, if any of you have seen the movie “The Last Emperor” (one of my favorite movies!), that is emperor Pu Yi (quite incredible isn’t it!!!). Anyway, there remains the question of why Onisaburo would get himself mixed up in such an issue as hiding the Emperor of Manchuria on the Oomoto grounds in Kameoka? It turns out as follows (in chapter 24):
“...Oomoto is acting according to divine instructions...” this relates even to the proposition of hiding emperor Pu Yi in Japan, until the situation changes.

Onisaburo said: “We must not allow the intervention of third party intrigues. Pu Yi must become Emperor according to the wishes of the whole Manchurian people. To this end it is necessary for Pu Yi to hide temporarily at Ten’on-kyo in Kameoka and break away from the whirlpool of intrigue surrounding him.” (ch 24)

Oh what a different movie it would have been if Emperor Pu Yi could have gotten away, but he instead was taken under the clogs of the Peoples Republic of China, (I’d go and see the movie again if I were you and had a video).

“...in the end, the military snatched away Pu Yi, and Onisaburo enraged, gave up all connection with the affair. “ (ch 24)

“If Onisaburo’s plan had succeeded, and Pu Yi had taken refuge at Ten’on-kyo, not only would his life have taken quite a different course, but the history of Asia, the fate of Japan, and even a page in world history might have been quite different.” (ch 24)

(Isn’t this all great!)


Of course this is a great reason in my view to suspect Onisaburo and Oomoto for having political aspirations. This is only one aspect which is quite fascinating I think, showing Oomoto’s influential connection to world affairs even then. Oomoto people also were deeply involved in learning Esperanto at the time as they are today. But in those days it was deeply associated by the government as a left wing activity, and so was also a source of conflict with the government, like in many other countries at that time.

As I have mentioned before, Oomoto sees itself as a miniature model for world affairs. In chapter 25 we find an interesting anecdote connected with this way of viewing things.

“Before dawn on December 8, 1935, the Japanese police began a wholesale roundup of Oomoto. The Second Oomoto Suppression had begun... The day decided upon was December 8 ... exactly six years later Japan staged the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Not only are the dates the same, but “pearl” in Japanese is shinju and the place where Onisaburo was staying when a large force of armed police came to arrest him was on the banks of lake shinji in Shimane Prefecture.” (ch 25)

“The justification by the members of the raiding party was that ‘Onisaburo was plotting to usurp the Imperial Throne’.” (ch 25

If you remember, the fear of Onisaburo “the traitor”, and Oomoto conspiring against the Emperor, was also in the background for the first Oomoto persecution in 1921, so these ideas did not start up in a day.

I’ve mentioned before that Onisaburo loved poetry, and composed quite alot. If you have just a few minutes with the Book “The Great Onisaburo Deguchi”, in your hands, one way you might fall in love with him (or may not), is through reading his short poems. The following is one he wrote later about the morning that a hundred armed police surrounded his house and then burst in like a storm:

Rudely awakened
I calmly
smoke a cigarette
(ch 25)

The police were warned that Onisaburo’s people would be armed, and as in the first persecution had made a great fools of themselves. One small funny note, which reminds me of a Charley Chaplain movie: as the hundred policemen burst into the house before dawn, shouting “where is deguchi!” (in Japanese deguchi means “exit” or “way out”), the sleepy believers, not understanding at first what was happening, led the police out the back door! (isn’t that a great one!!!)

So that’s all for today, it seemed nice to end on a funny note today, cause I can’t promise you that as the war gets closer (in our story of course), that it will get funnier, before it gets sadder... hope I didn‘t loose all four of my readers by saying this now, but as my dad always says: You got to do what you got to do...


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