“Happiness Realization Party” – Our Name Itself Expresses Our Political Agenda
"Master Ryuho Okawa: A Political Revolutionary" （Part 1）
“Happiness Realization Party” – Our Name Itself Expresses Our Political Agenda
“Master Ryuho Okawa: A Political Revolutionary” （Part 1）
Master Ryuho Okawa founded the Happiness Realization Party in 2009. Master Okawa created this organization with the aim of starting a happiness realization revolution.
However, many people have not been able to grasp his true meaning for the political arm of the largest religion in Japan.
This situation could be due to people’s lack of understanding of Master Okawa’s political philosophies.
What is a “happiness realization revolution” exactly? What ideas are behind it? If Master Okawa were to achieve his “revolution”, and the ultimate aims of the Happiness Realization Party were universally applied, even outside of Japan, then what would happen in society?
Master Ryuho Okawa has widely addressed these questions in his books and public appearances.
Here’s a five part introduction in the form of excerpts from one of his books, which will focus on Master Ryuho Okawa’s political views as the founder of the Happiness Realization Party and as a self-described “political revolutionary”.
The Aim of Founding the Happiness Realization Party
– First of all I want to ask a very simple question.
I think neither the media nor the public has a very clear understanding of what the Happiness Realization Party actually is.
Ryuho Okawa: I think so too, yes.
– I think the media are taking the unfair stance that we have only entered the political arena in order to promote our religion, and many people simply assume this to be true.
If you look at what the Happiness Realization Party does, it becomes clear that its activities are of a political nature, but the media have not acknowledged this so far.
Therefore, I think it would be good if you can explain to us the purpose of the party’s formation again.
Ryuho Okawa: I think that ultimately they have not taken a look at the philosophy behind the party.
When the Republicans in the U.S. saw the name “Happiness Realization Party” they immediately liked it and even felt tempted to change their own party’s name. They said that their name, “the Republican Party”, did not immediately communicate what they’re about. Our party’s name is much clearer.
So the Americans understood the name right away, but if you say “happiness realization” to the Japanese, they don’t understand whether we are talking about an ideology or a religion or something else.
In our case, the name of our party itself expresses our political agenda.
The Objective of Politics is That as Many People as Possible Will be Able to Live Happily.
Ryuho Okawa: Inner happiness is the central focus of religion, and religious teachings are largely concerned with providing guidance on gaining a proper perspective and how to lead a better life. However there are many things people can do to improve the practical affairs of daily life.
The central focus of religion is to communicate an attitude and a philosophy that helps people reflect and improve themselves, while “happiness realization” refers to a political movement whose purpose lies in the concrete activities necessary to make people happy, and to the results of these activities.
In my eyes, the objective of politics is to allow as many people to lead happy lives. It should be practical, have legitimate motivation, and able to produce results.
The Happiness Realization Party has made it its mission to put the utopian religious ideas of Happy Science into practice and transfer them to the world of politics. In this sense, the Happiness Realization Party is our operational unit. Its objective is to realize happiness through politics.
The term “happiness realization” itself contains this positive message, but the Japanese people and the media, whose duty is to inform them of this, have not fully understood the meaning of these words yet, nor have they understood the nature of the aim of politics.
Furthermore, the media often think that the goal of politics is winning political fights. They think of politics as a struggle between political groups. Their idea of politics resembles a competitive game whose only objective is to win.
Of course it is fine for competition to exist in politics, but the aim of this competition must be about who can ensure greater happiness to the citizens. This sort of competition is acceptable.
However, political struggles and competitions are not the objective of politics. What matters in politics is to ensure the happiness of many citizens as possible, that they truly feel grateful for having been born in such a country where happiness has been realized.
It was with this objective that the Happiness Realization Party was founded.
This is the philosophy of the Happiness Realization Party, but I think so far the media have failed to understand this.
The Philosopher King – An Ideal Envisioned by Plato in Ancient Greece
– The title of today’s interview is “Ryuho Okawa – A Political Revolutionary”.
Ryuho Okawa: Yes. Of course for me, this is a change in image, but it would make me happy if people would start to recognize my political side.
– When we hear the word “revolution”, we might think of the socialist revolution, or the communist revolution. We remember the fall of the Soviet Union, and it is easy to conclude that pursuing utopian ideas is dangerous.
The Happiness Realization Party’s objective is to create a utopia. What is the difference between this and the socialist revolution? What justification do we have for what we are doing? What are your thoughts on this?
Ryuho Okawa: You are familiar with the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, I’m sure. He was a disciple of Socrates and the author of “The Republic”. This text is a classic in both philosophy and politics.
In this political treatise, Plato introduces the concept of the “philosopher king”.
Plato’s teacher Socrates, who was 40 years his senior and is respected even to this day as the father of philosophy, was sentenced to death by a democratic court of justice. I think for this reason Plato, as his student, must have been disgusted with democracy. Plato believed that perhaps if there are a few great persons involved then they might be able to make some difference, but in truth democracy is dangerously close to being mob rule, and if left unchecked it would quickly corrupt. In fact he saw democracy as an extremely undesirable system.
However, in recent times some have come to claim the exact opposite, such as Francis Fukuyama who wrote, “The End of History and the Last Man,” in which he praises democracy as the best possible political system, the most highly developed form of politics.
Differences Between Lenin and Mao Zedong versus Sun Yat-sen Lie in Their Philosophies
Ryuho Okawa: To think that it would be best for Plato’s philosopher king to emerge and take care of politics and then that things would really change for the better–that having one great ruler take care of politics would be better than democracy or mob rule, may be akin to the idea of political rule by a virtuous leader according to Confucianism.
Some philosophers may say, “Lenin and Stalin were like philosopher kings in the Soviet Union who built a utopian state based on their philosophy with horrifying results. Mao also led a revolution based on Maoist philosophy, but millions of people were killed in the process, and the Chinese suffered horribly as a result. This proves that the philosopher king is a politically defective and dangerous idea.”
Social commentator Takashi Tachibana said Stalin was such a manifestation of this idea.
However, I believe that even if people like Stalin can theoretically be called “philosopher kings” the problem lay in their particular philosophy. If their philosophy is defective, then obviously everything they do will be defective as well.
The Communist Party for example claims that big business is evil, but obviously, this is not a universal consensus. A great many people can now live more convenient lives, for instance, as we now have Seven Eleven stores all over the country. Of course some may not like the fact that small mom and pop shops have gone out of business as a result of the chain’s expansion, but this is only looking at the negative side without considering the benefits. Now people everywhere in Japan have a chance to buy the same goods, and things have become a lot more convenient.
In the same way, it is also possible that political movements based on ideologies may bring positive results.
In China for example even before the Maoist revolution happened, Sun Yat-sen led a democratic revolution based on the “Three Principles of the People”. However the “Republic of China” lost to the Communist Party before it could complete its quest, so the revolutionaries escaped to Taiwan where they founded a much smaller country, while, unfortunately, the communist revolution ended up spreading across the entire Chinese mainland. If Sun Yat-sen’s revolution had been successful, China would be a democratic country today.
Whether a philosopher king is good or bad depends on his personality and his ideology, so we cannot say that the concept itself is entirely good or bad.
The Happiness Realization Party speaks of the Happiness Realization Revolution, but the revolution we are talking about has nothing to do with the communist revolution that killed everybody who was against it. That would obviously be in contradiction with the word “happiness”.
The Relationship Between “Religion, Which is Enduring,” and “Politics, Which is Unstable”
– From the perspective of sensationalist media, some may say that they are afraid that you might become a dictator.
Ryuho Okawa: To that I can only say that, while religion is enduring, politics is unstable.
In Japan the Prime Minister changes about once a year. If this were to happen in religion it would be extremely inconvenient. Religious positions are usually permanent, and we rarely hear of such permanent positions causing some sort of inconvenience. The permanency ensures stability.
Look at the Pope for example. Aged 85, the last Pope decided to step down from his position due to old age, and it caused a scandal. This was the first time in 600 years the Pope stepped down. The papal office has always been a life long position.
This resembles the imperial system and is aimed at avoiding strife.
History has shown that when religion adopts a merit based system, struggles break out, its doctrines becomes difficult to uphold, and it divides into many sects.
The first Qin Emperor sought eternal life and eternal youth, but obviously this turned out to be an impossible quest. In the same way, it is impossible for any individual to attain political immortality.
Especially in an environment where administrations change so frequently, even while religion may retain its eternal doctrines, when it comes to politics it needs to respond to the reality of practical life.
In this sense, it is unavoidable that there must be a certain gap between politics and religion.
On Obama’s Leadership Skills and the Syrian and Egyptian Crisis
– You have said that the time has come for Japan to take up leadership amongst the international community, but I think this would put us in a position in which we would clash with the U.S., the current world leader.
The basic premise is to strengthen and continue the Japanese-American alliance, but now the Happiness Realization Party is talking about Japan’s need to regain its own pride, and the need to reevaluate what happened in WWII. This is bound to clash with the American way of judging this part of our history.
With China, Korea, and North Korea we won’t be able to avoid fierce debates, but as the U.S. is our partner, we should avoid fierce clashes to prevent straining our relationship.
How should Japan deal with this issue if it wants to become a good leader?
Ryuho Okawa: At my birthday lecture I also talked about Syria a little bit. Nobody intervened in Syria, even after 100 thousand people had died in the civil war. Obama has failed as the President of the United States. Compared to past presidents he has no leadership skills.
Never mind military intervention. At the very least he should have taken a clear position on the issue.
He is focusing too much on domestic issues, so the U.S. has lost credibility as a world leader.
I on the other hand, made it clear how I felt about it. I said that, “Assad’s regime has already killed 100 thousand people. It is obvious that it must be ousted, and a new government be installed.” In a way, I indirectly criticized America’s lack of leadership.
Egypt on the other hand, which has a strong military, annually receives 30 billion yen in aid from the U.S., so it is more easy to apply pressure on them. It must not be allowed to fall under military rule again, or fall under a military dictatorship like Myanmar. Maybe the president needs to change, but it is essential for democratic procedures to be established there.
I think at this stage, Obama’s handling of Egypt is adequate. I think he will keep exerting pressure not to give too much power to the Egyptian military or let them establish a puppet regime. I think at this stage, U.S. relations with Egypt are close, so I believe this is the direction he is thinking in.