Ideas That Shoin Yoshida, Reverend King, and Nelson Mandela Had in Common

The former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who fought the Apartheid regime, moved on to heaven.
It may seem at first that Japan and South Africa would not have had much in common, but in an interview that Mandela gave while he was still alive, he expressed how strongly he felt about Japan. “It was South Africa’s wish to become a great country, and Japan was one of its models. The miraculous success of Japan greatly inspired and empowered South Africa.”
However, Mandela didn’t necessarily mean to become like post-war Japan, which rose out of the ashes to become a major economic power. Mandela actually stated to his inner circle of advisers once, “Japan stopped in the middle of the Pacific War, which was disgraceful.”
In fact, after he passed, Master Okawa of the Happy Science Group summoned the spirit of Mandela to deliver a public spiritual message.
“You drove out European powers from Asia and Africa. Many Japanese did not die in vain from my perspective (abbreviated). If only Japan had won World War II, I would’ve been freed sooner.”
Perhaps modern Japanese youth have least understood the true meaning of the recent Pacific war.


Leaders of the Bakumatsu (end of Togugawa Shogunate (Edo period)) and the Meiji Era Foresaw the Pacific War.

About two years after the outbreak of the war between Japan and the United States, heads of state from Asian countries convened in Japan to hold the Greater East Asia Conference in November of 1943. They declared their goals: to free Asian colonies; to eliminate racism; and to protect themselves from the relentless invasions of Western people and their influence in Asian resources. Mandela knew about history. He seriously thought, “If only Japan would have advanced all the way to Africa, it could have crushed Apartheid.”
From as early as the Bakumatsu period, leaders of Japan have actually been thinking about how to drive the Western powers out of Asia and Africa.
The spiritual leader of the Choshu Domain, Shoin Yoshida, wrote a current-affairs article “Yushuroku” after he unsuccessfully attempted to travel abroad to America. He discussed Asian and African invasions based on strategy that the West and the Russians used there. Regarding his advice for Japan, he wrote, “It ought to strengthen its military, the government should clear Hokkaido when it has sufficient naval vessels and artillery, and take over the Kamchatka Okhotsk region. It should persuade the Ryukyus, subjugate Korea as it has in the past, take over Manchuria in the north, Taiwan in the south, as well as the Philippine Islands, and seize the forward momentum.”
In a letter to his disciple, Genzui Kusaka, Shoin also mentioned an additional plan for taking control of India.
If people interpreted these words, only at surface value, then they would dismiss them as Japanese imperialist thought, but the author’s principle aim was to bring down the white supremacist, colonial rule of the West.
This is not merely an extreme argument that Shoin made alone. The feudal lord of the Satsuma domain, Nariakira Shimazu, also came up with similar strategies. He wrote a letter to his most important aide, Takamori Saigo, “The feudal lords of Kinki and Chugoku region will head to mainland China, and the various domains in Kyushu will advance to places such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and India. Various groups in the North East will enter the maritime provinces, Sakhaline, and Manchuria. The Satsuma domain will recapture Taiwan and Canton on the other shore, shut down the South China Sea, and stop the eastward advance of the English and the French.”
The Meiji government formed later, and the personnel that Shoin and Nariakira educated became centrally involved. Those people did what their “mentors” taught.
In an opinion article written after World War I, Aritomo Yamagata, who became a senior statesman, clearly predicted the war with the West.
“The conflict between whites and colored people shall only escalate henceforth, and shall inevitably come to a clash. Western countries shall once again focus on power over the East, and we must expect that white people will collectively become the enemy of colored people.”


Shonan Yokoi Envisioned the Concept of an Agency to Judge the Western Invasion.

Bakumatsu’s Confucian scholar, Shonan Yokoi, imparted an even bigger vision to people who were practically his apprentices such as Shoin, Saigo, Kaishu Katsu, and Sakamoto Ryoma:

Japan, Korea, and Qing will modernize to fight against Western colonialism, and the West will meet with the righteousness of Asia. If the West forcibly and ruthlessly continues to invade, then we shall meet them head on. If the matter remains unsettled after the conflicts, then we must call an international conference to convene in Kyoto with representatives from all of the Eastern and Western countries. We should rule against Western aggression based on international law.

Shonan imagined a kind of Japan-led international organization could even transcend the importance of the League of Nations and the U.N.
“Cultivate virtues taught by Yao, Shun (legendary Chinese leaders) and Confucius, use the instruments of the West to our advantage. We will not settle for anything less than a prosperous nation, a mighty military, and will spread this righteousness to the four seas.”
Shonan’s Chinese poetry was also filled with the power of his intent to realize world peace with Japan as the most honored nation in the world.
People carried such aspirations all the way down into the Pacific War, and Mandela felt them, too.
A Bakumatsu Shogunate and patriots’ slogan was also employed around the time of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, “All the world under one roof.” According to the Chronicles of Japan, Emperor Jimmu originally declared this phrase in an imperial edict for nation-building, and it meant, “Above the world, we are united under one great roof.” The patriots of the Bakumatsu dreamed of adopting things from Western civilization, and when Japan became a powerful nation in the world, they wanted to manifest the peace of Japan for the rest of the world. Shonan rephrased this dream from a Confucian perspective and called it “the righteousness of the East.”
As soon as you say, “The entire world under one roof,” you might be met with charges of militarism. Yet, a vision, where Japan leads the way in the establishment of world peace, has become more necessary in today’s society.


Shoin Yoshida Had Unmitigated Ideas on How Humans Were Children of God.

You can see how Shoin and other people’s visions in Japan have differed from common Western policies of violence and aggression. The difference resulted from their unmitigated thoughts on equality.
Author Ryotaro Shiba wrote about the Shoin’s Choshu domain, “It was like religious hysteria where his fanatical followers danced around in ecstasy with their guru.” Shoin, of course was a guru, and Shiba portrayed Shoin’s revolutionary ideas with a religious tone.
Shoin’s thoughts were simply that the people should revolt based on ideas about equality with the support of all the gods of Japan and the emperors who are the descendents of gods. He wanted to cast off the class system and to confront the national crisis of the time. He demonstrated this drive with his actions, not just his words.
Shoin opened the shokason-juku, because he didn’t know from which class useful people might emerge. Shoin allowed anyone to enter, he didn’t care whether they were warriors, footmen, farmers, or merchants. He called his disciples “friends”, and Shoin treated everyone the same.
Based on Mencius’s idea of human nature’s fundamental good, Shoin believed that people were good. He claimed, “Even if the talent, we were born with, was unequal, through great effort alone, anyone can become a saint.” Shoin recognized people’s talents, brought them out, and trained them to become the molders of their eras.
Shoin did not discriminate against women, people met with prejudice, and even foreigners. Due to Shoin’s influence, Shinsaku Takasugi, who inherited Shoin’s revolutionary thoughts, created an irregular militia that included people who were victims of abuse from society. The Meiji government also drew from Shoin as one of its sources. It took apart Edo’s four-occupations, class system, and produced equality for everybody while it attempted to expand the same ideas throughout the rest of Asia.
Indeed, Shonan Yokoi proposed to spread his vision to the four seas. He also received credit for saying, “Foreigners, too, are the same as Japanese because they are also the ‘children of heaven’. Therefore, act towards them with benevolence and the righteousness of both heaven and earth.”
Both Shoin and Shonan, who drew up the grand design of post-Meiji Japan, thought that people were all children of God.

Due to philosophies among Japanese leaders at the time, the Meiji Restoration was a bloodless revolution, which was unlike the French and Russian revolutions that called for purges. It was an impossibly rare revolution in the history of the world that only resulted in several executions of former shogunate leaders who resisted to the end. Former shogunate vassals and the warriors of the former Satsuma and Choshu domains worked together to administer a new government.


Mandela Also Aimed for Reconciliation Between Blacks and Whites Because They Were Children of God.

Mandela, who fought in the anti-apartheid movement, also felt support from the Christian notion of “we are all children of God.”
After being released from twenty-seven years of life in prison, Mandela delivered an inaugural address when he was elected president.
“We ask ourselves. Who am I, to be, brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”
“We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not in some of us, it’s in everyone”
His speech was basically a religious teaching.
When many people in South Africa sought to demonize white people and to permit the blacks to rule, Mandela sought the opportunity to create a society where both sides of the racial fence worked together in harmony. Upon taking the office of the presidency, Mandela put together an investigative committee that shed light on the reality of discriminatory violence. He revealed the reality of the oppression of Apartheid. Yet, even if the criminals did terrible things, when they confessed, they were not charged.
At the root of this leniency was a strong faith in the idea that people were all God’s children. It was the opposite of the value system, which a bad strain of Christianity espoused, that practiced discrimination because its members believed black people didn’t possess souls, and that they were the same as monkeys.”
The spirit of Mandela, who appeared to Master Okawa only a few hours after his death, talked about the meaninglessness of racism.
“Spirit is transparent. It has no color. Spirit is the energy to think, energy to act, and nothing else. This is the true point of religion. This is the true point of equality and of freedom.”
Mandela recognized it while he was still alive, and he was able to become a great knight of freedom.


Lincoln Asked Americans To Forgive Each Other.

People, who fought against racism, recognized the principles of equality, democratic freedoms, and human rights.
President Lincoln, who wrote the Emancipation Proclamation after the devastatingcivil war that produced the most number of casualties in the history of the United States, also saw the importance of those values.
In 1776, the American Declaration of Independence included the phrase:

All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

However, the group of “men” with rights did not include the blacks, Indians, and white women.
Lincoln attempted to free the enslaved people of color in America. Thus, he started a civil war that divided up the country. During that time, it was this faith in how all people were children of God that supported Lincoln’s heart in the time of conflict. Lincoln addressed the issue:

I firmly believe that black people should have the same rights as white people. All people should have the opportunity to eat from the bread that they earned.

As the war ended, and the radicals from the victorious Northern states demanded the execution of the leaders of the Southern army, Lincoln called out to the people who gathered:

Judge not, or you’ll be judged as well. God said it. We’re brothers. Let’s forgive each other…All should think of the southern states as if they were returning siblings, and help them. We musn’t blame them.

Southerners were able to open their hearts to the greatness of Lincoln, and the nation became united once again.


Reverend King Realized White People Were His Brothers.

However, even after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, discrimination against blacks did not go away for another 100 years. In the 1950s, people like Reverend King stood up and denounced discrimination against blacks in schools, restaurants, and on public transportation.
Reverend King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in front of two hundred fifty thousand people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children…From every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black and white men…will be able to join hands, and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!

Reverend King denounced the use of violence based upon hatred and hostility. He taught his students that white people were brothers even though they did commit many terrible acts of the discrimination, violence, and humiliation against people of color. Kennedy responded with “I, too, have a dream,” and he outlawed discrimination against blacks.
Thus, there’s been Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the bloodless revolution of Meiji Japan, the Pacific War to end the racist discriminatory practices that the West perpetrated, Reverend King’s civil-rights movement, and Mandela’s abolition of Apartheid. All shared the common idea that people were God’s children and that forgiveness was important. Through their efforts, paths opened for both sides of the conflict to settle matters, co-exist, cooperate, and collaborate.
Since the Japanese, after the Pacific war ended, had the ability to realize a friendly relationship with the United States without a grudge, even after the U.S. Air Force conducted air raids and dropped atomic bombs that killed millions of ordinary citizens, the principle of forgiveness surely has been at work.


The Path to Eliminate Hatred, Conflict, and Discrimination from the World

Looking at the world, we see discrimination and conflict all over the place, and hatred is brooding.
In China, ethnic, minority groups and public, religious figures meet with harsh persecution, and movements to resist escalate in violence.
Conflict between Christian countries and Islamic powers will perhaps continue for decades in the form of wars against terrorist cells.
Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan risked her life to call attention to equality in women’s education because discrimination against women in Islamic countries has suppressed hundreds of millions of people.
Now more than ever, the new ideas, that people are children of God or Buddha, that forgiveness is a principle of life, provide a common base for humanity.
In terms of conflict, Japan, China, and Korea have been clashing head-on over their historical issues. Korea’s President Park Geun-hye recently caused a huge stir when she said, “ The historical standings of (Japan being) aggressor and (Korea being) victim will not change even after the passage of a thousand years.”
Due to these circumstances, Master Okawa of the Happy Science Group commented in December’s lecture, “The Challenge of Wisdom“:

It matters not whether there is a country that disdains Japan (or any other country) for a thousand years. We shall forgive such a country for 2000 years. If some countries claim that Japan did terrible things to them for some hundreds of years, then we shall deliver happiness to those countries for periods of thousands of years.

Happy Science has been trying to teach the Chinese, which currently embraces materialism, that they, too, have always been the children of God and Buddha even if they didn’t know the truth. The members have been trying to save people who live with the fear of tyranny.
Master Okawa has been trying to root out religious conflict and war between Christianity and Islam. He has demonstrated the ability to reveal the will of Allah and to determine which doctrines his members should preserve or discard.
Master Okawa explained in his sermon, “The Age of Wisdom”:
“Due to differences in religious thought between Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc., much hatred has been born. El Cantare’s mission has been to erase this badness from the world.” (See note below)
Lincoln, Reverend King, and Mandela were able to build reconciliation and cooperation on a national scale, which has recently been appearing on a global scale. Perhaps then, the Japan, which Shoin and Shonan envisioned,, might emerge as the most honorable country in the world to usher in an era of world peace.

(Jiro Ayaori)

Note: El Cantare is the name of the Supreme God of the earth and it means “the beautiful land of light, Earth.” He is a Father to Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and other religious traditions. A part of the core consciousness of El Cantare has come down to earth as Master Ryuho Okawa of Happy Science.

Ideas That Shoin Yoshida, Reverend King, and Nelson Mandela Had in Common
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