The History of Happy Science
Today Happy Science is already Japan's biggest and most influential religion and is rapidly growing on a worldwide scale. Let’s have a look at the history of Happy Science – the key events that have led to Happy Science of today.
Happy Science in the 1980’s
The history of Happy Science began with Master Okawa’s Great Enlightenment on March 23rd 1981 and its establishment as a religious organization on October 6th 1986.
1981 March 23rd Ryuho Okawa attained Great Enlightenment and began communicating with the high dimensions of Heaven. He described this moment in these words: “In the warm afternoon spring sunshine… Suddenly, I sensed an invisible presence with me in the room, and almost simultaneously understood by intuition that whatever it was wished to communicate with me. I ran to get a pencil and some blank cards. My hands holding the pencil began to move as if it had a life of its own. On card after card it wrote the words “Good News,” “Good News.” …I realized then that I had just experienced a sort of religious awakening.”*
(* From the The Laws of the Sun book | Chapter 6)
1986 October 1st Ryuho Okawa published the Basic Sutra of Happy Science, “The Dharma of the Right Mind”, which contains condensed core teachings and is received by everyone who wants to join Happy Science as a member.
1986 October 6th Happy Science (“Kofuku-no-kagaku” in Japanese, known as “The Institute of Research in Human Happiness” at that time) was established and opened its first office in Nishi-ogi -minami, Suginami Ward, Tokyo.
1986 November 23rd the first turning of the Wheel of Dharma was witnessed by a round ninety members. On that day Master Okawa gave his first Dharma talk at Nippori Shuhan-Kaikan in Tokyo.
1987 March 8th the first lecture marking the start of Happy Science was held. The lecture titled “The Principle of Happiness” spelled out the basic teachings of Happy Science, which are “The Exploration of the Right Mind” and “The Principles of Happiness,” (The Fourfold Path of Love, Wisdom, Self-Reflection and Progress) in addition to defining the direction of the organization.
1987 April Happy Science launched its Monthly Magazine “Kofuku-no-Kagaku” (“Happy Science” in Japanese), which today is published in more than eight languages. The English edition is called Happy Science Monthly and has over 200 issues published.
1987 August Publication of “The Golden Laws" which discloses Happy Science’s perspective of humankind’s history and is the second book of the Trilogy.
1987 October “The Eternal Laws” – the book, which discloses Happy Science’s perspective of space, was published, completing the Trilogy.
1987 December Kansai Headquarters - the first branch office was opened. The same month Happy Science established its publishing company “IRH Press”.
1989 November the book “The Rebirth of Buddha” was published, which attracted many people who felt a strong connection to Shakyamuni Buddha. The first nationwide Buddha’s Truth exam was held in the same month.
Happy Science in the 1990’s
The 1990’s could be regarded as the period for creating the foundations of an ideal religion. Happy Science became a certified religious organization on March 7th, 1991 afterwhich “Kofuku-no-Kagaku (Happy Science)” and “Ryuho Okawa” spread nationwide to become household names. The 1990’s mark the beginning of belief in El Cantare and the start line for fullscale missionary work. Master Okawa started giving public lectures every month all over the country with the purpose to awaken many people and invite them to join Happy Science.
1991 March 7th Happy Science was certified as a religious organization.
1991 June 7th the book “The Eternal Buddha” was published.
1991 June 15th the first public birthday celebration of Master Okawa was held at Tokyo Dome, where in front of an audience of fifty thousand Master Okawa delivered the lecture titled “The Victory of Faith” declaring his spiritual name – El Cantare, and revealing his mission as the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) Buddha.
1991 August Happy Science training center opened in Yayoi-cho, Nakano-ward, Tokyo and Master Okawa was interviewed by TBS TV.
1991 October the first radio program of Happy Science “Morning Call from an Angel” was started and Master Okawa gave a live interview on Asahi TV.
1991 December 7th an article on Master Okawa was published in the English Magazine “The Financial Times.”
1991 December 26th the first El Cantare Festival was held and blessed with Master Okawa’s lecture “Building a New World.”
1994 January “Happy Science USA” was established in New York. In the same year, branches in Los Angeles, Europe and Brazil were opened.
1994 May ceremonies to “Pledge Devotion to the Three Treasures”, took place nationwide and all devotees received the basic sutra “The Dharma of the Right Mind” and Prayer books for the first time.
1994 September the first Happy Science movie - “The Terrifying Revelations of Nostradamus” was released. The movie won the viewer’s award at the 1995 Asahi Best Ten Film Festival.
1994 November Happy Science organized demonstration marches at Tokyo and Osaka to protest against showing nude photos with pubic hair uncensored in general publications.
1995 January in response to the Hanshin Earthquake, Happy Science collected truck loads of supplies throughout the nation and sent over 20,000 volunteers to provide aid and relief to victims at 35 locations of the stricken area.
1995 March Happy Science opened its first branch in South Korea.
1995 March 18th Happy Science organized an emergency demonstration to call for the dissolution of the Aum Cult, a Japanese religious group, which was responsible for releasing sarin gas in Tokyo subway in March 20th, 1995.
1995 March Happy Science magazine “The Liberty” was launched and sold at bookstores nationwide. Today “Liberty” has grown into a monthly publication providing insight into solutions for many nationwide as well as worldwide issues.
1995 April-October Happy Science opened branches in Hawaii, Melbourne, San Francisco and Toronto.
1996 August the first Happy Science Shoja - Sohonzan Shoshinkan was opened in Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture. Since then it has been announced as the strongest spiritual base for faith in El Cantare.
1997 May the second Happy Science movie “Hermes – Love Blows Like the Wind” was released in cinema theaters nationwide.
1997 November the second of the four main Shojas - Sohonzan Miraikan (“Temple of the Future” in English) was opened in Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Prefecture. Its aim is to shine the light of Greek Progress and Prosperity and produce people who will lead the future.
1998 March Happy Science Shoja was built in the city of Jundiai, Brazil on land donated by a member.
1998 July the second of the four main Shojas - Sohonzan Nikko was opened in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture. It is a place for those seeking the enlightenment of that of Shakyamuni Buddha.
1998 December Biwako Shoshinkan was opened in Ootsu City, Shiga Prefecture. It is the first temple that is not a Sohonzan and the first in Western Japan.
1999 March “The Collection of Spiritual Messages by Ryuho Okawa” was published.
1999 June Yufuin Shoshinkan in Yufuin City, Ooita Prefecture was opened. It is the first Happy Science Shoja in Kyushu.
1999 October new Happy Science General Headquarters building was opened in Shinagawa ward, Tokyo and announced to be “a base from which Utopia will be created”.
Happy Science in the 2000’s
The 2000’s began with the nationwide movie release of “The Laws of the Sun” and was a decade that saw the teachings of Happy Science really start to take root across the globe.
2000 June the Holy Land Shikoku Shoshinkan opened in Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture. It is a temple that will hand down the story of Lord El Cantare’s descent to future generations and it will be the place where followers from all over the world will pilgrimage to.
2000 October the Movie “The Laws of the Sun” was released and won first place in viewer’s choice category in the 2001 Asahi Best Ten Film Festival.
2001 December Tokyo Shoshinkan opened in Minato Ward, Tokyo. It serves as a critical base in the capital for creating a future civilization of based on the teachings of El Cantare.
2002 April Chubu Shoshinkan was opened in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture.
2002 August Hakone Shoja was opened in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture.
2003 February a special Temple of The Holy Land Kawashima, was opened in Yoshinogawa City, Tokushima Prefecture. It is a temple built to welcome pilgrims to the town of Kawashima where Master Okawa’s childhood home stands.
2003 April Tohoku Tazawako Shoshinkan was opened in Akita Prefecture.
2003 May Nagoya Memorial Building was opened in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. It is a holy place where Master Okawa recorded many spiritual messages from Tathagatas and Boddhisattvas (Angels) while he was still working for a trading company.
2003 August Hokkaido Shoshinkan was opened in Sapporo city, Hokkaido Prefecture.
2003 October the movie “The Golden Laws” was released in theaters nationwide.
2003 December launch of “The Young Buddha” - a monthly magazine for youths.
2004 January the book “The Laws of Happiness – the Four Principles that Bring You Happiness” was released, explaining the basic teachings of Happy Science in an easy manner.
2004 March the monthly magazine for women - “Are You Happy?” was launched and sold in bookstores nationwide.
2004 April Chugoku Shoshinkan was opened in Tamano city, Okayama prefecture.
2004 May Sohonzan Nasu Shoja was opened in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture. It is the fourth of the Sohonzan-type temples.
2004 October the Holy Land Shikoku Headquarters was opened in Tokushima city, Tokushima prefecture. It is a place to offer one’s heartfelt gratitude to the miracle of the descent of Buddha when visiting the other holy sites.
2005 January the book “The Mystical Laws – Going Beyond the Walls of the Dimensions” was published, revealing the secrets that transcend this world and the next one.
2005 March Shifuku-kan in Kashiwa city, Chiba prefecture was opened to the visitors. It is the place where Master Okawa lived when he attained his Great Enlightenment in 1981 and developed the concept of the Developmental Stages of Love.
2005 April Okinawa Shoshinkan was opened in Kunigashira-gun, Okinawa prefecture.
2005 July Chiba Shoshinkan was opened in Chiba prefecture.
2005 December Shibuya Shoja was opened in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, and became a main gathering place for foreign people living in Japan.
2006 April the first Happy Science burial grounds were open in Nasu, Tochigi prefecture as an adjunctive of Sohonzan Nasu Shoja.
2006 July a grand celebration of Master Okawa’s 50th birthday was held nationwide. The same month Nepal Pavilion “Harati Mata Temple”, inherited by Happy Science from the World Expo held in Japan in 2005, was placed next to Sohonzan Shoshinkan (Utsunomiya city, Tochigi prefecture) and opened for the public.
2006 September The movie “The Laws of Eternity” was released in theaters nationwide.
2006 October Happy Science celebrated 20 years of its activities.
2006 November Shinjuku Shoja was opened in Shinjuku-ward, Tokyo.
2006 December Hawaii Shoja - the first Happy Science Shoja outside Japan, was opened in Hawaii.
2007 December Osaka Shoshinkan was opened in Osaka city, Osaka Prefecture.
2008 June the book “Healing Yourself” was published. It reveals the truth about illness and health from the perspectives of both mind and spirituality.
2008 November the book “Introduction to Management – from discourses on human resource to business prosperity” was published, revealing the achievements and jewels of the wisdom of Master Okawa who has created a worldwide organization in only twenty years.
2009 January the book “The Laws of Courage – Be like a Roaring Fire” was published. It is the 501st book by Master Okawa and reveals the concept of true courage and the secrets of courage to those who are anxious about setbacks and human relationship issues. The same month the book “There Is No Night without a Dawn” was published, in which Master Okawa, going beyond the bounds of religion, describes the way politics and economics should be. It also points the direction in which the confused and drifting world and nation should head in.
2009 May Master Okawa founded the Happiness Realization Party with the aim to build the foundation for realizing utopia in a tangible way.
2009 September the book “I Lay Down My Life” was published, giving readers a digest of Master Okawa’s lectures all over the country as well as overseas given from June 2007 to December 2008. Master gave over 100 lectures during this period.
2009 October The movie “The Rebirth of Buddha” was released in theaters nationwide and overseas.
2009 December the book “The Laws of Creation” was published. It is the 15th book in the Law Series, revealing secrets to living creatively and guidance in creating the future.
Happy Science in 2010 and onwards…
Major additions such as the opening of the Happy Science Academy in spring 2010 and the establishment of the Happiness Realization Party the year before is expanding Happy Science further. Master Ryuho Okawa is now President and Group Founder, National Teacher and World Teacher, providing not only spiritual but educational, political, and economic advise on a global scale. He is also traveling the world on his world missionary tours with an increased sense of urgency as the number of crisis, both natural and man-made, rise worldwide.
2010 January World Missionary Work Stupa was opened in Nasu. The same month Master Okawa returned to revealing spiritual messages, beginning with “The Descent of Sakamoto Ryoma”, “Konosuke Matsushita Scolds Japan” etc.
2010 March books “Introduction to the Laws of the Universe” and “Introduction to Exorcism” were published, presenting a new worldview.
2010 April Happy Science opened its own junior and senior high school called “The Happy Science Academy”. The book “The Truth About World Conflicts” was published on the same month.
2010 June The total number of books published by Master Ryuho Okawa exceeds 600.