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Former Leader Of Cult That Channels Spirit Of Trump Speaks At Conservative Conference

by : Cameron Frew on : 26 Feb 2021 16:24
Former Leader Of Cult That Channels Spirit Of Trump Speaks At Conservative ConferenceCPAC/PA Images

The former leader of a Japanese cult which believed it could channel the spirit of Donald Trump will speak at a conservative conference. 

This year’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will see prominent Republican and right-wing figures, such as Donald Trump, his outspoken son, Ted Cruz and Mike Pompeo, take to the stage, air their woes and plot the future of their politics.

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Trump’s involvement, marking his first speech since leaving the White House, is the headline event. However, there’s also a curious addition to the line-up: Hiroaki ‘Jay’ Aeba, the former head of Happy Science.

Not that you’d know looking at his CPAC bio, dubbing him a ‘conservative commentator and columnist’ and detailing his various political achievements, from acting as a liaison between Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and American conservatives, or chairing the Japanese Conservative Union (JCU).

Look a little deeper, and you’ll find Aeba once led Happy Science, a religious and spiritual cult founded by Ryuho Okawa. He believes he’s the ‘reincarnation of the highly revered Shakyamuni Buddha’ and ‘supreme God of Earth’, known as El Cantare.

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In 2016, he was videoed supposedly channeling the spirit of Trump prior to the election. Okawa also believes he’s channeled the spirits of Jesus and Kim Jong II, among others.

Trump PUTINPA Images

As you can probably the expect, the mission statement of Happy Science is claptrap: ‘To bring salvation to all living creatures through a worldwide revelation of the Truth… Lord El Cantare is the greatest being responsible for the planet earth, and everyone living in this age is witnessing a miracle, which happens only once in hundreds and thousands of years.’

So, how is Aeba involved? He’s been attached to the cult from its inception, though in recent years he’s been less of a disciple and more of a lobbyist for ties between US conservative and Japan’s Happiness Realization Party (HRP).

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Aeba was first party leader of the cult’s political arm, known for denying Nanjing Massacre, pushing nationalist interests and increasing Japan’s population by making child-rearing easier for women. Its yet to have any actual success in Japan, however its profile is expanding thanks to other right-wing figures.

Sarah Hightower, a researcher and expert on Japanese cults, told VICE: ‘Look at things like The Family, QAnon or even Epoch Times. The GOP are willing to openly and flagrantly cooperate with groups many people would call cults.’

She added: ‘[Okawa] wants to dominate. He wants to be a major player on the world political stage. So it really only makes sense to start making these inroads and back in Japan, Okawa can point to anything HRP does in America as proof of some sort of political legitimacy.’

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Many have compared Happy Science to Scientology – and we all know how revered that religion is.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Japan, Now, Republican Party, US

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VICE
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