Blog Archive

12 June 2009

Japanese Buddhist based party wants to drop pacifism from constitution

Kyoko Okawa, leader of the Buddhism based Happiness Realization Party in Japan, has called for Article 9 (outlining Japan's pacifist based defense stance) to be dropped from the Japanese constitution in a recent interview. Her husband Ryuho Okawa founded the party (and the religious sect it is based upon) and believes he is the reincarnation of the Buddha. While Mr. Okawa's statements seem to discount his reincarnation story, he says Japan needs to take a more militaristic stance in its region-
  • "If you take the 'thou shalt not kill' precept too far, you cannot protect your country. Historical fact shows that weakness in Buddhism," Kyoko said. "That's why we wanted to develop Buddhist teaching."

The Okawa's also believe that external threats from Korea and China justify a more proactive stance in the defense of Japan. Far from a fringe group, the Party claims 10,000,000 members and could have some impact on elections in October.

Buddhists in Japan calling for militarization is not as crazy as it sounds. All of the Zen Buddhist sects in Japan supported the Emperor and the militaristic Japanese government in World War 2 which inflicted horrifying atrocities upon the people of China, Korea and many other countries that were the targets of their imperialistic ambitions. While many Buddhists like to describe their beliefs as being based upon peace and love, and abhorring killing in any form, they have yet to come to grips with the actions of Zen Buddhists in World War 2.

I don't believe that Mr. Okawa's statements in any way tarnish or devalue the message of peace spread by the Buddha. As with many other philosophies and religions, the message can become perverted over time as individuals attempt to spin the teachings for their own gain. I hope that Mr. Okawa finds his way back to the proper path soon.

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