Whose inheritance is said to be as much as 200 billion yen…President Ryuho Okawa’s Sudden Death: The “Battle of the Bones” Begins at “Happy Science
Before his death, in addition to his words, ‘I will live to be 80 years old’ and ‘I will be active throughout my life,’ Ryuho said, ‘When I die, I will become a spirit and send instructions to the second president.’ Therefore, it is unlikely that he left a will. I believe that from now on, a bone fight will begin over Ryuho’s legacy and the right of succession to the cult.
On March 2, it was announced that Ryuho Okawa, 66, president of the religious corporation Happy Science, had passed away. Hirohiro, 34, who was Ryuho’s eldest son but parted ways with the cult in 2005 and now serves as a representative of the “Party to Protect the People from Cult Religions,” spoke of his father’s death in a matter-of-fact tone.
Born in Tokushima Prefecture in ’56, Ryuho graduated from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law and worked for a trading company before becoming aware that he was “El Cantare” (Earth God) in ’81.” He founded “Happy Science” in 1986, and the cult’s official number of followers now stands at 11 million.
After divorcing his ex-wife Kyoko (57, Tokyo University graduate), whom he married in 1988, in 2012, Ryuho remarried to Shio (now assistant to the president, Waseda University graduate), 29 years his junior, who was his secretary. He and Kyoko have three sons: Hiroshi (Aoyama Gakuin University graduate), Sayaka (Ochanomizu University graduate, class of ’91), Shinki (Waseda University graduate, class of ’93), Yuta (University of Tokyo graduate, class of ’95), and Airisa (Tokyo University graduate, class of ’97). He has five children: his third son, Yuta (’95, Tokyo University graduate), and his second daughter, Airisa (’97, Happy Science University graduate).
The total assets of the cult, which is said to have more than 700 branches around the world, reportedly amount to 200 billion yen, so it is highly likely that Ryuho’s personal assets are also enormous. If, as Hirohiro says, there is no will, it will be divided among his future wife and five children. ……
As for Ryuho’s personal assets, I honestly don’t know exactly what they are. However, when I was in the Order around ’16, I saw a document that listed the president’s annual income as 500 million yen. If we follow the legal inheritance, half of the property would be divided between his future wife, Shio, and the other half would be divided among his five children. However, I do not know whether the secretary at the religious affairs headquarters, who would be managing Ryuho’s assets, would readily give out the information, and I would not be surprised in the least if there were a legal battle between the relatives.
As for my eldest daughter and second son, I sent them a line saying, “What are you going to do now that Ryuho is dead? but I have not received any reply at this point. As for my third son, who is believed to be in exile in Korea, and my second daughter, who has left the church, I do not even have their contact information. But as for me, I intend to make my claim and receive all that I can get,” said Hirohiro.
As well as the inheritance dispute, who will be the new head of the cult is also attracting attention. Yoshiro Fujikura, a journalist familiar with the “Happy Science” organization, offers this view of the situation within the organization.
It is said that the number of believers was about 30,000 at its peak in the ’00s, so it is assumed that the current number is less than that. According to stories leaked from active believers about the current situation, the direction within the Order seems to be ‘believe in and pray for the President’s resurrection. For this reason, those who have visited the Shoshinkan, the Order’s large-scale facilities located throughout Japan, since Ryuho’s death say they have not sensed an atmosphere of sadness. As for how Mr. Ryuho will be resurrected, that is not known at this time.”
The selection of his successor is expected to proceed mainly through his successor wife, Shio, who is an assistant to the president, and his eldest daughter, Sayaka.
In the March 10 issue of FRIDAY, we reported in detail on the “history of the Okawa family,” in which all but the eldest daughter were left out of the succession race, and on the “spiritual speech,” which is an important point in determining the successor. Many photos are also available on the paid website “FRIDAY GOLD.
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PHOTO： Takayuki Ogawauchi (Mr. Hiroshi)