We hope that the information we have compiled on this site will lead
people to question any commitment they may have with Mahikari and seek
their own truth.
I was a Mahikari member for 14 years and Yumi for 22 years, ranging
from 1974 to 1996. Over that time many worries and concerns came up, but
we suppressed them for what we believed at the time was the greater good
of the noble tenets of the sect - things like organic farming, the wish
to create a better world for the future, the quest for love and harmony,
healthy living, etc. We were also weighed down by major investments of
time, money, and sect influence over many years. Yumi and I met within
the sect and we were married in the Tokyo Headquarters of Sukyo Mahikari
in early 1987.
I started to drift away from Mahikari in the early nineties. It
seems the early eighties was the peak of Mahikari enthusiasm with a
healthy membership of a diverse range of people.
The heavy hand of an authoritarian style of management crept in
towards the early 1990s. Membership started to drop off, good people I
respected, moved away. Generally I was starting to feel a bit lonely, as
so many people who joined around the time I did had left or moved on.
I was also starting to become disillusioned with the
anti-humanitarian nature of Mahikari. As pressure to increase membership
became a major focus, it became obvious that Mahikari only survived by
new people coming in. The attrition rate was pretty close to 100% over a
number of years. Usually people left feeling burnt out, drained, and
worse off than when they first joined. Someone once said: Mahikari is
like a spiritual vampire; it feeds off the goodness of the newcomers and
discards them when they start to suffer.
However, I maintained a link to Mahikari, probably more due to a
habit rather than a strong spiritual commitment.
It became easier to see the contradictions and inconsistencies
within the sect from the prospective of a person looking in, rather than
an insider's viewpoint. The enthusiasm of the eighties was turning into
a depression in the nineties. So my withdrawal from the Mahikari mind
set was a gradual one and less painful than that experienced by many
others with whom I have come in contact.
However, I did have to deal with a growing embarrassment that I had
committed so much to an organisation that really didn't care about
people. Mahikari did nothing for or within the Australian community to
justify calling itself a community welfare organisation.
Growing concerns become predominant. I started to question if I was
a responsible person. I was raising a family in an organisation that
demonstrated so many double standards, was so media shy, it had a leader
who just recycled tired old teachings, constantly telling her followers
they weren't doing enough. I had seen first-hand the distress and
conflict of many people over the years, struggling with the loveless
nature of Mahikari, the pressure to maintain a financial commitment, and
the break up of marriages and families. I didn't want my family to go
the same way of so many, and realised that Mahikari was detrimental to a
progressive productive family life.
We also experienced first hand the moral corruption of a leader of
the sect with whom we had investment dealings. He did not fulfil his
word or responsibility to honour debts to us. The turning point for us
was the way he was protected by other leaders of Mahikari; this became
the motivation for us to seek out the truth behind the organisation. He
used the desire of Mahikari members to spread the principles of the
organisation, to seek investment moneys for a 'righteous' business. The
venture failed and many Mahikari members lost their money. We wondered
if one leader was corrupt and he was protected how far up did the
In March 1996, I talked with two former members I knew, who
mentioned a book written by former Mahikari leader Garry Greenwood
called 'All the Emperors Men'. Several months later I bought a copy with
the study info pack and read it in a few hours, reliving shared events
with the author. When Yumi read the book, all the worries and concerns
from over 22 years came flooding back.
The time to make the break from Mahikari had come; we needed to find
some answers to the multitude of questions that had been just below the
surface for a long time. We needed to understand why Mahikari had
captivated us for so long. Were we brainwashed, intimidated, or just
To find answers, we travelled vast distances within Australia and
Japan to talk to people, visit libraries, research Mahikari literature,
and made contacts from all over the world via the Internet.
During our investigations we questioned the source of the 'Light of
God' and where it came from. We were led to believe that Mahikari was
unique; we found it is far from unique. It is just a copy from older
similar sects, with a militaristic flavour and the mission to rewrite
the history of everything. The use of fear, intimidation and control is
entrenched under a benign, smiling facade.
We studied the writings both of Okada, the Mahikari founder, and the
current leader, from both English and Japanese sources. It became very
obvious that so much of Mahikari was a woven tangle of myths; magic and
new age pseudo science.
I recalled places I had visited in Japan:
the 'Tomb' of Jesus, also Ise Shrine, where we were told the Christian
God Jehovah was enshrined; even visited the 'original' Garden of Eden.
What we had been told and experienced previously which built the
foundation of our faith in Mahikari was so bizarre. It became a
There is no doubt the organisation was founded on deception,
political intrigue and untruths. We felt a responsibility to share the
results of our research and try to create a balanced critique for future
generations as well.
On reflection I believe we made the right decision to leave Mahikari
when we did for the sake of our family, to rediscover the feeling of
freedom without the Mahikari nonsense and to seek knowledge which can be
collaborated from trust worthy sources. This has re-established a solid
base for us to look objectively at many of life's choices. When we see
the teachings of Yoshikazu Okada and Ms. Okada nowadays, we feel a great
deal of compassion for the people still caught up the fantasy of
Our prime concern is for the children brought up in Mahikari, for a
young child to become a full Mahikari member at ten years old and become
subjected to many complex and hidden influences generated by the group
should be of grave concern for the wider community. These children do
not have the advantage of an adult to be able to test what is being
The natural trust and acceptance of a child is a quality that must
be protected. They are our future, the continuity and hope of human
kind. This is a very serious Human Rights Issue.
For Mahikari to use this special child's quality, to build its
foundation on ideology that is flawed in so many areas and can be proven
as such, must be looked at from the highest levels.
The other concern we have is the quality of mental health of its
members. It is generally believed by health professionals that at least
25% of the community have mental health problems at some stage in their
lives. How can we be sure that groups like Mahikari are not driving
these statistics, they claim that attaching spirits, which have a grudge
against the person concerned, causes 80% of mental and physical
The Mahikari way is to 'save' these attaching spirits, and
then the problems will disappear.
The group cannot substantiate this claim, but use anecdotal stories
by members who are under the influence of the Mahikari paradigm to
propagate and boost the group's spiritual elitism. On the other hand the
experiences of people and children who have left Mahikari and undertaken
counselling by mental health professionals can be substantiated. We hope
in time, more of these people will find the strength to come forward,
perhaps write about their experiences on this site so others can learn
to recover from the Mahikari experience.
For sociologists or students who research Mahikari from time to time,
please extend your research to embrace the primary evidence from those
who have first hand experience. We have an extensive collection of primary source
material which we are happy to lend to bona fide researchers.