Happy Science (幸福の科学) is a new Japanese religious organization founded in the 1980s by Ryuho Okawa, who claims to be the incarnation of the supreme being. Along with the Happiness Realization Party, the group’s attempt to enter electoral politics, Happy Science promotes far-right nationalist political views, including military expansion and historical revisionism.
With chapters in several cities in the U.S., Happy Science is said to coordinate and bankroll some of the Japanese nationalist activities in the U.S. For example, the organization’s former San Francisco director and current New York director Yoshi Taguchi spoke at the City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors against the proposed comfort women memorial in the city in summer 2015. Happy Science also supports Rompa Project, a historical revisionist group using manga (comics) and other means to spread its message.
In April 2016, members of Happy Science led by James Iwase, a minister of Happy Science, showed up at the board meeting of the San Francisco Unified School District to oppose statewide curriculum revision that includes teaching about comfort women.
Members of Happy Science actively promoting comfort women denial in the U.S. include Yoshi Taguchi, Mitsuhiko Fujii, and Kiminobu Kimura. In addition, several core members of the revisionist group Himawari Japan are known to be members of Happy Science.
During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Happy Science openly supported the candidacy of Republican Donald Trump (whom it claims is the reincarnation of George Washington), with Taguchi and members of Himawari Japan volunteering at the campaign headquarters at Trump Tower. Jikido “Jay” Aeba, the founding president of Happiness Realization Party, went on to found Japanese Conservative Union, which is spending over $400,000 to lobby the U.S. government and has sponsored events supporting Trump.
Website: https://happy-science.jp/ (Japanese)
website: http://happy-science.org/ (English)
Japanese Conservative Union (一般社団法人JCU) is a far-right political group founded by Jikido Aeba, the founding president of Happiness Realization Party, and Shun Eguchi (江口俊), a former editor and board member of the Sankei Shimbun company. It is intended as a Japanese counterpart to the American Conservative Union.
In 2016, JCU hired lobbyist firm Millfield Global Strategies in the U.S. for up to $412,000 to “establish and strengthen relationships” with presidential campaigns and PACs, members of the Congress, federal agencies, and others. Aeba boasted close ties with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and enthusiastically supported him.
In December 2017, JCU hosted the first-ever Japanese Conservative Political Action Conference (J-CPAC) in Tokyo, a Japanese equivalent of the CPAC organized annually by the American Conservative Union. Featured speakers for the 2017 conference included:
- Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and Breitbart executive
- Matt Schlapp, President, American Conservative Union
- Robert Eldridge, retired Marin Corps civilian staff
- Genki Fujii (藤井厳喜)
- Kohyu Nishimura (西村幸祐)
- Masahisa Sato (佐藤正久), LDP member of the House of Councilors
- Eitaro Ogawa (小川榮太郎), author and commentator
- Toshio Tamogami (田母神俊雄), Chief of Staff, Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (ret.)
- Naoki Hyakuta (百田尚樹), author
- Takashi Arimoto (有元隆志), Sankei Shimbun
Within two weeks after former White House Strategist and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon gave a keynote at JCPAC, the far-right news site featured an article on the comfort women issue which argued that it was “an opportunistic way to collect money from the Japanese, but it’s really all about the ethnic hatred that the Japanese, Chinese and Philippines have for each other.” (“China Funds Unauthorized Anti-Japan Comfort Women Statue in Manila, Philippines”, 12/28/2017)
The office of the JCU is housed within Sankei Advertising Inc. (産経広告社), an in-house ad agency within the Sankei Shimbun group.
Kiminobu Kimura (木村公宣) was the New York chapter director of Happy Science. As a representative of the non-existant front group “Society to Promote Correct Historical Views,” Kimura was one of the main speakers in Texas Night in NYC (2015), a comfort women denier event.
Mitsuhiko Fujii (藤井実彦) is the founder and director of Rompa Project, a historical revisionist group supported by Happy Science. He is a regular member of overseas delegations of the Alliance for Truth about Comfort Women.
In September 2018 Fujii made international news when he was caught kicking a statue dedicated to victims of Japanese military “comfort women” system in Tainan, Taiwan. The surveillance camera footage shows Fujii raising his foot several times to kick the bronze statue while an accomplice with snaps shots of his feat.
Happy Science (acting as “True Japan”) hosted two Japanese-language panels in California in December 2014 featuring notorious comfort women deniers Yumiko Yamamoto, Mitsuhiko Fujii, and others.
The San Francisco event took place on December 13, 2014 in Redwood City, California (where Happy Science’s San Francisco temple is located). The event was protested by a coalition of Asian, labor, and peace activists from the Bay Area. Speakers included:
The Los Angeles event held on December 14, 2014 in Torrance, California included the following speakers:
Rompa Project (論破プロジェクト) is a historical revisionist group supported by Happy Science and led by Mitsuhiko Fujii, who is himself a follower of Happy Science. The group uses manga (comics) as well as panels to spread its messages, and often works closely with Tony Marano and Shunichi Fujiki.
Rompa Project boasted endorsements from the following individuals and groups (among others), which has since been deleted from its website:
Above: A cut from Rompa Project’s comic, “The J Facts.” The bear character depicted fantasizing about demolishing a memorial for victims of Japanese military comfort women system is Tokkuma, a mascot for the Happiness Realization Party in 2012 and 2013 named after its candidate Tokuma.
Yoshi (Yoshiaki) Taguchi (田口義明) is a former San Francisco director and current New York director of Happy Science. Taguchi has organized followers of Happy Science in California and New Jersey/New York to mobilize against comfort women memorials. His past involvement includes: securing venues for comfort women denier events such as the Nadeshiko Action/Happy Science Events in California (2014), facilitating online petitions against comfort women orthodoxy, organizing members to attend hearings about comfort women, and speaking at such hearings himself.
During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign, Taguchi brought Happy Science followers (who are also Himawari Japan members) to volunteer at the Donald Trump campaign headquarters in the Trump Tower. Happy Science openly supported Trump, calling him a reincarnation of George Washington.