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A RELIGION OF ART

 

People in general have thought for a long time that religion and art have very little to do with each other. In Japan, art had its inception in Buddhism. Of course, this was in the form of quite simple paintings, sculptures, and fabrics. In the field of music there were such instruments as sho (a kind of panpipe) and hichiriki (something like a flageolet), wooden drums and gongs, and rhythmical chanting of human voices. These were all crude, almost primitive forms of art.

Later, the fine arts of China and Korea were introduced and they had a strong influence on the Japanese people. After some time, the imitative stage passed, and Japan began to create art forms that were unique to itself. In more recent years, with the introduction of Western civilization, the Ocidental arts began to appear. This was especially true after the Meiji Restoration, when various kinds of European and American art objects were brought to Japan within an amazingly short time. Thus, in the art fields of Japan today, outstanding aesthetic expressions from all over the world have been gathered and their styles studied and assimilated so they have become an inseparable part of Japanese culture. These are now in a stage where composite forms are being created, so we might call Japan a "department store" of all the cultures of the world.

Now, let me tell you a little about our organization. I don't think there ever has been or is any religion which has put or now puts more stress on art than we do. I say this because our ultimate goal, which is Paradise on Earth, is a world completely free from disease, poverty and conflict, one where truth, virtue and beauty abound. In that world, man will be living in accord with truth, will wish only to do good deeds and will abhor evil. Everything will be beautiful in every way, so man will naturally come to enjoy and appreciate all forms of art. The world will be one in which life itself is art, with culture developed to a tremendous degree. In other words, the New Age will be a world of art.

This is why I am interested in all the arts, encourage them, and intend to encourage them even more in the future. As a preliminary to this plan, I am working on the prototype of Paradise on Earth which is now under construction in Atami. When it is completed, it will attract attention from people everywhere and they will speak highly of it. It will be known not only in Japan but all over the world. I am advancing the plan with this in mind.

 

 

June 6th, 1951

 

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