World Japan’s ‘Happy Science’ cult leader Okawa, who claimed he spoke to spirits of Jesus and Freddie Mercury, dies

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TOKYO - Ryuho Okawa, the leader of the Japanese “Happy Science” cult, who claimed to be able to communicate with the spirits of everyone from Jesus Christ to Donald Trump, died on Thursday at age 66, local media reported.

He was rushed to a hospital after collapsing in his home in Tokyo earlier this week, and his death was confirmed on Thursday, according to major media, including national broadcaster NHK and Jiji press agency. The cause of the death was not immediately known, Fuji TV said.

Officials from Happy Science could not be reached for immediate comment on the reported death.

Mr Okawa was the singular leader and founder of the group, which was started in 1986 and claims to have members in more than 168 countries.

The group believes in spiritual reincarnation and the construction of a global utopia, but faced public opposition for the personality cult around Mr Okawa, including from his own son Hiroshi.

In 2020, he told the New York Times his father had “relentlessly lied to his followers.”

“I believe what my father does is complete nonsense.”

 
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