OUTLINE OF OOMOTO 11
11. OOMOTO CASE II
Oomoto did not crumble away at the heavy blow dealt by the militaristic Government nor shrink back frightened by the first persecution, but made remarkable advances with overseas activities as well as inland achievement. Up from (3)-Saghalian down to (N4)-Formosa - Onisaburo himself traveled on his divine mission, establishing new branches here and there. His main power was exerted towards the reform of the state, gaining support of young and old. The world situation had taken a sudden turn at the juncture of the (N2)-Manchurian Incident. Permeate of reform was working at home. (N2)- Manchurian Incident: On September 18, 1931, Lt. Suemori Kawamoto detonated a small quantity of dynamite close to a railway line owned by Japan's South Manchuria Railway near Mukden (now Shenyang). The explosion was so weak that it failed to destroy the track and a train passed over it minutes later, but the Imperial Japanese Army accused Chinese dissidents of the act and responded with a full invasion that led to the occupation of Manchuria, in which Japan established its puppet state of Manchukuo six months later. The ruse of war was soon exposed to the international community, leading Japan to diplomatic isolation and its March 1933 withdrawal from the League of Nations. The bombing act is known as the "Liutiaohu Incident), and the entire episode of events is known in Japan as the "Manchurian Incident" and in China as the "September 18 Incident" (N3)- Saghlian: Sakhalin (Russian) is a large Russian island in the North Pacific Ocean, lying between 45°50' and 54°24' N. It is Russia's largest island, and is administered as part of Sakhalin Oblast. Sakhalin, which is about one fifth the size of Japan, is just off the east coast of Russia, and just north of Japan. The indigenous peoples of the island are the Ainu, Oroks and Nivkhs. Formerly under Chinese control in earlier centuries, Sakhalin has been claimed by both Russia and Japan over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. This has led to bitter disputes between the two countries over control of the island. Russia seized the island from the Japanese near the end of World War II. Most Ainu moved to Hokkaidō when the Japanese were displaced from the island in 1949. (N4)- Formosa: The Republic of Formosa (literally Democratic State of Taiwan, also known informally in English as the Formosan Republic, Taiwan Republic or Republic of Taiwan) was a short-lived republic that existed on the island of Taiwan in 1895 between the formal cession of Taiwan by the Qing Dynasty of China to the Empire of Japan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki and its invasion and occupation by Japanese troops. The Republic was proclaimed on 23 May 1895 and extinguished on 21 October, when the Republican capital Tainan was occupied by the Japanese. Though sometimes claimed as the first Asian republic to have been proclaimed, it was predated by the Lanfang Republic, established in 1777, as well as by the Republic of Ezo established in 1869.
Then before the dawn of the eighth of December 1935, broke out Oomoto case II, which was an unprecedented religious suppression on a large scale in Japan with the purpose of “exterminating and rooting out Oomoto from the earth”.
About three hundred armed policemen secretly surrounded Kameoka Headquarters by 4:00am and at 4:30am armed police conducted the surprise arrest of Rev. Hidemaru Deguchi and others. The sweeping round up were carried out concurrently with other places in Kyoto, Shimane, Tokyo, Niigata and Hyogo Prefectures.
Onisaburo and his wife Sumiko were then at the Shimane Branch to attend the local congregation of adherents to be held in Matsue City. He was put under arrest before daybreak with other prominent followers. The ends of 1935, about 1,000 believers were arrested. They were indicted on the charges of violation of the Peace Maintenance Law and lese majeste. Besides thousands of adherents were examined and domiciliary search was repeated and conducted almost all over Japan.
Ayabe and Kameoka headquarters were blocked with barbwire and on the thirteenth of March 1936 Oomoto ULBA and other auxiliary organizations ordered to be disbanded when the legal proceedings against the accused were finished. Moreover Ministry of Home affairs issued an order of disposition for compulsory destruction of all structures of the religious organization. Thus not only the edifices in the two cities of Ayabe and Kameoka Headquarters but also all structures of the local branches all over Japan were entirely demolished with few exceptions, they used dynamite sometimes. Even Nao Deguchi’s tomb was excavated and her coffin was moved to a public cemetery, and plants growing in Oomoto precincts were disposed of as if they were criminals. The site of Ayabe and Kameoka Headquarters were sold for a song to respective municipalities by force in the same month. The Government showed the intention of wiping out all the material possessions of Oomoto so that the extermination of its soul could be carried out. They resorted to every means to effect their policy and did not forget to utilize the mass media of communications: every newspaper published extra copies on the very morning of the eight of December and journalists slandered Oomoto mercilessly, with few exceptions, based on the authorities prejudgment and data.
We must here note that the Public Prosecutor applied the Peace Maintenance Law to the Oomoto case number II, because we understand it was enacted chiefly to control communism, providing punishment for attempts to alter the structure of the state, that is the Tenno system or repudiate private prosperity. Why did Oomoto deserve such a law? My magnificent festival called Miroku Grand Rite held seven years previously on the 3rd of March 1928 was in their opinion the occasion of holding the so-called Divine Court Conference, a gathering of the highest leaders of the religious organization, which had for its objection the altering of the national character. Though the festival in question was a purely religious function, the Government took it for granted that Onisaburo had performed it with subversive political intention. Thus their examination in Police stations drawing up protocols at their will was cruel using torture, violence and lynching in innumerable cases so as to produce bloody scenes. Onisaburo expressed his sentiment in thirty-one syllable poems, hearing the sound of the neighboring torture: -
‘Oh, woe to me!
To hear the cry of anguish
Utter from the month of
My dear son put to torture
‘Hidemaru – is
Beaten be bamboo swords,
Screaming and shrieking
In his death agonies!
How can I bear to hear it!
(Rev. Hidemaru Deguchi is Onisaburo’s son-in-law and Vice-president of the religious order)
Just like Nazis massacre of Jews. Death in prison, suicide and madness ensued. Grief was not only confined there! Outside - their families left behind at home, and even every member of devotees throughout the country were tormented by every privation and hardship, such as inhuman persecution, ill-welled humor, forceful reproach and derision by the state society.
At the first trail all the accused were found guilty and Onisaburo was sentenced to life imprisonment. But on appeal the charge was violation of the Peace Maintenance Law was rejected and they were convicted of lese majecte alone. Both the prosecution and the accused appealed to the Supreme Court. Thus the the case was pending there, when the China Incident broke out, then the Pacific War, which ended on the fifteenth of August 1945 by the Japanese unconditional surrender. The Supreme Court gave the decision on the eighty of the next month dismissing both appeals and upholding the Appellate Court decision. On the seventeenth of October, however, a general amnesty was proclaimed and the Supreme Court acquitted them all. Oomoto Case II was totally solved at last ten years after its outbreak.