Earlier this week, organizers of the annual conservative gathering known as CPAC disinvited a speaker over “reprehensible views.” That person was not Donald Trump but, instead, right-wing hip hop artist Young Pharaoh, who reacted (as CNN notes) poorly and with an anti-Semitic tweet. The annual event, however, isn’t about to cancel a repeat speaker, Jikido Aeba, the Japanese Conservative Union Chair who appeared both in 2017 and 2016 at the event, will be back for more.
As noted first by Vice, Aeba is on the schedule shortly after Donald Trump Jr. on Friday. In doing so, Aeba’s also participating as part of the “Familiarity Breeds Contempt: How Will China’s Neighbor’s Survive?” panel (which sounds like it fits in with the GOP’s repulsion against China), but what’s really raising eyebrows is his apparent involvement (as reported back in 2012 by The Atlantic) in a cult called Happy Science. Kinda rings the same bell, namewise, as Scientology, right? Well, both cults are big on the alien thing, apparently. Scientology doesn’t allow its members to actually see that alien story (about disembodied souls searching for bodies to possess after a volcano explosion) until OT Level III (after they’ve forked over many, many thousands of dollars for books and “audit” confessions with a tin can), but it sounds like Happy Science puts it all out there, pretty quick-like. Here’s how Vice puts things:
Happy Science was founded in October 1986 by Ryuho Okawa, a former Wall Street trader who claims to be the reincarnated form of Buddha, who himself was the reincarnated form of El Cantare, a god from Venus who created life on earth millions of years ago. Happy Science was officially recognized as a religious group in Japan in 1991, quickly gained a huge following, and made Okawa a very rich man. One estimate from 1991 put the group’s annual revenues at around $45 million.
Okawa claims that he can channel the spirits of famous people — both alive and dead. In 2019, the Happy Science branch in London hosted a séance to hear Margaret Thatcher’s thoughts on Brexit. Okawa has written over 500 books filled with outlandish claims about UFOs, demonic warfare, and most recently, coronavirus and how it originated on another planet.
Soooo, attempting to channel Margaret Thatcher sounds like one of the least wacky things about this cult. The reincarnated Venus-god stuff might be one of the bigger pieces of weirdness, and Aeba sounds like he’s been heavily involved for some time, according to Vice. Happy Science cult is also rather notorious to cult watchers for pushing xenophobic beliefs and advocating for extreme Japanese nationalism. In other words, it is not too terribly surprising that he’s a repeat fixture at CPAC, which only gives people the boot for egregious public offenses like, you know, being Richard Spencer. Remember when he got kicked out of the premises in 2017? Good times.