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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Modern Sectarian Groups
Hachidai Ryūōjin Hakkō Seidan
A Shinto-derived new religion founded by Demura Ryūsei (1926-). Born in Hokkaido, Demura was devout from an early age and regularly used to clean the Inari and other small shrines in his area. It is reported that from the age of ten he developed spiritual powers and began to deliver various prophecies. During the World War II period he joined the Japanese marines and also worked in aircraft design. Lamenting the desolation of society in the aftermath of the war, in 1947 he began a series of harsh religious austerities such as fasting and performing physical ablutions at the coldest time of year. As he continued these practices a kami descended into Demura's body with the words, "I am the kami of the Hachidai Ryūō" ("great eight dragon kings"). After this event Demura found himself able to make prophecies about domestic and international events and the future fortunes of individuals. As disciples gathered around him he established the Hakkōkai at Esa in Hokkaido in 1949. He changed its name to the Hachidai Ryūōjin Hakkō Seidan in 1957 and registered it as a religious corporation. Because Demura went blind in 1980, his eldest son Demura Ryūnichi (1949-), who was at the time studying at Columbia University and a scholar of Yoshida Shintō, became deputy leader and assumed responsibility for guiding its devotees.
       This movement attaches great importance to spiritualist phenomena, and many of its followers claim to have had psychic experiences and to have felt paranormal phenomena. The movement emphasizes prophecy, exorcism, and spiritual healing as important aspects of its activities. The movement is mainly centered in Hokkaido.
       Headquarters: Hokkaido
       Nominal membership: approximately 5,000 (S)

— Inoue Nobutaka
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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