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Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Modern Sectarian Groups
Perfect Liberty Kyōdan (PL Kyōdan)
Church of Perfect Liberty. A new religion of Shinto origin. The name is frequently abbreviated as merely "PL." Its roots go back to the group Hitonomichi Kyōdan and its founder Miki Tokuharu (1871-1938). Miki had practiced as a Zen monk since he was young. He quit the Buddhist priesthood in 1910, however, and started a trading business, in part because his wife fell seriously ill. After his wife died, Miki himself fell ill, and he then came to meet Kanada Tokumitsu (1863-1919) at his eldest daughter's recommendation. After Kanada's death, Miki felt called to continue transmitting Kanada's teachings, and in 1924 he established the church Ontakekyō Tokumitsukyō Daikyōkai Honbu (Tokumitsukyō Great Church Headquarters of Ontakekyō) in Osaka. In 1928 the group became affiliated with Fusōkyō and was renamed Hitonomichi Tokumitsu Kyōkai (Tokumitsu Church of the Way of Man). Three years later, in 1931, the name was shortened to Hitonomichi Kyōdan.
       In 1937, Miki Tokuharu and his eldest son Miki Tokuchika (1900-1983) were arrested for the crime of lèse majesté and the church was forced to disband (this was called the Hitonomichi incident). Tokuharu died the following year.
       Following the end of World War II, Tokuchika was released from prison upon the abolishment of the crime of lèse majesté. He took up his religious activities once again by announcing the "PL Manifesto" in 1946 and by founding PL Kyōdan in the town of Tosu in Saga Prefecture. In the following year he proclaimed "twenty-one guidelines for the right conduct of life," called the PL shoseikun, and those guidelines have formed the core of the group's teachings since then. The list began with the famous slogan "Life is Art" (i.e., life should be shaped like a work of art). Tokuchika was also made first president (rijichō) of the Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan (Shinshūren), newly founded in 1951. One year later, the headquarters of PL Kyōdan were erected in the present-day town of Tondabayashi in Osaka Prefecture. The headquarters was followed by a hospital, the huge PL Peace Tower, a golf course, and a school.
       In 1957 the group sent its teachers to Brazil, and overseas missions started to flourish and it succeeded in increasing its membership in North and South America. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, computers were installed at the headquarters and used to coordinate the administration of the adherents, thus moving the group toward a modernized system of organizational management.
       The group has engaged in a broad range of activities since an early time, for example, managing a golf course and the high school PL Gakuen, which has made regular appearances at the national annual high school baseball tournaments held at Kōshien Stadiun in Nishinomiya. It is characteristic of the group that it lacks a strong sense of being "religious" in the conventional way other Japanese groups are perceived. The object of veneration is the kami Ōmioyakami (in English called simply "God").
       Headquarters: Osaka Prefecture
       Nominal membership: about 1,250,000

— Inoue Nobutaka
The headquarters of Perfect Liberty Kyōdan spread out over the hillside of Habikino. The 180 meter high Peace Tower (Daiheiwa kinentō) was designed by the second leader Miki Tokuchika and was completed in 1970.

Osaka Prefecture , 2007

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