Deguchi Onisaburo, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Religions

From the 1910s to the mid-1930s, the flamboyant and gifted spiritualist Deguchi Onisaburô (1871–1948) transformed his mother-in-law’s small, rural religious following into a massive movement, eclectic in content and international in scope. Through a potent blend of traditional folk beliefs and practices like divination, exorcism, and millenarianism, an ambitious political agenda, and skillful use of new forms of visual and mass media, he attracted millions to Oomoto, his Shintoist new religion. Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisaburô, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Religions in Imperial Japan, by Nancy K. Stalker, not only gives us the first full account in English of the rise of a heterodox movement in imperial Japan, but also provides new perspectives on the importance of “charismatic entrepreneurship” in the success of new religions around the world.

November 2007 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3172-1 / $49.00 (CLOTH)

“A tour de force of scholarship, this compelling work raises the bar for works on religion, history and modernity and should be standard reading for years to come.”—James Ketelaar, University of Chicago