Reimei Church was incorporated as an independent religious organization in March 1970. Its origins, however, go back to the mid-1940s when Masako Tada, a Kantian philosopher trained at Tokyo Women's Christian University, became a disciple of Mokichi Okada and started her ministry in Kyoto. In 1950, the national headquarters formally accorded her group the status of Kyoto Branch of Shinsei Church in Tokyo. When Rev. Masako Tada died in 1955, her son Teruyuki, then a doctoral student in astrophysics at Kyoto University, succeeded as head of the branch church. Under his leadership, the organization grew steadily until it attained full church status ten years later in 1965. At that time it was renamed Reimei Church.
Having received personal guidance from Mr. Okada since his youth, Rev. Teruyuki Tada's faith was deep and his commitment to his mentor's teaching, firm. That dedication has been the foundation of Reimei Church's policies and programs ever since its inception. It found dramatic expression in the church's decision in 1970 to leave the national organization and become independent. This action was taken with the sole purpose of preserving the integrity of the doctrine as Mokichi Okada taught it.
From the start, Rev. Tada instituted and led study programs oriented to helping members understand and practice the teaching according to the scriptures. His training in science gave him the necessary knowledge and skills to initiate several research projects in agriculture, sericulture, and medicine. He also encouraged church members to engage in artistic activities and led some of them himself. The church began its own art collection in 1970.
The 1984 publication of Johrei: Divine Light of Salvation, edited by Teruyuki Tada and Ichiro Nakamura, was the fruit of twenty years of work that began in 1964. It involved the monumental task of translating Mr. Okada's central teaching into English and launched the church into the global trajectory the founder had envisioned.
Meanwhile, Rev. Tada spent almost a year in 1981 in the U.S.A., where he collaborated with thoracic surgeons in a clinical study of lung cancer. This experiment became the first in a variety of international activities. The church has since sponsored an active exchange of persons program, seminars for visiting foreign students, and participation in scholarly conferences abroad. In 1985 eighty lay leaders joined a study tour to North America led by Rev. and Mrs. Tada.
Early in 1986, Rev. Tada became ill after many years of overwork and passed away in April that year. His wife, Utae Tada, immediately took over the directorship. Although the death of Rev. Teruyuki Tada was an unfathomable loss, the church has continued to expand under its new leadership. The membership is invigorated by growing numbers of young people. In 1989, three new Johrei centers were established, making a total of five. In March 1990 one of the Johrei centers achieved branch church status. Two years later, three more lay ministers were appointed, each heading a Johrei center.
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