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World Cup Diary

World Cup diary: Japan, needing a miracle, get a visit from bonkers anti-China cult

Happy Science, whose founder channels Muhammad, Buddha and Margaret Thatcher, leave a good-luck banner at the Blue Samurais training camp

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 1:34am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 6:02am

Japan need a miracle to qualify for the knockout stage, but we're not sure if Happy Science are going to deliver it.

The religious cult visited the team's training camp and left a banner of support reading "Open The Way With Positive Thinking".

The organisation was founded in 1986 to spread the teachings of Ryuho Okawa, who speaks for El Cantare, their god. This is how their website explains it:

His Truth, as taught in Happy Science, transcends the barriers of race, nations, cultures and religions, and is a major force in uniting a world that is becoming increasingly fragmented, isolated and chaotic. The teachings also hold the key to resolving the escalating conflicts between major religions around the world.

The organisation supports Japanese military expansion, particularly against China and North Korea, and denies the Nanjing Massacre ever took place. In this article on their 'news' website, China is labelled 'the Nazi Germany of today'. Here's an interesting article about them from the Japan Times.

They have been compared to Aum Shinrikyo, the cult that launched the sarin gas attack in a Tokyo metro station in in 1995. Happy Science denies the comparison and say their founder tried to warn authorities of the attack after he had a premonition about it. Aum Shinrikyo also apparently tried to assassinate Okawa with 'agent XV' poison, although sources of that story apart from the one linked to on Wikipedia appear thin on the ground.

Okawa has written over 900 books according to the organisation's website. He can apparently channel the spirits of Muhammad, Buddha and Jesus among others - in this article, he interviews the spirit of Margaret Thatcher, who advises Japan to attack China and North Korea to fend off invasion. 

On the Japanese version of their publication's website is what appears from Google Translate to be an interview with the 'Guardian Spirit' of Japan star Keisuke Honda. A novel approach to journalism - we might speak to the ghost of Stanley Matthew's in tomorrow's diary and get his thoughts on England's early exit.

Japan need to beat Colombia handily and hope Greece beat Ivory Coast, but by a smaller margin. Both outcomes seem unlikely - but let's just see the power of Happy Science in action.

Nazi sympathisers hide in plain sight in South America

There were other rather dubious messages at the Germany-Ghana game, where a streaker ran on to the pitch with what seemed to be a pro-Hitler / Nazi message painted on his body. He had to be ushered off the pitch by Ghana's Sulley Muntari.

Anti-racism organisation Fare reported Neo-Nazi signs around the ground and pictures circulated on social media of fans at the game in blackface - sure, it's still acceptable in Hong Kong, at least for the makers of adverts for insurance, but in most places that sort of thing is frowned upon.

Fifa says its disciplinary committee is considering opening a case. 

“We do not respect any discriminatory messages.” AP quotes spokeswoman Delia Fischer.

Useful information of the day

Here's a 'statistic', though that's putting it strongly, to wow your friends with when Netherlands take on Chile. 

Because Robin van Persie is suspended, there will be no player with 'van' in their name, the first time since 1996, according to Algemeen Dagblaad via Reuters.

That was 221 matches ago in a friendly against China. The last time it happened in the World Cup was in 1994 and Netherlands lost, if you're looking for omens, 2-1 to Belgium - who had Franky VAN der Elst in their line up.

Unfortunately for Chile, they also have no vans. Perhaps Alexis Sanchez can go Alexis van Chez for one match.

Yes, it's been a long 10 days ...