Happy Science Religious Organization Forms Female Idol Group

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Controversial religious organization Happy Science (Kōfuku no Kagaku) found a new way to target young people, or at least Japanese pop culture fans. After sponsoring various anime in recent years, the organization has formed a six-member female pop idol group. Happy Science announced on Monday that the idol group will launch its activities in December.

The group, named anjewel, is composed of 18- and 19-year-olds. Their purpose is to "fight for everyone's happiness." Happy Science founded the group from its subdivision of 18- to 22-year-old students, and the "informal student idol group" opened an official Twitter account on October 25.

Happy Science formed a PR team for its student division in August. The PR team had the idea to form the idol group because "there are many cute females in the student division," and because the religious organization's student group did not have any good PR techniques at the time. The idol group is the PR team's first big job. The PR team plans to keep developing the idol group and said the number of idols may fluctuate.

Because the group is still in a preliminary phase, Happy Science has blurred or concealed the idols' faces in all their posted images. Happy Science has yet to reveal the names of the six members. If the idols are able to make their live performance debut at the end of the year, Happy Science will announce their names at that time.

The idol group plans to debut at the El Cantare Festival on December 7. Happy Science's founder will hold a "Road to the Truth" lecture at the event. Anjewel is now practicing its song and dance routines for the festival. Although the group has no current plan to debut in the world of mainstream show business, it is currently developing ideas for the future.

Ryuho Okawa founded Happy Science in 1986, and he still serves as the controversial organization's CEO. He is also the founder and leader of Japan's conservative Happiness Realization political party, which Happy Science supports. Okawa, under the religious title El Cantare, claims to channel spirits from various religions such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Happy Science has about 10 million members in Japan and 1 million members in foreign countries.

Anime films that Happy Science has sponsored include the 2015 film The Laws of the Universe Part 0 and The Mystical Laws, which opened simultaneously in the U.S. in October 2012. The Mystical Laws received an English dub for its Japanese home video release, and it received a video-on-demand release in the U.S.

Source: The Sankei Shimbun via Hachima Kikō

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