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Yoshikazu Okada (岡田 良一), born February 27, 1901 in the Aoyama area of Tokyo's Minato Ward, also known as Kōtama Okada, (岡田 光玉) was the founder of a new religious movement in Japan (Shinshūkyō) generally referred to as Mahikari. Yoshikazu Okada was born into a wealthy family as the son of Inasaburo, a major general in the Imperial Japanese Army. Okada, who studied with Prince Chichibu (Yasuhito) and others who came from prominent Japanese families, graduated from the Japanese Army Officer Training School in 1922 and was commissioned a lieutenant in the Japanese Imperial Guard. After serving in military campaigns in China and Indochina, Okada retired from the army in 1941 due to a back injury with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Yoshikazu Okada established the Mahikari organization in 1959, which became known as Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan in 1963, and assumed the name of "Kōtama" ("Sphere of Light"). In 1974, with Okada's passing, there were court hearings held over several years. An amicable settlement was reached (wakai). Sakae Sekiguchi assumed leadership of Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan, and in 1978, Keishu Okada established Sukyo Mahikari.

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