Ho No Hana

Ho No Hana Sanpogyo is a Japanese new religious movement founded by Hogen Fukunaga in 1987. The group is often referred to as the “foot-reading cult” because of Fukunaga’s claim that he could diagnose physical illness by examining the soles of an individual’s feet. Ho No Hana has been accused of a number of fraudulent practices, including fortune telling, extortion, and brainwashing.

Fukunaga was born in 1949 in the city of Fuji, Japan. He began preaching in 1980, claiming to be the world’s final savior following Jesus Christ and Buddha. Fukunaga’s teachings were based on a combination of Buddhism, Christianity, and Japanese folk religion. He taught that all people are inherently sinful and that the only way to achieve salvation is through his teachings.

Ho No Hana quickly gained a following in Japan, and by the early 1990s the group had claimed to have over 30,000 members. However, the group’s teachings and practices soon came under scrutiny. In 1996, the Japanese government investigated Ho No Hana for fraud and found that the group had been engaging in a number of illegal activities, including fortune telling, extortion, and brainwashing.

As a result of the investigation, Ho No Hana was banned from operating in Japan. However, the group continued to operate in other countries, including the United States. In 2005, Fukunaga was arrested in the United States on charges of fraud and money laundering. He was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Ho No Hana has been described as a cult by a number of experts. The group has been accused of using coercive and manipulative tactics to recruit and retain members. Ho No Hana members have also been known to cut off contact with family and friends who do not support the group.

In recent years, Ho No Hana has been the subject of a number of documentaries and books. The group has also been featured in a number of news articles. The negative publicity surrounding Ho No Hana has led to a decline in the group’s membership. However, Ho No Hana continues to operate in a number of countries around the world.


  • Clarke, J. (2006). The Japanese new religions: In search of spiritual fulfillment. London: I.B. Tauris.
  • Chryssides, G. D. (2001). Exploring new religions. London: Cassell.
  • Fujita, N. (2000). Ho no Hana Sanpogyo: A new religious movement in Japan. Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 27(1-2), 111-130.
  • Watts, M. (2000). Japan’s foot-reading cult: A case study in religious fraud. Nova Religio, 3(3), 259-278.

Listen to our episode on Ho No Hana

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