After the third Mideast War in 1973, when Japan's energy supplies were threatened by embargo on oil from OPEC suppliers, an author named Ben Goto (1929-2020) achieved overnight fame with his 1973 publication of the "Great Prophesies of Nostradamus." That book sold 2.5 million copies, and with several sequels that followed, his total book sales reached 6 million.
Raised in Hokkaido and a member of the Eastern Orthodox church, which may have influenced his thoughts, Goto served up a somewhat embellished version of the prognostications by 16th century French astrologer and physician Michel de Nostredame. In a book of 942 cryptic quatrains published in 1555, titled "Les Prophéties," Nostradamus (his Latin name) is believed by some to have foreseen events of the future.
The outbreak of war in the Middle East in October 1973 -- the same year the book was published -- and subsequent energy crisis left many of Goto's readers fully convinced that the world would come to an end in 1997.
More recently, reports Weekly Playboy (March 14), the occult's been making a comeback in Japan. An example can be found in episode 87 of the NHK morning drama serial "Come come everybody" in which Hinata, the heroine, is shown transfixed over a TV program citing Nostradamus, who had predicted that in July 1999, the apocalypse will arrive, leading NHK viewers to begin parroting the topic on their social networks.
Elsewhere, a collaboration between the publisher of "Walking the Globe" and the occult-heavy Mu magazine claimed that Nostradamus had correctly prognosticated the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a major crisis for humankind by 2022.
"It's certain that the occult has been catching on in the Reiwa era," said Bintaro Yamaguchi, a researcher into the occult. "But there are some major differences between the boom in the 1970s and the present boom, which is driven by social media on the internet.
"Up to the end of the Heisei era in 2019, the occult had thrived, largely in the form of urban legends. These have shifted to YouTube and other sites, many of which can boast of having registered users of 1 million or greater.
"Also we're seeing less emphasis on predictions left behind by people who lived in the past, and more predictions about the future," he added. "There's a poster on the web who claims to be a Japanese from the year 2100, for example. Similar phenomena have been occurring in the U.S."
"Another major difference between fans of the occult in the 1970s and people today is that the latter are more willing to take matters with a grain of salt, saying, 'It might be made-up, but it's interesting.' In other words, the occult has been repackaged as just another form of entertainment," Yamaguchi pointed out. "So I think very few people accept it as the truth."
Masaki Ohsawa, producer of the news site TOCANA, noted that since more people these days are availing themselves of fact-checking information that challenges claims, so the number online searches concerning the occult seldom reach the top rankings.
But back to Nostradamus. An authority on predictions who goes by the name Jyuriko Shirakami points to Nostradamus' quatrain No. 65 in Century II, which foresaw the coronavirus pandemic. It reads: The sloping park great calamity be done through Hesperia and Insubria: The fire in the ship, plague and captivity, Mercury in Sagittarius, Saturn will fade.
Supposedly the sloping park is a reference to a park in Wuhan, China, while Mercury in Sagittarius, Saturn can be astrologically interpreted to refer to January 2020.
But how about this year? No. 17, in Century I goes: For forty years the rainbow will not be seen. For forty years it will be seen every day. The dry earth will grow more parched, and there will be great floods when it is seen.
Clearly, Shirakami insists, we're looking at a reference to drastic climate change.
Meanwhile No. 28 in Cent. VIII is clearly a reference to a nosedive by financial markets, possibly including the collapse of the U.S. dollar. It reads: The copies of gold and silver inflated, which after the theft were thrown into the lake, at the discovery that all is exhausted and dissipated by the debt. All scrips and bonds will be wiped out.
Shirakami leaves the worst for last. No. 97 in Century VI, she claims is an allusion to major conflict, possibility even World War III. See for yourself. The sky will burn with 540 revolutions. Fire to approach the great new city: In an instant a great scattered flame will leap up, When one will want to demand proof of the Normans.
Yikes. (Maybe.) You're better advised to take the occult as entertainment, the writer advises. At least that way you can enjoy a good fright without the downside of genuine pain and suffering.© Japan Today