Tenrikyō is one of the oldest of Japan’s ‘new religions’. Founded by Nakayama
Miki in 1838, its main goal is to establish a joyous life which is granted by the god
Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, which is believed to have revealed itself to Nakayama Miki.
The architecture of the main Tenrikyō sanctuary in the city of Tenri is typical of
the Tokugawa period; the music in Tenrikyō services is similar to Japanese court
music, and one of Tenrikyō’s former leaders promoted Judo. As such, Tenrikyō
and its educational institutions certainly engage in Japanese culture, and yet the
Tenri University Sankōkan Museum’s 2001 catalogue prominently features Korean pillar statues. Why would a Japanese new religion like Tenrikyō display Korean
pillar statues in its museum?