The Soteriology of Anime


Perhaps a good place to begin would be to define key terms. For some the word “soteriology” may be new. It “is the study of religious doctrines of salvation.”[1] Another term which may be new to some is Anime (pronounced “ah- knee-may”) which is, a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes.[2]

Much of today’s anime is not only laced with nudity and LGBTQ imagery, but religious environmentalism, Shinto animism, and Buddhist philosophy. It is not just a cartoon, but a tool to indoctrinate your children into believing that man is the number one contributor to climate change. It has been used as a propaganda tool in the past by cult groups such as Aum Shinrikyo[3] in the 1980 and 90’s – today known as Aleph – and is still being used by neo-Buddhist cults such as Soka Gakkai International. The soteriology – the theology of salvation – that is taught in anime should be avoided or at least watched with a careful eye as it is antithetical to Christianity. Anime promotes a works-based salvation and is being used by cults such as Soka Gakkai International to suggest that children must be willing to die to save the environment.


The popularity of anime is not easily quantifiable, but an examination of certain YouTube pages can give us a general idea. For instance, as of July 2021, the YouTube page associated with the American entertainment company Funimation has over 3.5 million subscribers and over 1.2 billion video views. And the site associated with Crunchyroll – an American distributor, publisher, production and licensing company focused on streaming anime – has 3.3 million subscribers and 3.3 billion video views.       

In 2019, the year’s major anime movie releases — Weathering With YouRide Your Wave, Promare,Children of the Sea and Birthday Wonderland, which were screened over the Glasgow leg of the Scotland Loves Anime film festival – were all focused on climate change. From movies, to television, to manga (anime comic books) so much of the anime world is laced with mysticism and Buddhist ideology that it is not surprising that a form of nature worship has become the product of this media. The question is of the millions of people who watch anime everyday how many of them are being indoctrinated into the cult of climate change and how many of them are our children?

Soka Gakkai International


Soka Gakkai International – listed as a cult by International Countercult Ministries – was affiliated with the Nichiren Shōshū Buddhist sect from 1952 to 1991.[4] It and its third president, Daisaku Ikeda, was then excommunicated from the sect because of their rejection of priestly authority.[5] It is a highly influential organization worldwide with 8.27 million members in Japan, and 2.2 million members outside Japan – with 352,000 of those members living in America.[6]

In 1964 Ikeda formed the Komeito (Clean Government Party) and over the course of several elections, it became the third largest political party in Japan.[7] According to the LA Times Daisaku Ikeda “is, by some accounts, the most powerful man in Japan–and certainly one of the most enigmatic.”[8] The Dali Lama listed him as one of the most influential spiritual leaders in the world.[9]

As head of Soka Gakkai, Ikeda has direct influence over global policy makers at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)and works closely with members of the Club of Rome global think tank.[10] He also promotes sustainable development education on behalf of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)[11] and maintains the Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California. The university was ranked by US News & World Report in the Top 30 among National Liberal Arts Colleges, and USA Today ranked it in the “Top 10 Colleges in California.”[12]

Ikeda’s Anime

Daisaku Ikeda has over fifty-nine thousand followers on his YouTube channel of children’s stories. In addition to English, most of his stories are also in Spanish, French, Korean, Chinese, and Cantonese. There are nineteen stories in the English playlist, but for the purpose of this article we will discuss only one of his anime, The Price and the Coral Sea, in order to gain a general idea of the type of salvation messages he promotes. 

The Price and the Coral Sea

– Historical Background of the Story –

This story takes place at Shuri Castle – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Shuri, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan – and most likely after the Ryukyu Kingdom (A.D. 1429 – 1879) period. From 1477 to 1527 the Ryukyu Kingdom underwent a golden era characterized by the centralization of government under the king, with Shuri as its capital. The monarchy maintained peaceful and prosperous relations with China’s Ming Dynasty, Siam (Thailand), and Malacca (Malaysia), as well as other countries in the region. Buddhism grew as a religion with the renovation of Shuri castle and the construction of Buddhist temples in the region.[13] Ikeda doesn’t make it clear exactly when his story takes place, but it was clearly sometime after this enlightened age.

During this golden era, according to Shuzen Hokama of the Okinawa Studies Institute, during this golden era the Ryukyu Kingdom “tried to be a bridge towards all Asian nations by emphasizing its peace philosophy based on harmony and cooperation”[14] while “mainland Japan was in turmoil due to civil wars, and other countries in East and Southeast Asia were also subject to instability due to racial struggles.”[15] Unfortunately, in 1609 the kingdom was invaded by the Empire of Japan and by the late 19th Century Shintoism became the state religion of the empire. 

– Summary of Ikeda’s Story –

The Price and the Coral Sea starts off with a boy named Ray meeting a mermaid who lives in the Coral Sea and tells him that the coral and the fish are suffering from the silt of the land, which is rushing into the water from erosion and is turning the water red. She asks for his help to save the sea and then gives him a magic shell and says. . . “the greatest treasure in the whole world is a sincere heart.” Ray subsequently uses the magic shell to give part of his life energy to his dying sister, and to his cousin and uncle. His cousin and uncle were both hurt when the ruling Japanese samurai forced them to cut down trees for a construction project at Shuri Castle.

Ray returns to the sea and speaks with the mermaid again and she tells him more about the magic shell’s history and the history of humanity. She tells him that the shell came from a big star that had died out and that all of humanity originated from this star as well. She goes on to say. . .

Did you know that shell originally came from a big star? . . .Yeah, eventually all stars die out too. But they live longer than you. Everything in the universe dies eventually. When a big star dies, it ends its life in a giant explosion. And the tiny pieces that come from it form new stars. Everything is made from stardust. You see? So you and me and the coral in the sea were all born from the same big mother star. 

Of course, some stars are just small ones. They selfishly stay that way, only thinking of themselves till one day they shrink away and die. It’s the same way with human beings. People who only care about themselves are like small stars. But when a person who is willing to share everything that they’ve got with someone who they really love, that is a choice to protect those around him with the gift of life. Just like the great stars do with us. So the special power inside of this shell is just like the power of the big mother stars. But only those with a kind heart can use the shell’s magical power.

Ray had been told for most of his life that his parents were killed in a tidal wave while out fishing. And that the erosion of silt from the removal of trees by the samurai was to blame. The silt killed the coral reefs that would normally stop the tidal wave from hitting the shore.  However, we find out later in the anime that the king, who was a puppet of the samurai, is actually Ray’s father. The king had lost sight of the needs of his people, and it appears his daughter’s fate was affected by this as she lost sight in one of her eyes. Ray uses the magic shell again to give more of his life energy to the king’s daughter to heal her partial blindness. In exchange for doing this, Ray angrily rebukes his father for his treatment of the environment and demands that he stop cutting down the trees. 

An earthquake then hits the island and a subsequent tidal wave develops once again. Ray decides to use the magic shell and his remaining life energy to save the island, and to restore the coral and the trees. After he dies he becomes stardust and leaves behind the famous star shaped sand of Okinawa Island as a way to remember him by.


Daisaku Ikeda’s The Price and the Coral Sea is an example of how anime is being used to indoctrinate your children into nature worship, mysticism, and Buddhism. It teaches a works- based salvation and devalues human life by saying we are made in the image of stars instead of the image of God. In Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth.” (NASB) As Christians we must explain to our children the contradictory messages of anime and that we are called to be stewards of the environment not worshippers of the environment (Rms 1: 22-25).  

Ikeda’s Soka Gakkai International is working closely with the United Nations to implement similar Sustainable Development education in schools around the world. We are now seeing another way that the cult of climate change and radical environmentalism is growing on a global level. Our children are being taught that those who are not willing to die for the environment are selfish and that they need to rebuke their parents for ruling over creation rather than becoming one with creation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NASB) We cannot save ourselves by saving the environment. Revelations 21 tells us that the environment too will be restored through Christ alone when he comes for his final return and judgement. 

↑2Merriam-Webster online
↑3Baraka Thomas, Jolyon; 2012, Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 130–6
↑4Hurst, Jane (2000).  Macachek and Wilson, ed.; A Buddhist Reformation In the 20th Century. Oxford University Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-19-924039-6.As sourced in Wikipedia.
↑5Infighting, Division, and Scandal Afflicting Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists
↑6Soka Gakkai International website, “Soka Gakkai: A Global Organization
↑7Carlile, Masumi Junnosuke; translated by Lonny E.; 1995. Contemporary politics in Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 397–8. ISBN 9780520058545. As sourced in Wikipedia
↑8As quoted by the Cult Education Institute in “Japan’s Crusader or Corrupter?;
↑9Dalai Lama Tops List of World’s Most Influential Spiritual Leaders,” Buddhist Door Global, Justin Whitaker
↑10Ikeda wrote a book with the futurist  Hazel Henderson – a full-fledged member of the Club of Rome – entitled Planetary Citizenship: Your Values, Beliefs and Actions Can Shape A Sustainable World
↑11Soka Gakkai: New Sustainability Exhibition
↑12Soka University Ranked High for Best College, Best Value, Social Mobility and Diversity”; Soka University
↑13,↑14,↑15The Ryukyu Kingdom in Asian History,” Shuzen HOKAMA, President, Okinawan Studies Institute, Professor Emeritus, Hosei University; Global Communications Platform, Japanese Institute of Global Communications