Japanese Parody Religion Exists Only to Give Believers a Reason to Say ‘No’

MtoP is a parody religion created solely to give followers the chance to refuse things like working overtime simply by invoking “religious reasons”.

Short for “Motohiro to People”, the MtoP religion was created in 2018 by a young man named Motohiro Hisano, who acts as a deity/sage. He does point out that he doesn’t perform miracles and has no superpowers other than that of bestowing the power of “religious reasons” onto his followers. In fact, that is the only purpose of MtoP, as its founder does not wish to be worshipped, nor does he accept any sort of financial contributions. Although the parody religion does have its own doctrine, believers don’t have to abide by strict commandments. All they have to do in order to be considered followers of MtoP is to follow the religion’s official Twitter account.

Photo: MtoP/Twitter

“It’s the devil’s work to spend your time on things you don’t want, so turn down unnecessary overtime,” one of the teachings of MtoP reads. Overtime is a contentious matter in Japan, a country that has its own word for “death by overwork” – karoshi – so Motohiro Hisano’s religion and the principles behind it got a lot of attention from the media and the general public.

Hisano, who was only 21 years old when he founded MtoP, claims that he only wished to give people a good reason to get out of things they didn’t want to do. Japanese law prohibits discrimination based on ideology or creed, so if you just happen to be a follower of a religion that frowns upon working overtime, well, you can invoke “religious reasons” if you don’t want to work.

But MtoP doesn’t only get followers out of working overtime. Its doctrine touches on issues like maternity leave, paid leave, and even attending parties, so you can use “religious reasons” in a variety of situations. Let’s say you get invited to a party you don’t want to attend, just say you can’t go for religious reasons.

MtoP’s creator admitted to having been inspired to create the religion by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, only with the sole purpose of giving people the chance to use the “religious reasons” argument in a variety of situations. He always considered the phrase to be very powerful and thought people weren’t using it enough, so he decided to encourage them.

When Motohiro Hisano and his parody religion were first featured on Japanese television in 2019, MtoP only had 700 followers on Twitter. Today, the official MtoP account is followed by over 11,000 people, and the community is growing at a rapid pace.

It’s not clear whether people are following MtoP to use the “religious reasons” excuse at their workplace, or if they just like Motohiro Hisano’s ideas, but one thing is for sure, the young man has managed to get international attention thanks to his parody religion.

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