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Eminent Teacher of Unificationism Dies at 92

Ken Sudo teaching

Merited teacher of Unificationism Ken Sudo says farewell to this world

Ken Sudo, teacher of Unificationism
Ken Sudo teaching at Shibuya, Tokyo 1st April 2012. Photo: FFWPU

Ken Sudo (周藤健), a leading member of the Family Federation for more than 60 years and eminent teacher of the Unification Principles, departed this life peacefully on 22nd December 2023 in Japan, 92 years old.

He was born 23rd February 1931 in Wake (和気町), Okayama prefecture (岡山県) in Japan. In March 1955 he graduated from the Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine at Osaka University (大阪大学).

While he was a university student, a Christian friend tried very hard to invite him to come to church. “Fine,” Ken Sudo said, “but show me God first. Then I’ll go with you.” And his friend fell silent.

Less than a month later, Sudo was diagnosed with chronic nephritis [can cause severe kidney damage and failure], forcing him to take a leave of absence from university and stay in bed for more than a year.

One day, he came across a book about divine healing. In it, there were testimonies of miracles such as being cured from terminal cancer and tuberculosis, and serious family problems being resolved completely through faith.

At first, he thought, “How can this be?” But as he read it over and over again, he realised something. Before miracles and divine healings comes repentance. Ken Sudo describes the experience,

“Then I realised that there was so much evil and impurity in me and that I had never truly loved anyone until now. Tears of regret rolled down my cheeks and fell onto my pillow.”

For seven days and seven nights, his bed and pillow were soaking wet with tears, but he felt the injustice and impurity in him being washed away by the tears of repentance.

On the seventh night, while reading a book, he put his hands together and prayed to God for the first time in his life. Sudo recalls it,

“The next moment, I felt as if I had been drenched with cold water, as if I were in a waterfall. Then a platinum-coloured light came from diagonally above me on the right, and as soon as it enveloped everything, a bright red flame pierced my brain.”

Unaware of what had happened, Ken Sudo was stunned for a while. Something was wrong with his back, so he put his hand on it and found that his kidney area was vibrating, which made him realise that he had been healed. The next day, his illness was completely gone.

After returning to school, he was drawn to the sound of beautiful hymns he could hear from his room at the boarding house. He began attending church to be able to take them in and was later baptised and became a Christian, joining the Baptist Church.

Brief about the Teachings – Jesus
Jesus. License: CC ASA 4.0 Int

One Easter morning, while half awake, he had a strange experience. While praying alone in a cedar forest in the morning sun, he heard a voice say,

“Awake, I am risen.”

“Who is it? Today is Easter. It’s Jesus, isn’t it?” Sudo replied.

That was the beginning of his interaction with Jesus. Messages from Jesus sometimes came directly from himself and sometimes through mediums, and the records of these messages filled three notebooks.

Then problems began to arise. The content of the pastor’s sermons no longer matched what Jesus said.

Troubled, Sudo prayed out loud, even at times while standing on a steep cliff or under a waterfall. At one point, he even climbed halfway up Mount Ikoma (生駒山 – a mountain on the border between Nara and Osaka prefectures) and prayed all night, but no answer was found.

Then, in the summer of 1962 he met the Unification Church. He remembers it well,

“One day, when I was spending my days without answers, I was walking by the exit of Osaka Station. Then I saw a woman opposite me holding up a banner and shouting, ‘The time has come for the 6,000-year evil world to disappear and for a new light of God to shine!’ I heard her shout, ‘The time has come!’”

Father Moon and Ken Sudo
Father Moon and Ken Sudo. Photo: FFWPU

When Father Moon later heard this testimony, he said,

“Your first experience of God was in your Old Testament. After becoming a Christian, you went through the New Testament. Then you came to the Unification Church of the Completed Testament.”

Ken Sudo street preaching
Ken Sudo street preaching in Japan in the 1960’s. Photo: FFWPU

Sudo soon became a dedicated member and in short time learnt to teach the Unification Principles. Already in December that year he was appointed instructor at the movement’s new training center and taught his first 40-day training session. At the same time, he was also appointed head of the Tokyo branch of the Unification Church. For several years, he was the main lecturer and leader of the training center.

1st May 1969, he received the Marriage Blessing with his wife Masayo (董代) in what became known as the 43 couples Blessing.

20th July 1973 he went to the USA as one of Japanese members mobilized to support the work there. Already the following year he started teaching in English and was soon asked by Father Moon to teach at large seminars.

From 1974 to 1976 Ken Sudo led a large international outreach team visiting most of the states in the USA. In 1979 he was head of the New York branch of the Unification Church.

Ken Sudo, teacher of Unificationism
Ken Sudo teaching in New York 1st April 1989. Photo: FFWPU

But it is primarily as an eminent lecturer in the Unification Principles and the teachings of Father and Mother Moon that Ken Sudo will be remembered. He lectured at seminars in many different countries.

From 1996 he served three years as a special advisor to the work of the movement in Portugal.

From 2001 to 2013 Ken Sudo was vice-president of the Unification Church of Japan.

Masayo Sudo
Masayo Sudo (周藤董代).  Photo: FFWPU

His wife Masayo left this world 1st July 2017.

Ken Sudo passed away peacefully due to old age on 22nd December 2023 at a senior citizens’ home in Chiba, Japan, where he spent the last years of his life. He was in relatively good health, but had suffered from dementia for some time.

He left two children and four grandchildren.

Text based on news item by Kogensha, Japan. Translated from Japanese.

Featured image above: Ken Sudo teaching in Japan in 1960’s. Photo: FFWPU 

What teacher of Unificationism taught: The Teachings in a Nutshell

More on what teacher of Unificationism taught: Brief about the Teachings

Still more on what teacher of Unificationism taught:  The Unification Principles

Yet more on what teacher of Unificationism taught: Exposition of the Divine Principle

And even more on what teacher of Unificationism taught: The Family Pledge


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