At PlanetGoku, we are not necessarily religious, however Gokuism (or the Church of Goku) might change that. In accordance with The Dao of Dragon Ball, "Gokuism is actually the idea that the guidelines of Dragon Ball deliver an ethical compass for one's lifestyle, and that Goku is actually a moralistic character and a strong role model."
For the unbaptised, Dragon Ball is actually a wildly-successful manga and also anime series that describes the journeys of Goku (the protagonist). These journeys feature practice in fighting styles as well as scouring the globe looking for 7 objects named Dragon Balls, which could be utilized to summon a wish-granting dragon called Shenron. During his quest, Goku makes several good friends and fights foes also looking for the Dragon Balls (typically based on world-threatening motives).
Back to Gokuism: Based on the definition of Gokuism described earlier, Goku is practically a holy person. More dedicated believers may also contend that Goku is more than a Jesus figure — to quote a Dragon Ball discussion forum:
“Jesus: Dies once to save humanity; guilt trips you about it forever.”
“Goku: Dies twice to save humanity; isn’t a little bitch about it.”
“I know who I’m worshiping.”
Indeed, one upping the resurrection of Jesus, Goku is actually revitalized two times.
Because of this, Goku serves as a spiritual role model for followers of Gokuism. "Throughout the series, Goku deals with astonishing challenges, which he overcomes through resolution, willpower, as well as, most importantly, endurance — he experiences substantial amounts of suffering to overcome himself, which subsequently, enables him to overcome his challengers," discusses Dragon Ball scholar Derek Padula, writer of the Dragon Ball Culture series and also creator of The Dao of Dragon Ball. (Padula highlights that he's certainly not the creator of Gokuism — whoever created that remains unclear).
"This influences individuals worldwide, particularly those that have been bullied — considering that plenty of Dragon Ball enthusiasts enjoy anime, they're likewise into computer games and also various other ‘nerdy' interests. Because of this, they were teased in school. I was among those people, and because of it I have suffered from depression," mentions Padula. "However Dragon Ball as well as Goku influenced me to get through those challenging times."
Padula: Gokuism was developed based on the motivational aspects of Dragon Ball. "I wrote a book named Dragon Soul: 30 Years of Dragon Ball Fandom — it is loaded with tales coming from enthusiasts stating that Dragon Ball, Goku and various other personalities (Vegeta, Gohan and also Piccolo) influenced all of them to overcome challenges, to become a much better individual and also to make every effort towards ideals that others stated were naive or even impractical," he mentions. "Due to Dragon Ball, they stuck with their aspirations, and those aspirations enabled them to become musicians, composers, painters, philosophers and so forth. Folks started utilizing Dragon Ball as a guidance for their lives, and from there, the philosophy took flight and started developing on its own into what is now known as Gokuism.
In fact, Dragon Ball has powerful spiritual undertones itself (referring back to the multiple resurrections of Goku). "Goku is actually based upon the historical Monkey King tale (Sun Wukong)," Padula discusses. "That tale goes back 5000 years into Chinese history, a lot of which is tied to spirituality. Buddhist enlightenment and Taoist immortality fuse with each other to produce Goku — after that, they included aspects of Jackie Chan and also Bruce Lee to produce this fighting styles story. When folks enjoy Goku, they may not see it, yet they're watching 5000 years of spirituality. That is the soul of Gokuism."
While I have not been able to locate a physical location where Gokuism is actually practiced — there is small Facebook page dedicated to the faith, with about 1500 followers — Padula mentions that Southern Americans sometimes hold marches dedicated to Goku. "Folks in Southern America hold these marches for Goku as if he were actually a divine figure," he mentions. Such marches seem to disturb local Christians, which indicates some religious competition — describing the marches, one spiritual commenter on a Brazilian gospel website mentions: "Goku is actually a satanic force that inhabits the astral world… Dragon Ball is among the most satanic animes."
Demonic or not, followers of Gokuism rely on Goku for inspiration. "People tell me that they think of Goku or Vegeta (Goku's rival) when they're at the gym — these personalities motivate all of them to work harder and life more weights," Padula mentions. "On an individual level, I typically tell myself: Goku definitely would not sleep in; he would get up and be looking forward to starting his day. He'd have a positive view on life, and he'd looking forward to what the day would bring.
Padula points out that Gokuism isn't based on trying to become Goku. "He's an anime character — that is one thing I truly need to stress," Padula mentions. "Gokuism focuses on working hard to maximise your potential, just like Goku does."
Regardless of if Gokuism is practiced in large churches or not, Padula thinks followers are scattered across the planet. "There are countless people that have been affected by Dragon Ball — not only through amusement, but as a series that had a real impact on their lifestyles," he mentions. "That influence was strong enough that they take it with them in their hearts and use it as a moral compass.".
When it comes to the potential of Gokuism, Padula is uncertain. "It is tough to say," he mentions. "However, Dragon Ball is becoming more and more popular, and also a lot of fans feel it is experiencing a 2nd renaissance at the moment. He's seen as having a big enough cultural impact to be appointed ambassador of the 2020 (now 2021) Tokyo Olympics.
"Goku is actually going to be on display for billions of sports fans, and he stands for something" Padula carries on. "The Olympic board is pointing out that he embodies the Olympic spirit by utilizing him as the mascot. They wish folks to consider Goku as someone who is a good example. That may motivate more people to check out Gokuism and use Goku as a guiding figure in their own lives.".
What do you think about Gokuism? Leave a comment below!
Until next time!