Who is Haruhisa Handa – and how did he make Prince Harry smile? Meet the Japanese guru who survived scandals, founded his own RELIGION… and got friendly with the British Royals!
- Harry’s Japanese host says he is a golfer, actor, poet and honorary consul
- Haruhisa Handa has links to other British royals through his sports foundation
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What could account for the sudden return of a smiling Prince Harry we used to know when he made his recent solo tour of Japan and Singapore?
Was he glad of the brief freedom from family duties that the trip allowed?
Did warmth of the welcome he received dispel the dark clouds that so often seem to hang around the Duke of Sussex?
Or perhaps it’s down to the influence of the new age guru who played host to Harry in Japan: wealthy philanthropist, golfer and sometime conductor, Haruhisa Handa, 72.
Dr Handa, who manages more than a dozen companies, is thought to have earned a fortune through publishing more than 220 self-help books, and has even founded his own religion.
Dr Haruhisa Handa, 72, who manages more than a dozen companies, is the multi-millionaire philanthropist who hosted Prince Harry’s visit to Japan
The Duke of Sussex, 38, was welcomed on stage by ISPS Handa’s founder at the ISPS (International Sports Promotion Society) Sports Values Summit on Wednesday, August 9
The Duke of Sussex is greeted by Haruhisa Handa in Tokyo last week
Beyond his callings as a priest as an operatic baritone, Dr Handa claims to be a ballet dancer and an artist in calligraphy, as well as an actor, golfer and poet who has had works of art displayed in the British Museum.
He is said to be an honorary consul to Cambodia.
Prince Harry is not Handa’s only royal connection. The multi-millionaire philanthropist has longstanding links with the British Royal Family.
Prince William hosted Dr Handa at Kensington Palace in May 2019 thanks to the philanthropist’s role as founder of ISPS Handa, an organisation which sponsors sports events.
Set up in 2006, it aims to harness the the ‘transformative power of sport across the globe’.
Princess Anne’s daughter and former Olympic horsewoman, Zara Phillips, plus her her former England rugby captain husband Mike Tindall and brother Peter Phillips are all ambassadors for ISPS Handa.
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Dr Handa, who also uses the names Toshu Fukami and Toto Ami, was even received at Buckingham Palace as far back as 2010 by Prince Andrew, according to the Court Circular.
The Duke of York gave a dinner for him in January 2011 to honour Dr Handa’s role as chairman of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture.
Dr Handa has not been without controversy, however.
In 1994, his faith community, known then as Powerful Cosmo Mate, was referred to prosecutors over allegations it had failed to declare about $50 million in income.
And in October of the same year, he settled out of court two sexual harassment claims brought by female followers.
The eccentric New Age guru also faced two civil lawsuits over claims he had extracted donation money in return for claimed healing. In the end, the government never proved any wrongdoing.
Prince Harry was in south east Asia to take part in his Sentebale polo cup, sponsored by ISPS Handa, in aid of young people in South Africa.
The Prince also took part in a panel discussion with former New Zealand rugby player Dan Carter an ambassador for ISPS Handa.
Harry appeared delighted, acknowledging the crowd as he was welcomed by Dr Handa
Dr Handa is thought to have earned a fortune through publishing hundreds of self-help books
Dr Handa’s self-help DVDs, good luck gifts and salvation books preach how happiness can be found through spiritual and material prosperity, and his Shinto-based religion called World Mate has up to 50,000 followers.
He is reported to have written in one of his recent books: ‘Good luck comes to you from the stars of the universe.’
Another entry promises his followers: ‘The stars also have a spirit world, from which power is sent. I will teach you how to get it, a secret that you can own the lucky power from the stars.’
Handa enjoys publicity. He once issued a picture of himself at the centre of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, The Last Supper.
He has even conducted a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, although to what effect is unclear.
The Guardian’s critic described an appearance Handa made at a concert at St John’s Smith Square, Westminster, as ‘the worst musical performance I have ever heard in public’.
Handa has been described as ‘one of the most fascinating and beguiling figures in Japan’ by Forbes Magazine
Forbes Magazine has described as ‘one of the most fascinating and beguiling figures in Japan’.
On top of his work with the ISPS, Handa is also the founder of the Japanese Blind Golf Association, a chancellor and professor of the University of Cambodia and Zhejiang Gongshang University.
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