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Lit. , "Great Origin." A new religious sect founded at the end of the 19th century by an illiterate woman named Nao DEGUCHI who underwent a series of enlightenment experiences and around whom a large following developed. The religion gained followers rapidly in the early part of the 20th century largely due to the efforts of Onisaburo DEGUCHI who married Nao's daughter, Sumiko, and popularized the sect. The Omoto religion began to become a significant religious and social force until weakened by the OMOTO INCIDENTS of 1921 and 1935 when the church was brutally suppressed by the Japanese military government. At its height it had some three million adherents. Morihei UESHIBA became a believer in the Omoto religion in December 1919 and was heavily influenced by its philosophy. His close association with this sect lasted for some 15 years although he maintained relations with the religion until his death in 1969.