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Why Did True Parents Host Fishing Tournaments?


Brief Recap on Why Ocean

In the past, True Father highlighted the central and key role the ocean had in bringing about world peace and unification, calling the ocean the “central point,” “shortcut,” and “fastest way” to bring people and the world together. He also explained what exactly it took to bring about world peace, mentioning the urgency of the food problem, and the ocean’s relation to it.

“True peace will not come as long as humanity does not solve the problem of hunger. If the person next to me is about to die of hunger, peace is a mere luxury.” (As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, Ch.7, pg. 321)
“The future economy of the world, the food problem of the world, the survival of mankind will be solved by the ocean. This time of study can determine the future life or death of mankind.” (God’s Will and the Ocean, Chapter 14)

The Ocean Providence was essentially the plan to substantially solve world hunger and the issues of inequality in this world, and ultimately a way for FFWPU to witness on a global level through action.

Brief History of Fishing Tournaments

True Parents began hosting fishing tournaments in the United States in 1981, the first one held being the World Tuna Fishing Tournament, inviting fishermen from all over the world to Gloucester, Massachusetts. Since then and up to his ascension in 2012, along with all other Ocean Providence efforts, He invested much of His effort into the tournaments, holding multiple large-scale fishing tournaments. He established multiple large annually held events, including:

  • The Alaska King Salmon Fishing Tournament from 1993

  • The Hudson River Striped Bass Fishing Tournament to celebrate True Parents’ Holy Wedding Anniversary from 2000

  • The Peace King Cup Fishing Tournament (held in various locations throughout the world) from 2001

True Parents held fishing tournaments every year with hundreds of participants.

The fishing tournaments clearly had a significant role in the Ocean Providence, and we must understand why it might be necessary to continue the tradition of tournaments. What was the purpose behind these events?

The first annual Striped Bass fishing tournament celebrating True Parents' Holy Wedding Anniversary in 2000.

The Role of Fishing Tournaments

True Father often talked about the coming of the age of the “Ocean Hobby Industry” and also mentioned, multiple times, the importance of developing the hobby industry.

We must develop the hobby business. Now at this time I am proclaiming the hobby business. Men are made to live centering on hobbies.” (Pacific Rim Providence, Ch. 2, 253-15, 1994.1.1)

The specific significance of the term “hobby” will not be deeply explored in this article, however, it does play into understanding the purpose of tournaments. Fishing tournaments are public events that essentially promote fishing as a hobby. It can popularize fishing not just as a means for commercial gain, but as a hobby, as a sport, and an activity for people to enjoy around the world.

Tournaments are able to support the Ocean Providence in the three following ways:

  1. Raising people for the Ocean Era

  2. Building an Economic Foundation & Social Support

  3. Bringing people together in peace

Throughout the article, we will be exploring these three purposes of fishing tournaments as per True Father’s words.

Peace King Cup held in Yeosu, Korea 2003.

Raising People for the Ocean Era

As discussed in previous articles and videos, ocean training is a major part of the Ocean Providence when it comes to raising the human resources capable to lead and carry the plan forward.

“Once a person receives intense training to become a fisherman, He can go anywhere in the world and become a leader of people. Learning to be a fisherman is good leadership training.” (As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, Ch. 7 pg. 305)

Along with fishing workshops, True Father also looked to utilize the fishing tournaments as a place to train members. With competitive spirits, the energy is bound to be high strung, and the experience is one that people can learn valuable skills for leadership and cooperation from. It was where members had to take what they learned in workshops and apply it in a competitive setting with determination to win.

Not only was this a way to train members, but tournaments also served as a big connection point between Ocean Providence and the public. Through hosting these tournaments for the general public, True Father had the opportunity to introduce fishing and ocean training to the public. This was especially important for the sake of solving world hunger, as one of Father’s goals was to teach and spread fishing skills that can help overcome hunger.

I will hold a fishing tournament, bring American women who will teach fishing to all of the local mothers [in underdeveloped nations]. If you teach fishing to those mothers dying of hunger, they will not starve to death, no matter where they go. All they will need is water and land.” (Pacific rim prov. Chapter 2, 1.3.3. You Will Not Die of Hunger if You Learn to Fish, 1994.2.6)

Father often explained his experiences as a fisherman and talked of the thrill and excitement that came with the activity. He looked to harness this excitement and share it with the many people who would join.

“After catching such a huge fish, I felt better than a World War II general might feel after winning a battle. You cannot know such a feeling unless you have experienced it. For me, a man who was born to fish, it was like becoming the prince of fishing.” (CBG Book 10, Chapter 2, Section 2, Gloucester, 1987/07/11)

Through these exciting, competition-style fishing events held around the world, True Father attracted people to spread and teach the necessary skills needed to become the leaders of the ocean era and to overcome hunger.

Yeosu Peace King Cup 2003 winners presenting their catch.

Building an Economic Foundation & Social Support

True Father saw that the plan for Ocean Providence and its activities would need an economic foundation. To generate funds for mission and providential work, True Father had established many different businesses, but He also saw that tournaments had the potential to also help with funding mission work.

“We need money to create a global foundation for this, but no one is thinking about it or investing for it. So, I have to come up with ways to generate funds, such as by holding sport fishing tournaments and fishing trips that attract upper-class people from around the world.” (CBG Book 10, Chapter 2, Section 4, Plans and Projects, 1991/05/26)
“I organized a tuna fishing tournament in Gloucester, for which I put up $100,000 as prize money. After my boat won the tournament, I donated the prize money to a fund for African people in need. We need to expand this type of event all over the world. If we were to pursue this initiative for several decades, we could accumulate millions and even tens of millions of dollars and use it to save the world.” (CBG Book 10 Chapter 2, Section 2, Gloucester, 1992/05/03)

Along with the economic foundation, True Father sought the support of influential groups of people in the world (upper-class, governments, major corporations) by holding these events. He saw that through large-scale tournaments and the attractive hobby of fishing, such social support could be gained effectively.

“If we sponsor tournaments in five places around the world, that is $500,000 in prizes. That investment will lure tens of thousands of influential people. Their boats are capable of crossing the Atlantic or Pacific, going from one tournament to another.
Once this plan has momentum, the government will have to be supportive, and they will organize all the necessary supplies. Also, since there are already many marine facilities around the world, we will create a system so that the major vessels can provide fuel to the sport fishermen.
…The tournament fleet will be moving from one ocean to another, with an oil tanker accompanying it. The major corporations of the world will want to participate because the worldwide publicity will be so great. Imagine tens of thousands of boats coming to Gloucester for the competition; they will bring tremendous prosperity to that small sea town.” (God’s Will and the Ocean, Chapter 1 The Way of the Tuna)

True Father also saw fishing tournaments as an opportunity to popularize boats, specifically the Good Go models that He designed Himself. Not only do tournaments promote fishing as a hobby, but they also promote whatever boats performed the best.

“The most important thing will not be who wins first prize, but which boat does it. I am determined that our people work the hardest for all three prizes. If they win, people will want to know which company made their boats, and then they will discover that I designed the boats and created the company that made them. I have planned down to the most minute detail what kind of boat would be best for tuna fishing, and yesterday I checked what our factory is doing, specifying what details must be changed. The people of the world will know these boats are my creation.” (God’s Will and the Ocean, Chapter 1 The Way of the Tuna)

Naturally, if the Unificationist boats perform well, people will begin to take even more interest in our boat companies, generating a sustainable source of customers as well as allowing for more interaction between members and the public. It is similar to how car companies promote their brands in high performance races.

Bringing People Together in Peace

True Father saw fishing tournaments as a tool to bring people together in peace. Hobby is where one participates in an activity just for the joy that comes from it rather than external gain. Large scale tournaments and competitions can be like the Olympics, an event where the world comes together in peace to play sports. Combining both of these two aspects, hobby fishing tournaments had the potential to bring people together centering on the ocean and peace.

Father understood that tournaments and sports events in general were effective ways to create an atmosphere of peace and joy, even amidst conflict and tension. Sports, tournaments, and hobby are ways to create harmony and peace.

“Working with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the U.N. refugee agency, we held a soccer tournament for young people in Liberia. This is a country where fifteen years of tribal warfare has left its people exhausted. It receives special protection from the United Nations because of its precipitous drop in population. The children of this war-torn country gathered together to play soccer and sing songs of peace. In the process of kicking the ball around, they were learning skills of teamwork and fair play that are necessary for bringing harmony between tribes.” (As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, Cultural Projects Express God’s Creativity, pg. 298)

Through fishing tournaments, True Parents wanted people to be able to come together and unite. Despite national differences, the tournaments were a place to overcome nationalism and national boundaries by coming and fishing together for a greater purpose.

“If our leaders can set up and coordinate fishing venues for people living in villages at the far ends of the world, they too can participate in the fishing tournament. In this way people from all over the world can compete, just as in the Olympics.
…Since you participants represent your own nations, this might create barriers of national pride during the tournament. However, you must unite. In fact, you need to build such a spirit of unity here that you will unite even more tightly after the competition is over. Before you came, you Japanese, Koreans and Americans were historically enemies to one another. Here, during this fishing tournament, you must break down such barriers.” (CBG Book 10, Chapter 2, Section 5, Fishing Tournaments, 2001/08/18)

Yeosu World Peace King Cup Fishing Tournament 2004.

Through fishing tournaments, True Parents had hoped to establish a tradition of peace centering on the ocean and hobby. In the ocean era where the ocean presented the key solution to the hunger problem, uniting the fishermen of the world was essential. It is through hobby fishing tournaments that these people were able to come together in the past with True Parents.

“God desires the Peace UN and the peace kingdom. This is why I am doing so many things, including holding this fishing tournament. I am telling you that something powerful, like dynamite, is happening here; it will touch every participant and even induce the people of the world to support this event. God desires to see this happen, and it will be a great blessing for the Republic of Korea. This is why I came here. I am establishing a new tradition for the sake of the Peace UN and the peace kingdom, a tradition that does not exist in this world. The 2003 Yeosu Fishing World Cup has such significance. It can trigger a great heavenly explosion that will have more impact than the Yeosu-Suncheon incident.” (CBG Book 10, Chapter 2, Section 5, Fishing Tournaments, 2003/10/21)

Conclusion - True Parents’ Vision for Fishing Tournaments

True Parents held fishing tournaments all over the world and established multiple annual wide-scale tournaments. They did this to further the Ocean Providence - a plan to bring substantial peace and unity - in the following ways that have been discussed:

  1. Raising people for the Ocean Era

  2. Building an Economic Foundation & Social Support

  3. Bringing people together in peace

True Parents were constantly looking to raise people to become capable on the ocean so that they may become the necessary leaders of the ocean era, and also because fishing is a fundamental skill to overcome hunger. Through tournaments, True Parents can spread and popularize these skills to both members and the general public all over the world.

Furthermore, tournaments allow us to connect with the public and the influential people of society, bringing in the funds needed for helping the world while garnering the support and interest of people all over the world.

Finally, the fishing tournaments were events where people could come together under a larger purpose for the sake of the world - to spread fishing as a way to combat hunger - and go beyond their own national boundaries to become one centered on the ocean and peace.

An additional aspect of fishing tournaments to note is the significance of fishing itself. Along with the fact that fishing is a physical activity that can help overcome hunger, it is also a spiritual activity that True Parents often used as a way to set conditions for the restoration of the fallen world and its people.

“But these days, in the early hours of the morning as we prepare to leave for the ocean, some young people try to convince me to go easy. That is, they say, ‘It's not necessary to leave at 5:00 o'clock each morning. We can leave at 6:00 or 7:00 o'clock and still catch plenty of fish.’ Yet they do not understand that I leave early for the ocean in order to set a spiritual condition. This is why the fish come to me out there; they do not go to other people.” (CBG Book 10 Chapter 2, Section 2, Gloucester, 1992/05/03)
“Trying to catch fish as you ride on a boat in the blue ocean can be compared to God’s providential work of restoration and salvation. The fish represent fallen men.” (Pacific Rim Providence, Chapter 2, 1.3.4 Sea fishing is a mind game, 1996.3.17)

True Parents planned to hold fishing tournaments throughout the United States and the world, teaching fishing, gaining support, and uniting people for peace. It is this goal for peace that we must keep in mind, and it is important that we realize this vision True Parents had for fishing tournaments.

“In the future I will host a fishing tournament in the style of the Olympic Games. There are 400 million people in the world who fish. You can fish from the time you are five years old until you grow old and die. You are never too old to fish. Many people fish as a hobby or for pleasure. There is nothing more enjoyable. This is why I am going to create an Olympic-style fishing tournament.” (CBG Chapter 2, Section 5, Fishing Tournaments, 2001/08/18)

In recent years, the fishing tournaments we hold are mostly exclusively for members and are held on a local scale, but we should look to eventually grow them to the scale similar to those held in the past and much more. Let us continue the fishing tournament tradition so that we may eventually achieve the vision that True Parents had for it!

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