He ceased formal education in the midst of primary school and thereafter worked at various occupations.
He worked with his mother-in-law Nao to spread their religious teachings, which became known as Ômoto-kyô. They soon won a wide following.
In 1921 Onisaburo was accused of lèse-majesté and subjected to government suppression. He later joined forces with right-wing leaders and went to Manchuria, where he set up an organization called Kurenai Manjikai, founded the Sekai Shükyô Rengokai (Federation of World Religions) in 1925, and participated in the Esperanto movement.
In 1935 he was once more arrested on charges of lese-majeste, and the buildings that housed the headquarters of his religious organization were completely destroyed. After being released on bail in 1942, he lived quietly in retirement, hoping for an opportunity to revive his religious organization. He was crippled by a stroke before he could realize his hopes, though the Omoto-kyo has undergone a marked revival in the postwar period.
Tani- guchi Masaharu, the founder of the religion known as Seicho no Ie, and Okada Mokichi, founder of Sekai Meshiya-kyo, were both originally fol-lowers of Omoto-kyo.
He displayed unusual talent as a poet, calligrapher, painter, and potter.
In 1898 he had his first mystical experience and the same year met Deguchi Nao. A carpenter’s widow who lived in great poverty, she experienced divine possession in 1892 and thereafter attracted a group of believers about her, centered in the Ayabe area of Kyoto Prefecture. In 1900, Onisaburo married her fifth daughter, Sumi, and took the family name Deguchi; in 1904 he adopted the personal name Onisaburo.