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"Hinokishin" is a term unique to Tenrikyo assumed to be coined by Oyasama that represents any non-compulsory, spontaneous action that is an expression of a Tenrikyo adherent's gratitude and joy for being allowed to "borrow" his or her body from God the Parent. Such an action ideally is done as an act of religious devotion out of a wish to help or bring joy to others, without any thought of compensation.

Hinokishin also describes participation in activities held by Tenrikyo churches or organizations such as the Women's Association, Young Men's Association, and the Boys and Girls Association. These activities typically involve helping the community through cleaning public areas, helping with local events, or other churches.

Analysis of the word "hinokishin"

It is a Tenrikyo convention to write "hinokishin" in hiragana: ひのきしん. However, when it is rendered in kanji, it usually is done in the following manner: 日の寄進, with "hi no" meaning "daily" or "of the day" and "kishin" meaning a contribution or donation.[1]

Historically speaking, a "kishin" specifically referred to a contribution to a temple or shrine that came in the form of cash or donated material goods toward a major construction project.[2] It is said that hinokishin ideally represents an action or contribution that can be done by anyone at any time, which is contrary to how these kishin (contributions) to shrines and temples were only reserved for those who had the financial resources to do so.[3]

This ideal that hinokishin represents an act of devotion that can be done "by anyone, at any time" is best exemplified in how wiping cloths are available during most hours of the day and night for followers to use to wipe the floors or walls of the corridors of the Main Sanctuary of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. (It may be noted that wiping cloths are not available from 30 minutes before morning and evening services each day as well as when other services—such as Monthly Services or Memorial Services—are in progress.)

Implementation of hinokishin in Tenrikyo history

While verse one, Song Seven from the Mikagura-uta indicates that is it possible for a hinokishin activity amount to a "single word," historically, this expression of a follower's gratitude to God usually came in the form of physical labor. The construction of the Place for the Service, which was utilized as Tenrikyo's sanctuary until the building of the present North Worship Hall in 1913, is considered as the first ever hinokishin activity.[4]

Subsequent construction projects at Tenrikyo Church Headquarters and local churches were often built through such devotional labor and once played a significant role in the spiritual training courses offered at Jiba. One excellent example is the construction of the eastern wings of the Oyasato-yakata that began in 1954 to which Shuyoka students and members of the Tenrikyo Young Men's Hinokishin Corps devoted their labor.

Historical use of the term "hinokishin" at one time also referred to monetary donations on top of physical labor. Presently, the general public may associate hinokishin with community beautification projects such as the Young Men's Association's "Heart-Clean Campaign" and "Hinokishin Day," the latter being conducted by in many places throughout the world by Tenrikyo faithful.[5] Hinokishin activities also have come in the form of disaster-relief activities, which has a long history beginning from the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 to the present day, most recently during the violent rainstorms that affected Aichi Prefecture in late August 2008.[6]

Finally, being that hinokishin is ideally "not confined to physical exertion"[7] alone, the "Hinokishin School" was established in March 1980 as a think-tank/training system that seeks to develop ways for Tenrikyo followers to contribute to their local communities and train them in new potential hinokishin activities such as counseling and taking care of senior citizens. This Hinokishin School occasionally offers courses and holds lecture/workshop series for Tenrikyo followers.[8] While disaster-relief efforts have been conducted by the Taiwan Young Men's Association[9], this "Hinokishin School" has yet to show signs of branching outside Japan.

Appearance of "hinokishin" in the Scriptures

The term "hinokishin" makes its appearance in five instances in the Mikagura-uta—specifically, in Song Three (verse eight), Song Seven (verse one), and Song Eleven (verses two to four)—and once in the Osashizu.[10] Despite "hinokishin" appearing only once in the Osashizu and its complete absence in the Ofudesaki[11], its importance in the religious tradition cannot be overemphasized.

Further reading

  • 諸井慶徳 Moroi Yoshinori. 「ひのきしん叙説」 "Hinokishin josetsu." In 『諸井慶徳著作集』 Moroi Yoshinori chosaku shū, vol. 2, pp. 7–134.

External links

(Note: pages nos. refer to hardcopy equivalent)


  1. Spahn, Mark and Hadamitzky, Wolfgang. Japanese Character Dictionary. Tokyo: Nichigai Associates, p. 836.
  2. 佐藤浩司 Sato Koji. 『お道の常識』 Omichi no joshiki, p. 250.
  3. Fukaya, Yoshikazu. "Hinokishin." Words of the Path: A Guide to Tenrikyo Terms and Expressions, pp. 92–93.
  4. 「ひのきしん」 "Hinokishin," 『改訂天理教辞典』 Kaitei Tenrikyo jiten, pp. 767–769. For English hardcopy equivalent, see A Glossary of Tenrikyo Terms, pp. 134–137.
  5. 『改訂天理教辞典』 Kaitei Tenrikyo jiten, ibid.; 「ゲリラ豪雨被災地へ」 "Gerira gō-u hisaichi e," in 『天理時報』 Tenri jiho, Septempter 14, 2008, p. 1; "Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps Helps Flood Victims," Tenrikyo (newsletter) September 26, 2008.
  6. "Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day: 50 Years of Hinokishin Day Overseas," Tenrikyo (newsletter) May 26, 2007.
  7. Fukaya, Tadamasa. Commentary on the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Tsutome, p. 63.
  8. 「ひのきしんスクール」 "Hinokishin sukūru," 『改訂天理教辞典』 Kaitei Tenrikyō jiten, pp. 769–770; "Hinokishin School Promotes Greening to Help Counter Global Warming," Tenrikyo (newsletter) July 26, 2008.
  9. "Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps in Taiwan Conducts Training" Tenrikyo (newsletter) November 26, 2003.
  10. 『おさしづ索引』 Osashizu sakuin vol. 3, p. 260/2230. The passage in question is Osashizu 1890-06-15-08:30.
  11. 『おふでさき索引』 Ofudesaki sakuin, p. 207.