The kazutori or counter, just as its name implies, is a piece of Service-related paraphernalia used to count the number of times the first section of the Service is repeated during the daily and monthly services.
Prior to Oyasama’s composition of the first section of the Mikagura-uta, the Tenrikyo Service merely consisted of chanting the divine name of Tenri-O-no-Mikoto. The number of times the divine name was chanted was not set; a stick of incense was burned to measure the length of the Service.
After Oyasama composed the first section of the Mikagura-uta (Ashiki harai) in 1866, followers began to find ways to correctly count the first section, which is to be repeated 21 times.
Presently, the kazutori is made of a tassel of red cords.
During monthly services, the person assigned as jikata (lead singer) takes the kazutori to count the number of times the first section is repeated.
The kazutori is a stand-alone assignment during the daily services. The person assigned to kazutori sits to the right of the shin (the person leading the service with the hyoshigi) to count the number of times the first section is repeated. Near the end of the first section, the person puts down the kazutori, bows, and performs the hand motions to signal the 21st and final repeat of the first section. The person then continues to perform hand motions of the remainder of the seated service.
- Unless noted, most of the information on this page comes from 『改訂 天理教事典』 Kaitei Tenrikyo jiten, pp. 204–5.