Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-4

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The Life of Oyasama
Chapter One
The Shrine of Tsukihi (1837–1838)
Chapter Two
The Early History of Oyasama (1798–1837)
Chapter Three
On the Way
(1838–1852), (1853–1854), (1862–1864)
Chapter Four
The Place for the Service (1864), (1865–1866)
Chapter Five
The Salvation Service (1866–1882)
Chapter Six
The Identification of the Jiba
(1869–1873), (Jan–Nov 1874), (Dec 1874), (1875), (1876–1877)
Chapter Seven
Buds Sprout from Knots
(1878–1880), (1881)
Chapter Eight
Parental Love
(pp. 121–124), (pp. 124–131), (pp. 132–137), (pp. 137–146), (pp. 146–157), (pp. 157–165), (pp. 165–168)
Chapter Nine
The Hardships of Oyasama
(Jan–Sep 1882),
(Oct–Dec 1882),
(Jan–Jun 1883), (Jul–Dec 1883), (1884), (1885), (Jan–Apr 1886),(May–Dec 1886)
Chapter Ten
The Portals Opened
(Jan 1–11, 1887),
(Jan 12–13, 1887),
(Jan 18–Feb 18, 1887)
Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-4 presents a portion of the contents of Chapter Nine from The Life of Oyasama as published by Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. The title of the chapter is "The Hardships of Oyasama." The “Notes” below are footnotes from the print edition.

The content below is equivalent to pages 187–195 and 218–219 of the print edition.

Note: The print edition of has been split into eight sections on this wiki due to length of text. The chapter is split as follows:

  1. Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-1 (January–September 1882)
  2. Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-2 (October–December 1882)
  3. Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-3 (January–June 1883)
  4. Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-4 (July–December 1883)
  5. Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-5 (1884)
  6. Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-6 (1885)
  7. Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-7 (January–April 1886)
  8. Life of Oyasama Chapter 9-8 (May–December 1886)


The Service for Rain

Since the beginning of 1883, the police had been keeping the Residence under strict surveillance. Not a day passed when the police did not come day and night.

That summer, there was a great drought in the entire Kinki region. The drought continued so long that the usually wet rice fields in Mishima Village showed cracks. The leaves and stalks of the rice plants had turned brown and were on the verge of dying. The villagers confined themselves in the village shrine and prayed for rain for three nights but to no avail. Then the villagers came to the Residence and requested that they be allowed to make a prayer vigil there. Shinnosuke refused, explaining to them in detail of the many years of strict police control disallowing worshipers or the performance of the Service, and that should the Service be performed, Oyasama would be taken away. But the villagers, having nowhere else to turn, requested that, if they could not be allowed to make a vigil, a Service for Rain be performed, if need be, on the ground of the village shrine, and they refused to leave the Residence for a day and a night. Furthermore, they said that, if the police arrived, they would tell them that they, the villagers, had requested the Service themselves and that no trouble would be brought to the members of the house. They repeated their pleas over and over again.

Shinnosuke, moved to compassion, consulted Oyasama, who said:

Whether it rains, is God. Whether it does not rain, is God. It is all God's free working. I shall bestow rain if your minds so deserve. Sah, set about, set about.

Then, after discussing the matter with the village representative, Keiji Isonishi, it was decided that the Service performers would first assemble on the grounds of the village shrine. Accordingly, the Service performers made preparations and left the Residence at about four o'clock on the afternoon of August 15 and proceeded toward the village shrine. The day had been bright and clear since morning; not a speck of cloud was in the sky.

Shinnosuke and Izo Iburi remained at the Residence and prayed fervently at the place for the Kanrodai. The performers of the Service for Rain on that day were: Chusaku Tsuji, Gisaburo Nakata, Kaji Nakata, Isaburo Masui, Naokichi Takai, Risaburo Yamamoto, Yonosuke Okada, Gonjiro Sawada, Tohei Hakata, Kaji Murata, Jukichi Nakayama, Yahei Nishiura, Yoshie Iburi, Tomegiku Tsuji, Otokichi, and others.

Both the men and the women wore crests sewn on the backs of their Service garments. The crests were of a twelve-petaled flower design, three inches in diameter, made from one of Oyasama's red kimono.

After the two lion masks, eight other masks, and the nine musical instruments had been distributed to the respective Service performers, they assembled on the grounds of the village shrine and then proceeded around the southern limits of Mishima, first to the southeast corner, then commonly known as Ushihagiba, and there, performed the Service for Rain, in one accord and with their souls put into it, to the repeated chants:

Sweeping away evils, for the rain's unfailing we pray, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, Namu Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, Namu Tenri-O-no-Mikoto.

Next, they proceeded westward toward the southwest corner, to a place just north of the Furu Road, where they performed the Service again. About that time, a dark spot of a cloud appeared in the eastern sky. The performers continued on to the northwest corner, and, as they began to perform, clouds as black as India ink rose above the mountains in the east and quickly covered the entire sky. A piercing downpour accompanied by thunder began, developing into a storm. The joy of the Service performers and villagers alike was beyond description. The performers continued the Service to the end despite the rain which was so heavy that it made one wonder if it would even pierce their masks. They continued on, furthermore, to the northeast corner and proceeded with the Service in their drenched Service wear, emptying the rain water that collected in their sleeves, time and again, as they performed.

The Service completed, the performers were resting on the grounds of the village shrine, when the villagers, in their great joy, asked to be allowed to give thanks at the place for the Kanrodai. So they all returned to the place for the Kanrodai, and, while they were giving thanks, several police officers came running from the Tanbaichi Branch Police Station. They demanded, "What are you doing?" "We performed the Service for Rain at the request of the villagers," was the reply. Then the police said to call the village official. Come he did, but when the question, "Did you or did you not request a service for rain?" was put to him by the police, perhaps overawed by the tense atmosphere, he answered, "I don't know. . . . I did not ask them to . . ." evading the responsibility. At this, all those who participated in the Service for Rain were arrested on the spot soaking wet.

In the meantime, someone had violated the water rights of the river running through Mishima, and two of the officers had to rush off to Takimoto Village upstream where a quarrel had broken out. So the Service performers were led away by the remaining officer, all of them bound, the first and the last by their hands, the others by the cord passing through their waist sashes, and proceeded, thus, west on the Furu Road toward the Tanbaichi Branch Police Station.

What struck everyone with awe in this episode was that the neighboring villages such as Toyoda, Morimedo, and Kawarajo, all within very close proximity, received only a few spatters that could hardly be called rain at all.

At the police station, the interrogation progressed. To explain the Kagura, the doctrine had to be explained. And in explaining the doctrine, the fact that it was taught by Oyasama, as was inevitable, surfaced. In addition, the kimono worn by Yoshie and Tomegiku, being of red calico and embellished with a design, attracted the attention of onlookers, leading the police to suspect that Oyasama Herself had taken part in the Service.

At the Residence also, the followers were feeling somehow uneasy when, at about nine o'clock on the evening of that day, an officer suddenly arrived and was about to arrest Oyasama. Omasa, who was close by at the time, demanded, "Why are you taking my old mother away?" and, in the heat of her query, unintentionally touched the officer's trousers. He retorted: "You dare to ask the reason? Preposterous! To take your old mother away for questioning of course! Why did you strike me? I shall take you in with your old mother," and took them both.

As the interrogation progressed, Oyasama revealed:

Whether it rains, is God. Whether it does not rain, is also God's free working.

Notwithstanding, the police charged everyone with interfering with the water supply by the Service for Rain, causing the rain which should have fallen on all nearby villages to fall in the confines of Mishima only, and, further, with obstructing traffic by performing the Service on the roadside. Oyasama was fined two yen and forty sen,[1] Tsuji, Nakata, and Takai, sixty-two sen and five rin,[2] and the others, fifty sen[3] each. In addition, Omasa was fined one yen[4] on the charge of striking a police officer. The followers were released at two o'clock in the morning but Oyasama was held in custody for the night, Her hardship extending until ten o'clock in the morning when She was released.[5]

The following week, on about August 21, in answer to a request by Osakabe Village, Kawachi Province, a Service for Rain was performed at the house of Matsuda. The performers at that time were Takai, Masui, Tsuji, Miyamori, Hakata, and others. The police arrived on the scene then also, but the performers all managed to flee to Oihara Village. Takai, however, dropped his purse. The police picked it up and, searching through it, found a receipt for a fine paid at the Tanbaichi Branch Police Station. Takai alone was summoned and fined one yen and fifty sen.[6]

Concurrently, at Hozenji Village, Kawachi Province, Risaburo Yamamoto assembled heads and leading members of some fellowships and held a Service for Rain. This time, all went well.

Thus, 1883 was a popular year for the Service for Rain. Police oppression was severe but whether they were arrested, verbally abused, or fined, the followers' zeal increased and the measures served only to vitalize the movement greatly.

The knot of October 1883

On October 16 of that year, two police officers came to the Residence. Saying they wished to pursue a line of questioning, they took Oyasama away. In addition, they took a folding screen that was near Oyasama and a blanket they found in a closet, and, saying that those articles were used in a crime, put a police seal on them and carried them off to the house of the village head, Keiji Isonishi.

The completion of the Resting House of Oyasama

The interior of the Resting House of Oyasama was completed that autumn. The structure was eighteen feet by twenty-four feet and contained two rooms, one four-mat and the other eight-mat.

Oyasama, on November 25, which was October 26 by the lunar calendar, at night, after waiting until the proper time in accordance with the directions of God the Parent, moved from the South Gatehouse into the new Resting House.

That evening, following Her meal, Oyasama changed Her clothes and waited quietly for the proper time to arrive. An intermediary announced that all preparations had been made. The followers who had come out to welcome Her had already lit their lanterns and stood arrayed in the garden.

But Oyasama said simply,

Oh, all is ready? Let us move when the time comes,

and remained seated on the dais.

Preparations had been made. The followers stood waiting, asking themselves: "Will it be now? But Oyasama awaited the proper time intently. Human thought would have been to move and be done with it quickly. But Oyasama was One whom nothing would divert when the will of God the Parent was before Her. This bearing of Oyasama evokes the vivid image of the Shrine of Tsukihi.

Many hours passed. Then Oyasama said:

Sah, the time has arrived. Let us move. Come, Tama-san.

It was about midnight when She said this to Her granddaughter, Tamae. Her passage was lit on both sides by followers who filled the garden, holding lanterns emblazoned with the names of their fellowships such as Shinmei and Meishin, standing in wait. Oyasama, now in Her eighty-sixth year, stepped out into their midst bathed in the light of their paper lanterns, leading Her seven-year-old granddaughter, Tamae, by the hand while Tamae's other hand was held by Hisa Kajimoto, another granddaughter, and walked quietly forward. A few claps were heard from the crowd in attendance and, as Oyasama proceeded through the crowd, the sound of clapping mounted resoundingly.

Many years later, Tamae recalled: "At the time, not knowing what it was all about, I went along with Grandmother, holding Her hand. When I think about it now, the distance was short, but that night I thought it was very long."

Arriving at the Resting House, Oyasama proceeded to the raised room and sat down quietly. Then She beckoned to Shinnosuke and Tamae,

Come here. Sit here,

and had them sit on Her right and left.

Then the greetings from the followers began. The door opened and closed as each group entered and left, their names announced by an intermediary: "Now, it is the Shinmei Fellowship. Now, it is the Meishin Fellowship." The greetings continued, seemingly without end, and thus the night passed.

When the followers saw Oyasama enter the Resting House built by their sincerity, and especially after witnessing that Oyasama had waited until the time fixed by God before entering, their hearts flamed with deep emotion, unconcerned even by the frost on that cold night.

That year, 1883, saw the Path extend to distant provinces. Notable among those who began to follow during this year were Kunisaburo Moroi of Totomi Province, in February, and Yonosuke Shimizu of Kobe, in May. Also in that year, Kichisaburo Uemura of Kurahashi Village, Yamato Province, and Hanbei Terada of Osaka began to follow the path.

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  1. Two yen and forty sen is approximately $112 U.S. as of 1993.
  2. Sixty-two sen and five rin is approximately $30 U.S. as of 1993.
  3. Fifty sen is approximately $26 U.S. as of 1993.
  4. One yen is approximately $44 U.S. as of 1993.
  5. See Appendix III, pp. 218–219.
  6. One yen and fifty sen is approximately $72 U.S. as of 1993.

Appendix III


Fine: Two yen, forty sen

Received from Miki Nakayama, commoner of Mishima Village, Yamabe County, Yamato Province

August 15, 1883

Tanbaichi Branch Police Station

External link to Japanese text of Chapter Nine

第九章 御苦労