Passing away for rebirth

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Passing away for rebirth is a common gloss for the term denaoshi 出直し (verb form: denaosu), which is used to refer to death in Tenrikyo. It has been translated as “departed for rebirth” in Anecdotes of Oyasama 43.

In general Japanese usage, the verb “denaosu” means to “start again” or “start afresh.”[1] It is inconclusive when denaosu first came to be adopted in Tenrikyo to refer to a person passing away. Tenrikyo researcher Masakazu Tsujii has written that denaosu was did not consistently become the primary term used to refer to a person passing away until Tenrikyo’s post-war restoration effort.[2]

The concept of passing away is connected with the teaching of the body being a thing lent, a thing borrowed from God the Parent, in the sense that by dying, one “returns” the body one was lent during one’s lifetime. The phenomenon of death and rebirth has also been metaphorically compared in Tenrikyo literature as taking off a set of worn-out clothes and putting on a new set.[3]

Appearances of “denaosu”/“denaoshi” in Scripture

It may be noted that “denaoshi” in verse 8, Song Six of the Mikagura-uta is generally believed to mean “start anew” and presumably predates the usage of “denaoshi” to refer to passing away.[4] However, this has not prevented a handful of theologians to interpret this instance to mean “returning of the body”[5]

There are several appearances of “denaosu” in various conjugated forms in the Osashizu. Research still needs to be done regarding whether each of these instances of denaosu in the main text of the Osashizu ought to be interpreted in a general manner of “starting anew” or as a person passing away.

It is said that references to people passing away in the opening explanatory notes (wari-gaki 割書き) of Osashizu passages were all standardized as “denaoshi” for the most recent edition of the Scripture .[6]

Appearances of “denaoshi” in the Osashizu (main text only)

  • Osashizu 1888-01-28
  • Osashizu 1890-11-02
  • Osashizu 1893-10-13
  • Osashizu 1898-08-02 B
  • Osashizu 1898-10-31 C

External links


  1. 出直す
  2. 辻井正和 Tsujii Masakazu. 「こゝろえちがひはでなほしや(六下り目)」 “Kokoroe chigai wa denaoshi ya (Roku kudari me).” In 『「みかぐらうた」の世界を味わう』 Mikagura-uta no sekai o ajiwau, pp. 128–9.
  3. The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, p. 55.
  4. Tsujii Masakazu, pp. 130–1.
  5. 『みかぐらうたの世界をたずねて』 Mikagura-uta o tazunete, p. 220.
  6. Tsujii Masakazu, p. 128.