11. Izo and Ikuzo, the Roof Tile Dealer
As a result of the Oyamato Shrine Incident, debts were incurred with the lumber dealer Shinbei Shoji (Daishin) and the roof tile dealer Ikuzo Fukui during the construction of the Place for the Service. While Izo was able to pay off the lumber dealer after New Year’s in 1865, he was unable to pay off the debt to Ikuzo for some time. A bill would come to Izo and he paid it off little by little.
One day, when the South Gatehouse was being constructed with the help of financial contributions and hinokishin from followers in the Tatsuta area, Izo was walking toward Tanbaichi and bumped into the roof-tile dealer Ikuzo.
Izo then said: “Dear Ikuzo, I am embarrassed to show my face to you. Years ago I ordered roof tiles when I had no money and I am still indebted to you since then. But because I am not in charge of the present construction, the decision was made to purchase the roof tiles from someone else. If there happens to be a chance for me to be in charge of another construction project, I promise we will make an order with you then. No matter how small a house it may be, when the time comes to build something, I’ll use your roof tiles.”
After Izo became the Honseki, most of the roof tiles for Church Headquarters construction projects came from Ikuzo Fukui. One instance was for the construction of the Honseki’s residence in 1899. Here we can get a glimpse of Izo’s strong sense of obligation that he held throughout his life.
(Adapted from Shinpan Izo Iburi den pp. 37–40; 56–57; 135–136)
- Next installment in this series: 12. Recollections of Daishin, the Lumber Dealer
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.