54. During the Hakobi
As mentioned previously, the Honseki changed all his clothes, down to his undergarments, before the Hakobi (the act of bestowing the truth of the Sazuke and granting sanctions regarding church matters). Among the garments he would wear were:
A black crested formal coat (montsuki) made from habutae silk, a brown or pale yellow kakuobi with a design in the middle, a haori coat decorated with the Iburi family crest in five places, and white tabi (foot size: ten mon or 24 centimeters). The Honseki would not wear a hakama or carry a folding fan with him.1
As the Honseki changed, an attendant would escort the Shinbashira Shinnosuke Nakayama to a six-tatami mat room called the cha-no-ma (literally, tea room), where he would sit by the hibachi. The Honseki would then enter the room after he had changed, saying, “Good morning, Kyocho-san,” and the Shinbashira would respond, “Nothing pleases me more than to see you doing well, uncle.”
Their conversation would be limited to this and the greetings for the season. There was rarely any chit-chat before the Hakobi.
The Honbu-in (headquarters executive official) in charge for the day would then explain the bestowal procedures to those who were scheduled to receive the truth of the Sazuke that day. A five groups consisting of nine of people would wait in the hall called the go-yoba; if there were more than 45 people scheduled to receive truth of the Sazuke that day, they would wait in the Main Sanctuary.
The Honseki was informed as soon as preparations were ready and he would immediately head to the Hakobi Room. He sat facing the west and have his hands neatly placed on his lap with his fingers together. The Shinbashira would sit facing south with the Honseki on his left.
Two others would be present during Sazuke bestowals: the announcer (gonjo-kata) and the escort (tsukisoi-kata) for the day. The escort would serve the Honseki some water poured in a teacup. The Honseki would take a sip and utter, “Uuun.” This was the signal that God the Parent had descended. The bestowals would then begin.
The announcer would read the potential Yoboku’s church affiliation, home prefecture, name, age, and ask, “Honseki-sama, would you please bestow the truth of the Sazuke?”
The Honseki would then utter, “Uuuuun!” and shouted out in a powerful voice that appeared to come from beyond, “Sah, sah, receive it, receive it!”
The church procedures (jijo hakobi) usually followed the Sazuke bestowals. A person, called the kakitori-nin, was assigned each day to record God the Parent’s words on a sheet of Japanese writing paper made in Mino (Gifu) with an ink brush during these procedures. There was also another person nearby on top of the kakitori-nin who had two or three soft-lead pencils ready. It was a convention to have three kakitori-nin present during a Timely Talk, but there were times when there was no time for all three to assemble before they were delivered.
Two clean copies of the divine words that were recorded during church procedures were made: one for the Shinbashira and another for the persons concerned. In the case of a Timely Talk, the two or three kakitori-nin would later compare what they wrote, prepared a clean copy with the required additions and revisions, and presented or read it to the Honseki.
The Hakobi procedures usually took place during the morning. On Grand Service days and times when there were many prospective Yoboku to receive the truth of the Sazuke, they also took place in the afternoons. Hakobi did not take place during the summer beginning from about July 10 and for the next 50 days.
(From Ten no jogi, pp. 76–79)
- Next installment in this series: 55. “Start All Over Again!”
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
External link (Tenrikyo Online article)
- This account of the Hakobi procedures seems to contradict another account that I posted earlier. But further checking suggests that the Honseki only wore silk during the Hakobi procedures and would only wear cotton on other occasions.
The implication of his action of changing before the Hakobi suggests that the Honseki was making a clear distinction between his own affairs and the Hakobi, which, in effect, were “God’s affairs” or “business.” As one of the tasks of the Shinbashira at present includes the Hakobi (beginning from the second Shinbashira onward), the present Shinbashira too changes his clothing before bestowing the truth of the Sazuke to prospective Yoboku. The clothing he changes into are more formal than what the Honseki wore; the Shinbashira wears a hakama. In fact, he wears a kimono in a style not unlike what he wears in his New Year’s greeting picture.
Here is a site (unfortunately, only in Turkish, I believe) that has a nice illustration of how such a male formal attire would like. The same page also has an illustration of how a man would wear a kimono without a hakama ala the Honseki during the Hakobi (with the significant difference being the man in the illustration is not wearing a haori coat like the Honseki did). Unfortunately, I am not quite sure of the significance of the Honseki not wearing a hakama during the Hakobi.
Actual pictures of the Honseki and Shinbashira in such attire would of course get the point across better, but no dice (at least for now). Will have to do with the above link for now. ↩