57. A Scene from a New Year’s Day
Four a.m., New Year’s Day. The sliding doors between the Honseki’s eight-mat bedroom and the hallway are opened. Rin Masui and a seinen (male attendant) enter. The seinen massages the Honseki’s shoulders; Rin Masui his feet. The morning drum signaling everyone to assemble at Church Headquarters sounds.
The Honseki says: “It’s time. Can’t be dilly-dallying. Better pull myself together and get up.”
Returning to his room, he changes his clothes. The Honbu-in (headquarters executive officials) who were on duty that day and the seinens serving at the Honseki’s residence offer their New Year’s greetings. They are followed by the Honseki’s son Masajin and his wife Koume along with daughter Yoshie Nagao and her family.
After receiving his New Year visitors, the Honseki heads to the Shinbashira Shinnosuke Nakayama’s residence to offer his New Year’s greetings. Only then does he wear a hakama and carry a folding fan. After he returns to his residence, the Shinbashira returns the favor and visits the Honseki. The Shinbashira and the Honseki exchange New Year’s greetings once again.
“Happy New Year, sir! Good to see you are well.”
“Happy New Year, Kyocho-san.”
The afternoon is the time for the Honseki’s daily round of prayers, something which was fundamentally no different from his usual routine. He proceeds to the Kanrodai after drinking the tea is offered at the Church Headquarters Staff Quarters. At the time, the old sanctuary, the Place for the Service, still stood around the Kanrodai.
The Honseki bows in prayer for 30 minutes. The Honseki sits in silence, spending the time in a total heart-to-heart communication with God the Parent.
He then goes to the Foundress’ Sanctuary, the building that was once known as the Resting House of Oyasama when She was physically present. The Honseki immerses himself in prayer for another 30 minutes.
The Honbu-in and seinens who accompany him truly have a difficult time at it. Since it was New Year’s Day, the Honseki’s prayer is longer than usual. A new year is serenely welcomed in this manner as the stars slowly turn, marking the passage of time.
(Adapted from Ten no jogi pp. 80–82)
- Next installment in this series: 58. The Mindset of the Honseki
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
It is interesting that it says here, “Only then does [the Honseki] wear a hakama and carry a folding fan.” As I mentioned elsewhere, I wish I knew the significance/reason behind the Honseki not donning a hakama and carrying a folding fan for the Hakobi. Here it mentions that he does, only on New Year’s Day. It’s certainly a mystery, one that may or not be solved with further research.