The following is a translation of an excerpt from Ishizue: Kashihara Genjiro no shinko to shogai (Cornerstone: The Faith and Life of Genjiro Kashihara) by Teruo Nishiyama. Note: This translation is a provisional one and may need to undergo further revision.
A Missionary Expedition to Iwamatsu
Rev. Tosa eventually learned that Genjiro was following Rev. Hashimoto’s official tour. Although he was sympathetic toward Genjiro’s youthful feelings, he said, “It’s important to be able to give good talks, but you learn nothing from talking to followers who you didn’t have a hand in converting.” He did not touch on the subject any further. Nevertheless, it appeared he had something in mind since he did not assign Genjiro to do any more sermons until autumn.
In general, Rev. Tosa emphasized implementation over doctrine. Even so, there was not anything exceptional in what he demanded. His standard was to unfailingly fulfill minimum and mundane conditions on a daily basis. It was a philosophy that assumed that nothing large could be accomplished without implementing the small stuff.
For a person who follows Oyasama’s Divine Model and is prepared to devote oneself exclusively to missionary work, early rising is most important. Rev. Tosa always repeated that one is already a failure if one is still sleeping while the Sun is out working for our benefit. There was no need to be extravagant when it came to food and clothing. He always said that drinking too much alcohol and succumbing to sexual desire led to disorder. He implemented everything exactly as he had taught.
Genjiro aimed to implement his daily routine exactly as Rev. Tosa did. Yet he felt that there was something lacking. He felt that he was missing something important, but no one would tell him what that was. Genjiro was unable to gain any insight until he had encountered tribulation and taken on more responsibility.
In July 1893, Genjiro crossed the sea to return to Jiba for the first time. He immediately attended his first Besseki lecture, but he lost consciousness and fell asleep due to fatigue from the boat trip. He was scolded in front of everyone. He decided he had to do something, and from his second Besseki lecture onward, he fought sleep by eating less.
Genjiro then received the truth of the Sazuke in May 1894 and was appointed as a religious instructor. At the time, very few people could receive the truth of the Sazuke. Usually people had to have done a great deal of missionary work and displayed a high level of sincerity for the sake of saving others before receiving the Sazuke. Genjiro looked back on what he had done so far and felt that he had to do as much missionary work as he could. He thought about going on a missionary expedition, but his father Katsuzo stopped him since Eki’emon was still away participating in the Sino-Japanese war. After Eki’emon triumphantly returned home in June, Genjiro planned to depart in July.
Roughly 12 kilometers (7.32 mi.) south from Uwajima, Iyo Province, was a town called Iwamatsu, located in a gorge that could only be reached by a crossing a long mountain pass on foot. Presently, it is a part of Tsushima-cho. While it was part of the countryside, the place had a stately atmosphere with old, large houses lined up along the river.
The town became famous after Bunroku Shishi wrote the novel Tenya wanya (Chaos) that was serialized in the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun. Genjiro went, hoping to rely on a Muya follower who was a stonecutter there.
Genjiro received 7 yen from his father Katsuzo. A single day’s expenses — including 525 g (1.16 lbs.) of rice and lodging at a cheap inn at a rate of 4 sen a night — would amount to 7 sen. He carried a single piece of luggage. Being physically small, Genjiro finally made it after a sweaty trip. When he arrived, he was disappointed. He felt the town was a little to small for his ambitions.
However, he couldn’t bring himself to turn back after coming all this way. He began engaging in missionary work along the valley of the Iwamatsu River. Although he didn’t necessary work any miracles, he immediately converted between 30 and 40 households. Even though he ought to have been happy, Genjiro gradually came to harbor apprehension.
He came to feel that, if these followers came to rely on him, he would have to settle here. Since the area was a remote part of Shikoku Island, he became worried about harboring feelings of not wanting to grow the congregation any further.
Yet there was no one who he could express his worries to. Genjiro wrote about his worries to Eki’emon, who was with the infantry regiment at Marugame. It is also believed that Genjiro also was thinking about his promise to engage in missionary work in Karatsu. Yet it was decided that Genjiro would return to Muya. His missionary work in Iwamatsu ended after 40 days.
- Next installment in this series: How Tomokichi Kashihara Embraced the Faith