Cornerstone: Chapter 3-4

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 Young Couple

The groom was 21, the bride only 16. Ko was adopted herself and she thought that marriage was still a long way off. She learned that she was marrying Genjiro on October 13. She was stunned at the unexpected news as her attention was fully on her father’s medical condition. Tomokichi then struggled to speak, “Ko, did you hear the news?”

Ko sat in silence and nodded. She could not bring herself to speak.

“Be sure to do as they tell you to.”

Tomokichi did not have any regrets as he pursued the path he believed in. It is possible that he wanted to tell his wife and daughter he was leaving behind to singly lean on Rev. Tosa and Genjiro as well as to joyously accept their impoverished circumstances. But he could not bring himself to say this as he shed a single tear on his cheek.

Nevertheless, Ko was satisfied.

The next day, Ko had her first period. Tomokichi and his wife Kiku rejoiced when they learned about it, saying, “That’s wonderful! It’s all thanks to God!”

The engagement ceremony took place the next day, and the wedding the day after, on the 17th. Tomokichi met with the groom and his parents on the 18th. Since it was Myodo’s service day, Tomokichi said, go out and give a sermon in place of a greeting to the congregation.

Genjiro’s voice reverberated across the street to Tomokichi’s bedside. He took great delight listening to Genjiro’s sermon. Tomokichi then turned to Ko and said: “As long as he conveys God’s talks with his heart and soul in front of others, the future will turn out well. There’s nothing to worry about.”

Tomokichi began to sense that his time in this world was drawing to a close.

Church officers and followers came to visit him in turns. When he was in the middle of conveying God’s teachings, he suddenly said: “I need to be reborn and come by to see this house during my grandchild’s generation. My wife then will be waiting in Sanjo, Kyoto.”

Could it be that he foresaw his future life now that his mind was pure having been put at ease?

Tomokichi breathed his last on October 26, about a week after the wedding. It was the day of the Autumn Grand Service that commemorates Tenrikyo’s day of origin.

Genjiro did not have the luxury of enjoying his time as a newlywed. A great weight was immediately placed on his shoulders. He was responsible for supporting his new family. Yet Genjiro did not place much attention on such matters.

While he was a seinen at Muya, Genjiro already had a taste of living in straitened circumstances with Rev. and Mrs. Tosa and the church officers. He knew that it was possible to live through anything if everyone united their hearts and shared the hardships. Although he was overwhelmed at the passing of his adoptive father, he did not consider his new living conditions as a major problem.

What gnawed at Genjiro’s heart was a desire to go out to engage in missionary work away in a distant place. He did not wish to do it in a place that was close. He wanted to go to Karatsu in Hizen (Saga) where his brother Eki’emon spent 100 days on a missionary expedition. This was something he wished to do long before he became a member of the Kashihara family.

When Genjiro announced this desire while people were still in shock and in mourning, it is assumed that some had felt “What a bold young man! This is what we should expect from the of the Kashihara heir!” while others thought him to be emotionally distant.

Such were the undercurrents that were swirling as Tomokichi’s 50th-day memorial service took place 45 days later. Genjiro may have been carried away by his own self-righteousness as his heart filled with anticipation when he departed for Karatsu.

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