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.
Genjiro’s Enthusiasm for the Role of Writing in the Missionary Effort
Genjiro may have given over 30,000 sermons in his lifetime, but he also put extraordinary efforts into spreading the teachings through writing.
Although sermons can be sources of great inspiration, the number of people who hear them is limited to those who show up. Also, people tend to completely forget what they have heard once the days pass by.
While propagating with the written word may not have the inspirational power of a sermon, it does have advantages in how it can be reread over and over as well as reaching distant places. Furthermore, it provides authors a chance to clarify and organize aspects their faith as well as their insights into the teachings.
For several dozen years beginning from January 1924, Genjiro contributed articles to Yonaori, Muya Grand Church’s newsletter. He also occasionally contributed articles to Tenrikyo’s regular periodical Michi no tomo. There was an instance of a woman living in Brazil receiving God’s blessings after reading an article he wrote in the season leading up to the 50th Anniversary of Oyasama (1936).
Around 1929, a man named Hachijuro Nozaki immigrated to South America with his family. His wife Sumi was a recipient of the truth of the Sazuke and she enthusiastically spread the faith in her new country. In seven years, she was able to establish a congregation comprising several dozen households.
Yet in 1935, her seven-year-old son Masao suffered from an inner ear infection that would not heal. The latest Michi no tomo arrived just as she was frantically searching for a way to save him. Sumi felt that she had to save him with the help of the magazine published by Church Headquarters. That very issue happened to contain an article Genjiro wrote.
Reading the article convinced Sumi that she still needed to make further progress on her faith and decided to enroll in the Special Course of Tenri Seminary (Bekka). Later that day, the puss that had built up from Masao’s ear infection began to ooze out. Sumi, overjoyed, brought another young woman with her to return to Jiba from the most distant country from Japan at the time to enroll in Bekka. It took 60 days to travel from Port Santos to Japan.
This led to the establishment of Marília Church (affiliated with Hofu). It need not be mentioned that Genjiro helped with the paperwork.
Genjiro understood the importance of writing in the missionary effort and had much enthusiasm for it. He helped a remarkable talent make his way into the publishing industry.
Nobuo Motoyoshi was married to 亀万代1, the second daughter of follower Ishi Fujikawa. Nobuo worked for ARS, a publisher of literature and photography books founded by the younger brother of poet Hakushu Kitahara.
Nobuo suffered from keratitis, a condition which eye doctors failed to cure. Around the time Ishi Fujikawa’s home was becoming a gathering place for Tenrikyo followers and Genjiro often made visits on his mission tours. Genjiro helped save Nobuo in the season leading up to the 40th Anniversary of Oyasama (1926).
Ishi Fujikawa’s home became Eiichi Propagation Office during the Double the Membership Drive Campaign. Nobuo worked hard toward its establishment and spent about a month doing hinokishin at Muya Followers Dormitory during the 40th Anniversary of Oyasama.
Around this time, some people began voicing their opinion for Nobuo to exclusively dedicate himself to Tenrikyo because he had received so much of God’s blessings. Nobuo had an aspiration to study at Waseda University and enter the business world, so he was troubled over what he should do. He visited Genjiro and asked for instructions.
Genjiro replied: “Mr. Motoyoshi, you are a financial specialist. You should work in the financial community. There is a way for you to express your indebtedness to God by doing so. There is no reason for you to exclusively dedicate yourself to the path.”
These words helped lift Nobuo’s spirits.
Nobuo thereafter occasionally got seriously ill, but each time Genjiro helped save him. Because he would wondrously receive God’s blessings whenever he did exactly what Genjiro told him to do, Nobuo’s doctors exclaimed, “You’re a person that responds amazingly well to medicine!”
Nobuo would later become the president of Fujingaho, a famous fashion magazine in Japan. He recalls, “Medicine works quite well when it is accompanied by church donations.”
- Next installment in this series: Crisis Prevention
- I am unsure at the moment how this name is read. ↩