Cornerstone: Chapter 12-1

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 presently incomplete.

Poor in Money, Rich in Children

When Genjiro was about 50 years old, a person who did a lot of face reading came to worship to Myodo. Genjiro happened to have a face reading. “Judging by the characteristics of your face, you are unfilial to your parents, a spendthrift, and are bound to be married to two or three different women.”

Genjiro felt somewhat awkward as he considered himself absolutely innocent of such things. He then reflected on this by himself at night. He concluded that his face reading was not altogether nonsense.

When it came to his present life, he was filial to his parents, was frugal, and was devoted to his wife. Yet Genjiro had a painful memory about this.

Genjiro considered the passing of his father-in-law Tomikichi soon after his adoption into the Kashihara family the most painful time in his life. The weight of responsibility of being the head of household was suddenly thrust onto his slender arms. He perceived that he lost his parent at a young age and had to suffer through the utter depths financially because he was unfilial to his parents and a spendthrift in his previous lifetime.

Further, he had many children, and although he did not even have the luxury to turn around to look at another woman, he concluded that he had been married two to three different women in his previous life.

Genjiro always referred to himself as a “person of the low valleys” and made battling his negative causality his lifelong maxim. He felt that having many children was a result of his negative causality.

Genjiro had 12 children. They were:

  • Masu, eldest daughter (born 1896)
  • Umeno, second daughter (born 1898)
  • Yoshinori, eldest son (born 1900)
  • Sono, third daughter (born 1903)
  • 親祥 (Chikayoshi ?), second son (born 1906)
  • 尚憲 (?), third son (also born 1906)
  • Sadae, fourth daughter (born 1908)
  • Hanako, fifth daughter (born 1910)
  • 瑞穂 (Mizuho?) fourth son (born 1913)
  • 秋穂 (Akiho?) fifth son (born 1915)
  • Tadashi, sixth son (born 1916)
  • Kikue, sixth daughter (born 1919)

Genjiro was 21 years old and in Karatsu when he learned that Masu, his eldest daughter was born. His youngest child Kikue was born when he was 44 years old.

Among his children, his twin sons 親祥 and 尚憲 passed away a year after they were born. 瑞穂 and Tadashi passed away when they were two years old. 秋穂 died on the battlefield in 1943, leaving only Yoshinori, his eldest son among his boys.

Beginning with Masu, who married into the Hayashi family, most of Genjiro’s daughters married into families who ran Myodo’s subsidiary churches. At the time of this writing, three of them are still alive. Genjiro forced himself a bitter smile when he referred to his situation of being “poor in money, rich in children.” Because his children were born one after one another, there was a time when his elder daughters, who had to look after them once cried out, saying, “Oh no, not another one!”

One day, even Genjiro succumbed to human sentiment and slept in a different room from his wife Ko for six months. But it didn’t last and Ko became pregnant again. Genjiro wrote down his impression at the time, “When it comes down to it, I am a person with a negative causality.” His words convey a candor and a human touch.