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.
Yoshinori Attempts to Run Away
Genjiro loved to study, so he took much interest in having Yoshinori receive an advanced education and work to spread God’s path to the world. Yet during elementary school, Yoshinori’s grades were at the bottom. There was a reason for this. When he was seven years old, a friend pushed him off the veranda while they were playing and his head hit a garden rock. He was in a coma for ten hours. The insides of his head would always hurt thereafter and he had to lay in bed for extended periods four or five times a year.
Because of his condition, Yoshinori had no interest in attending a high-level school like his father wanted him to. He came feel the expectations Genjiro placed on him as a burden.
Yoshinori failed the entrance examinations to middle school two times. The Kashihara family was still living in straitened circumstances, so they could not even afford the one yen examination fee. Yoshinori raised the money by catching 50 rats, which the neighborhood police station offered 2 sen a head. Yet he failed so miserably that the live-in seinens joked: “Well, what do you expect? You’re not trying to get into a cat school, are you?”
He finally made it into Tokushima Middle School on his third try. Physically, he was head and shoulders above everyone else.
Rev. Unosuke Tosa consoled and encouraged Genjiro by saying: “Don’t worry about Yoshinori. As long there is a container to hold it, wisdom will come in due time.” Genjiro thought back of his own severe brain-related disorder and occasionally became depressed. Still, he believed that Yoshinori would surely receive a blessing if he completely leaned on God and poured himself doing God’s work.
In his third year at middle school, Yoshinori became disgusted of school and longed for a freer life. World War I was going on and Japan was enjoying an economic boom. Yoshinori thought to run away from the church, go to Kobe, and work as a steward on a ship going between Japan and Taiwan. He planned to eventually move to Taiwan.
On the day before he decided to run away, Genjiro came back at 11:00 p.m. from a mission tour to Kyushu. When he arrived at the church gate, he sprained his foot.
Around midnight, when he was about to go to bed after sharing stories of his trip, his foot began hurting again.
“My foot hurts! That’s strange, something must have happened at the church while I was away.”
Yoshinori, pretending to be asleep in the office nearby, was surprised when he heard his father say this.
“Sure, something has happened. Your son is going to run away tomorrow!”
Yoshinori did not change his mind. The next morning, he sneaked out of the gate with 2 yen, 30 sen, which were for his school fees, holding back his tears and headed to Nikenya Station. Yet while he was waiting at the platform for the train, a church officer had rushed there and brought him back.
Yoshinori, feeling ashamed, shut himself in his room with the sheets over his head. Though Yoshinori was brought back, Genjiro felt great responsibility that his son had taken even a step outside the church. There was no way that he or Ko had grown weary of hardship and began harboring a desire to leave the church themselves. He wondered, “What on earth is God telling me?”
Genjiro pressed his forehead on the floor in front of the church altar and issued a long apology to God. He perceived that is was time for him to convey the teachings to Yoshinori and explain teaching of causality. Genjiro felt it was time to have God genuinely teach and train Yoshinori.
After a discussion with his wife and church officers, Genjiro donated all the tokens of appreciation he received on his Kyushu mission tour, resolving to go without spending any money for a month. His wife and church officers also made donations as well.
As things had come this far, Genjiro no longer had the heart to scold Yoshinori. He only wanted God to teach and train him. He went and opened the sliding door to the room Yoshinori was sleeping only when he reclaimed an inward and outward sense of calm.
- Next installment in this series: Yoshinori Studies in Okayama and Tokyo