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.
Yoshinori Runs for a Seat in the House of Representatives
Yoshinori’s passion rose and he attained the courage to make a foray into the political world in order to participate in the rebuilding of Japan. Genjiro frowned when he overheard that his son had plans to run for election.
At the time, politicians were generally called “ido-bei.” The expression came from the fact that in order to cover various expenses, such as running for election, politicians burned through their money until all they had left were their water well (ido) and the walls (bei) of their property. Further, Yoshinori was not a wealthy person, he was a religionist. It was too much of a speculative stroke of action.
Before long, Yoshinori returned to Jiba and expressed his thoughts to Genjiro.
“Father, what you say is absolutely correct. Yet I am not saying that I will become a politician for life. I just believe that it’s important at this particular time for religionists to serve the nation by standing up and participating during this national emergency.
“There are a thousand ways, a million ways to save people. We should not underestimate government. If I am elected to the House of Representatives, I will be able stand at the podium of the Diet to give political speeches based on God’s teachings. This will be a large mission to the high mountains. I’ll be able to accomplish something no one in Tenrikyo has ever tried before.
“They say that running for office costs money. I won’t use any money. I’ll use the power of speech alone. There is no need for you to worry.”
Genjiro felt reassured, realizing that Yoshinori’s pioneer spirit that made him go on a trip around the world without any money was still alive and well. He considered Yoshinori’s idea as extraordinarily admirable considering how most people were absorbed in getting enough food to eat for the day.
“So you’re going on a mission to the high mountains. I hadn’t thought that far. If that’s your idea, then I give my blessing. If you’re going to do it at all, do the best you can.”
Yoshinori’s courage grew a hundredfold. He received permission from Church Headquarters to run for office and he gave public speeches every night. He based himself in Nadaka Branch Church in the outskirts of Tokushima City, where Myodo Grand Church had temporarily relocated. He crisscrossed the prefecture on an old repaired bicycle.
He even went around on the night of January 1st passing our flyers and making speeches. Then there was an announcement that the election would be held on April 10.
There was once a time when Ichiro Tsuneoka, arriving late to a speech meeting in Tomioka, made an impassioned speech standing on a levee outside as an audience of 2,000 stepped out to go home. Yoshinori followed with an hour-long speech of his own.
This was something completely new. Thus, it was not an easy battle. But with the united support, Yoshinori was elected.
Among those involved in Tenrikyo who filed for candidacy for the Japanese general election of 1946 were: Miyotsugu Toi (Nara Prefecture), Seijiro Morita (Wakayama), Yoshinori Kashihara (Tokushima), Kuraji Kashiwagi (Tokyo), 知律 Ando (Nagano), 直 Fujimoto (Shiga), Yoshiomi Jo (Kumamoto), Shozo Yoshida (Hyogo), Minoru Sakamoto (Yamaguchi), Genpei Nozaki (Osaka), Takizawa (Okayama). Among them, Miyotsugu Toi and Yoshinori Kashihara were elected.
Just when Yoshinori was preparing to depart for Tokyo, a scrawny but smiling Yoshiro was demobilized and returned. Yoshinori beamed as if all the good fortune in the world had visited him at once.
Yoshinori made his debut on the Diet’s red carpet. He was chosen as a chief organizer in a group of independents. He served on the Special Committee on Reforming the Constitution.
Yoshiro returned to the Division of Philosophy at Kyoto University with a long-term plan on studying philosophy. He was preparing himself so he could convey the teachings to the world in the future.
Genjiro devoted his full attention to his duties at Church Headquarters and went on mission tours.
Parent, child, and grandchild all walked on their respective separate paths.
- Next installment in this series: Yoshiro’s Philosophy