The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 12

The following is a translation of Part 12 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the December 2003 (No. 420) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is tentative and may require further revision.

Part 12: “God Has Twice the Strength”

Kunisaburo Moroi was absorbed in running a textile factory in Hiro’oka Village, Yamana County in Totomi Province (currently Fukuroi City, Shizuoka Prefecture), from overseeing the raising of silkworms to the production of silk thread. In February 1883, his third daughter Koshi (two years old1) contracted a throat ailment and her condition became critical.

With no option at hand, Kunisaburo’s wife Sono, feeling that only faith in “Tenri-O-sama” would save Koshi, discarded her human thinking and made an earnest petition with her husband as follows: “All praise to Tenri-O-no-Mikoto. We shall singly devote ourselves to the faith as husband and wife. Please save our baby from her illness.”

After some time had passed, Koshi’s condition miraculously turned for the better and she began to drink her mother’s breast milk. Kunisaburo and Sono were stirred at how vividly God had granted protection.

As dawn broke, Koshi was able to cry again and by the third day she was able to eat rice mixed with miso soup.

Moved by God’s miraculous protection, Kunisaburo donned his travel gear to make a thanksgiving pilgrimage and headed to Yamato on February 4, 1883. Kunisaburo met with Oyasama for the first time on February 10. He heard various teachings from Her on that day.

When Kunisaburo first came before Oyasama, She asked,

“Moroi-san, will you put out your hand out like this?”

And She put Her hand on the tatami mat with Her palm facing downward. When Kunisaburo did the same, bending Her middle and ring fingers inward, She pinched and lifted the flesh on the back of Kunisaburo’s hand with Her index and little fingers. She then told him,

“Try and pull yourself free.”

Kunisaburo tried to pull his hand free but the pain was too great, causing him to say, “I humbly submit.”

Next, Oyasama said,

“Here, hold My hand.”

Taking his hand, She had him grasp Her wrist. She also held his hand the same way, so that they both were grasping each other’s wrists. She then told him:

“Grip My hand with all your strength. But please stop if I say it hurts, understand?”

Kunisaburo then grasped with all his strength, but the stronger he gripped Her hand, the more pain he felt in his own. Oyasama asked,

“Can’t you grip harder?”

But as the pain increased with each ounce of strength he mustered, he surrendered, saying, “I humbly submit.” Oyasama loosened Her grip and smiled, saying:

“Is that all that strength you have? Know that God has twice the strength you offer.”

This episode occurred when Kunisaburo was 44 and Oyasama was 86. Through this test of strength, Oyasama taught Kunisaburo that this path is a path that depends on the mind and the spirit alone.

If we ease our strength and slacken our effort, God’s strength will slacken accordingly. Through this lesson, Oyasama taught us that when we exert the effort to jump in and immerse ourselves in the heart of the Parent, God will respond by embracing and protecting us with a strength equaling twice the effort we offer.

Reference: Yamana Daikyokai shi 『山名大教会史』.

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.

Supplemental information

Rev. Kunisaburo Moroi 諸井國三郎 (1840–1918) later went on to become the first head minister of Yamana Bunkyokai 山名分教会 (branch church) in 1888. Now known as Tenrikyo Yamana Daikyokai 天理教山名大教会 (grand church), it currently oversees 407 bunkyokai (“branch churches”) and 410 fukyosho (“fellowships” or “mission stations”), including five churches in Taiwan.

Former branch churches of Yamana Daikyokai include: Aichi, Iwakidaira, Mashizu, Komaki, Sendai, Kofu, Kiyama, Shizuoka, Shiroha, Ina, and Habashita grand churches.

Further suggested reading

For more stories on Rev. Kunisaburo Moroi, see:


  1. The ages of individuals that appear in this article are according to the traditional manner of counting age in Japan (i.e., kazoe-doshi). A person is considered a year old at birth and ages accordingly with the arrival of each New Year.