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 Falls Ill
September 27, 1956, the day of the Autumn Memorial Service at Church Headquarters. Genjiro could not help but shed tears while honoring the memory of his life’s mentor Unosuke Tosa at the Memorial Hall. They were tears of regret at the delay in the spiritual maturity of the churches belonging to the Muya lineage, whose maturity had been entrusted to him. These tears helped him make a renewed resolve regarding the mission tours to Kyushu he had been going on for a long time.
He departed on the morning of November 2. On November 5, Yoshinori’s third daughter Eiko was leaving from Kobe Port to go to Hawaii and marry into the Meguro family. Yoshinori took great satisfaction in having his daughter go to Hawaii, a place he had difficult but fond memories of. Yoshinori jokingly told her: “Have a lot of children. Have up to five or even eight. Raise Yoboku who can speak English. That’s your job.”
Eiko was leaving with her mother Shizue. Genjiro gave her a list of seven instructions and the following words of farewell the night before he left: “I want to see you off, but I already had plans to be on a mission tour to Goto off Kyushu and I can’t change them. I’m leaving three days before you are, but never forget that Oyasama is always by your side. Be sure to take good care of yourself. Eiko, you are going back to the family you belong to according to your causality, so be sure to get along with your husband and honor your parents-in-law.”
He left in good spirits wearing a pair of monpe (field workers’ pants), accompanied by Tomohiro Hayashi. He went from Yamaguchi to Nagasaki and then to Goto. He returned to Jiba from Kokura on a late night train. His leg began to hurt along the way and was coming down with a cold. He then visited Koshikuni and Hokuriku grand churches. After a short rest, he went to Myodo Grand Church on December 4.
On December 9, he was riding in a car with Kazuko, her son Ichiro, and church officer Matsuemon Suzuki. They were headed to Muya Grand Church to worship. The car arrived in the countryside, where there were roads growing with grass and ponds with lotus plants.
“You know, I used to walk these roads wearing straw sandals. It brings tears to my eyes to pass them by in an automobile. I feel unworthy of the honor.”
It was an exceptionally quiet day. In the corridor leading to the silent office Genjiro sat down. Memories from 60 years ago and more came to him one after another. He thought: “Have I become weak in spirit?” It took Genjiro much effort to let go of this thought and stand up.
As the days went by, the pain in his leg gradually grew heavier. Myodo’s church officers perceived that Genjiro’s physical condition was a message for them to work as Genjiro’s hands and feet. They told him to rest but he left on a scheduled mission tour on December 13.
From the 17th, the area around his anus turned red and was in great pain. Director Kawaguchi of Kosei Hospital diagnosed the condition as periproctitis. Open surgery was conducted on the 28th but Genjiro became half-conscious and his condition waxed and waned.
His daughters Masu Hayashi, Sono Motobuchi, and Hanako Suzuki were in constant attendance. Since he was away much of the time on his mission tours, the time he spent during this time allowed Genjiro and his daughters to bond emotionally.
Genjiro didn’t complain even while he was ill. When asked, “Are you suffering in pain?” He would answer, “No, I’m not suffering.”
The things he talked about during the times he was half awake were about Jiba, mission tours, and administering the Sazuke. It appeared that he thought he was still on a mission tour.
Sometimes he would blurt out, “Uta, uta.” When Sono would sing the Mikagura-uta, he would nod with a look of utmost joy on his face.
Next installment in this series: On a Mission Tour in His Dreams