Cornerstone: Afterword

The following is a translation of the Afterword 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.


This biography of Rev. Genjiro Kashihara is largely based on his own writings and backed up by information found in his diaries, other records, and communication with surviving acquaintances.

In writing this biography and tried to make it as objective as possible, so I avoided writing in a novelistic style and refrained from psychological descriptions. Consequently, all the conversations that have been included are based on one source or another. I did not use my imagination to write them. I believe there is a degree of certainty regarding them in this sense.

Such being the case, I offer no new information or interpretations. To put it simply, I offer this biography as a digest of all the information that is available. Although I do not assume this is the best way to write a biography, it would console me if the reader used this biography as a resource and picked up certain portions that they feel are instructive toward the practice of their faith.

In writing this biography, I attempted to give a modern spin to close the distance between the subject and those of us living today. I did so because I felt that there would be no meaning of writing a biography on Genjiro sensei if we were to feel that he was someone so special that we could not emulate. I tried to bring out a side to him one would find in an average person.

As Genjiro sensei was someone who was widely known in Tenrikyo, I imagine that readers have their own image of him. I do not have the confidence that I have written a biography that lives up to everyone’s image of what he was like.

It is possible to write a biography that approaches a subject so completely that one writes it as if one were the subject writing one’s own autobiography. One certainly comes up with a realistic portrait that way. There are several Tenrikyo publications that have gone this route and are greatly valued.

However, I have written this biography with a neutral stance. Perhaps I might have written it after digging in a little deeper, but I stopped short from doing so. I would like to offer my apologies to those who feel this biography has come up short in this regard.

This biography was originally published by Myodo Grand Church in 1967. They gave me their consent to have it republished this time by Zenponsha. I’d like to just note that this publication uses the same photo engraving as the first edition.

Teruo Nishiyama

March 10, 1980