The following is a translation of Part 46 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the October 2006 (No. 454) issue of Taimo , pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.
Part 46: Moved to Tears at Being Saved
Sakujiro Yamada ran a general goods store in Oroshi Village in Minami Muro County, Mie Prefecture. He succumbed to pulmonary tuberculosis, a disease that had no cure at the time. Although he tried everything possible, his condition did not improve. He decided to see a famous doctor in Osaka as a last resort. Sakujiro had Tameshichi Hatabayashi, who was familiar with Osaka and a regular at his store, to accompany him on his trip.
The pair departed in September 1887. However, along the way, Sakujiro told Tameshichi about the tales he heard of “the living goddess of Yamato” and how he always wanted to pay a visit. Although it was a detour, they first made their way to the Residence.
The pair reached the Residence and announced their reason for worshiping. They made a request to hear the teachings, but no one paid any attention to them since there were many people who disguised themselves as sick persons or followers in order to investigate Tenrikyo at the time.
Just as they wondered what they were going to do, someone happened to hastily come in. It was Chusaku Tsuji. He asked them, “Where did you two come from?”
Sakujiro answered and explained his reason for coming. Chusaku said: “Is that so? Welcome home, you’ve returned from a far place. Tenri-O-no-Mikoto is the original and true God, who created human beings and the world from where they did not exist. No matter how incurable your disease may be, you shall be saved….” and fired away to explain the teachings in rapid succession.
Sakujiro felt an emotion he never felt before at the teaching, “Through saving others, you will be saved,” and resolved to devote himself to the task of single-hearted salvation. When he did so, he felt light in body and refreshed in spirit. He felt as if he had fully recovered.
When Sakujiro and Tameshichi reached Osaka, they went to a well-reputed hospital just to be on the safe side. The doctor told Sakujiro, “You have nothing to be concerned about since you aren’t sick in the slightest.”
The pair were moved to tears at experiencing God’s miraculous workings before their very eyes.
Sakujiro, renewed in health, went back to his village and asked if there was anyone who was sick when his flabbergasted relatives came out to welcome him home. They had told him that his nephew Tsurumatsu Wada was bedridden from typhoid. Sakujiro then said: “Is that so? Then I’d better go and pray for him right now,” threw his baggage in his room and headed to the Wada household.
He then conveyed the teachings as he had heard at Jiba to the members of the Wada family and prayed with all his heart. Tsurumatsu then expressed the desire to go to pee. Sakujiro then said: “Okay, I’ll take you. Here, come on and get on my back.”
Tsurumatsu’s mother, Hina, had a look on her face that the prospect was completely out of the question. She protested to her brother: “Tsuru is gravely ill. I don’t want you roughing him up in any way.”
Sakujiro turned to his sister and said: “Hina, don’t worry. There’s nothing to be concerned about because I’ve prayed to God. Come here, Tsurumatsu, I take you,” and proceeded to carry Tsurumatsu to the toilet on his back.
When Sakujiro returned home, he confidently declared, “Tomorrow, the Wadas are going to come to say thanks saying that Tsuru’s condition has improved.”
Then, just as Sakujiro had anticipated, Tsurumatsu was blessed with a complete recovery.
Reference: Nankai Daikyokai shi, vol. one.
- Next installment in this series: 47. The Conversion of Narazo Hirano
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
Rev. Sakujiro Yamada 山田作治郎 (1860–1900) later went on to become the first head minister of Nankai Shikyokai 南海支教会 (branch church) in 1891. Now known as Tenrikyo Nankai Daikyokai 天理教南海大教会 (grand church), it currently oversees 367 bunkyokai (“branch churches”) and 346 fukyosho (“fellowships” or “mission stations”), including Orange and South Long Beach Church in the U.S., Bauru, Brasil Nansho, Nampaku, Novo Horizonte, Paulista, Piratininga, and Tupã Kyokai in SP, Brazil.
Former branch churches of Nankai Daikyokai include: Toai, Aishizu, Chuki, and Uryu grand churches.
Tameshichi Hatabayashi 畑林為七 (1850–1929) served as the second head minister of Nankai after the passing of Sakujiro Yamada.