The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 66

The following is a translation of Part 66 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the June 2008 (No. 474) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.

Part 66: Prepared to Risk His Life

“I will do it.”

Yosaburo Miyamori was prepared to risk his life.

In September 1880, police surveillance over the Residence became increasingly severe and it troubled Shuji very much. Out of his desire to allow followers to perform the Service in the open and prevent Oyasama sentenced to police detention, Shuji decided to create a religious fraternity named the Tenrin-O-Kosha affiliated with the temple Jifukuji located on Mt. Kongo.
Oyasama expressed Her stern warning against such an action, saying,

“If you do such a thing, God the Parent will withdraw.”

Shuji took it as a given that he would be told so. Nevertheless, he was prepared to risk his life to make this happen.

It was impossible for Shuji, who limped on one leg, to make the long and steep trip to Jifukuji. Since Oyasama had not given Her consent, there was no one who was willing to accompany him. Everyone said, “Since God does not permit it, your breathing will stop if you go to such a place.”

In this situation, a 24-year-old Miyamori thought to himself: “I cannot allow Shuji sensei to go alone. Since I am the youngest in my family, no one will miss me if my breathing stops. I will do it.”

Miyamori was resolutely prepared and asked to accompany Shuji on his trip.

Due to Shuji’s physical condition, he rode a rickshaw from Tanbaichi while Miyamori walked beside him. They passed the road from Sakurai to nearby the Monju in Abe, through the foot of Mt. Amanokagu to Kaya Forest.

In order to reach their destination in Kamiichi Village, Yoshino, they needed to cross the Imoga Pass. This passage was so steep and difficult that it was said that one could steam a sweet potato (imo) in one’s bosom while climbing it. Since it was summer, the mountain road was especially hot to travel. Miyamori carried his and Shuji’s belongings and climbed while supporting Shuji from behind.

Reaching Kamiichi, they crossed the Sakura Bridge and stayed at the Chikurin-in in Yoshino. When Miyamori washed Shuji’s back at the public bath, Shuji murmured, as if he were talking to himself, “God may tell us to stop, but I can’t help it being that the police are so strict with us.”

The next day, they reached Jifukuji. After negotiations with the head priest were over, Shuji stayed the night at the home of Chushichi Yamanaka and Miyamori stayed at his family home in Higai Village. They returned to Jiba a day after.

The ceremony inaugurating the Tenrin-O-Kosha was conducted on September 22, 1880. On the 30th, the Service was performed with the three women’s instruments for the very first time.

Shuji passed away for rebirth in 1881. Miyamori was prepared that he would soon be next. Nevertheless, he was blessed to live until the age of 80.

In later years, Miyamori said: “I constantly felt that each day could be my last.” “God allowed me to live until today because God forgave me for only going along with Shuji.”

Throughout his life, Miyamori’s faith was one that was singularly devoted to the Residence, to Jiba.

References: Michi no tomo (January 1953); Takano Tomoji. Senjin sobyo. (English translation published as Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo by the Tenrikyo Overseas Mission Department in 1985)

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

Supplemental information

Rev. Yosaburo Miyamori 宮森與三郎; also written 輿三郎 or 与三郎 (1857–1936; born Okada Yonosuke 岡田輿之助) later served as the second head minister of Umetani Bunkyokai 梅谷分教会 (branch church) between 1897 and 1907. Now known as Tenrikyo Umetani Daikyokai 天理教梅谷大教会 (grand church), it currently oversees 85 bunkyokai and 54 fukyosho (“fellowships” or “mission stations”). Rev. Miyamori also founded Meihai Bunkyokai 明拜分教会 in 1935.

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