Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 9

9. According to the Parents’ Minds

Toward the middle of July 1863, when Yoshimatsu, the eldest son of Chusaku Tsuji, was four years old, his face became pale and he was in danger of death. Oryu, Chusaku’s mother, came to pray, carrying her sick grandchild on her back. Oyasama saw them and said:

“His parents should bring him instead.”

So Masu, Chusaku’s wife, carrying the boy on her back, came to pray.

“I will save the child according to the parents’ minds,”

was the teaching of Oyasama. The boy was completely restored to health in four or five days.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 5

Translation of “Sawa’s note”

“Bunkyu 3 is 1863. The “Chusaku Tsuji” here is the son of the Chusaku Tsuji that acted as go-between for Okimi (Oharu).”

My take

If we recall the details from Anecdotes 6, Haru Nakayama and Sojiro Kajimoto were brought together in marriage in 1852, which was made possible because Koyo Tsuji frequented the Residence as a sewing pupil of Oyasama’s and felt that Haru would make a good match for her cousin Sojiro.1 Her father Chusaku Sr.2 subsequently acted as a go-between for the marriage.

I mention all this again because we can see that more than ten years elapsed between 1852, when the first known contact between the Tsujis and the Nakayamas occurred, and 1863, when the younger Chusaku eventually became a convert of Oyasama. Tatsuzo Yamochi sensei has expressed his opinion regarding this, writing, “When we see the depth of Oyasama’s intention as She silently waited for ten years to guide one person, it tells us a thing or two about patience (pp. 123–124).”

According to The Life of Oyasama (p. 36), the younger Chusaku Tsuji (1836–1905) first came to worship to the Residence on 3/4/1863 (lunar calendar).3 The same text then details the circumstances leading to his conversion, motivated by his younger sister’s recovery from a psychological illness.

While I will refrain from summarizing those very details here, it is nevertheless noteworthy to mention that Yoshimatsu’s illness as described above occurred about four months after Chusaku’s first worship. So when I read the above story, I can’t help but wonder why Chusaku or his wife Masa did not come to the Residence themselves in the first place.

Did his duties as head of household prevent him at the time to do so? (The Tenrikyo jiten mentions that he took over as the head of his household five years earlier at age 23.) Chusaku visits the Residence himself during his sister’s illness, but does not for his own son’s illness. Was there any particular reason for this? Unfortunately, this a question that Anecdotes cannot answer.

In any case, Oyasama tells Ryu Tsuji to have either Chusaku or Masu to accompany their son Yoshimatsu for instruction on what to do to so he could be saved. This anecdote is consistent with the Tenrikyo teaching that maintains an illness of a child under the age of 154 is God’s way of urging the child’s parents to engage in self-examination. Another Tenrikyo publication puts this teaching in the following way:

Parents and children are connected by an intimate relationship. “The misfortune of a child is a misfortune of a parent. A misfortune of a parent is a misfortune of a child” (Osashizu). Everything that happens to a child (until age 15) reflects of the usage of the minds belonging to his or her parents. The path to a resolution first begins from parents’ efforts to reform their minds. Oyasama’s words to parents with children experiencing a physical ailment include “His parents should bring him instead” (Anecdotes 9) and “A boy should be accompanied by his father” (Anecdotes 57).

Ikiru kotoba, p. 89

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


  • Tenri Daigaku Oyasato Kenkyūsho, ed. 1997. Kaitei Tenrikyō jiten. Tenri: Tenrikyō Dōyūsha
  • Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
  • _________. 1996 [1967]. The Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo (third edition). Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
  • Tenrikyō Dōyūsha, ed. 1995. Ikiru kotoba: Tenrikyō kyōso no oshie. Tenri: Tenrikyō Dōyūsha.
  • Yamochi, Tatsuzō. 1984. Kōhon Tenrikyō Oyasama den nyūmon jikkō. Tenri: Tenrikyō Dōyūsha.

Further reading

  • The Life of Oyasama, Chapter Three, pp. 36–37.
  • Takano, Tomoji. Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 4–7.

*Update on August 7, 2009

I recommend the next two sources for anyone who wishes to do more research on Anecdotes 9:

  • Fukugawa, Harumichi. “Oya no kokoro — 9 ‘Futa oya no kokoro shidai ni.'” In Itsuwa-hen ni manabu iki-kata 3. Tenri: Tenri Daigaku Oyasato Kenkyūsho, pp. 159–169.
  • Tsuji, Shin’ichiro. “Performance of the Service Everyday Brings Joy of Life.” In Tenri Forum 2006: New Frontiers in the Mission — Compiled Speeches & Summaries. Tenri, Japan: Tenrikyo Overseas Department, pp. 54–68.


  1. I’m presuming this just on the basis that, according to Anecdotes 6, Sojiro’s mother was born a Tsuji and the ages of the younger Chusaku and Kajimoto Sojiro suggests they were cousins.
  2. Although I mention him as “Chusaku Sr.” here, he’s allegedly Chusaku Tsuji II.
  3. Dates before 1873 throughout The Life of Oyasama are lunar calendar dates translated as Gregorian calendar dates (even though, technically, there is no such thing as, for example, lunar calendar March 1). I deliberately eschew this convention in my blogs, consistently rendering the lunar calendar dates in numerals instead.
  4. Or age 15 according to the traditional manner the Japanese counted age. According to this way of counting age, kazoe-doshi, a person is considered a year old at birth and ages accordingly with the arrival of each New Year. Age 15 would equal 13 or 14 the way we count ages in the Western tradition.