Song Three, verse 1

Song Three is one of two Songs that use the open folding fans. Whereas the fans now have a red-orange disc1 on a white background and brings to mind the Japanese flag, they supposedly represent the Sun2 in addition to the Moon and the Sun.3 Folding fans from the late 1880s and 1890s had the Sun and crescent Moon.4 It is unclear when or why the church leadership adopted to use the folding fans with a red-orange disc, but it may worthy to consider a change away from the present convention sometime in the future.

Verse 1

一ツ      ひのもとしよやしきの つとめのばしよハよのもとや
一つ 日の本(火の元)庄屋敷(初屋敷)の つとめの場所は世の元や
Hitotsu / Hi no moto / Shoyashiki no / Tsutome no basho wa / yo no moto ya
One / origin of the Sun / in Shoyashiki / The Place for the Service is / the world’s origin

Hi no moto

Every commentator appears to apply the kanji 日の本 (“origin” or “homeland of the Sun”) — a poetic name for Japan — to write “Hi no moto.” One commentator writes that Hi represents “Hi-sama” or one of the main aspects of Cosmic Space-Time (Tsuki-Hi) and moto represents Jiba, the place of human conception according to Tenrikyo’s creation narrative.5 In addition to being where Jiba is located, “Hi no moto” also happens to be the place where Oyasama became the Shrine of Cosmic Space-Time and where she started the path.6

Regarding the corresponding dance motions, where a circle is drawn with the folding fans and ends with a scooping motion, another commentator writes that this evokes the Sun and therefore indicates the protection of Cosmic Space-Time.7

Another possible yet admittedly unconventional interpretation of hinomoto is 火の元, or source of fuel or a fire. This potentially could be taken to symbolize that Jiba is the source of the flame of faith as well as the place where Tenrikyo originated in a historical sense.


Shoyashiki is the old village name of the locale where Jiba is located. The area is presently the eastern portion of Mishima-cho, Tenri City.8 It is said that in 1838, there were about 20 households with a population between 110 and 120 people. It merged with Mishima Village in 1877. At the time of this merger, Shoyashiki had 31 households and a population of 155 whereas Mishima had 31 households and a population of 167.9

One commentator claims that Oyasama said, “Shoyashiki is called so because it is the Sho Residence (yashiki)”10. The “Sho” here can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The commentator providing the quote interprets the Sho as potentially meaning 「正」 (clear, correct, pure, positive)11 and/or 「生」 (birth/life).12 Other kanji that can be possibility applied include 「証」 (confirmation, proof) and 「性」 (true, sincere, character, nature).13

I find that it is notable that Shoyashiki has also been written with the characters 初家敷 (i.e., “the first Residence/Household”) in Ihachiro Yamada’s August 31, 1885 entry in Oyasama o-kotoba.14

Tsutome no basho wa yo no moto

‘Tsutome (no) basho’ (place for the Service) can mean the following:15

  • The place of human creation, Jiba, where the Kanrodai is to be located and which serves as the center for the performance of the Service.
  • The place where the Service is to be conducted. The Inner Sanctuary.
  • The place the Service is conducted in a wider sense, which includes the current (and future) sanctuary and worship halls built around Jiba.
  • The structure known as the Place for the Service. Built in 1864, it marked Tenrikyo’s first construction.

The second Shinbashira Shozen Nakayama wrote that ‘Tsutome (no) basho’ refers to the place where the Kagura Service is conducted.16

One commentator mentions how Shoyashiki was a small village that was probably only known to people who lived in its immediate surroundings when this Song was composed. Therefore, it is quite an authoritative and firm declaration on Oyasama’s part to that say that “this place for the Service is the origin of the world.”17 Another commentator writes that “yo no moto” means “the origin of world salvation.”18

To paraphrase verse 1, the place for the Service in Shoyashiki is the original place of human beginnings and the root/source of salvation.19

In the Ofudesaki, there are verses that reveal that the Tsutome (no) basho is the location where human beings began (8:36)20 and that the beginning of the world took place at Shoyashiki Village, Yamabe County, in Yamato (11:69).21


  1. According to my observations, the disc of older folding fans tend to have a redder tinge while it is more of a more orange hue in newer fans.
  2. Ueda A 214.
  3. Ono 84. Yoshinaru Ueda states that holding an open folding fan in each hand represents the principle of Tsuki-Hi, Moon-Sun or Cosmic Space-Time. In other words, he states that holding the fans can be interpreted to express the principle of Cosmic Space-Time in a state of spiritual uplift before our very eyes (A 214).
  4. MST 163.
  5. Ueda A 218.
  6. Ueda A 219.
  7. Keiichiro Moroi, cited in MST 143.
  8. MST 143.
  9. MST 143, fn 3.
  10. 「 しょうのあるやしきやから、しょうやしきというのやで。」Cited in Masui 114.
  11. The kanji正屋敷 is applied to Shoyashiki in Ando 55.
  12. The kanji 生屋敷is applied to Shoyashiki in Ueda A 221.
  13. MST 144.
  14. Ne no aru hana 68.
  15. From MST 145.
  16. Zoku Hitokoto hanashi sono ni, 111–2. Cited in Ono 86.
  17. Ono 87.
  18. Hirano 91.
  19. Ueda C 38.
  20. Cited in MST 145; Ono 87; Ueda A 221; Ueda C 39; Yamamoto 101 fn.
  21. Cited in MST 143; Ueda C 39; Yamamoto 102 fn.