56. Thank You for Your Trouble Last Night
One time, while Sadahiko Izutsu was on duty at the Main Sanctuary, he said to Tsuchisaburo Itakura, “You have undergone hardships many times in police stations and jails. It’s a wonder that you were able to continue in your faith under such circumstances.” Tsuchisaburo Itakura replied, “During my third visit to the Residence three police officers came and threw us into the Tambaichi Branch Jail. That whole night we discussed the idea of quitting the faith. However, I thought I would wait until I could see Oyasama one more time. So I returned to the Residence. When Oyasama saw me, She smiled and said compassionately:
‘Thank you for your trouble last night.’
Just these few words of Oyasama made me resolve to undergo any hardship any number of times.”
This is the story Izutsu heard from Tsuchisaburo Itakura in 1931 or 1932, when the Main Sanctuary consisted only of the North Worship Hall.
Note: As Tsuchisaburo Itakura began to have faith in 1876, it is assumed that he received Oyasama’s words in 1876 or 1877.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, p. 48
Translation of “Sawa’s note”
“[From] part two of Oyasama no o-sugata o shinobu (Recalling Oyasama’s physical life) by Fukutaro Uemura.”
There are several things here in Anecdotes 56 that strike me. First of all, it highlights how precarious the situation was for potential converts to the faith. Since local authorities looked upon the faith Oyasama was expounding with great disfavor, the simple act of worshiping at the Residence was illegal and therefore subjected a person to imprisonment.
Tsuchisaburo Itakura happened to meet this unfortunate situation with several others and openly mulled over the possibility of stopping their faith. Nevertheless, he decided to see Oyasama one more time before making a final decision. Oyasama rewarded him with the words, “Thank you for your trouble last night” (yube wa go-kuro yatta). This was enough for Tsuchisaburo “to resolve to undergo any hardship (kuro)1 any number of times.”
This episode both speaks volumes about the impact Oyasama had on her followers and the sincere devotion of Tsuchisaburo. It also offers a lesson to followers of the faith to value the importance of a heartfelt simple greeting, for this was all it took for Tsuchisaburo to resolve to continue his faith despite the intensifying social pressure against Oyasama and her growing following.
Supplemental information from Tenrikyo jiten
Tsuchisaburo Itakura (1860–1937) is the first generation patriarch of a fairly prestigious family lineage in Tenrikyo’s hierarchy. One of his descendants is a former bishop of Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in America.
He was born in Ochi Village, Takayasu County, Kawachi Province (currently a section of Yao City in Osaka Prefecture). The illness of his elder brother in 1875 caused him to seek divine intervention from a variety of temples and shrines, but to no avail. He then heard about Oyasama and first met her in August 1876. He embraced the faith when he was 17, after becoming convinced of the teachings by visiting the Residence repeatedly.
He received the truth of the Sazuke in August 1888 at age 29 and promoted to a Honbu-in (Church HQ executive official) in 1908 at age 49. Among the many positions he held were the head minister positions of Chuka, Heian, and Minakuchi (all presently daikyokai or grand churches).
- 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.
- The kuro here may specifically refer to the hardship or trouble associated with being arrested, not simply “any hardship.” It may be more accurate to interpret that Oyasama’s simple greeting caused Tsuchisaburo to be filled with the desire to be arrested again and again as a result of continuing his faith. ↩