Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 67

67. Poor Fellow

Tsurumatsu Nukuto was frail from childhood. In 1879, when he was sixteen years old, his chronic stomach ailment grew worse and soon reached the critical stage. His doctor gave him up as hopeless.

At this time, the fragrance of the teachings was spread to Tsurumatsu by Kiichi Asano through Higashio, a distant relative. At the recommendation of Kiichi, Tsurumatsu firmly resolved to follow the path. So, accompanied by his parents, he returned to Jiba for the first time, carried on a stretcher, over forty-eight kilometers of mountainous road. He rested overnight and the next morning, through the arrangements made by Jyukichi Nakayama, Tsurumatsu was received in audience by Oyasama with special permission to remain on the stretcher. Thereupon, Oyasama said:

“Poor fellow.”

She took off the red kimono-undergarment She was wearing and put it on Tsurumatsu, slipping it over his head.

At that moment Tsurumatsu felt the warmth of the red kimono under-garment and at the same time he felt as if dawn had come. Though his illness had been critical, from that moment he began to recover. He stayed one week; he received marvelous salvation and was soon cured completely.

It is said that all through his life Tsurumatsu recalled that moment and said, “Even now I cannot forget that warmth.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 58–59

Translation of “Sawa’s note ”

“From the history of Otori Daikyokai. Tsurumatsu was born in 1864.”

(Sawa also notes that Asano Kiichi was the first head minister of Furuichi Daikyokai.)

Supplemental information from Taimo (translation)

“Tsurumatsu Nukuto  抽冬鶴松: Born in Ganji 1 (1864) in Tomikura Village, Otori County, Osaka Prefecture (currently, Tomikura, Sakai City).

“He helped build the foundation of today’s Otori Daikyokai.

Jukichi Nakayama 中山重吉 (spelled Jyukichi above): The second son of Oyasama’s daughter Masa.

“Circa Meiji 15 (1882), he begins operating an inn where many early followers stayed.”

My take

The description of a young man from outside Yamato Province carried on a stretcher on a mountainous road in Anecdotes 67 to Jiba has several parallels with the story of how Risaburo Yamamoto came to embrace the faith (Anecdotes 33). It is also notable that Tsurumatsu Nukuto “resolved to follow the path”1 before his first return to Jiba and even before he was blessed with a recovery.

This implies to me the degree to which some early missionaries were successful in bringing others to embrace the faith through the power of sheer persuasion. It also simultaneously suggests that perhaps the faith Oyasama was expounding fit well into the religious worldview of people living in late 19th century Japan.

In Anecdotes 67 we also see Oyasama taking a piece of red clothing (“kimono-undergarment” is a gloss for hada-juban2) that she had worn to have a person wear it. Any piece of red kimono she had worn is often attributed with healing properties, and this belief is reflected in other upcoming selections from Anecdotes of Oyasama.3


  • Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
  • Tenrikyō Seinenkai, ed. 2006. “Oyasama: Oyasama no nukumi.” Taimō 451 (July 2006), pp. 16–17.

Further reading


  1. “Resolved to follow the path” here is a gloss of the Japanese “nyushin.” The two kanji used to write this word literally mean 入 “enter” and 信 “believe.” It is a term that is in general usage and not unique to Tenrikyo. “Nyushin” has been translated into English in Tenrikyo literature a variety of ways: “entered the faith” (Anecdotes 18 and 195; “embraced the faith” (Anecdotes 21); “conversion to the faith” (Anecdotes 92); “been a follower in the faith” (Anecdotes 95); “beginning of his faith” (Anecdotes 103); “began to believe” (Anecdotes 115); “became a believer in the faith ” (Anecdotes 123); “came to believe in this path” (Anecdotes 146); “came to follow the path” (Anecdotes 156); “became a follower” (Anecdotes 165); and “begun to follow the path” (Anecdotes 186). I personally prefer “embrace the faith” and have been exclusively using this gloss in my translation work in the past several months.
  2. Click here for a webpage I found that explains the various pieces of kimono that make a full kimono attire.
  3. Selections regarding Oyasama’s red clothes/garments that have been previously covered include: Anecdotes 35, which is an account that describes the day when Oyasama announced she would wear red clothes. Anecdotes 43 describes Oyasama giving a newly formed fraternity her red formal coat (haori) to use as a focal point of worship (medo). Finally, Anecdotes 51 has a description of Oyasama having someone wear a vest (jinbei) that she had worn and telling him to pray at the Kanrodai (presumably to pray for a pain in his arm.)