71. In Such a Heavy Rain
On April 14, 1880, Umejiro Izutsu and his wife, accompanied by their daughter Tane, returned to Jiba for the first time. It had been raining hard when they left Osaka the previous morning but the weather cleared up toward noon. They stayed overnight on the way and arrived at the Residence around four o’clock in the afternoon on the following day. They were granted an audience at once by Oyasama, who patted Tane on the head, saying:
“It is very good of you to have come in such a heavy rain.”
“You’re from Osaka, aren’t you? You are drawn here by the marvelous God. God is letting the roots of a great tree take firm hold in Osaka. You need not worry about the child’s illness.”
Afterward She placed a sheet of sacred paper on the affected area of Tane’s body which had not yet been completely cured. Needless to say, she was very soon completely cured.
The deep emotion which Umejiro felt when he met Oyasama and the marvelous cure kindled in him a passion for the faith and inspired him to spread the teachings and save others with single-hearted devotion.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 61–62
Translation of “Sawa’s note”
“In 1879, [the Izutsus’] eldest daughter Tane, who was ailing from dermatofibroma, was saved by the salvation work (o-tasuke) of Tosuke Maeda.1 They later join Maeda in his salvation efforts. This story is from the following year, 1880. Umejiro Izutsu is the first head minister of Ashitsu Daikyokai.”
Supplemental information from Taimo (translation)
“Umejiro Izutsu 井筒梅治郎: Born in Tenpo 9 (1838) in Honden, Osaka, Settsu Province (Honden, Nishi-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture). He embraces the faith in 1879 after daughter Tane is saved from illness.
“In 1881, he participated in the hinokishin to quarry rock for the Kanrodai and received the name Shinmei-gumi (later, Ashitsu Daikyokai) for his religious confraternity. He establishes [Ashitsu] church in 1889.
“He passed away for rebirth in Meiji 29 (1896) at the age of 59.”
Supplemental information and insight from Umeo Izutsu sensei
An article by Umeo Izutsu (2009), a fifth-generation descendant of Umejiro Izutsu, offers some extra information and insight that I’d like to share here.
The Izutsu family ran a cotton store in Honden, Osaka, and Umejiro was a solid businessman. He was a person of influence in his neighborhood who felt compelled to help whenever he saw anyone in trouble and went out to settle any dispute took place.
Umejiro was a devoted practitioner of Shugendo and was a pilgrimage guide (sendatsu) to Mt. Omine, an important religious center for the tradition. He and his wife had lost four of their children. Their daughter Tane, developed a skin disorder occurring on the lower half of her body. The Izutsus tried all the medical care available to them and even had prayers (kito) done before a purifying fire (goma), but Tane’s condition only worsened.2
It was at this time when a neighbor introduced him to a missionary (presumably Tosuke Maeda) whose efforts brought about a wondrous salvation. Umejiro then immediately devoted himself to the path. He then joined this missionary spreading the fragrance (nioigake) and engaging in salvation work.
The first person Umejiro prayed for was a neighbor who was in danger of losing (his? her?) eyesight. The neighbor’s wondrous recovery and Umejiro’s trustworthy reputation then caused talk to spread, prompting many people to come to him and request help for a variety of ailments.
Umejiro then was inspired the following year, 1880, to go to meet Oyasama and thank her for the instances of salvation he witnessed firsthand. Just as it is noted in Anecdotes 71, it rained severely on the day he departed Osaka. In actuality, the neighbor he helped save planned to come as well, but the rain made the neighbor stay at home.
Umejiro and his wife decided to go to the Residence despite the rain, saying to themselves, “We have umbrellas and straw raincoats,” and took one-year-old Tane with them. Umeo sensei speculates that if Umejiro and his wife had postponed their return to Jiba, Oyasama may not have blessed him with the words, “God is letting the roots of a great tree take firm hold in Osaka” and the path would not have spread widely as it did.
Umeo sensei then writes that his ancestor Umejiro, greatly moved by Oyasama’s parental love, then strove fervently, spreading the fragrance and engaging in salvation work, to make her words a reality. It may be worthy to note that while Ashitsu Daikyokai has 241 branches today, ultimately, 4,177 churches can trace their existence to Umejiro sensei’s efforts!
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
- Izutsu Umeo. 2009. “Itsuwa no kokoro tazunete: gendai ni ikiru Oyasama no oshie 11.” Tenri jihō No. 4124 (4/5/2009), p. 3.
- Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. 1976. Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
- Tenrikyō Seinenkai, ed. 2007. “Oyasama: Ano ame no naka o, yō kinasatta.” Taimō 460 (April 2007), pp. 16–17.
- _________. 2008. “Oyasama: Botan no hanazakari.” Taimō 471 (March 2008), pp. 16–17.e
- The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 26: Like Sliding On Water
- Takano, Tomoji. 1985. Disciples of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo, pp. 83–87