Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 87

87. Because People Like You

Oyasama had previously told Izo Iburi to return quickly to the Residence to live. But because he then had three children, when he thought of the future he worried so much that he could not make the decision to move.

His second daughter, Masae, soon became afflicted with an eye disease, and his only son, Masajin, suddenly became unable to talk. Recognizing this as a warning from God, their mother, Osato, saw Oyasama and told Her “Although we wished to return to the Residence as soon as possible, we could not make the move because the people of Ichinomoto were so kind to us. Your words are uppermost in our minds as we reluctantly pass each day without complying with your wish.” Oyasama said to her:

“Because people like you, God also likes you. While people regret to see you leave, God also regrets not seeing you here. As long as people are fond of you, God also sees promise in you.”

Osato then said, “However, our children are still so small. Please wait until they grow older.” Oyasama told her:

“It is because you have children that you have joy and promise. There would not be such joy and promise if there were only the parents. Please return quickly.”

“We will certainly return,” Osato promised. By the time she arrived home the two children had already received wonderful blessings and had completely recovered their health. In September 1881, Osato and the two children who had been saved preceded Izo in living at the Residence.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 73–74

Translation of “Sawa’s note”

“Based on the oral account of Yoshie Nagao.”

My research

It has been said that Oyasama had encouraged Izo Iburi to move into the Residence as early as 1865.1 I have presented speculations on why Izo waited so many years to move in as Oyasama requested elsewhere, so I will not go into much detail here. I will just mention that even Sojiro Kajimoto, Oyasama’s son-in-law, had warned Izo and Sato (written above as “Osato”) not to do so because of circumstances at the Residence at the time.

A source outside of Anecdotes 87 makes mention that there were at least two other occasions prior to 1881 when Izo received a physical affliction some kind as “God’s guidance” to move into the Residence. In 1881, it is said that he actually fell and injured himself at a worksite2 before his children Masae and Masajin came down with their respective afflictions.

Insight from Yoshinori Sawai sensei

Yoshinori Sawai sensei of the Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion then explains why Oyasama so fervently sought to have Izo and his family move into the Residence as follows:

While there is no record of Izo scrambling about, engaging in salvation work, he solely devoted himself toward sowing seeds of sincerity at the Residence. He walked the path of accumulating virtue behind the scenes for the sake of others and society with absolute humility.3

Concerning the instruction attributed to Oyasama in which she dictated, “As long as people are fond of you, God also sees promise (tanoshimi) in you,” Sawai sensei has wrote the following:

By the way, this mention of God seeing joy and promise (tanoshimi) first of all brings to my mind the following verse:

The reason Tsukihi began human beings was the desire to see you lead a joyous life.

Ofudesaki 14:254

God the Parent created human beings to see human beings live the Joyous Life and share in this joy. Consequently, God’s ultimate joy is to see human beings live the Joyous Life.

Further, in other verses of Ofudesaki, we see mention of other sources of “pleasure” and “delight” (tanoshimi) for God/Tsukihi.

If the hand movements of the Joyous Service are learned day by day, how delighted (tanoshumi) God will be.

4: 23

Day after day, teaching you of the unknown and of things yet to be is the pleasure (tanoshimi) of Tsukihi.


When all the world is truly purified from the innermost heart, it will be Tsukihi’s delight (tanoshimi).


It says that if people performed the “Joyous Service,” God’s delight will be immeasurable. Another source of God’s pleasure is to teach of things unknown to human beings and of things that do not yet exist in this world, that is, “of things not to be found in learning, ancient things extending over nine hundred million and ninety-six thousand years.” Lastly, it is also God’s delight to have the people of the world live while having the details of the beginning firmly settled in their hearts.5

Sawai sensei further writes:

Also, in the instruction “It is because you have children that you have joy and promise. There would not be such joy and promise without them” —  we can recognize Oyasama’s deep parental heart that seeks to ease the minds of Izo and Sato, who are being torn between following God’s intention and their human sentiment. At the same time, we can also understand this expressing God’s expectation for the faith to be passed down from parents to children and the nurturing of human resources who will contribute toward bringing the world of the Joyous Life into reality.3

Izo and Yoshie would later join Sato, Masae, and Masajin in March 1882. Oyasama’s instructions to Izo on this occasion are related in Anecdotes 98, so I will save further discussion until then.


  • Sawai Yoshinori. 2006. “Kami no tanoshimi: 87 ‘Hito ga suku kara’.” In Itsuwa-hen ni manabu iki-kata 2. Tenri: Tenri Daigaku Oyasato Kenkyūsho, pp. 83–89.
  • Tenrikyo Anecdotes of Oyasama, the Foundress of Tenrikyo. Tenri: Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
  • Tenrikyō Dōyūsha, ed. 1997. Ten no jōgi: Iburi Izō no shōgai. Tenri: Tenrikyō Dōyūsha.
  • Ueda Eizō. 1995. Shinpan Iburi Izō den. Tōkyō: Zenponsha.

Further reading


  1. Tenrikyo Doyusha 1997, p. 168.
  2. See Ueda 1995, pp. 59–60, 68 for descriptions of the forms of “guidance” Izo received on these particular occasions.
  3. Sawai, p. 88.
  4. I would argue that this is the most significant verse in the Ofudesaki in terms of the importance of its message in the Tenrikyo tradition. However, “joyous life” here is not the gloss of “yoki-gurashi” (which usually warrants “Joyous Life” in upper case). The “joyous life” in Ofudesaki 14:25 is instead a gloss of “yoki-yusan,” which has been translated as “joyous play” in other contexts.

    As for the reason why “yoki-gurashi” (which appears in the Osashizu five times but not once in either the Ofudesaki or Mikagura-uta) has been adopted instead of “yoki-yusan” as a prominent Tenrikyo catchphrase, I can only assume that “yusan” (written with the kanji meaning “play” and “mountain,” which suggests a jaunt or picnic in the mountains) may sound somewhat frivolous to modern Japanese believers. Nevertheless, I personally feel “yusan” is a highly significant term in its historical context. I see it implying a free existence unhindered by government constraints, for one must take into consideration that travel was severely restricted in Japan during the Edo period (1600–1867), and commoners were only allowed to travel on religious pilgrimages or other limited circumstances. I also recall reading somewhere that “yusan” is mentioned in the writings of Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen in Japan. This surely is a topic that requires further research.

  5. Sawai, pp. 84–85.
  6. Sawai, p. 88.