Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 167

167. Through Saving Others (hito tasuke tara)

On September 1, 1885, Hyoshiro Kami’s eldest daughter, thirteen-year-old Kimi, suddenly lost the sight of both eyes. Hyoshiro, too, on October 7th of the same year, went blind. This was divine guidance. On November 1st, Hyoshiro asked his wife Tsune to return to Jiba in his place. Oyasama said:

“This eye condition is not serious. It is just that God’s fingers are keeping them closed. Keeping them closed means God is testing him and guiding him.”

She continued:

“A message sent through people is just a message. A favor asked of people is just a favor. Words pass through one person, then there is one more person. Words pass through two persons, then there are two more persons. The more people words pass through, the more the words become distorted. If distorted words are imparted, error will be committed in the world. If an error is committed, then it is too late. It is best for the person to return himself. Thereupon, I shall teach him well.”

Tsune returned home and related these words to Hyoshiro. He was deeply impressed and said, “Indeed, that is right.” On the morning of November 3rd, he traveled the distance of sixteen kilometers from Kasama and returned to the Residence, cane in one hand and his wife guiding him by the other. Oyasama began by saying:

“Sah, sah,”

and for two hours thereafter She taught him the story of the creation.

Oyasama’s voice at that time was so forceful that it made the household fixtures tremble. As soon as Oyasama had finished speaking, Hyoshiro suddenly realized that his sight had returned without his knowing when or how. When he came home, he found that the eldest daughter Kimi’s eyes had also been marvelously cured. However, thereafter for some reason until about eight o’clock every morning, he could not see very far, and everything was a blur to him. No matter how much he reflected, he did not receive God’s blessing. Therefore, in January of the following year, 1886, he returned to Jiba again, and asked for guidance. Oyasama instructed to him:

“God has finished guiding you, but has not finished testing you. Testing means that through saving others you yourself shall be saved. You must not think of yourself. If you single-heartedly turn yourself to the thought, ‘I must at any cost save others and have others be saved,’ then your illness will be completely cured.”

Accordingly, thereafter, he ardently strived to save others and before long he had completely recovered from his illness.

Anecdotes of Oyasama pp. 134–135

Background information

An ample amount of background information on Kami Hyoshiro can be found in the second half of my discussion of Anecdotes 34.

To pick up where I left off in that discussion, although Kami Hyoshiro was just a casual follower of Oyasama in the beginning, things changed circa 1882 when he overheard how “the God of Tenri” saved a woman named Yamamoto Isa in neighboring Deyashiki Village (which is mentioned in passing in Anecdotes 84).

His interest piqued, Hyoshiro visited the Yamamoto household, where he was introduced to Yamada Ihachiro, who later became the second minister of Shikishima Daikyokai. Hyoshiro returned home deeply impressed after hearing Ihachiro explain to him about the “ten forms of God’s protection.”

Hyoshiro later visited someone in a nearby village who was developed a disorder in both hands to convey these same teachings and the person experienced a vivid recovery before the night was over. A similar miraculous blessing occurred with a neighbor’s child.

Hyoshiro became convinced in the veracity of the teachings and thereafter dedicated himself exclusively to missionary work. In a few years he converted 24 households to the faith. It was after this time when the events described in Anecdotes 167 are said to have taken place.

My take

Regarding the content of Anecdotes 167, I find the gloss “This was divine guidance” to be much more direct than the original Japanese. Something like “Hyoshiro received more of God’s tending when he lost his vision” would be closer to the original passage.[1]

When Tsune returned to Jiba for the sake of her daughter Kimi[2] and Hyoshiro, her husband, Oyasama said: “It is just that God’s fingers are keeping them closed.” This later statement is more or less similar to what she told Masui Rin in Anecdotes 36 (“You could not see because it was as if God’s hands were in front of your eyes.”)

Oyasama next advises that Hyoshiro ought to return to the Residence and learn from her himself: “The more people words pass through, the more the words become distorted. . . . It is best for [Hyoshiro] to return himself.” The words attributed to Oyasama here bring to mind the game known as “telephone” or by a variety of other names.

I find it noteworthy that when Hyoshiro is led by Tsune across 16 kilometers to Oyasama, she teaches him the Story of Creation. Oyasama had stopped composing verses for the Ofudesaki by 1885 and dedicated much of her time to conveying the Story of Creation to her leading followers. It may also be noted that she forbade them from recording what she taught them on paper in her presence.

After two hours listening to Oyasama speak, Hyoshiro’s vision is restored, “without his knowing when or how.” He finds that Kimi’s vision was also restored when he got home. Yet, his recovery proves to be temporary. When he returns to Oyasama for further instructions, she tells him: “God has finished guiding you, but has not finished testing you. Testing means that through saving others you yourself shall be saved.[3] You must not think of yourself. If you single-heartedly turn yourself to the thought, ‘I must at any cost save others and have others be saved,’ then your illness will be completely cured.”


Hyoshiro thereafter made a decision to begin missionary work in Ise. By doing so, he laid the foundation for today’s Tokai Daikyokai. It is said that Hyoshiro’s missionary efforts helped bring about instances of miraculous blessings at each village he visited.

The momentum in which the faith he spread was so great that each time he settled in a village, before the mud walls could dry completely, a follower elsewhere would often ask him to resettle in his village instead and build Hyoshiro a new home. Since he ended up relocating up to 47 times, he earned the nickname “fresh wall Hyoshiro.”


Kami Yoshikazu 2008. “Itsuwa no kokoro tazunete: gendai ni ikiru Oyasama no oshie 8.” Tenri jihō No. 4105 (11/16/2008), p. 3.

Further reading

Sato Koji’s Omichi no joshiki: “Saved by the Truth of Saving Others” and “A Thing Lent, A Thing Borrowed


[1] It may be noted that there are glosses appearing in Anecdotes of Oyasama that are presently out of fashion. Although “divine guidance” isn’t necessarily an inaccurate gloss for “oteire,” it is more or less a standard today to translate it as “care” (although I personally prefer “tending”). “(Divine) guidance” is usually the standard gloss for “tebiki.” I feel that the two terms just happen to be different ways to express a similar concept.

It may also be useful to mention that the “guiding” from the “guiding and testing” Oyasama mentions herself is a gloss of “tebiki,” which literally means “(to) lead by the hand.” Further, the “guidance” Hyoshiro “asks” for in January 1886 is a gloss of “o-ukagai o negau” (requesting instructions/directions).

[2] It may be noted that Hyoshiro first learned about Oyasama and received the Grant of Safe Childbirth for Tsune when she was pregnant with Kimi in 12 years earlier, in 1873.

[3] For another selection in which Oyasama is quoted as saying something similar, see Anecdotes 42. There were also instances where the effort to save others did not serve as a condition to fulfill but was instead something she recommended others when they inquired on the  express one’s indebtedness for having been saved (i.e., Anecdotes 72 and 100).

Similar instructions delivered through the Honseki include:

“What saves others is the truth of the mind of sincerity. Sah, sah, through your mind of sincerity toward others you yourself will be saved” (Osashizu, August 9, 1888).

“The mind of saving others is the real truth of sincerity alone and, by this truth of saving others, you are saved” (Osashizu, December 20, 1889; Kakisage).