195. Thank You for Your Trouble (go-kurō-sama)
“Oyasama made no distinction between people and She was a very compassionate person. No matter what kind of person She met, She never showed any sign of discrimination. No matter what kind of person came to the Residence, She considered everyone to be Her child. No matter how great a man came, She said:
‘Thank you for your trouble.’
Even when beggars came, She would say:
‘Thank you for your trouble.’
Her attitude and manner of speaking never changed. She considered them all to be Her loving children. Once a person met Oyasama, no matter what kind of person he was, he would be moved by Oyasama’s parental love and be reformed at once. Perhaps they were moved by Oyasama’s compassion.
For example, even a police officer who came to investigate and a local ruffian had been converted to the faith. After just one visit, many either entered the faith or experienced a change of heart. These are recollections of Naokichi Takai.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 153–154
The central gist of Anecdotes 195 is the idea that every person who visited Oyasama received the same treatment, despite what their social rank may have been.
It is also worth noting that “Thank you for your trouble” or “go-kuro-sama” and its many other variations have made frequent appearances throughout Anecdotes of Oyasama. It would therefore be safe to conclude that it was a phrase that Oyasama used in everyday conversation.
To offer all known examples:
- “Thank you very much for your trouble (go-kuro-san na koto ya). Are you going to feed Me again?” (Anecdotes 25)
- “Thank you for your trouble last night (yube wa, gokuro yatta na)” (Anecdotes 56)
- “Thank you for having worked these many, many years (naga naga no aida, go-kuro de atta)” (Anecdotes 83)
- “Shirobei, thank you very much for your trouble. I did not feel hungry at all, thank you (Shirobei-san, go-kuro yatta na. Okage de, chitto mo himoju nakatta de)” (Anecdotes 106)
- “You went through much difficulty. Because you have achieved harmony in the family, I grant you the Sazuke of Ashiki-harai. Receive it (Yo kuro shite kita. Uchiuchi oriota kara, Ashiki harai no Sazuke o watasu. Uketore)” (Anecdotes 114)
- “Thank you for your work” (go-kuro-san) (Anecdotes 146)
By itself, the phrase “go-kuro-sama” et al. may not really be considered particularly extraordinary. The phrase is still used as a greeting today to express appreciation for a person’s efforts (although “otsukaresama deshita” may be more common in standard Japanese.)
Granted, Oyasama certainly used “go-kuro-sama” to acknowledge her followers’ efforts and express her appreciation. Such is the general context of examples 1–5 above. Nevertheless, it may be instructive to examine the particular contexts of the examples I gave above further.
Example 1 (A25) also portrays Oyasama using the phrase consolingly to calm a distressed woman who dropped the rice she tried to feed to Oyasama.
Example 2 (A56) was expressed to a follower after he served a stint in prison. It is explained that these words caused him to “resolve to undergo any hardship any number of times” for the sake of the faith.
Examples 3 and 5 (A83 and A114) were spoken immediately before Oyasama bestowed the Sazuke to a follower.
Example 4 (A106) was what Oyasama said to Umetani Shirobei to acknowledge both his efforts to deliver meals to her while she was in prison as well as those of his wife Tane, who prepared and served symbolic meals in Osaka for Oyasama’s behalf. Shirobei was “allowed to make personal inquires of Oyasama without an intermediary” beginning the very next day. Shirobei also happened to be told, “Thank you very much for your recent contribution of labor” (kono aidaju wa go-kuro de atta) by a senior follower just before he was presented a set of Oyasama’s red clothes (Anecdotes 126).
Finally, example 6 (A146) may be the most intriguing one here since it is said that by this one phrase alone, Oyasama was able to convert a soldier who eventually went on to found a church that is a daikyokai today.
In The Life of Oyasama, there is also a description of how Oyasama (long before she became the “Shrine of Tsukihi” or the vehicle for God’s revelation) would consistently say “go-kuro-san” to an idle young man who was on the Nakayama’s payroll. Eventually, this purportedly had the transformative power to reform the man into one of their best workers (p. 15).