139. With Flag Flying (furafu to tatete)
Kunisaburo Moroi, with a group of ten persons, started to return to Jiba for the third time on January 21, 1884, and arrived at Toyohashi on the twenty-second. The boat was not scheduled to leave till evening, so he took a walk around town, and caught sight of a lantern maker. An idea occurred to him then, and he bought about a hundred and twenty centimeters of extra wide Indian cotton. With this he placed an order for a flag with the lantern maker.
The flag had a white background with a red sun in the center, within which was written, in bold black letters, “Tenrin-Ō-Kosha.” At the lower left was written in small letters, “Totomi Shimmei-gumi [Confraternity].” Flying the flag at the front of the group, they crossed Ise Bay staying overnight at various places on the way, and arrived at Tambaichi* on the twenty-sixth to spend the night at Shobei’s inn, the Ogiya.
The next morning, the twenty-seventh, Moroi led a procession of six rickshaws. He rode in the first one with the flag and was followed by five rickshaws with two persons in each of them. When they reached the road leading to the main gate of the Residence, a police officer on guard questioned them, but since their answers were very clear, he merely noted their names and addresses.
Arriving at the Residence, they learned that for several days Oyasama had been saying:
“Ah, I feel tired, tired. Children will be coming home from afar. Ah, I can see them coming with a flag flying.”
The people around Her were wondering what it was all about. But when they saw the flag they were deeply impressed by the fact that Oyasama was able to see the flag long before it came into sight.
* Tambaichi is now a part of Tenri City.
Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 112-113