Izo As the Honseki
In early 1888, followers quietly made preparations for the First Anniversary of Oyasama. They began the ceremonies by performing the Kagura Service and the Teodori from five in the morning.
Just as they were about to begin a Shinto-styled memorial service, a Shinto priest from Omiwa Kyokai came and demanded to know why they had conducted the ceremony without his knowledge when Omiwa priests had presided over Oyasama’s funeral the year before. The followers explained that they sent an invitation to Omiwa Kyokai but received a message that no one would be able to attend the ceremonies. The priest then left with the warning, “You will regret this.”
Soon, police from Ichinomoto Station intervened. They ordered followers to immediately stop the memorial service and forced followers who were not related to the Nakayamas to leave the premises.
The chief of the Ichinomoto police expressed his regret about having had to take such measures, but insisted the law was the law and the first Shinbashira Shinnosuke Nakayama lacked prefectural permission to allow people to gather in large numbers. The chief of police then advised Shinnosuke to obtain official recognition to allow followers to gather.
Leading followers subsequently held a conference where they decided it might prove easier to apply to establish a Tenrikyo headquarters in Tokyo instead of Nara or Osaka and petition to relocate the headquarters to the Jiba at a later date. Shinnosuke approached the Honseki to inquire of God the Parent and received the following words:
I shall wash clean this place of origin. I shall wash until the difference between silver and gold becomes clear. I shall make the truth of this Residence clear. The one truth in the Residence, the one truth of the Jiba, is to stand alone. But for the time being I allow another place… I shall allow those who are concerned to come together and begin the procedure. But you must keep in mind the original intent and the path of God.
Osashizu, March 9, 1888
On April 5, Shinnosuke applied for official permission to establish the Tenri organization in Tokyo Prefecture. The long efforts to gain official recognition finally came to fruition on April 10, 1888, when permission to found the Tenri Kyokai, then an organization under the Shinto Honkyoku, was granted.
Although Shinnosuke and other leading followers recognized the importance of being connected with the Jiba and knew very well the “headquarters” in Tokyo was to be a temporary one, they were hesitant to enact the petition to the government to relocate the headquarters back to Jiba for the time being. They feared if they acted too soon, it would appear as a “shallow trick,” and nullify their legal sanction.
Soon, however, the illness of the Honseki in July 1888 urged them to abandon their hesitancy, put their trust in God the Parent, and turn in the papers to obtain permission to relocate the headquarters to Jiba. When the followers stated their resolve to do exactly so, God said:
Now I shall settle the truth at the Jiba. There is a vast difference between the truth of the Jiba and the truth of the world. They change the place and call it the headquarters. Even the authorities say this. People say the headquarters is over there but they do not understand anything at all. Because the one truth exists at the Jiba, peace will reign in the world… If you have a mind of true sincerity, purified through and through and through, then hurry, hurry.
Osashizu, July 2, 1888
Shinnosuke immediately turned in the application to Nara Prefecture for permission to relocate the headquarters and it was granted on July 23, 1888. The Inauguration Ceremony of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was held on November 29 (10/26/1888).
Then in late 1888 and 1889, the first directly supervised churches such as Koriyama, Heishin, Yamana, Senba, Kawaramachi, Muya, and others were founded.
The construction of the Honseki’s new residence
On July 15, 1888, the Honseki’s daughter Yoshie gave birth to Tatsue, his first grandchild. Yoshie gave birth to another daughter, Kinue, on February 5, 1892.
The Honseki’s family lived in the South Gatehouse since 1883, but in May 1889, the Honseki moved into a small building (approximately 15 feet square) constructed as his residence. Still, the Honseki continued to use the South Gatehouse for some time as the place where he bestowed the truth of the Sazuke and where he delivered the Divine Directions and granted divine sanction for church affairs. So, in 1892, God the Parent expressed the need to build a larger hall for the Honseki to conduct these procedures. God’s words were as follows:
This construction that is about to begin, it is to be a temporary building. Nevertheless, build big. Let me instruct you to think big as you embark on this project, the numbers will assemble according to the truth of your minds.
Osashizu, September 5, 1892, trial translation
Sato passes away for rebirth
However, before the construction of the hall was completed, Sato, who supported her husband, the Honseki, for 30 years since they joined the faith in 1864, passed away for rebirth on March 18, 1893, due to a sudden illness. She was 60 years old. God’s words at the time were as follows:
This is a setback just for the time being, there is no reason to grieve. You must look at the situation in the future, the situation of the world at large and have tanno. She will return tomorrow, she will return soon. There is no reason to grieve. You must rejoice.
Osashizu, March 18, 1893, trial translation
Despite God the Parent’s instructions to Izo not to grieve, it truly must have been difficult. Sitting by Sato’s bedside, Izo said, “Sato, you served me well for such a long time. Thank you. Please come back soon.”
The Honseki moved into his new residence on December 3, 1893, following the Autumn Grand Service (conducted on the lunar 10/26).
Later, Rin Masui was chosen to become the Honseki’s personal attendant.
*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.
- Fukaya Tadamasa 深谷忠政, ed. Jijo satoshi, pp. 577–578, 605–608.
- Nakayama, Zenye. Guideposts, pp. 10–17.
- Okuya Bunchi 奥谷文智, ed. Honseki-sama 『本席さま』, pp. 173–183.
- Tenrikyo Doyusha 天理教道友, ed. Ten no jogi: Honseki Iburi Izo no shogai 『天の定規―本席飯降伊蔵の生涯』, pp. 71–76, 161.
- Tenrikyo Kyogi oyobi Shiryo Shusei-bu 天理教教義及資料集成部 (Tenrikyo Department of Doctrine and Historical Materials]) ed. Kohon Nakayama Shinnosuke den 『稿本中山眞之亮伝』, pp. 57–80, 82–98.
- Tenrikyo Overseas Mission Department. Selections from the Osashizu (revised edition), pp. 23–27.
- _________. Tenrikyo: The Path to Joyousness, pp. 56–58.
- Ueda Eizo 植田英蔵. Shinpan Iburi Izo den 『新版飯降伊蔵伝』, pp. 118–121.
- Yamamoto Kunio and Nakajima Hideo 山本久二夫・中島秀夫. Osashizu kenkyu, pp. 114–120.