Tag Archives: Tosa Unosuke

Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 175

175. Seventeen Children (jūshichi-nin no kodomo)

One day in 1885, Oyasama joyously told the people who were with Her:

“Seventeen children will come home from Awa tomorrow.”

However, not only did the seventeen not return, but no one at all came on that day, nor the next day, nor even on the following day. People grew tired of waiting and forgot Oyasama’s words.

About sixteen or seventeen days later, seventeen persons arrived from Awa. People were surprised, as the number of persons who returned was exactly the same as Oyasama had mentioned. According to what they said, they had planned to sail off the very day that Oyasama had spoken Her words. However, the weather was bad, and after repeated attempts to set sail, they returned to Jiba some sixteen or seventeen days behind schedule. When Unosuke Tosa and his group heard about Oyasama’s words, they were astonished and deeply moved.

When they were granted an audience with Oyasama, She was very pleased to see them, and said:

“At the present, Awa Province seems a faraway place. There will come a day when you will be able to return here in one night while you are asleep if you wish to do so.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 140–141

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 152

152. Twice as Strong (bai no chikara)

It was rare to be admitted to an audience with Oyasama around 1884 as the police exerted very strong pressure in those days. On one occasion, Unosuke Tosa returned to Jiba with twenty-five or six followers. An intermediary told Oyasama, “He is here from Awa.” Oyasama appreciated Tosa’s effort and said:

“Welcome back from a distant province.”

Continuing, She said:

“Tosa, you are here from a distant place, but if you do not realize the true strength of God, you will feel uneasy in bringing back many followers. Why don’t you try God’s strength today?”

Oyasama told an attendant to bring a hand towel and, holding its border between Her thumb and index finger, She asked Tosa:

“Now try and pull it.”

After bowing respectfully, Tosa tried to pull it toward himself with all his might, but he could pull it no closer. Oyasama said, smiling:

“Now, pull it harder. Pull with all your might. Do not hesitate.”

Tosa pulled, his face reddening with the effort. However strongly he pulled it, he was unable to draw it close to himself. Tosa was a strong-armed man by nature, and proud of the strength which he had gained as a sailor, yet he could not draw the towel closer to himself. At last he bowed his head and said, “I am overwhelmed.” Then, Oyasama stretched Her right hand toward him and said:

“Try once more. Now hold Me by the wrist this time.”

Tosa said, “Pardon me,” and respectfully gripped Oyasama’s hand. Oyasama said:

“Now more strongly. More strongly.”

The more strongly he grasped, the more painful his hand became. So he admitted his defeat at last, and bowed deeply before Oyasama, saying, “I am overwhelmed.” Then, Oyasama said to him with a pleasant smile:

“This is God’s strength. Twice as strong as yours.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 124-125

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 149 and 150

149. When It Strikes Six This Morning (u no koku o aizu ni)

In the autumn of 1884, Unosuke Tosa returned to Jiba and stayed at the inn owned by Tsurukichi Fukui which was located in front of the Residence. The following morning, before dawn, someone called out loudly, knocking at the shutter of the inn. “Is Tosa from Awa staying here? If so, come out at once.” It was Risaburo Yamamoto who was calling. When Unosuke came out, Risaburo told him, “Tosa, something very important has happened. God says that when it strikes six this morning, God is going to give you everything that the Shrine of Tsukihi wears. You should be the happiest person in Japan.” Risaburo then started to walk toward the Residence. Unosuke followed him with excited anticipation, thinking it must be a dream.

Led by Risaburo, Unosuke entered the room of Oyasama’s Resting House, and there he saw a neatly folded pile of red garments on the tatami-mat. There was a complete set of clothing, which included a new crimson kimono, a formal half-coat, kimono-undergarments and socks which Oyasama had worn up until the previous evening. Unosuke was sitting, staring blankly, unable to believe his eyes and thinking that it must be a dream. “Do not hesitate. God has given them to you,” the seniors brought to his attention. Then he came to his senses, knelt, and bowed deeply before the paper sliding-door of the raised chamber. Tears ran down his cheeks. There were no words from the chamber; time went by in silence. “This is too much of an honor for a man like me to accept,” he said, overwhelmed. But at the kind persuasion of the people present, he finally said, “I will accept only the honor of receiving the kimono-undergarment which was worn next to Her body.” Holding the red garment tightly to his heart, he rushed back to the inn and wept aloud for joy.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 121-122

150. Persimmons (kaki)

Unosuke Tosa, who was then returning to Jiba almost every month, departed on October 23, 1884, as head of a pilgrimage party of thirty-three persons, and arrived at Jiba on the twenty-seventh. The party was granted an audience with Oyasama, and as they were about to withdraw, She said:

“Wait a moment,”

and detained Tosa. Oyasama asked Hisa Kajimoto, Her granddaughter:

“Ohisa, please bring some persimmons.”

Hisa brought a basketful of ripe persimmons. Whereupon, Oyasama selected one, peeled the skin and cut the fruit into halves.

“Now, help yourself,”

Oyasama said as She presented one half to Tosa and She Herself ate the other half with keen enjoyment. Tosa next began to eat his half of the persimmon.

Oyasama seemed to be very pleased as She watched him eat, but before he was finished, She peeled another persimmon. Oyasama said:

“Now have another one. I shall have one also.”

She gave half to Tosa and ate the other half Herself. Oyasama gave him one after another in this way. Tosa was moved with emotion because he felt that Oyasama was eating the persimmons so that he would not hesitate in deference to Her. Again She said:

“Do not hesitate.”

Tosa said, “I have eaten till my stomach is full. The followers are waiting at the inn so I will take this piece and let them share it.” So saying, he politely accepted the last piece that was offered and as he was about to wrap it in a piece of tissue paper, Oyasama signaled Hisa with Her eyes. Hisa filled both of his hands and his kimono sleeves with persimmons. In this manner, Tosa received as many persimmons as he could carry.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 122-123

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 99

99. Wedding in Osaka

One day in March 1882, Unosuke Tosa abruptly left his home in Muya without telling his wife, carrying only the shrine of God the Parent on his back. This move was made after a long struggle with his adoptive parents who strongly opposed his single-hearted devotion to missionary work. Afterward he began to spread the teachings at Sangenya in Osaka.

Sometimes he felt forlorn and helpless when he thought of Masa, his wife, whom he had left at home, but he was glad that he was living closer to Jiba. It was his greatest joy to see Oyasama by returning to Jiba. Because nothing was more pleasant for him than being with Her as long as possible, he kept staying at the Residence. On such a particular day, Unosuke was weeding at the Residence in the warm spring sun. He was not aware that Oyasama was standing behind him until She spoke to him smiling:

“You had better return to Osaka quickly. There will be a wedding there.”

Unosuke said, “Yes, I see,” but he had not the slightest idea who was going to be married.

Thinking about Oyasama’s puzzling remark over and over, he returned to his lodgings in Osaka and found a new pair of woman’s clogs at the entrance. His wife, Masa, was there. She clung madly to her husband’s chest and wept and wept without saying a word. After a long time she looked up at him and tearfully begged him to return, saying, “Please come back to Muya with me. Your missionary work will be no problem. Forgive me, I’ve been so weak until now. But now I am resolved. I will persuade my parents to allow you to pursue your life of faith.”

Because Tosa knew well what would happen if he should return home and being determined not to be swayed by her love, he gave no answer. It was at that time that he suddenly recalled Oyasama’s words which he had heard at Jiba. He had not even considered being reinstated in the Tosa family. But when he thought it over carefully, he was able to understand the true meaning of Oyasama’s words that it was he himself who was the groom in Osaka. He finally resolved, “I was completely wrong in forsaking my family because of their opposition to my life of faith. I shall again return home and no matter how great the hardships may be, I will accept them all joyfully. Single-heartedly I will dedicate myself; even if I should die, I will be happy.”

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 81–83

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Blogging Anecdotes of Oyasama 88

88. From a Dangerous Place

The events of this story took place in late autumn of 1881. Unosuke Tosa was saved from near shipwreck close to Okushiri Island off Hokkaido. His ship docked at the port of Osaka, and on the same day he returned to Jiba to offer his thanks to God. He worshiped before the Kanrodai, offered his thanks to God the Parent, and vowed to carry out his firm resolution in the future.

He was so happy that he told the seniors at the Residence in detail the story of his having been saved. One of those who was listening, interrupted and asked whether that event had occurred at a certain time on a certain day in a certain month. When Unosuke calculated the date of his salvation, he realized it was exactly the same day. According to the senior, “Oyasama opened the sliding door and stood for a while facing north, waving an open Service fan, calling to someone to come,

‘Ho there! Ho there!’

I thought it was very strange. Now that I have heard your story, I understand what She was doing.” At this, Tosa was so touched with emotion that he could not contain himself. He made his appearance before Oyasama and, bowing deeply before Her, offered his gratitude, “Thank you for saving my life.” His voice trembled, and his eyes were so filled with tears that he could not clearly see Oyasama’s face. Oyasama spoke to him in a gentle voice and comforted him, saying:

“I brought you home from a dangerous place.”

Tosa then and there decided to leave his lifelong work as a seaman and made a firm resolution to dedicate his life to the single-hearted salvation of others.

Anecdotes of Oyasama, pp. 74–75.

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Muya Daikyokai 120th anniversary service

October 4 (Sun): I was lucky enough to attend the service commemorating the 120th anniversary of Muya Daikyokai / dedication service for the new roof for their Foundress’ Sanctuary in Naruto, Tokushima. The service was attended by the Shinbashira, Zenji Nakayama. (Harue Nakayama, his wife, may have been there as well but I haven’t been able to confirm at writing.)

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The Footsteps of Our Predecessors 52

The following is a translation of Part 52 of the series “Senjin no sokuseki” (Footsteps of Our Predecessors) from the April 2007 (No. 460) issue of Taimo, pp. 34–35. This translation is a provisional one at the moment and may require further revision.

Part 52: The Path of Repayment to God

Sailor Unosuke Tosa had been told at an Osaka hospital that his heart condition that arose from beriberi was beyond medical help. Yet, after hearing the teachings of the path spread to him from the proprietress of a sailor’s inn, he received the blessings of a vivid cure and returned to Jiba to express his appreciation.

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