Mother Earth

Volume 6: The Voice of Thunder

Chapter 8: The Oshima Island and the Meshima Island

      The Meiji government had suffered from the Treaty of Ansei; Five countries, America, Holland, Russia, England and France had concluded a treaty that was said by the Japanese for a long time to treat Japan as a backward country in July, 1858. But, the government succeeded in revising this treaty with other countries. With the Sino-Japanese War (which broke out in August) close on the heels of this, Japan ended with a victory for Ching in 1895. As a result, Japan got Taiwan and The P'eng hu Islands as colonies, and was numbered finally among great powers with Europe and America according to its' long-cherished desire.

      But, the newcomer was almost immediately struck hard on the head, by Germany, Russia and France. These countries asked Japan to return the conquered territory of the Liaotung Peninsula. It is called the three-Power Intervention in Japan. According to the slogan which was held at the time: "sustained determination and perseverance" and "Improving Japanese the skill of the katana for ten years" of the structure of the nation the government was pushing the political awareness of the nation into nationalism. Adopting the policy to give power for power, the arms budget increased and the government drove the nation into the militaristic system at a high pace.

      The law of mixed residence for foreigners in the country came into force in July 1899 based on the treaty's revision, and brought about the severe social problems because foreigners were, at the beginning allowed to make trips and engage in business freely in Japan.

      The god criticized people severely in the Fudesaki.

      __Japan, the country has been separated from the sacred situation of the god at its origin. However, you have allowed the mixed residence of foreigners in the countryside, and the god regrets it. (in February 20, Meiji era 33 of the old calendar)

      In 1900, the dispute of the Power's interests, pushed hard for the partition of Ching. It was clear in Fudesaki which described 'Everybody thinks of the self first' 'The battle is for the strong' as the appearance of the evil spirit (the foreign's spirit written in Japanese characters)' Finally, I-ho-t' uan was against the Ch'ing dynasty, hoisting the flag of "Exclusionism" as a slogan, and surrounding the foreign legations in Peking on June 4. Japan participated with the Allies but came forward to quell the riot. Hereupon, the North China affair broke out.

      __As the evil will of the person strengthen, no one is able to keep a true mind. When looking at the weakened countries, which are occupied by force, and the people of the captured countries are not able to say anything. Because despise being children of the god they are treated too coldly by you, who are more cruel than a beast, the god appears to help the suffers in the world and levels everything with a stick, you understand. (May 5, Meiji era 33 of the old calendar)

      Nao asked Kisaburo a question. "Concerning the second re-election this time, we have to visit Oshima, said the god to me. How strange! Do you know where Oshima is?" "Oshima? How should describe Oshima?" Kisaburo muttered and restated, "Well, is it, an island... on the side of the Japan Sea or on the Pacific side?"

      It was an unreasonable question for Nao, because all the characters of Fudesaki are hiragana, and Oshima was written 'o shi ma'

      Kisaburo found the names of Oshima on a map; The Oshima Peninsula facing the Straits of Tsushima, the northwestern area of Hokkaido; a town named Oshima in the surroundings of Kumamoto, in Kyushu and island in the Matsushima bay, Miyagi Prefecture. Nao asked the god about the places which Kisaburo indicated, and denied all of them.

      Nao said, "The Oshima is the Island of the Dragon's palace (The palace in which the dragon God lives on the bottom of the deep sea in the legend). I view the shadows the following of two islands in the choppy sea."

      "The island of the Dragon's Palace...? Yah, if it is the island which I saw through my Sacred Eyes in the Takakuma Mountain that is the golden island which is shining at a point in the sea west of Misenzan Mountain, I remember."

      Kisaburo closed his eyes yearningly, and called to his mind the old figure of the god. Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto with whom he has met at that beach.

      Kisaburo inquired among those present to investigate the open sea of the Maizuru district in the front of the altar.

      "Reverend, I found Oshima." A few days later, Keitaro Kinoshita, twenty-one years old, rushed into the hall in front of the altar, goggling his round and big eyes.

      Kinoshita was the eldest son of the peasant, Kamejiro Kinoshita in the Higashi-Hatta Village (currently, Takatsuki, Ayabe City). Keitaro, about nineteen years old, suffered from an inflammation of the liver, and drifted aimlessly in spite of his youth. He was guided by Yohei Shikata and his wife, coming to pluck tea from the Ida Village, and he first visited the Kiya church of the Reverend Sadashichi in the Uramachi district on March 20, 1897.

      Since recovering perfectly from the disease thanks to the blessings of the god, he continued to believe Nao sincerely.

      Nao appeared from the back room of the house hearing Kinoshita's loud voice.

      "The uninhabited islet in the Maizuru district is called the Oshima, I heard. Besides this one, there is also the Meshima islet."

      Kisaburo asked, "It is an uninhabited islet, isn't it? Has someone been there?"

      Yah, the old man named Takabe whom I met in Ayabe visited the islet a long time ago. He had heard that there was a lot of guano, and had the notion that he could collect guano without charge and sell it for manure. He chartered a small boat and went to the Oshima islet. What a wonder! On the islet, there were only many birds and mountains of guano according to the rumor. Thinking that he could get a good price for it, he first sat down on a rotten tree to have a smoke. Before long, the decayed wood began to shake. When he looked at it carefully, he noticed that the bark of the rotten wood was all over the scale covered with lichens. He was unable to guess the length, and where the head or the tail were. It began to move. "The big snake! Well, I'll be damned! While creeping and rolling, he barely managed to reach the edge of the water, and fled back with his bare life, hurrying up the boatman. Takabe-han grumbled 'making a profit and earning money like so rain I learned at my expense what a terrible occurrence.' Oh, yes! So the sea between the Oshima islet and the Meshima islet is called the Sea of the Dragon's Palace, I heard."

      Nao said at once, "I believe it is the Oshima islet. We are going to sail to it."

      It mattered little why Nao was going to visit the islet. It was enough reason to go according to the god's reason. The officials of the church rumored that Nao went to pray for the victory of the Imperial Army.

      On July 4 (June 8 of the old calendar), five persons, Nao Deguchi, her daughter Sumi, Kisaburo Ueda, with their attendants Heizo Shikata and Keitaro Kinoshita set off Ayabe, making preparations of a straw raincoat made with rush and a rush hat, cotton clothes, with gaiters on, and the zori (Japanese sandals) covered paper. Nao took only two servants along because the officials and believers of the church were scattered. While passing over the passes, they felt that the chilly air of the rainy season was changing to sweltering air.

      Nao and her party had lunch at a restaurant named Kinoshita, and there they took a break. They followed the mountain path for 5.5 ri (about 22 kilometers) and took an early supper at the Otafukuya in the Maizuru district. The party reached the shipping agent named O-niuya at the edge of the Shimbashi district, Takeya-cho which was the biggest shopping area at about 5 p.m.

      The O-niuya was a two storied house with long and narrow rooms which had a frontage of two ken (about 3.6 meters) wide and over ten ken (about 18 meters) long same as other house fronting the Takeya-cho street. This shipping agent had been selling kitchenware and salt while carrying persons and the goods on his boat.

      The master of the shipping agent, Mohitchi Nishikawa, had died at age of forty-nine, the year before last, his wife Hatsuno who became the owner of the firm character developed steadily the management of the agent.

      "I'd like to rent a small boat, hurriedly."

      Nao said to the head clerk of the O-niuya, controlling herself.

      The sea and the harbor which Sumi saw at first was new for her. It was the busy season for catching mackerels. All over the port town there hunt the smell of the fish. Seaweeds beside the miscellaneous goods were on display, and salted straw bags were heaped up in front of the store, as persons went busily in and out.

      Viewing the blue sea, Sumi shouted, "That seems to be the sea." Kisaburo laughed at her, saying "this is the sea, not something looking like it."

      Taking a rest on the second floor of the shipping agency, the party was told to finish the arrangements for a boat, by the head clerk. Passing through the narrow unfloored part of the house and stepping down the stone stairs at the back of the house the party found the pier, which was the landing place of the Takano river. In front of this place they saw the Atago mountain, and Mitsu-ga-take and Makiyama mountains on the right hand, in view of the skirts of the Makiyama mountain stretching the headland of Kanega-misaki.

      It was still a little time left before sunset, but the sky suddenly became dark. The sky was covered with dark clouds like thin Indian ink in a moment.

      "This is no good circumstance. My guest, we will have bad weather. We cannot sail."

      The boatmen began to prepare themselves for turning hack, as a matter of course. But, Nao did not move, staring fixedly at the rising waves.

      "The god ordered me to start on the eighth. Sail at once at all costs, boatmen!" "You say so, but, in spite of the god's order..."

      Pain was coming down in torrents, digging innumerably spots in the sandy beach. The boatman shouted in a wooly voice, facing the wind and rain."

      "I have a weak judgement. At this night, it will be very heavy weather at sea. Look at the sea. The boats desperately hurry up to come back."

      "I must sail at all costs to the islet," said Nao calmly. The head clerk of the Hani-uya said, looking amazed, "Please trust the matters of the sea to the sailors. Do you understand that this islet is about 1O ri (about 44 kilometers) from the shore? And in spite of stormy weather tonight, you request me to sail in such a fishing boat. If you want to do so at all costs, it will prove fatal to me. It will be too late for you to regret your act when on your way to the islet. Go sailing after judging the weather and confirming the safety of your trip wait until dawn; you will never regret following my advice."

      The pier was thrown into commotion. The boatmen who were coming back shouted at each other. Anyway, the party escaped the freshening wind and rain under the back door's eaves of the Oniuya. The sea was rumbled ominously.

      Nao said to the boatmen, "It is a natural thing that the sea becomes so rough because the Dragon God greets us delight. Don't be alarmed. The god orders me to do so. I am not allowed to hesitate for a moment. It is a blessing either that we die or live. We cannot die according to our wills if the god orders us not to die. Please sail in the hope." "We have no duty to throw away our lives because of your insanity." A boatman said so regretfully over his shoulder.

      Nao negotiated with the remaining boatmen without a flinch. "You know Bakuchiga Point. When we reach this Point, the wind drops and it will stop raining, the god told me so. I give as much money as possible." "I like money, but not more than my life. It is out of the question to attend such foolish request." The boatman goggled at the faces of the members of the party, and left in the storm and the dark night.

      "Who is the best boatman on this beach?" Keitaro Kinoshita asked the head clerk who looked up in despair.

      "Well, Iwakichi and Roku-yan are ranked Yokozuna (No.1 in the Sumo's rank). But, in this stormy seas, even a kappa (a river monster) will flinch." "I will bring back these two persons even if I need to trick him. Heizo-han, you should persuade them. Kinoshita who heard their address began to run, stooping.

      Kisaburo became tired at the bottom of his heart. He thought that, even if they were sailing a half day or a day later, the state of things would not change. You're best advised to take the sea trip, while enjoying the blue expanse of water. If the god Ushitora-no-Konjin orders us to sail to the islets by all means, the god must calm down this rough sea before we sail. First, he will not want to expose his dear wife to danger.

      He thought that only Nao's daughter was able to argue because she would adhere to her determination to the very last. Kisaburo looked at Sumi.

      Looked at the sea like at a living being with pleasure. Kisaburo calmed down.

      Kisaburo soon fetched Iwakichi Tanaka, thirty-five years old, Rokuzo Hashimoto, twenty-seven years old. They were weather-beaten, stringy men.

      The party's members entreated them earnestly to sail. "Oh, my friends, you attempt the impossible although it is the god's order. I have lived in a boat for a long time, just like my house on the sea, and I will show you how to sail in usually stormy weather even if it grows violet... say Roku-yan, isn't that so!"

      "Where did you come from? Moreover, there are even two women. I see, the Oshima islet means the male, a man's islet. This sailing is a matter of life and death having only a few plans between perdition and us. About worshipping at the Oshima islet, it is said that a man must worship at Oshima only one time in his life, not two times. Around here, a man can attain manhood after visiting the Oshima. Women are not allowed to visit the islet, because this islet is closed to woman folk from the old times. After entering the Meiji period, people have not been strictly about it, but there is no curious woman who will take the trouble to go to a man's islet. Well, take my friendly advice and your sailing."

      Heizo looked despaired. "Founder, as even famous boatmen flinched from sailing there is nothing to do for us, but wait until thins become calm."

      Nao said, "Even if only I am going, please sail at once. The god is waiting for me."

      Kinoshita refused. "Are you going to sail for only one ri (4.4 kilometers) or half a ri? Even if you cannot make the destination at all costs on our way to the Oshima, we will pay the total boat fare."

      The boatman considered a little. Heizo persuaded him at once. "The god told us that the stormy weather will calm down after we reach the Bakuchi-ga-saki. But, we are new to sailing, and we may give in up only after sailing for only fifty meters. But, anyhow...."

      Heizo folded his hands. The boatman compromised with him, at last. He offered the idea of deciding through drawing a sacred lot. If indicating a good luck, it would tell them to sail. The boatman carried two pieces of the central stalk of a dried rice plant. If a short piece was drawn, it would mean stopping, and a long piece would mean to sail.

      Rokuzo, a boatman offered the stalk and Iwakichi, his friend drew it. "What is the result?" All looked at Iwakichi's hand. Iwakichi said looking pale, "Oh yah, it means that the god orders us to visit the islet."

      Kisaburo whispered in his wife's ear. "O-Sumi, remain and wait for us at the total." "Oh, no. I'm going." "We will take the small boat without only one stepping-board in this stormy sea. It is a matter of life and death." "The god orders us, I hear." "Are you a female?" "Yes, mother also...." "Your mother is not female." "Dear me! What person is she if she is not the female?" "She has the flesh of female, and spirit of a male, as described in the O-Fudesaki." "I am not a female." "You rascal! You are my wife, are you?" "However, a male of Shingu district, I am...."

      Both quarreled aloud. Nao had already taken place in the shaking boat being impatient to wait any longer.

      Kisaburo went hurriedly to calm her down. "I am...huh...anxious about you. If anything should happen to you...." "Your old mother is more anxious than you by a great deal. Adding to this, that is a rare chance to sail on stormy seas. If being unable to do so, only I will suffer a serious loss...."

      They will not say that this was according to the god's order, or let us all together, mother and husband. She looked like a playgirl who pushed forward her lower lip, when excluded from an interesting game.

      "Fool!" Shouted Nao.

      Kisaburo picked up Sumi into his arms and throw her into the small boat. Iwakichi was at the helm and Rokuzo pulled an oar. Nao sat down stiffly at the head, behind followed Heizo Shikata, Keitaro Kinoshita, and Sumi, and Kisaburo sat cross-legged at the stern. Seven persons in all, and the small boat was filled up. The wind, the rain, the spray of the sea soaked through their cloths without mercy.

      At ten O'clock at the night, the small boat was set free into the surging billows. Iwakichi and Rokuzo gripped the helm and clinged to the oar, throwing away any selfishness. They went ahead, and ahead, with only the soul of the sailor to help them.

      Feeling as if they were tossed up between water and heaven, they were risen the high waves while the oar, leaving the water paddled the air. When the boat tell down eternally until they found themselves at the bottom of the waves. From the boat, the bow and the stern white water of the waves rushed into the boat.

      Heizo and Kisaburo dipped out the seawater desperately with a bailer and a small pail. Iwakichi often felt that his death was approaching. Even in the Inland Sea, we have such stormy sea. When we reach the headland of the Bakuchi-ga-saki, we will be in the open sea. We cannot return alive. However, the instant we veer the head of the boat will turn over like a turtle in a moment, being hit on the broadside by the waves, I drew lots from the devil's luck to be talked into this by the old woman.

      Rokuzo was a bachelor with no family, but, Iwakichi had four children. Furthermore, the youngest child had just been born in June of this year. He could not die because of his family.

      A beatiful echo of a Shinto prayer was heard as if the verses were cut and flown in by the wind and the waves. All looked at Nao who was praying to the god in the bow disregarding the peril to her life, and Kisaburo at heaven calmly. The moment Iwakichi braced himself in surprise, he steered.

      Rokuzo often glanced at Sumi. At the moment of dropping down to the bottom of the waves, she was washed in water she clinged to Kisaburo while screaming loudly.

      And then, she would let go her hold of him, while expecting the next wave. It seemed that they were enjoying themselves in the surf. Before long, Rokuzo got frightened. Sumi did not get up, falling on her breast on the bottom of the boat. Thinking that only a female had lost consciousness, he focused on her and noticed that she had pillowed her head on Kisaburo's lap and Kisaburo was smoothing down her married woman's coiffure washed with waves. It could be imagined from her attitude waving her back calmly that she had felt as if she were an in dreamland.

      "Damn you! The shameless plucks." Rokuzo grinned at him, working at the oar. When they had sail for three ri (about 16 kilometers), the umbrella, which Nao had taken in her hands, fell into the sea through the force of the shaking. Iwakichi picked it promptly up and put it beside Heizo who was lying down in the board.
Sumi suddenly rose and was focused on Heizo, then again, lay down looking for the sequel of the dream.

      "That is the Bakuchi-ga-saki!" Iwakichi creamed at the instant he recognized the light of the Pass when the small boat had arisen on the summit of the waves. Being seized with fear the hands of Iwakichi, being at the helm got stiff.

      "Oh, Founder, we arrived at Bakuchi-ga-saki, after all."

      Keitaro Kinoshita crawled on his knees beside Nao. At the signal of his act, it stopped raining suddenly and moreover, the wind calmed down. The waves also seemed gradually to press the ground swells down. The moon of the eighth day appeared in the sky, and the glittering stars shone like gold and silver sands in the Galaxy, which ran from south to north. The stars, which were strewn in the heaven, dropped their lights to the bottom of the deep sea, and the surface of the sea mirrored the nocturnal sky. The boat sailed as if it were gliding in midair between the moons, the stars. Nao's prophecy had come true.

      A black shadow, which had appeared far out at sea, intercepted the light of the moon.

      Rokuzo shouted, "Oh! I see Oshima-han, and behind it, Meshima-han." A shout of joy arose. Kinoshita and Heizo smiled, rubbing their eyes full of tears. Unexpectedly, they recited a prayer in unison. Iwakichi and Rokuzo had their hearts unconsciously full of gratitude to the god, and bowed their heads.

      As the boat approached the Oshima islet took the shape of the inequilateral triangle. A sailor's song echoed cheerfully.

      The Meshima and the Oshima islets are eight ri (about 32 kilometers) offshore. 0n the strong waves which are like snowstorm a little cuckoo sings. While going across a pine grove to see Tanabe (the old name of Maizuru district) the fog thickens and put Tanabe out of sight.

      Kisaburo also sang to himself, being aroused his interest to see in which silver waves rippled out in all direction. Propelling a boat with a pole, which is digging the moon on the waves, came surging a boat floating on the ocean.

      Nao seemed to fall asleep, sitting straight on the boat. Sumi kept her head on Kisaburo's lap. The men were chatting about terrible sea, not yet relieved from the excitement.

      The moon dipped and the stars appeared, and the sun was rising as if some one put up a golden ball behind the mountains of the Wakasa region. The dark green of the Oshima islet was gradually swelling up, and countless birds' songs echoed to a deafening degree. They felt as if the whole thing was the occurrence of the Dragon's palace island in the legend. The air sometimes darkened when the flying streaked shearwaters were covering it with the innumerable wings.

      Sumi was awaked by the song of the birds and rose, "Yah, we have already arrived at the islet." Kisaburo poked Sumi in the brow with his finger, "You take it easy. Maybe, you were dreaming of jogging on a portable shrine."

      Sumi opened her eyes as if feeling the clear deep sea, "What do you say? I have awaked. I remember. Lo! When Heizo was washed away by wave, he dropped into the sea...." "I know it well. The magnificent god appeared from behind my mother and brought Heizo on boat. While the god breathed into Heizo's mouth and returned him to life, I was watching him carefully. You understand."

      No one spoke for a while. Nao pointed to the umbrella at Heizo's feet. "Oh, when the umbrella dropped...," said Heizo. "It is mine." He muttered with like a frozen pipe.

      "This is not O-Sumi's dream. I had a pain in the chest on the way, and threw up all I had eaten into the sea. In the water, I fainted. My nose was bunged up...Ah, I'm going to die. But I am not allowed to join the founder because I was sinful. While thinking that I could certainly not figure out whether I was in the boat or at the bottom of the sea I felt was sinking deeper and deeper. I barely managed to recover my senses when the boat arrived at the headland of Bakuchi-ga-saki." "I understand now. The umbrella, which the founder had dropped into the sea, was now near Heizo-san. You escaped death by a hair's breadth," Kisaburo patted him on the shoulder.

      In normal circumstances, I could not possibly be saved, but, I begged for mercy to the god and got His blessings."

      Heizo joined his hands and prayed to the god in thankfulness for His blessings. The others prayed in silence. Everyone remembered Nao's previous words: we will live or die according to the god's will.

      At last, the boat reached the shore of the Oshima islet.

      The desert islet of Oshima was located about 2O nautical miles offshore from Maizuru at the entrance of the Wakasa Bay, and was 413 meters from east to west, 1316 meters from south to north, and was 169.7 meters above sea level. This islet was covered with soft clay based on the matrix of the andesite. There were a lot of cliffs around the islet. It was said that boats could come near the islet only between April and August when the sea was calm. Tens of thousands of streaked shearwaters were now laying eggs, and would finish bringing up the young birds by autumn, when the sea is rough and it is impossible to sail. They will leave the islet for the South Seas at the beginning of winter.

      Crossing the side of the boat first, Nao landed on her feet. The party jumped over a few stones at the beach and landed at the eastern side of the islet. The party performed their ablutions at the beach at once.

      The streaked shearwaters flew around, and drifted over the waves. The other birds looked down at them standing side by side closely on the rocks. This bird is a little larger than a common gull. The bird has brown spots on the rear of its head on a white background, and shrieks hard in group, opening its bill with a peach blow hook-shaped part, as if it was calling in a husky voice, and shrill voice, peeping as if heaving a sigh, stepping up to them to see with marvelous air. The party felt welcomed in spite of being the only ones on the islet.

      There was a shrine named Obitojima which was dedicated to the god Obitojima-Myojin. The party went through the shrines torii (a Shinto shrine archway). Hundreds of the flags were set up at both sides of precincts in front of the shrine. The fishermen of the Tango district visited the shrine and raised the flags with their names written on them at the annual festival of the old calendar, May 5th. A straw rice-bag of cleansed rice was suspended from the eaves of the shrine. According to Iwakichi's explanation, the fishermen land their boats at the islet to take refuge from storm while on the way to fishing, and another day, they return to the shrine to thank the god and offer the cleansed rice.

      A giant snake was lying in front of the shrine. "The household of the Dragon's Palace, thank you very much for your reception," said Nao severely. The snake moved composedly and ensconced itself waving the grass. The party offered animals and plants from mountains and rivers of Ayabe, and recited the Shinto prayer. "The god of the Oshima islet!" Nao called, and offered a prayer for something, for a long time. The sight of Nao's back showed her pleasure of having been invited by the god and achieving to meet the god of the Oshima islet. After being carried out to serve the god rightfully the party had lunch in the ex-vote hall. Besides the hall an aged tree, 1000 years old, was solemnly covered with moss, and provided a cool shade. There was a grand mulberry tree over three meters in diameter or the hill, and it was thickly covered with a carious kind of the trees and grasses. It is said that in old times, the five cereals, the rice plant, barley, beans, foxtail millet and millet grew wild.

      The boatman, Iwakichi stressed the legend's origin of the Oshima islet of following: Getting on a giant, Taro Urashima went to the Dragon Palace and came back with the Urashima's casket from the Princess of the Dragon Palace. Abe-no-Dojimaru was given various kinds of sacred treasures at the Dragon Palace Island. The god Hiko-hohodemi-no-mikoto went to the Palace of the Sea God to fetch a fishing hook, which had dropped into the sea according to the leaching of an old man, named Shiozuchi. The other boatman, Rokuzo told other legends; A pirate, Shiro-zaemon Migusa entrenched himself in this islet from 1592 to 1595, and attacked the seas to gather funds for the war. A samurai, Jutaro Iwami evinced this pirate with a clever scheme.

      There were a lot of nesting holes which were drilled in the soil at the joints in the rocks and withered leaves were laid in them, and it was dangerous to step into them while being charmed by the surroundings.

      "Oh, excuse me. I ask you to bear this...." Sumi was going to kick a bird's nest inadvertently and she apologized to the bird.

      Oshima, which was the breeding place of the streaked shearwater was designated as a precious natural sanctuary. The Maizuru City of board of education made a survey of this islet in June, 1970. According to the results, these birds gather at the end of March, and they counted about seventy thousand birds up to June. This bird is easily caught on the main land and is not fertile because it lays only one egg a year. The bird drills a hole of 20-30 centimeters in diameter in soft ground, and lays a pure white egg about the size of a duck's egg by the end of June. There are many hole all around the islet, counting the total holes there were about hundred an eighty thousand of them adding those of former years.

      The party went to the rocky beach and watched the white rolling waves of the 1969 battering the rocks under the northeasterly wind, breaking the morning calm. "The wind is favorable. We can go back rapidly," cried Iwakichi joyfully. As the boat was moving with the waves, it was difficult for them to get on it, while stepping on the wet rocks. Nao got first on board, grasping the back of Rokuzo with her hand for support. Next, Kisaburo jumped on from a rock. Iwakichi jumped with a proud look, helping the unwilling Sumi. Rokuzo went back to the beach, and led Heizo by the hand and got on board with Kinoshita, sweating. "I'd like to jump in the boat by myself," Sumi said. "You would be floating on the water like a bird named the fools bird this time," said Kisaburo. The favorable wind swelled the flaxen sail. The boat increased its speed, pushing its way among the birds floating on the water. The party was reluctant to leave the "Dragon Palace's Island." The boat entered in the Inland Sea, and it's oars moved with the monotonous regularity on the calm water.

      Hearing the party's success in visiting the Oshima islet, the believers, who had drifted away from the church, began to come again. The tide of the North China affair is with Japan. "The time has come for a serious chance to rebuild and reorganize the universe under the blessing of the god." The believers recognized the time and became enthusiastic about purifying their spirits.

      Every one did not want to enter the rebuilt world, but wanted only to serve his own self. This is the survival instinct, which is different from pure faith. But, in this situation, every one would find out the way to believe purely in the god. In their consciousness, the Oshima islet is the yearning for the Dragon Palace Island, mysterious Treasure Island. The believers followed the party's members, Kinoshita and Heizo who attended Nao on the journey to know the state of 'the Dragon Palace Island.'

      The believers practiced feverishly cold water ablutions at the well which was in the midst of the blooming hydrangea. Yahei Shirahase of the neighboring house sighed. "Thinking that the surroundings my house had become freed of difficulties and now the mad fellows came back again. They are making noise, and it interrupts my sleep."

      Since the day they came back from the Oshima islet, Nao had confined herself to the room, and was continuing to write the Fudesaki. Kinoshita could not imitate her in such an admirable attitude. He took Sumi out every night, and was going to the temple ground of the Nishi-machi district to dance at the Bon Festival (the Festival of the Buddhist All Souls' Day).

      Sumi also liked very much to go out. Her elder sister, Ryo was skillful in the Ayabe dance. Having being requested at neighbor's meeting, she went to the Nishi-machi district to coach the dance every night, being allowed to go out by the master of her employer's house. While dancing, following Ryo and Sumi, Kisaburo felt like being in Heaven. "In spite of getting closer to the hour of rebuilding and reorganizing the world, how can they think of playing? What do they think about the situation of the successor to the founder?"

      The officials and the believers all criticized them, but both acted disregarding of blames of the members.

      On August 1 (July 7, the old calendar), Nao let Takekichi Nakamura see the Fndesaki which had just been written down. He read it aloud in the front of the altar and it made his heart flutter.

      __It is an unexamined occurrence from old times, for you to go to the Meshima islet. This holiness sends Nao Deguchi, Onisaburo Deguchi and Sumi Deguchi to the Meshima islet to open the gate of the god. Those are glorious acts for you, which will leave your names to posterity.

      Takekichi read it repeatedly two or three times. Each time, he had the word Onisaburo Deguchi on his mind. "What does the word mean? Is it the president of our cult?" Takekichi stared suspiciously.

      Kisaburo Ueda married into the Deguchi family, but he continued to assume the family name of Ueda because he was the eldest son of the Ueda family. Why was his family name first described Deguchi, and his name Onisaburo? In the Fudesaki written in hiragana, it was unclear how to write Onisaburo in Kanji (a Chinese character).

      Haruzo Shikata whispered to Takekichi Nakamura. "I understand now that the Spirit of the present is demonic." "Oh, yes. It is true, I understand what you say," Takekichi clapped hands fully. "The Ushitora-no-Konjin and the god Hitsujisaru-no-Konjin are the same god of the demon's gate. Because I am related with this god, I don't hate at all neither the demon nor the snake."

      Though Takekichi had said so, Kisaburo did not become quite swellhearted. But, he remembered that he underwrote his name Onisaburo (the demon's saburo in Japanese) unconsciously at the end of the document which he deposited with Nakaichi Saito when he left his native Anao Village. He understood that it has already decided to call him Onisaburo in the Sacred World.

      __In this novel, the author, I, Yasuaki Deguchi will describe Kisaburo to Onisaburo hereafter.__

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