Volume 7: The Battle of Fire and Water
Chapter 8: The service to the fire at Izumo
On July 11, the party set sail on a small steamship named Matsushima-maru, departing from the west pier of Matsue-Ohashi. They were watching the willow bending under the wind and the swallows flying around the ship. They enjoyed looking at the beautiful scenes around the Matsue-chidori-jo (castle) and the Yome-ga-jima (Islet). Nao pointed to the shore of the Shinji-ko (lake) northwards of the ship, with her stick made an ume tree branch. She said: "Around that area the god has scheduled to work out His plans." The ship kept sailing along the north shore, stopping at Aika and Kosakai, then after passing through the Shinji-ko it sailed up the Horikawva River. This place, was spread all over with houses which were surrounded by pine trees instead of being covered and roofed by mud-walls, as is usual. They went ashore at the Hirata pier. The boat fare was two yen sixty-two sen five rin, in total. "Please, have some Shoga-tou (the ginger candy) the famous candy of Hirata," shouted a shop girl. Nao, having habits of frugality, rarely bought a piece of the Shoga-tou which was made by the Kurumaya shop. It was said that Bunzaemon Kurumaya invented this Shoga-tou in 1634.
Onisaburo also emptied his purse in which he had a little money to buy Shoga-tou for his mother and sisters. "Missy, how far is it from here to the Taisha district?" Onisaburo asked the shop girl. "Well, it is about four ri (about sixteen kilometers), and you will be able to reach Taisha, even walking slowly by early evening. Well, have a good trip, Dan, dan," she said. Maybe, her saying, "Dan, dan," which in dialect was an expression of thanks as a sign of gratitude. They realized that only after a while and felt melancholy for the remainder of the journey.
After passing the bank of the Hii River, the party reached the Tobigasu district. There were three tea houses standing there in front of river bank. They had lunch at the coarsest of the three houses which stood at the end of the row and had a straw-thatched roof. It seemed that these tea houses served both for serving tea and for prostitution. The master of that tea house was Kumahachi Nakajima, and he always boasted about his tea house being the oldest of the three. Onisaburo joined his hands in prayer at the small shrine besides the tea house while gazing intensely at the rare seated figure of Jizo (a guardian deity of children), being about one meter high in this shrine. "Why, I never thought you know this shrine named Etando (the dustpan made of wood in Chinese character)." The master said, "Oh, I don't know. Would you please tell me the source of this shrine?" asked Onisaburo.
Hearing what Onisaburo was saying, the master became talkative and seemed to be very interested in what Onisaburo had to say.
The main stream of the Hii River (which has a total length of eighty-eight kilometers) has its source in the Takeshi district, Izumo City and finally flows into the Sea of Japan, although it had been flowing Northwest, in ancient times. In May of 1639, the main course of the river was changed by a great flood and it started flowing into the Shinji lake. From then on the course of the stream was changed five times by successive floods which terribly affected the land adjacent to the shores of the lake. The streams divided and found their way to the Taisha Bay, and then again to the Shinjiko lake to the east and to the west. Once in the past, the river got angry and it raised its head as if it was a great snake and it swallowed people, houses and fields, making its stream rush with gritty water containing iron which gave it reddish and brown colors and made it, look like blood.
"This river behaved exactly like the great snake of the Izumo myth, which is called Yamatano-Orochi. At that time, it had not been long since the stream had begun flowing into the Shinjiko lake, and the embankment often collapsed. As a result the Lord had ordered a human sacrifice at this place to pacify the god's anger." "It literally meant that the villagers had to bury a person alive," Murakami stubbed while saying. "Yah, the village suffered from this problem and I have decided that the first traveler who comes to this place will be the chosen victim for the human sacrifice which will take place on a previously fixed day from 8 a.m. to 8.20 a.m. Just at that time, a dustpan salesman lightly walked into the village and he was seized as the victim for the sacrifice. It was a pity, I heard. This shrine is dedicated to that salesman to guard the river, and that is why it is named the Etando (the Dustpan Shrine). It is said since ancient times in Izumo that a person invites harm when drinking only one cup of tea here. This salesman had quickly drunken a single cup of tea before intending to depart to the Hirata district early in the morning but instead he met his doom. If he had leisurely taken two or three cups, he would have escaped unharmed. This is the reason for the foundation of this shrine. So, when coming at my shop, please more than one cup, and as a matter of fact, I'd like to serve you the next cup, right away."
This story is a vague legend of which the era and the reign are unknown. But, even now, the overflow of the river and the flooding it causes, remains a serious problem for the prefecture's government.
__If they are able to contribute to the rebuilding of the universe through the simple offering of a human sacrifice, they will certainly be willing to perform one.
The members, including Nao were willing to sacrifice their lives, in high spirits, to the god Ushitora-no-Konjin. But, there were more difficult problems that the ones they were confronted with; that is, to live powerful lives, to form a clear view of the real world, and to be able to discern what was sacred and what was evil, that was what they had to do.
Onisaburo felt shaken by these thoughts and he went out to the small shrine.
They made their way through the pine covered hills of the Takahama and the Youkan district. The black-tailed gulls, searching for roaches and mud snails, formed groups in the green field, and the snowy egrets rose in the air on the way to Ise. The calm country stretches down in the distance. Drizzling rain was falling on them.
They went through the great torii (the Shinto shrine archway) of the lzumo Taisha, located at the edge of the Uka bridge, in the evening, with their eyes wide open out of astonishment. That torii is twenty-five meters high and is the largest in the country. Suffice it to say that the votive table displayed at the top of the torii is as large as six tatamis.
After ascending via the piney to the top of the sand dune on which the town stretches, they got within 300 meters of the Izumo Taisha Shrine. They entered the precinct in front of the Izumo Taisha and reached the oratory; it was much larger than a straw rice bag. After praying to the gods in the oratory, the party reached the two-storied gate called Rou-mon and they passed through the Yatsuashi gate. Deep in the recesses of the precinct, the splendid main shrine appeared, stretching out the projecting rafter ends on the roof just if it was pushing through the dense fog. They took a look at Mt. Yae at the back of the oratory. It appeared as if is was holding Mt. Tsuru and Mt. Kame to both sides. This place is the admirable country of Izurno.
While praying to the thick greenery of Mt. Yae, Onisaburo recited the sacred waka called the Izumo-Shinka which had been composed by the god Susanoo-no-mikoto:
"Yakumo tatsu Izumo Yaegaki Tsumakomi ni Yaegaki Tsukuru sono Yaegaki o."
(Oh, many layered fences of Izumo, the land enveloped in cloud, I make a many layers of fences to protect my wife.)
Onisaburo, reciting this waka recalled the promise, he had made to the old man, Korehira Okada in the Sonobe district, eight years ago, and he solemnly vowed again to keep that promise. A courier asked them to stay at his hotel. He led the party across a small bridge over the Suga River and reached the hotel, Miyakame (the shrine's turtle) which stood beside the gate were the head priest, Senge of the Izumo Taisha, used to be "Hey, here comes a group of fifteen people. Would you please bring hot water for guest's feet" "I certainly will--." Answered a woman whom the courier had summoned. The hotel was immediately thrown into confusion. When getting to their quarters upstairs, they had a chance to relax and they felt a deep emotion at recalling the journey that had led them over rivers and mountains.
On July l2, through the good offices of the master of the hotel in Miyagame, Kamenosuke Sato, who was twenty-seven years old at that time, the party complied with the formality of visiting the Izumo Taisha. In the oratory, they watched a performance of a sacred dance for the service of the gods named Kagura and under the guidance of a priest, they prayed to the gods at the Yatsuashi gate. The members of the party kneeled down, while Nao offered a long and fervent prayer. The priest led them on a tour of the precincts and explained the origin of the Izumo Taisha and the details of the mending of the fire at the Chinka-den (the shrine of extinguishment of the fire according to the meaning of its Chinese character). The ceremony of Hitsugi-shiki (the succession of the sacred fire) was explained as following: This ceremony is held when Izumo-no-Kuni-no-miyakko (the head priest of the Izumo Taisha) changes heads. First, the sacred fire is lighted through scratching the new pestle on the new mill which is used exclusively for the sacred ceremony at the Kumano Shrine near the Izumo Taisha. This fire is strictly kept at the Saika-den (enshrined fire shrine) inside of Kuni-no-miyakko building. It is the established custom that the head priest eats only food which has been cocked on the sacred fire, and all leftover food is discarded because it is forbidden to offer it even to the family of the priest, according to what is said.
After returning to the hotel, Nao asked Kamenosuke Sato to negotiate with the priest about the possibility of being granted samples of the sacred fire, the sacred water and the sacred soil taken from the precincts of the Izumo Taisha. Kamenosuke had just succeeded last spring as head of the house to his father-in-law, who had been raised to a position of responsibility at the Izumo Taisha. But, the negotiation proved to be painstaking. Kamenosuke said, "It is very difficult to obtain such a favor. After the mending of fire was handed over from the ages of the gods to the present day by the god Ame-no-Hohi-no-mikoto. There is not a single existing case, so far, of the sacred fire being given to a person foreign to the Izumo Taisha."
Nao, being utterly puzzled, answered to Kamenosuke in a severe tone, "We visited here after being allowed to do so. I have caused a lot of trouble. But, please, reconsider my request once more."
Finally, Nao got what she wanted after she offered a considerable sum of money for a bud of the sacred tree of the gods. But, Onisaburo couldn't believe that she had been successful until he could personally take hold of a sample of the sacred fire.
That night, the party stayed at the hotel, Miyagame. They paid nine yen seventy-four sen, in total, for the two days.
On the 13th, they visited the Izumo Taisha, early morning and prayed to the gods with joy and fervor. At last they were allowed to perform the mending of the fire which had been their foremost purpose from the very beginning. The priest kindled two matches made of Japanese cypress bark and the sacred fire began to sputter. Onisaburo solemnly accepted one of the matches while the officers cautiously carried two matches away. The priest also delivered to Nao the sacred water which had been kept in a bamboo pipe and some sacred soil which was placed in a pouch of bleached cotton cloth. The sacred water was drawn from the sacred well named Mikei (the well to serve the meal of the great God). It was for that reason that, acording to the legend, the Mikei well ceremony has been held at the Niiname-sai (the Harvest Festival) as a part of the great Kirni-no-miyakko ceremony, which was celebrated on both November l7, and December 25.
Carrying respectfully the Three Sacred Treasures, that is, the sacred fire, the sacred water and the sacred soil, the party was standing on the beach of the Inasa, feeling purified. Onisaburo knew the name of this beach in the Itsuki (Izurno) district because it appears in the Kojiki (the famous mythical annals of ancient Japan). In this region, everything of the gods is said to have done, has left some visible trace in the real world.
The myth is as follows: The goddess Amaterasu-Omikami in Heaven dispatched the god Takemikazuchi to the earth to request from the god Okuninushi-no-mikoto that he gave up his land. The god Takemikazuchi asked the god Okuninushi-no-mikoto to transfer his land at the Inasa beach, and Okuninushi-no-mikoto acceded to the goddess Amaterasu-Omikami's request and transferred his land after retiring to the new palace from where he could protect the land from its backside. Onisaburo strongly identified with the grief of the god Okuninushi-no-mikoto for his lost land and with the grief of the friends of the gods who had to leave the land by force. While looking at the white-crested waves beating the shore and breaking into pieces, Onisaburo called the various gods of the myth to his mind.
The Matsue-maru, a passenger ship belonging to the Osaka Mercantile Marine Co., Ltd., puffing out smoke, anchored off the coast. The party transferred from the ferry to the Matsue-maru. A sharp steam whistle was heard and after some time the summit of distant Mt. Sanbe gradually receded from their view. On the right side, that is, towards the East, the highest visible point was the white lighthouse of Hino Point which is built on the Hino shore. The place is of exceptional scenic beauty, and crowded with black-tailed gulls flying all over. The ship coasted the Shimane Peninsula for seventy-four kilometers until the Oki Island was dimly seen. A lot of soldiers were taking the Matsue-maru to go to Mihogaseki harbor.
Suspending the three vessels with their sacred contents from the ceiling of the cabin, the members kept watch over them and mended the sacred fire by turns.
Onisaburo and Sumi were standing side by side on the deck and felt uneasy to leave the Shimane Peninsula which was getting dimmer and dimmer as the distance was increasing. Onisaburo shouted to the sea: "Kuniko, kuniko." Sumi turned her face to him while facing the sea breeze and the spray of waves. Her hair was disheveled by the wind. "Reverend, you just shouted the words, Kuniko, Kuniko. What does that name mean?" She was always interested in the meaning of everything he said. She became unusually curious, but she refrained from showing it and kept an air of indifference. He held such her dear. Onisaburo told her, "Can you say this name, the god Yatsukamizuomitsuneno-mikoto not to escape to bite your tongue? This god is blood relationship of the god Susanowo. This god seta big netting called Yaso netting and drew this netting, saying, ...come here, country, come here, country." "To whom did He say that?" Sumi asked. "It is the country, you understand. In a word, this difficult name was made by the god from the numerous projections of the country over the sea, and He slowly drew these hand over hand, and sewed these on the Izumo province which was at that time still quite small." "What a great work the god performed!"
"O-Sumi, look at the land. That Nagahama area is the sacred rope. The god Yatsuka-mizuomitsune-no-mikoto drew the other land with that rope, and sew it on Kizuki Point. He lashed the rope to that Mt. Sahime (Sanbe), and came more drawing Sata province, Kurami province and Miho Point. Its rope is Yomigahama (Yomi beach), and the stakes lashing the rope are Mt. Hinokami and Mt. Daisen in Hoki province." Those were magnificent views: The Hamaga Point upon which rough sea beats, and far away in the distance, the mountains rising against the sky in the direction indicated by Onisaburo. "This god has a great power." Sumi sighed, getting her cheek wet with his stick in the Ou grove and shouted 'oue'. And this area is now called Ou." "Well, I will do it." Sumi chanted seriously, making a gesture with hands and arms to pull up the rope, "More and more, come near Kuniko, Kuniko...." "O-Sumi, what did you do? Did you throw a rope?" "A monster. That is the great monster of the world, the one that is described in the Fudesaki. This is you Reverend." "I cannot allow you to do whatever you like to me." Onisaburo, who braced his legs pretended to be hauled in the net and tottered while leaning against her shoulder. Sumi seized this Onisaburo by the lapel and shouted triumphantly. "Ouei!" "Fie! I'm powerless against you. You are very skillful with a rope," said Onisaburo. "I will get a pike to lash the rope. What is it?" "Yah, it is a baby." Onisaburo felt shy at the unexpected power of the word which had been uttered as a joke.
Her earlobe turned dark red in a moment. But, Sumi was not aware yet that she had a baby in her womb. She asked him a question, turning her eyes to the black-tailed gulls. "Reverend, what is the meaning of so many members coming to Izumo from so far away, only to see to the mending of the sacred fire?" Well, even you Gallio, you have rarely considered doing something of the kind." "Not that I have doubts about you, but I cannot understand why we made such a fuss and emptied our small purses only to get some samples of fire, water and soil."
"What you say is true. At first, I also thought it was very foolish. But, when I actually stepped on the soil of Izumo, I started reconsidering the meaning of the ascetic practices. I have first shown the god Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto and the god Konjin to the world. The god Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto created the country and has kept out of sight in the two islets of Oshima and Meshima since the age of the gods. That god once ruled over the gods' world and over the earth. And the god Konjin has since been abhorred and feared by the people as the evil god who lives in the demon's gate towards the Northeast. For this reason, both gods have been forgotten. Next, comes the service of the water at the original location of Ise. That place was first dedicated to the god Amaterasu-Omikami. Then comes the service of the fire at Izumo. In Izumo, the god Susanowo-no-mikoto was enshrined after being banished by the heavenly gods from Takama-ga-hara (the Japanese Olympus) and after He ran away to the land of dimness. And, in this place, the god of the earth, Okuninushi-no-mikoto created the original Ashihara-no-Nakatsukuni (the old name of Japan) then He restored the country under his rule to the god's descendants and retired from the Real World to protect the country from behind." Sumi said, "It is very difficult process."
"Namely, I guess that the thinking of the country's founder is as follows: The heavenly gods and the gods of the earth exist, and so does the conqueror and the oppressed classes. Some gods are revealed to the world and others remain hidden from us. The symbols of the spirit of both systems are water and fire. The founder of the country, the god Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto will come out from Takama-ga-hara (the Japanese Olympus) to greet these spirits, and will melt in a single unity. This is the pattern and model in which all the gods of heaven and earth harmonize with each other. This is the first step in the process of rebuilding and re-erecting the world." "He will be able to do that, doesn't He? It is a very difficult problem,' Sumi said. Onisaburo answered, "According to the traditional intention of Japanese religion, clear water and fire provide the most powerful intensity of spiritual field, which will purify the universe. The water is called the newborn baby's first bath which is not different from ancient times at the origin of Ise, and the sacred fire of Izumo which has been mended since old times, will be clearing this world. According to the Fudesaki, the water of the world is on the whole muddy water. In this liquid mud, the human beings are unconsciously dyed by the mud that fulfills their vices, and they have organized a society and a country which has totally been soiled by this in the circumstance of 'Might is right'. To wash and purify this world to restore its former crystal clearness and beauty, we need the spiritual power of the sacred water and fire."
Sumi said, "The officers are very excited now; they are saying that they are finally going to rebuild the world after they have completed the service of the fire at lzumo." "It is clearly written in the Fudesaki that the god will rebuild the world in the 34th year of the Meiji era (1901). But, looking at the present situation of the world, I can hardly believe that the god will begin to do it within this year," Onisaburo replied. "Reverend, what is the next step, if nothing happens?" Sumi asked. "Even if that be the case, it is very good, I think, because the later it happens the better it will be." "You are taking it the easy way and too lightly. The officers are very serious about it and are making anangements for the rebuilding of the world." "That is why I am afraid of their reaction if nothing happens." Sumi said, "Does that mean that you are saying that what is written in the Fudesaki is not true? Are we being misled by the founder's story?" Sumi asked in an excited tone. Onisaburo looked perplexed. He said coolly, seeming to deny her words. "What is true, at least, is that the rebuilding of the world will start in 1901."
Sumi looked abruptly aside. Onisaburo said, "You should consider it carefully. At the instant the god rebuilds the world most people will die. Because only we, a small group of persons, know the declaration of the god Ushitora-no-Konjin to rebuild and re-elect the world. This great work has to be done after we have thoroughly informed the Japanese people of His proclamation, to say the least, and not after we complete the delivering of the great will of the god to all the citizens of the world." "In your capacity as Reverend, read the Fudesaki thoroughly and give a reason for your action against the god's will, at once," Sumi replied. "Oh, well. Even you believe that the god will rebuild the world within this year, isn't that so?" asked Onisaburo. "I would be unable to behave so foolishly without my belief, you understand." Their eyes expressed their deep antagonism on these points. Onisaburo was always overcome by her glances. "I yield the palm to you. It is nonsense to exhibit the model of a dispute to the world. The things that occur in the Omoto cult are reflected upon the world and the things that occur in the world are first reflected in the Omoto cult. The things that occur in the Omoto cult are reflected in the world, and the things that occur in the world, first, ought to appear in the Omoto cult. Oh!" Onisaburo gazed at a point in the air and remained frozen on the spot.
"I believe now that the rebuilding of the world into the Sacred World will take place in 1901, and, as a first step, that event will manifest itself in the Omoto cult. O-Sumi, the spiritual power of the sacred fire and the sacred water will start the rebuilding from inside the Society of the Spiritual Study, the Kimmei-Reigakkai. I don't know how the situation will evolve from now on, this is our own problem, but I am quite sure that the rebuilding of the world will happen. The conditions of our lives will be dramatically changed. This first happening will be reflected in the world starting from Japan and it will become apparent to the whole world after three years, that is, after the pure water of the sea of the Dragon-Palace completes its flowing around the world." Onisaburo said.
The ship stopped at the Miho harbor, after they had passed the Jizo Point. The party prayed, on the ship, to the god Kotoshironushi-no-rnikoto, who is a son of the god Okuninushi-no-mikoto and is sacred to the Miho Shrine. The ship soon arrived at the Sakai harbor. The boat fare for each person was seventy-five sen, and the grand total amounted to eleven yen and twenty-five sen. The party stayed overnight at Sakai City. The total amount of the hotel charges was four yen and ninety-two sen.
On the 14th, the party walked on the way to the Yomigahama district for about twenty kilometers, and then they had lunch at Yonago. While they were taking a rest, they had cautiously suspended three straw matches, lighted with the sacred fire, from the eaves of the tea house, when a man, who was a customer, entered the house to take a rest. He sat besides them and while he was filling his pipe, he called Fujitaro Shikata to his side and said, "Excuse me. Could you give me some fire, please?" He stood up and while greeting everyone he lit his pipe with the matches. They could not stop him. "You fellow, damn you! You should not touch this sacred fire." Fujitaro was frightened and he seized him by his lapels and pulled him away with a threatening look. The man was surprised at these fearful airs. It was quite natural for a man to borrow fire because straw matches are sold at the theater and other public places. Only shaking a little bit the straw match keeps the fire going and does not disturb anything. The party calmed down. Nao stood up and apologized to the man, "I am sorry. We are careless. Please don't pay any attention to what he said."
Nao scolded Fujitaro in a severe tone, "I must extinguish the dirty fire right away. Maybe, only a single straw match will finally reach my church without accident."
The party turned left at Yonago and stayed overnight at a hotel in Shimoichi Village, Osaka village. The hotel charge for each person was twenty-five sen, and the grand total amounted to three yen and seventy-five sen. On the 15th, the party went to Akazaki on foot. The party boarded the ship at Akazaki and stayed overnight on the ship. They were very tired because it had been a long jotuney. The ship sailed with increasing speed as it reached the sea of Houki. "Reverend, Reverend..." a voice was heard. Onisaburo was awakened by the shaking of Keitaro Kinoshita who was sitting beside him and had turned pale. "WVhat happens?" Onisaburo asked. "The fire! One straw match is..." Hearing his voice, Onisaburo looked up at the corner of the ceiling at once. Two straw matches were lighted with a little red kindling a few moments before, but now one of them, had blown out and white smoke was pouring from it. Kinoshita, watching the straw matches said in a tearful voice.
"The spray of the waves fell on that place. I never thought it possible," said Kinoshita. Due to the midsummer heat they had opened a window of the cabin. The waves were pretty high. Nao woke up and said in a comforting voice, "I need only one straw match. We must protect the only remaining sacred fire at any cost and carry it to the church of the Ryumon-kan (Dragon's Gate Building). Did you understand what I said?"
On the morning of 17th, the party landed at Uratomi beach. The total boat fare amounted to nine yen and five sen. They had lunch at the Seyama Pass, and stayed at an inn at the Iwai hot-spring. The hotel charge amounted to thirty sen per person and the grand total was four yen and fifty sen.
On the morning of the 17th, Sumi could not rise from her futon despite it being quite easy, usually. "O-Sumi-san, you got too warm in the hot spring. Perhaps, you are fatigued through staying too long in the hot water." They said so, but, as a matter of fact, Sumi had always detested long baths.
Onisaburo massaged his wife's feet. Her legs were a little swollen. "It is what could have naturally been expected. Even a strong man would have suffered from such a difficult journey and his legs could also have swollen. I will ask your mother to take a day's rest for you." When she felt her husband's hands touching her back, while gently trying to console her, Sumi suddenly pushed his hands away. While doing so her body got twisted and she became nausea. But, she did not vomit because she had not taken any breakfast and her stomach was empty. "O-Sumi, you are going to bear your discomfort and are going to walk cheerfully, aren't you?" said Nao, while smiling joyfully. The party departed from the hotel on schedule, carefully carrying the one remaining straw match.
Onisaburo got angry at Nao, thinking that she was a coldhearted mother. Nao called Onisaburo who accompanied her to the rear of the party to look after Sumi. "Reverend, congratulations!" said Nao. "What?" "You know O-Sumi." "Yah, but O-Sumi got ill." Nao smiled. "She is healthy. She only has her morning sickness. She is quite foolish not to know that much. Would you please tell it to her?" "A baby?" Onisaburo panted. "The new baby is the third successor of the Omoto cult. As it is only her morning sickness, it would be a waste of time to stay at the hotel any longer. It is better for us to continue our journey, albeit at a slower pace." Nao said.
Onisaburo never heard her following words. He felt that his breast was hot and he had a burning sensation in his throat. Nao said, "Reverend you saw the god O-Tento-sama (The god of the sun's apotheosis) entering into Sumi's abdomen in your sacred dream at the Karo hotel. At that time you realized that her pregnancy was announced to you by the god, didn't you?"
Onisaburo was shocked. __"Oh, yes, I understand now that it was the god announcing her pregnancy through that dream. It is not Sumi alone who is a fool, I am a fool also." Onisaburo was very impressed by Nao's words.
__"Why do I feel so? It is quite natural that having had a harmonious marriage we gather the fruit of our union. It has been true in all ages and in all places. Why am I surprised at this now?"
But, Onisaburo felt quite happy at the surprise and was hardly able to restrain his joy, which he felt, was exploding inside his breast.
__"The child of our loins, Onisaburo Ueda and Sumi Deguchi. No, I must say that a new life is born in her womb and this life is united with the bloods of Nao, his mother Yone, his grandmother Uno, and Sumi's father's Masagoro and Onisaburo's father,...Prince Arisugawa in confused and harmonized with each other, concentrating upon one point. The life is momentarily breathing and forming its figure, while organizing the cells. The fresh blood of the embryo, which has been continuously taken from the natures from the ancestors since time immemorial, now wraps around the fresh sacred soul given by the god to tender the world.
Despite of creating such great work I her own womb, Sumi seemed to be looking at her baby. Onisaburo did not understand woman's mysterious nature. Onisaburo prayed to the god for the mother and her baby for Heaven and Earth. "This embryo has received a sacred soul from Heaven is in the midst of its journey to serve the sacred fire at Izumo. Adding to this miracle I saw the god O-Tento-sama and Sumi in that sacred dream. It's my bet that her baby will be born with a cheerful character." He told his joy to Sumi barely daring to utter such words through his thirsty throat. "Her baby is not a boy, but a girl." Said Nao emphatically, not slackening her pace and looking straight ahead. "Why do you say so? My baby is a boy, I'm sure," he replied. Nao said, "The god told me that the successor of the founder and the leader of the Omoto cult had to be a woman for several generations. There is no reason for a boy to be born." Hearing her severe tone just as if she was giving him a bit of her mind he got into a tantrum. Onisaburo shouted in an inspired tone, "The baby is surely a boy. What I said is true." While he was shouting, Nao replied loudly, "A girl! That is the god's will."
The parent and child were quietly speaking about something, but then they suddenly started quarreling on the way, and the party looked the scene with astonishment. "Oh, Matsuoka, what do you think, will it be a boy or a girl?" shouted Onisaburo, ignoring the dispute. Kokichi who was possessed by the spirit of Matsuoka repeated Matsuoka's words while his eyes
became wide open, "It will certainly be a boy." At the instant he said this Kokichi who was also possessed by the spirit of Kawarabayashi immediately contradicted him. "What you say is a mistake, Matsuoka. It will be a girl." Matsuoka replied through the mouth of Kokichi, "What do you say? Will it be a spear." Kawarabayashi replied through the mouth of Kokichi, "No, it will be a sword wound." After that they continued arguing but they looked as if they had lost confidence in what they were saying. Matusoka said, "Maybe, it will be a spear, after all?" Kawarabayashi said, "It seems to me that it will be a sword wound." "The moment I think that it will be a boy, it seems like if it will be a girl." "The instant I think it will be a girl, it seems like if it will be a boy." Here, Kokichi alternately closed and opened his eyes wide open. "Old donkey! Get out of my sight." Hearing Onisaburo's roar Kokichi restrained himself. After two long-nosed goblins, called Tengu ran away, Kokichi looked confused.
Sumi asked, "You said both male and female, but what will it be?" Heizo and Toranosuke let pompously their faces come near them. Nao and Onisaburo smiled wryly. Nao said, "An unusual baby will likely be borne." "It is true," answered Onisaburo. "My god does not seem to get along very well with the Reverend's god." "Yes, I think so." "My god tells me that the model of the sacred world called the world of Maitreya-bodhisattva, will be created when both our gods can harmonize with each other. I am causing you anxiety. Would you please console O-Sumi?" said Nao in her usual calm voice. Onisaburo came back beside Sumi and whispered in her ear with all his warmth, "O-Sumi, it is true that the sun entered into your abdomen. The god hammered certainly a sacred pile into you." "What! I am..." "Yes, I will become a father and you will be the mother of a child." He announced this fortunate thing joyfully in a trembling voice. "Please listen to me. O-Sumi is going to be a mother." All souls were deeply moved under a strong impression. Onisaburo said to his wife in a low voice, "O-Sumi, please let it be a boy."
The party had the lunch in the Seyama district. Following Sumi's tempo, the party walked slowly, and stayed at the hotel in the Muraoka district. The hotel charges amounted to a total of three yen and seventy sen. On 18th, the party had the lunch in the Yumura Village, and stayed at a hotel in the Miyata, Yoka Village. The hotel charge for each person was twenty-five sen for a grand total of three yen and seventy-five sen for the whole party.
On 19th, the party passed through the Wadayama district and had lunch in the Yakuno Village. On this side of Fukuchiyama the party took a rest at a small mountain pass in the Arakawa district. A man about fifty years old, carrying a large burden on his back, happened to pass close to them and stopped. The man looked at the sunburnt faces of the tired members who were covered with sweat, and shouted to Onisaburo who was devotedly keeping the straw match of the sacred fire: "Hey you, look at this vessel for a few moments. I'd like to sell it to you." His burden was a strange brazier, so large that one could not put one's arms around it. A picture was drawn on it and looked as follows: A white Dragon, puffing out fire and fastening its claws, wrapped coils around the brazier. It was different from a flat picture. Only the body of the Dragon clearly loomed large enough to look as if it was rising out of the picture. "Oh, it is very good." Onisaburo passed his hand over the scales of the white body of the Dragon.
"Oh, it looks as if it was alive. Where are you going to, carrying such thing on your back?" asked Heizo. "I visited some wealthy people, but no one wanted to buy it because this picture was though to be a symbol of evil. And, I am now reluctantly bringing it home again. I make it cheep." "How much?" "I will make a substantial discount: three yen and fifty sen," the man said. Onisaburo looked at Nao. She opened her eyes which had kept close, "Please buy it. The god ordered me to put the sacred fire into this vessel and keep it there." Obeying her orders, Fusataro Takehara, the cashier took the money out of the purse. "I am going to carry this on my back," said Yasunosuke Fukubayashi. He was offering to carry it on his back. He had, of his own, taken the role carrier for the trip. Takehara said, putting his purse in the money belt, "Please carry this. I'd like to receive a blessing through doing this."
A sawyer, Takehara, carried the brazier on his back with might and main while his round face became dark-red under the heavy weight he was carrying on his shoulders. He started walking with heavy strides. Onisaburo followed him to keep an eye on the only left straw match lighted with the sacred fire.
Sumi, having been exposed to the scorching heat of the sun for a long time, felt as green leaves soaked in boiling water. It seemed that the strain of traveling had finally started to take its toll on her and her morning sickness was becoming very severe. The food scarcely passed through her throat. Though Sumi was unyielding, Toranosuke Fukushima carried her on his back, because she was dead tired. Fujitaro Shikata who was also attentive to her condition, took care of Sumi's little needs and wants. "Cheer up! I will let them know about our arrival by telegram and someone will come out to meet us."
Onisaburo encouraged the party. The town of Fukuchiyama came in sight under the clouds glowing with the sunset's light. A few birds were flying around. Through the evening dusk, they could dimly perceive the lights of two or three paper lanterns approaching them. "We come to greet you. Are you the founder?" a voice said. Onisaburo shouted, "Hey, who are you? Are you, Nakamura-han?" "Yes, I am. Are you in safety?" "We could return safely, and how are you?" "We also live in peace."
Takekichi Nakamura usually acted entirely against his will, thinking only of serving the god the best way he could, but this time, he was very pleased to hear that the party returned safely. When they entered into the town of Fukuchiyama, one hundred believers greeted them, lighting up paper lanterns and waving small flags. They took on to carry the party's gear while helpng Sumi, and led them to the Yadotamaru-ya hotel which had been prepared for their arrival. The hotel charge was thirty-five sen for each person and the total amounted to five yen and twenty-five sen.
On the 20th of July, the fifteen members of the party were surrounded by a crowd of believers who had come to receive them. Kimi Ueda who was still a girl had also come part of the way with her mother, Yone, to welcome them upon their arrival. According to Kimi's reminiscences, Sumi looked very strange through exhaustion and was supporting herself on a believer's arm.
"She had her morning sickness. The Successor of three generations will soon be born, I heard," they said. The joyful murmurs were whispered from mouth to mouth spreading as ripples on the water. After another twenty days, the party finally stepped again on the soil of Ayabe.
Nao entered into the sacred building named Ryumon-kan in the precinct of the Omoto cult. She transferred the sacred fire of Izumo to another purified lamp wick of the brazier on which the Dragon had wrapped his coil around and offered it to the altar. The ritual was solemnly held by many believers, who performed the offering of fire, water and soil. During the general meeting of all the believers, they allotted the responsibilities of mending the sacred fire and decided to keep the fire for one hundred days.
On the 23th of July (the 8th of June of the old calendar), and according to the god's will Nao gave orders to separate the sacred soil of Izumo in three parts and blessed each part as a model for the reconstruction of the universe. Keitaro Kinoshita and Takekichi Nakamura took one third of it and departing from the Omoto cult, they followed the lower course of the Wachi River and spread it at the ferry crossing of Iden; they then came back via the Nakasuji district. Heizo Shikata and Fusataro Murakami took another third of the soil and went up the Wachi River, and went around Mt. Yotsuo from the Yasuba district, while following the Tano River in the Honguzan-minami district and finally spread the soil along this course. On the 21st of August, (the 8th of July of the old calendar), Zenkichi Tanaka and Mankichi Sugiura went to around the Nijo castle in Kyoto with the last third of the soil and after reaching the Kibune Shrine via the Omotezaka district and the Urasaka district of Mt. Kurama, and also spread the soil along that course.
As for the sacred water of Izumo, Nao poured a part of it into the sacred well named Kinmeisui (the clear gold water), and diluted leftover sacred water with water of Kinmeisui. Nao, holding the leftover sacred water, went on a journey with Onisaburo, Sumi and sixty-eight members to the Meshima Islet, and scattered it into the sea of the Dragon Palace. The old Nao and even Sumi, who was holding an embryo in her abdomen sailed across the rough sea. This was quite hard on them because they were very tired from the journey to Izumo.
For one hundred days the sacred fire of Izumo was kept burning in front of the altar, and was transferred to fifteen candles according to the god's will which Nao had been made aware of as the "Deposit fire to Heaven." After complete combustion, the fire went back to Heaven.