Volume 10: The Nine-Tailed Fox
Chapter 10: The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit
Most of the believers of the Omoto cult were the peasants and merchants, but a good seed had been sown in the navy, and the number of believers among the sailors increased dramatically in a very short time. Tetsusaburo Fukunaga who was at that time forty-three years old and was the commander of the officers of the first reserve of engineers, became the first a believer. Fukunaga transferred his residence from Yokosuka City, in Kanagawa Prefecture to Higashi-iru, Karasuma, Kamitateuri-duori, Kamigyou Ward, in Kyoto City in the spring of 1912. His second son, who was six years old, was a source of much distress to the family because he was nearly deaf and the doctors had given up any hope of curing him. After building his house in Kyoto City he had entered the Tenri cult on the recommendation of a stonecuttcr. He used to visit the branch church of the Tenri cult in Tanba City in Yamato, with his sick son every month, and the god of the Tenri cult performed a miracle partially curing his son. However, many points of the doctrine of the Tenri cult remained a source of confusion to him because the doctrines of Shintoism and Buddhism were inextricably intertwined. While he was debating those problems in his mind he heard of the Omoto cult.
He first visited the headquarters of the Omoto cult in Ayabe with his son, and he became a believer at once through the sheer charm of the founder and her teachings. He immediately rented a house for his son near the Yakamiya Shrine in the Ueno district in Ayabe and alternated with his wife commuting from Kyoto to Ayabe to take care of his son.
His son Takuji who, up to now, had always been sleeping in a fetal position, looking more like a sleeping cat than like a resting person, got his health fully restored, could now sleep in a normal way, and was able to return to Kyoto, after about half a year.
On the 10th of July, 1914, Fukunaga visited the headquarters of the Omoto cult with Takuji, but the next day, Takuji caught a fever and they carried him to the upper floor of the great hall to take care of him. In the morning of the 21, Takuji's condition worsen dangerously. The founder, Onisaburo and his wife sat down near him and watched helplessly the boy's struggle with death. Suddenly, Takuji's mouth moved and he said with a solemn voice. "Tetsusaburo Fukunaga, your seat is in too high position for your rank. Get away from here!" Fukunaga had been sitting near his son and closer to the head of the tatami than Nao. He was utterly distressed at his son's words. Fukunaga immediately sled back towards the foot of the futon. The mouth of Takuji, who was now breathing with difficulty, moved again and he uttered in a tense voice, "This sacred situation is the work of the god Matatabi-no-Masazo, and this god hates to answer to your prayers." Fukunaga was stunned at the tone of his son's voice, but, in the mean time, the childish face had regained the innocent looks of an infant face and he was now sleeping calmly.
"Matatabi-no-Masazo, is a strange name," said Sumi. Nao nodded slowly. When Nao started to unite with the mysterious powers in 1892, she had once been possessed by this god among many others. It was a very strange name, indeed, and Sumi, who was ten years old at the time, remembered it still directly. (It sounded like the name of a roaming gambler in the Edo period.)
At midnight Takuji's soul went to Heaven, he was only eight years old. Fukunaga had lost his sick son despite his faith, and he was disappointed. However, the circumstances surrounding his son's death were not clear to him and he decided to stay in the Omoto cult. He took a new look at the Omoto cult, a look which transcended the boundaries of life and death and he earnestly began to study the doctrine of the cult. He became, at first, interested in comparing the doctrine of the Omoto cult with those of other cults and the philosophies. He was fundamentally fond of studying and worked hard at it every day, thinking every more of the sacred mission which was blessed by the god. Almost one full year had elapsed now.
Fukunaka's friend, Masayoshi Iimori who was the commander of the officers of the first reserve of engineers visited his house in Kyoto. Iimori liked sake as much as Fukunaka and they began to drink at once. Iimori was usually rather taciturn, but, when he drank sake he became quite eloquent and looked like another man. He had entered the Engineering School of the Navy at age of sixteen, and had begun to be absorbed in studies of the divine spirit at the time he became a lieutenant. He often prophesied about uncertainties of the future with the help of a prophet named Toranosuke Miyazaki, and he became famous for that in the Navy. At about that time he suffered a stroke. However, his health was restored after spending three months in the Note district, his native place. "I have not heard from you for a while. How have you been since then?" asked Fukunaka. Iimori was absorbed in chewing a tentacle of dried cuttlefish with white teeth.
He answered, "How am I? I was sick, only for a short time. I had a nervous breakdown because I faced an almost unbearable situation. Both my son and my daughter died one after another in infancy and that meant for me that I did not bring them up with sufficient care. This weighted heavily upon my heart. To confess the truth I even got baptized. It also forced me to look back upon half of my life. People from anywhere are respected and welcomed regardless of their native country. I chose the easy occupation of learning how to kill people and bring to naught a lot of valuable lives. I also realize that we had forcefully occupied foreign countries. In addition to that I was paid a large sum of money by the Emperor, and I was walking mindlessly through the world. Although I am living some ease and can even afford to employ a maid, I have doubts about the meaning of my life.' "Well, I certainly understand what you are saying," answered Fukunaka. Iimori continued, "I can't persuade myself to serve in the Navy with my whole heart. Furthermore, I have a girlfriend, her name is Asako Narikawa and she is the manager of the Miuraya-hotel in Yokosuka City. While staying there, I shut myself up in the tatami-room of the third floor, and pondered my way of life for three days and three nights. I am the eldest son of my parents. They are old but are doing well and they find comfort in my successful career. When thinking about that I am overwhelmed with grief. But, I cannot deceive my own heart. I chose to leave the Navy, and dared embark on a thorny path." Fukunaka asked, "And, what are you planning to do from now on?" Iimori answered, "A Russian woman is the incarnation of the Mystic Wisdom of the Studying Brothers Society. Her name is Helena Petrovna Palacky and she is the one who establish that society in America. I will go there and take part in that movement. But this time, I came here to attempt to preach the Gospel of Ms. Palacky to you, as a token of friendship, before leaving for America. However, if you think that my words are false don't hesitate to assail me with questions until your heart is fully satisfied. And if you wish to enter a formal disputation with me, it matters little to me, even if it takes a few days. I'd like to argue with you until you sincerely believe this Gospel." Iimori was exhibiting a lot of kindness towards him. As Iimori shared his fighting spirit Fukunaka faced him as if the Omoto cult was resting on his shoulders.
Both focused upon the issue of what the discrepancies were between the Omoto cult and Christianity. Iimori had not yet learned the doctrine of the Omoto cult, but Fukunaga had been absorbed in the study of comparative religion and he also had a profound knowledge of the Bible. Despite his disadvantage, Iimori was dauntless, but he was cornered into a defensive position and finally had to surrender in silence. Iimori spent a night at the house of Fukunaka, and the next day, he visited Ayabe with Fukunaka. Iimori was defeated in the disputation with Fukunaga, but he had his mind set upon seeing through the fraud of the Omoto cult. The servants were working hard and cheerfully in the sacred place in which the Kinryu-kai was now filling with water and the sacred air was increasing. When they passed by the workers, they greeted Fukunaga with their eyes. Fukunaga took off his hat in front of the Ishinomiya Shrine and offered a most reverential prayer. Iimori stood arrogantly at his side, folding his arms across his chest. He was boasting that he would never give in to Fukunaga arguments.
Walking around the bank of the Kinryu-kai both continued to argue. As they were passing in front of the Toumu-kaku, Fukunaka who was of imposing stature, stopped and looked straight into the face of the tall Iimori and ordered him to put an end to the argument. "Well, at any rate, visit the founder. I think that your stubbornness will disappear in a moment." Iimori answered, "I hope so! I suppose that my fate is to appear as a crazy raccoon dog or an evil fox in the eyes of the tricky woman."
Iimori met the founder, Nao, Onisaburo and his wife, and after staying several days at the Omoto cult, he converted to the cult. He began to carry straw baskets, covered with mud while working at the second stage of the construction of the Kinryu-kai. He soon summoned his wife, Hisako to leave their home in the Anamizu district, Ishikawa Prefecture and join the cult... He abandoned the study of the Bible, although he did not discard it completely, and became an enthusiastic believer of the Omoto cult. After only a few months he looked like a different person. Fukumoto, after seeing the conversion of Iimori also moved to the Omoto cult with his family, in 1924. He put a sake cask of 1.8 liters, wrapped in a straw mat at the doorway of his house in the Ueno district Ayabe-cho and drank sake with his meals three times a day. He was an open minded character, but he was also methodical and punctual. He used to rise early in the morning, take a walk, pray to the god, have some breakfast, then he studied of Shintoism and the Spirit, and generally ended up with a big long yawn. In the afternoon he would have lunch, some more study and then would go fishing at the Wachi River. In the evening he would have supper, drink some sake while eating the small fishes which he had caught in the afternoon and continue to do so until bedtime. This was his daily schedule. It was said that people could tell the hour of the day by only looking at the time he was yawning. Once he had understood the doctrine of the Omoto cult and the meaning of the appearance of the god Ushitora-no-Konjin as related by the founder, Nao he could not find any rest anymore and felt like if his blood was boiling. He suddenly decided to go to Tokyo in the height of summer and visited all his acquaintances to preach the faith to them.
On the 23rd of August Iimori came once back to Ayabe to get Onisaburo's counsel. Then on the 28th he embarked with Jinsai Yuasa on the battleship, Katori which was anchored at the New Maizuri. The captain was the captaincy, Terufusa Hori, and the commander was the commander, Denichi Yamaguchi who was a friend of Iimori. According to existing records, the commander, Yamaguchi asked Iimori to give a lecture. However, the facts seem to indicate that it was Iimori who had written a letter to Yamaguchi seeking permission to give that lecture. Above two hundred fifty crew members of the battleship were gathered on the deck when Jinsai Yuasa appeared before them. The white uniformed midshipmen were quietly standing in a row... Jinsai felt like if a burning lump had been placed in his abdomen. But, he said to himself, "What am I worrying about? The god gave me the mission to bring them to their senses. If I can only deliver my first speech the god will take care of all the rest for me."
Jinsai, a short man, gently explained rise of the Omoto cult and the existence of the god. After he had completed his speech Iimori, in turn, made a fervent pledge to rebuild and re-erect the world. The battleship's crew listened attentively to their speech without stirring an inch.
The battleship, Katori (15,950 tons) was the flagship of the Japanese Navy in the Meiji period, with the battleship, Kashima (16,400 tons). The construction of both battleships had been approved by the eighteenth Imperial Diet, and the government entrusted its construction to an English shipyard. However, their construction was not yet completed by the time the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 broke out. Since the very moment these battleships arrived in Japan, in 1906, there presence anywhere was always highlighted. The names with which these ships had been christened had been taken from the names of the Katori Shrine (dedicated to the god Futsunushi) and the Kashima Shrine (dedicated to the god Takemikazuji), according to instructions issued by the Emperor Meiji. It was said that the god Futsunushi and the god Takemikazuji were famous battle gods and that they were the first to welcome the gods from Heaven at their descent to earth as the descendants of the Sun-Goddess. Both gods were worshipped, since ancient times, by the Japanese people, as the gods of war. In 1921 the battleship, Katori was summoned by the Crown Prince to make a tour of Europe.
The officers and the believers enthusiastically applauded their performance which had been held with much decorum on the deck of the battleship, Katori. Their speech became, in fact, like an arrow with a turnip-shaped head, shot by the Omoto cult at the Navy. It may also be surmised that it became a strong incentive for the believers of the cult. The headquarters of what was then called "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit" which was a unit aimed at proselytizing was soon installed in the Omoto cult. The men and women who were the members of these headquarters were called the Military Spirit, and there were ten ranks between the Military Spirit. And, in the military profession there were ten ranks of officers and subordinates. In fact, their organization was a copy of the army. It was under the influence of Iimori and Fukunaka's explicit wished that this system was introduced.
On the afternoon of the 25th of September the ceremony of the rising of the flag of "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit" was held in the great hall of the headquarters of the Omoto cult. After supper the believers of the Omoto cult attempted to organize small local speeches on the side of main event. Above twenty members of "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit" tied a towel with the crest of the Omoto cult around their heads and tucked up their sleeves and put on a sash with large characters showing their allegiance to "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit". They were dressed in a singular fashion, with a haori, a hakama (a Japanese half-coat and a divided skirt for man's formal wear), and were also wearing straw sandals and gaiters. Holding their flag aloft they marched in procession through the streets, singing loudly some marching song and pounding on drums with uttermost energy.
/ The flag of the God's Army is waving in the air! / The flag of reform is fluttering and taking the lead in hoisting the flag are "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit"! / The Omoto cult is marching forward! / Even if ten thousands enemies appear / "The Military Spirits" will continue their grandiose march without fear and with unremitting effort / The flag of the God's Army is waving in the air! / The flag of reform is fluttering / We are taking the lead in hoisting the flag and will continue to do so / until this sacred Army defeats the Demon's Army and shouts its victory / The sacred Army is advancing against the enemy, ready to put its life at stake! / The flag of the God's Army is waving in the air! / The flag of the Omoto cult is fluttering! / Even if a multitude of ten thousands evil spirits come rushing towards us / We carry sacred swords! / Now, raise up! Rush to the battlefield! March agaist the enemy! We are the Military Spirits under the direct orders of the god! / The flag of the God's Army is waving in the air! / The flag of the Omoto cult is hoisted! / Through the doctrine of the Omoto cult, just like Takama-no-Hara / the powers of the god and Tenno will reign over the whole country / The glory of the Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit will beam even over the remotest parts of the country /
Masayoshi Iimori had written both the words and the music of this marching song. But, it was not suited for marching because the tempo was too slow. When Iimori gave the song to "the young men he added without much ado, "Hey, at this point, you better change your step than change the music." The party started from the headquarters of the Omoto cult and reached Kitanishi-cho via Hon-machi where they delivered a speech on the side of the road. It was an unprecedented occurrence in that quiet neighborhood of Ayabe. A large crowd gathered at once around them. Onisaburo was there, covering his face with a towel. He was giving the propaganda party courage in silence. A few young men delivered each a passionate speech of about ten minutes. A police sergeant and three policemen came rushing from the Ayabe police station and scolded them, "Hey, you! Stop it! Citizen cannot get through here! Clear the place at once!" Iimori, who was tall and looked quite imposing in his Navy uniform, wearing his decorations, came forward and addressed the policemen making a sweeping condemnation of their attitude. "We are delivering the people and started to rebuild and re-erect the world according to the will of the god. Don't behave like despicable fleas. We have met your chief yesterday on the occation of an other speech. You ought instead to gather more people, and made them listen to these sacred speeches."
The policemen seemed to be impressed by his attitude or they were maybe simply paying respect to his decorations, at any rate, they reluctantly withdrew from the scene without taking any action. Iimori gave a last speech. After drinking sake twice, directly from the bottle, his face flushed with the pride of a desperado after a brilliant performance. He had overcome his audience with his eloquence and was, in fact, looking quite different from the man he used to be. Later on, the party went up north, and delivered another speech in front of the Gunze weaving company. Singing loudly their marching song, they finally left this side of Sato-machi. All of them were in a jubilant mood. They prayed to the god in front of the altar and then broke up. Onisaburo, who was somewhat worried but was still secretly overwhelmed with joy, shouted, "Hey, you used a pretty strong language. Is it safe to say such things?"
On the next morning, a few representatives of the Gunze weaving company visited Onisaburo and protested to him about the wayside speech. "It is a shame that you should tell people about the devil of Gunze. We don't know of anyone who has ever said such a thing!" However, no one in the Omoto cult had any recollection of having spoken ill of their company. They continued their conversation, but, while they were talking to each other, it became clear that the representative of the company had misunderstood the reference to the Demon's Army, and it all finally ended in a burst of laughter. The Omoto cult promised them to avoid confusing words in their speeches and the problem was solved, but it was still unclear how the propaganda party would be changing the wording of their speeches.
On the 28th of September Onisaburo, at the head of "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit", climbed Mt. Oeyama in the Tango district, and loudly red passages of the Fudesaki to the god of the Earth and those of the Spiritual World. Taking advantage of the occasion the party then split into groups of four of five members, dispersed to different places to propagate the doctrine of the cult. For example one group of four members, made up of the section leader, Motonori Nishida, and Chuzaburo Sato, Toyokai Tanaka and Goichi Matamura passed through Fukuchiyama, Tohara and the Hyogo Prefecture, and on their way to Osaka City, propagated the doctrine of the cult in every locality they happened to pass through. They also participated on the 5th of November, in the raising of the flag ceremony which was held by the detachment of "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit" stationed in Osaka. On the 24th of October the same ceremony was held in Kyoto by the detachment stationed there, and from this point on, the believers began to actively propagate the doctrine under the command of their adjutant general, Nobuyuki Umeda. Nobuyuki Umeda could not kccp quite because he had a sense of growing crisis and he keenly perceived his duty to ontribute to the rebuilding of the world. He used to go out, every day, accompanied by more than forty members of the Military Spirit who were members of "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit" and always startled people with his speeches and his fantastical dresses.
According to the 15th of December, 1915 issue of the Shikishima journal, published by the Omoto cult, "Mr. Nobuuki Umeda gave several eloquent speeches from the east side of the Gion Shrine neighborhood to the west side of Senbon-Sanjo district, and from the north side of Funaokayama-Nishijin districts to the south side of Nishi-Kujo districts." He often delivered his speeches standing on the stone steps of a bank at the corner of the Sanjo-Ohashi bridge. Later, he extended the area of his activities as far as Osaka and Kobe. In Kobe several party members met together in the precincts of the Minatogawa Shrine, and sang their marching song, eliciting considerable enthusiasm. Nobuyuki Umeda was behaving as a noble spirit and was appearing as a noble-minded patriot of the Taisho Restoration.
Hearing that the missionary work of the Omoto cult was spreading in all directions just as the uncontrollable fire Hisa began to feel impatient in her Yagi house. The enthronement ceremony of Taisho Tenno which was going to be held on the 10th of November, was creating a lot of pressure. It was reported that during the thirty days preceding that ceremony the founder, Nao prayed to the god without taking any rest nor sleep.
According to the Imperial House Act, the enthronement ceremony of Tenno, Yoshihito, who was at that time the Crown Prince, was scheduled to be held on the 10th of November, 1914. However, it was unexpectedly put off because the Empress Dowager, Shoken, had died on the 11th of April of that year. However, on the 1st of February of the next year the government announced that the ceremony of enthronement would again be held on the 10th of November. The Crown Prince, Yoshihito suffered from a weak constitution since his teens, and showed even some signs of mental illness. In 1902, just after the birth of his younger brother, Yasuhito (Chichibu-no-Miya), his condition worsened and his behavior became eccentric. Rumors about this state of affairs had secretly spread throughout the whole country. However, the first Article 1 of the Imperial House Act states that: In that case the successor of Tenno is afflicted by an incurable disease or a serious accident the government shall consult with the Imperial Family Council and the Privy Councilors to consider a change in the designation of a successor to the throne. Because neither Nao nor Hisa knew about this article, they were becoming increasingly restless about the crisis the Imperial Family and the Tenno system were facing.
Just as water blotches on the paper the rumors were widely whispered and spread among the people creating a lot of anxiety. Hisa delivered to anyone who wanted to listen, fervent speeches about the god's perfect planning and urged everyone to amend their conduct. However, people used to get away from her out of amazement at her strange zeal and most felt that she might be somewhat insane. Her husband, Torauosuke could not understand her enthusiasm either and he even began to get angry at her, sometimes loudly voicing his displeasure. On the 27th of October a woman visited the Fukushima family in the Yagi district. Her name was Kiuko and she was the wife of Genshichi Fujimori. He was a manager at a large wholesale company dealing in tobacco pipe at the corner of the Dobuike district, Minami-Kyuhoji-machi in Osaka. Kiuko asked Hisa to give a speech about the god in Osaka in the future. Hisa thought that nothing could suit her better than that Kiuko had come from so far to ask her to give a speech. Hisa persuaded her husband, Toranosuke to accompany her to Osaka. As the rice harvest was coming to an end in that part of the country. Toranosuke allowed her to go, but added that she was to return within two days.
Hisa and Kiuko arrived cheerfully in Osaka. The doctrine of the Omoto cult was due to spread widely in Osaka from 1901 to 1902 thanks to the propaganda campaign of Onisaburo. However, since Onisaburo had been summoned back by the officers of the headquarters who opposed him, the situation of the faith in Osaka seemed to wither away. Although its seeds had been sown there since the beginning of the Taisho period (1912-1926). Tokuko of the eldest daughter of Sutekichi Okazaki, who was a wholesale dealer of incense sticks in the Kujo-Ibara-Sumiyoshi, had caught the measles in her childhood and her eardrum had been damaged because her parents had kept her head cool with a pillow filled with ice during her illness. The Okazaki family was quite distressed by the hearing problem of their daughter. The family had invited to their house Yonesaburo Murakami, who had been introduced to them by a craftsman in the stick incense trade. Murakami was a believer of the Omoto cult and a paper hanger in the Namba district. He attempted to calm down the soul of Tokuko for three days with his sacred power, but utterly failed in his attempt. Murakami noticed however that it really might have been the mother who was troubling her daughter, and he decided to pray to the god for her mother, Naoko, insteads, although she personally hated to see Murakami praying. But at one time Naoko became possessed by the mysterious power and she began to shout, "Such a fellow will never be recognized by this god. Call your master! Come here with your master!" Murakami was confused, but he answered, "You may say so, but my master is in the Tanba district at this time. Please carry Naoko's flesh to Kyoto, and I will be able to ask my master to come to Kyoto." "Tell me when you are ready. I will carry that flesh to Kyoto," answered Naoko. Murakami delivered her questions to Onisaburo.
In the early summer of the new Taisho era which succeeded the Meiji era, Onisaburo met Naoko Okazaki at the house of the Umeda family in the Kyoto branch headquarters of the Omoto cult. Onisaburo saluted while still in his daily clothes, but immediately afterwards he changed clothes and dressed in a white kimono in a back room, and formally sat at the head place. He said to her, "I want you to take part in the second stage of the door-opening of the cave of the Heaven." According to ancient records the whole world had sunk into darkness because the Sun-Goddess Amaterasu-Omikami had hidden in a cave of Heaven out of desperation at the confusion of the world, but the other gods asked the Goddess to come out of the cave to shine on the earth and restore light to it. Onisaburo likened the rebuilding and re-erecting of the world to this famous episode of Japanese mythology. At the very moment Naoko heard his words she prostrated herself before him.
Although Naoko was not possessed by any mysterious power, she emphatically made up her mind to become a believer of the Omoto cult. Just after returning from Osaka, she enshrined the great God in the alcove of her house without even seeking her husband's approval. Despite this however, her daughter's hearing problem did not seem to be getting any better.
Naoko prayed to the god every morning and every evening. She often prayed with the aim of healing her friend's diseases and in many cases she worked wonders. Her husband, Sutekichi was fiercely opposed to her believing in the doctrine of the Omoto cult. He said to her, "Can't you think about the consequences for my business? I am an incense stick dealer. Do you understand? That relates me to Buddha, but not to your gods. If you are not willing to understand this, get out of here!" It was but very natural that she should get angry. Although both had grown up under very adverse circumstances he had made his way up little by little to become, after many years of hardships, a respected and distinguished incense stick dealer under the name of Ichikawa-dou in Osaka.
Sutekichi had been born in Okazaki district (currently in the Aichi Prefecture) in 1852 as he was the son of a certain Ichikawa who was a member Okazaki clan. Sutekichi's parents died while he was still at a tender age and, as a result, he disassociated himself from the clan and went to Kobe when he was about fifteen or sixteen, to make his own way through adversity. There, he went into the service of an incense stick store, but got so depressed that he even attempted suicide. But he was a stoic man, and he finally succeeded in setting up his own business. He managed the employment agency for a short time, and he used the experience he acquired there to open his store of the incense stick in Osaka. It was said that he was unrivaled in his ability to choose the best scented wood in the Kansai district. He traveled around the mountains of four Prefectures in Shikoku to seek the best wood. He became a wholesale dealer of the finest stick incense and extended his activities over the whole area.
Sutekichi first met Naoko in the licensed quarters of the Matsushima district in the Nishi Ward of Osaka. Naoko had been born in 1872 in the Noto district (currently in the Ishikawa Prefecture). She was a descendent of Gohei Maruya who was the manager of a large shipping company. But when her parents got ruined she left home and went to Osaka alone. She became a tout of the licensed quarters and she was well known for her skill in attracting guests. Relying on that skill she had skillfully picked up Sutekichi who had a stern and handsome countenance from among the guests by her its ability. She was twenty years younger than him. Naoko was a hard worker and a skillful artisan in incense stick making. When Sutekichi made her bind the incense sticks into a bundle she could grasp and bind exactly one hundred pieces simply evaluating the size of the bundle at a glance. No one could rival her precision and speed at work. As such a valuable wife was now neglecting her work, Sutekichi was amazed and worried. He intended to coax her into forsaking her faith, but she flatly refused.
Sutekichi was determined to forcefully drive away the evil god from the flesh of his wife. He tied a towel around his head and tucked up his kimono. While she was praying to the god, he stealthily drew close to her back holding a broom by the reverse end. Naoko turned suddenly around, and pointed at him with her right index. He shouted, "Hey! You harlot! How do you dare lift your hand against your husband being what you are?" Sutekichi was outraged and stroke her with the broom. "Ah! Hissss!" She shouted at him with her sharp voice and he felt that a deep numbness was overcoming him. The broom leaped from his hand, fell down and he severely hurt his hip against the corner of the room. He looked after and saw that she was still sitting down and was still pointing her index at him. He shouted again, "You devil! How can you do such a thing to your husband?" He grasped the broom again and threw himself upon her, but the result was exactly the same. He attempted to wrestle with her, but he was pushed away by a mysterious power and did not even succeed in touching her flesh. After attempting it four times he admitted his defeat. In his youth he had practiced judo with enthusiasm and had rarely been defeated. However, he did not get training a trick to tumble down in judo with a yell. Noe, Sutekichi had to surrender to the divine spirit. He took off the towel from around his head, as a sign of submission.
Since then Okazaki and his wife visited the church of the Omoto cult together and they soon established the Omoto-Asahi meeting place in the incense stick store at their house. However, there are no records left to establish the precise dates of these events besides a note on the list of the believers which states that Toshitaro Morita, who was living in the Umemoto-cho, Nishi Ward became the first believer on the 3rd of October, 1912, and that another six households became believers in that same year of Taisho era. Okazaki and his wife strongly urged their acquaintances to become believers of their cult and they seemed to have had a considerable influence upon people in the Osaka area. Their propaganda seemed to have spread mainly in the well known gay quarters called Matsushima because their house was nearby and Naoko had resided there before her marriage. There were a lot of influential believers in these quarters, mainly Naoko's former friends of touters, Mon Sasaki, an owner of a licensed house named Yoshino-rou of the Matsushima, Tokiko Yoshino, and an owner of another licensed house in the Kitahorie district, Etsuko Hoshida.
Twenty-six households were registerd with the Omoto Asahi meeting place in 1913, and the next year, thirty-three households were attached to this meeting. The Omoto Asahi meeting place was raised to the same status as the Kyoto branch bureau of the Omoto cult in 1918. Moreover, Yonesaburo Murakami who had led Naoko Okazaki to become a believer, opened a meeting place in Motomachi on the advice of Umeda who was manager of the Kyoto headquarters of the Omoto cult. Onisaburo was invited to the Motomachi meeting place. Onisaburo met all those present and inquired with the officials about the identity of a man, "A tall bony, and bald-headed man may live nearby the Aizenzaka district. His name was Masateru Naito. Please have somebody, call him here at once." While Onisaburo continued his inquiry about the man with the believers one of them rushed to the street to fetch the man. Before long Masateru Naito and his wife, Ichi arrived gasping in front of Onisaburo. At that time, which was around 1902 or 1903 Onisaburo was heavily dependending upon the Naito Family. He had been searching the neighborhood with Masateru for the sacred power of the fox deity. Since Onisaburo had been summoned back to Ayabe he had not met Masateru in the last twelve years.
Looking at his nice shining bald head, Onisaburo said to him, in a casual way, "I have decided to enshrine the god at your house. However, your house in the Aizen-zaka district is too small and I'd like to have a larger house for that purpose." Masateru politely agreed and proceeded to rent one of ten newly build houses in the Namba-Shinkawa 1-chome district, Minami Ward, Osaka. That house stood at the corner of the area. Beyond that corner began the Dobashi district, and the Osaka sumo training center stood just in front of that house. In fact, it may even be that this house had been assigned to the training center at some time. Masateru's wife, Ichi coaxed her parents, who lived in Shizuoka, to pay for the moving expenses. Onisaburo enshrined the Great God in a room of eighteen tatamis on the second floor after taking away the partition between the rooms, and called the place the Namba branch office of the Omoto cult. The ceremony of enshrining the Great God was held on the 19th of February, 1914. Masateru Naito became the head of the office, and Hayao Mori and Bunzo Sakamoto became the leading assistants. The propaganda of the cult spread like a wildfire.
The believers of Osaka soon split into the Okazaki and the Naito factions and it seems that some kind of secret struggle arose between these two factions. Hisa went to Osaka, and as she became aware of the problem. she criticized this situation strongly. "The Omoto cult is aiming at the rebuilding and the re-erecting of the whole universe. What a shame that you should scramble for believers!" Moreover, it had also been rumored that the enthronement ceremony of His Imperial Majesty brings about many difficulties in the city. Even some believers of the Omoto cult quoted that sentence of the Fudesaki, "The Taisho era would pass as swiftly as the color of the hydrangea changes", and they thought that it was quite natural to expect some trouble. Hisa was provoked by such thoughts and she said, "You, foolish people, must understand that the founder has been praying to the god for His Imperial Majesty and for the country and you are not even heeding the founder's prayers! You fools!"
Hisa remained at the Asahi branch bureau under Kiuko Fujimori's guidance. From the first night she arrived, Hisa placed an offering in front of the altar every night and kept rattling day and night around Okazaki and his wife. Unable to stand it any longer Okazaki took her with him to the Namba branch office. Once there, Hisa again, pestered Naito and his wife all night long. Hisa started visiting the houses of the believers in Osaka one after another and upon her return she continued always to rattle on all night getting no sleep for several days in a row. According to her point of view, it was improper that the believers should leisurely sleep while the founder was praying without taking any rest. She became an embarrassment to everyone and many people said, "That woman named Hisa Fukushima, from the Yagi district, has never been anywhere and is like a frog born in a small pond who knows nothing about the great ocean. The guardian deity who abides in her flesh seems to have become frightened at the sudden change from the very moment she arrived the wide area of Osaka. We do not know what to do with her because she is continuously raising her clamors in the houses of other families without taking any sleep." However, Hisa did not pay any attention to such rumors. She had also forgotten that her husband had given her permission to leave for only two days and that he must have had much difficulty to look after their children at a moment when the whole family would be very busy with the rice harvest.
On the 5th of November at nine o'clock in the morning, and according to the orders emanated from the headquarters of "The Military under the Diet Orders of the Spirit" the hoisting of the flag ceremony was held at the Namba branch office. The Omoto cult had set up the Osaka living quarters of "The Military under the Diet Orders of the Spirit" at that branch office. Onisaburo and Masayoshi Iimori attended the ceremony as representatives of the main headquarters, and Motonori Nishida who had arrived the day before, led a group of the propaganda activists hoisting a streamer. All Military Spirits who accounted now for over sixty persons sang enthusiastically their marching song. After the ceremony, all the women and children tied the towels around their heads, tucked up their sleeves and putting on sashes with ensigns of "The Military under the Diet Orders of the Spirit", and visited a special government shrine, the Abeno Shrine which had been dedicated to Chikafusa Kitabatake (1293-1354) and Akiie Kitabatake (1318-1338). Chikafusa Kitabatake had been a scholar who had written a history entitled "Jinno-Shoutouki", and he had also been a senior statesman in the Gomurakami Tenno era. Akiie Kitabatake was the eldest son of Chikafusa, and he had been a military commander of the Southern Dynasty, and he had died in battle. The Military Spirits gave their first speech to the visitors of that shrine on that occation. A few members who had been previously designated to that effect, stood among the visitors and about every five minutes reinforced themoaning of the speeches voicing what seemed to be their own opinions. Iimori said to them, "Don't worry, it is indifferent whether you speak skillfully or not. The important point is to strengthen our thoughts with the force of the spirit!" All of them focused intensely on that purpose. According to Iimori's order, Hisa stepped forward. The curious eyes of all the visitors focused intensely on her. She felt the impact, but, although it was the first time she had to speak in public in her life she remained undaunted.
__"Ladies and gentlemen of Osaka, the time has come to compare the strength of the study against the strength of the god. Until now we have been able to solve very few problems through study and learning, but, from now on we will not continue to wander in the dark. A mysterious thing has happened: An old woman who was collecting refuse paper had been thrown at the bottom of the abyss. And, there is also a man who was born in a poor house and did not even attend the elementary school, and he could not read and was driving an oxcart. This man was a fool and he now lives in a dilapidated house in the mountains. He calls himself Kiraku Ankanbo (an easygoing and happy-lucky man). In this evil world truth seems to be lies, and lies look like truth. If pure Japanese souls born under the Sun Goddess protection still remain they can certainly understand the god's will. However, we don't understand ourselves. Who and what is the god? What is a human being? Why are we living? In spite of your ignorance you can still consume food and you can still sleep every day because the evil spirit secretly dwells in your flesh. Which do you choose to become? A child of the god or a scum? Hearing my words you are proud, laughing sardonically. But, I can promise you that if you come to Ayabe in the Tanba district, you will become good men and women and the god will humble your pride."
Hisa rattled on, with her spittle flying, and raising her hand. A crowd started to gather, attracted by this uncommon woman who was speaking with unusual determination and the listeners were overawed by her strong words. But, anyway, she was very successful. She repeated her speech in some busy streets on her way to the branch office. Masayoshi Iimori said to her on his way back, "I am deeply impressed by your speech which is full of the patriotic spirit! We are no mach for you. Tomorrow, the ceremony of the hoisting of the flag of 'The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit' will be held in the Kimokawa district. Would you like to join us on that occacion?" "Yes, I will go. I would go Hades for the sake of the sacred work," answered she. As Hisa faced the tall and slim figure of Iimori in uniform, she flushed. She then went to the house of Sadayoshi Tanimae where she could stay when she was in the Matsushima district, 1-Chome, and found that Onisaburo was there. He smiled and said, "O-Hisa-han, you met the public with much bravery, I heard." Hisa answered with enthusiasm, "Oh! It was nothing special, don't use the word bravery for such a short performance. I did it by the grace of the god. And I will go anywhere for the sake of the god. In an emergency I am even ready to negotiate with His Imperial Majesty.' Onisaburo answered, "Well, I understand that you are fully committed, but you did not get any sleep lately, I heard. You must understand that taking care of your health is essential to be able to continue the sacred service of the god. Please, take it easy tonight and get some rest." She bit her lips and said, "Don't worry. These are times of emergency and while the devil is thwarting the enthronement ceremony of Tenno, I cannot sleep. It is a matter of great importance to impede that the fox with nine tails who is covered in golden fur does not take advantage of us while we are sleeping."
The flames of the faith were spreading to unexpected places, such as the Inagawa district in the Kawabe County of the Hyogo Prefecture. The man who had inflamed the faith of people there was Souyuu Ozawa. Ozawa was an easy prey for fits of passion and he had even intended once to kill Nobuyuki Umeda, but, that was before. He became a propagator of the faith himself. Another man, called Yozo Inatsugu was the central figure of missionary work in Fukuchiyama. Inatsugu became a believer under the guidance of Ozawa. Ozawa used to stand in front of the hospital in Fukuchiyama and addressed the sick persons telling them that whatever they were suffering from the teachings of the Omote cult would calm down their souls and would bring an end of their suffering. Inatsugu had also met Ozawa by chance on his way to the hospital and he, like, other sick persons, became a believer because Ozawa was promising to cure hopeless diseases through praying to the god. Ozawa had now become the central figure of the propaganda efforts as he was the chief of the Fukuchiyama branch office. Many people became the believers under his influence.
Just after Naoko Okazaki had become a believer, Ozawa went to Osaka for his missionary work and calmed down Naoko's soul. Naoko was possessed by a mysterious power and delivered the god's words, "Go along the Sasayama Highway for ten ri (a ri is equal to 44 kilometers) from here. There is a god waiting for you." Believing her words, Ozawa started from the house of the Okazaki family in the early morning. When he arrived in the Sashikumi Village, Inagawa-cho on that same evening, he became very interested in a mountain. Entering into a liquor store beside the bridge, he asked the mountain's name. The master of the store, Kamesaburo Maeda, who was seventy years old, answered, "That mountain is called Iwane-yama, and is spreading for three long mountain's feet. A god is enshrined in the mountain. It is the god to whom we pray to receive the blessing of rain. The object of worship enshrined there is a large cracked rock. But you shouldn't say that it is only a rock. All the villagers of this place worship that rock. Since ancient times women have been forbidden to enter that mountain and that is a rule which is very strictly enforced." Ozawa asked, "How far is it from here to Osaka?" He answered, "The distance is said to be about ten ri." "Thank you, and where is the house of the headman of this Ward?"
Ozawa intuitively knew that the place indicated by the god there. Maeda let him to his house of Chief Tanaka of the village. Tanaka, and he got permission from him to practice asceticism for a week in the mountain. Chief Tanaka gave him the key of the door of the old shrine which had been built on the cracked rock. From that day on Ozawa began to practice asceticism, fasting and drinking no water. Chief Tanaka came up to the shrine on the seventh clay. Ozawa said to him, "The god has ordered me to continue my ascetic practices for one week more! Can you allow me to do so?" Tanaka replied, "If you wish you can keep doing that for one hundred days more. But, can you remain in good health without taking any food?" "The god allows me only to drink water. May I ask you to bring enough water for seven days. I am really sorry to put you through such trouble." Chief Tanaka gracefully complied. After completing two weeks of ascetic practices, Ozawa went to the house of Chief Tanaka to return the key he had borrowed and he took also a bath at his house on the same evening. The situation developed to the point that it was decided he would stay there for a while. "Ozawa explained that the god not only cured diseases but was of great help in all the realms of live. The rumor spread rapidly. Visitors to the house of Chief Tanaka increased. They came to pray and to ask for the fulfillment of their wishes. The master of the liquor store, Kamesaburo Maeda made so much propaganda for Ozawa and his god that it seemed to have become his own affair. Maeda told a lady called Hana about Ozawa's god. Hana was the mother of a wealthy man named Suekichi Kuruma. Kimokawa was living in the district of the Nakatani Village which was a ri away from the Sashikumi Village. Hana had a weak constitution and she had been inviting shamans from all quarters, but none of them had been able to cure her weakness. She finally asked her family to invite Ozawa to come to her house. While staying at the Kuruma's house Ozawa continued to practice asceticism while calming down Hana's soul. The villagers gathered around Ozawa one after another jointed him in his ascetic practices. In rapid succession several believers became possessed by the mysterious power and a wonderful and spiritual atmospheres developed. At first they would sense and watch the very strange atmosphere and they would become very enthusiastic. Kuruma's house was clearly not suited to accommodate so much visitors and they built a new house for the ascetic practices. It had two main rooms, one of eight tatamis and another of six. There was an additional room of three tatamis where they made offerings of food and wine to the gods. Just after the house was completed they installed the Kimogawa branch office of the Omoto cult in it. These events seem to have happened around 1913. Groups of believers often visited the Ayabe headquarters. As the officers were designated and the organization of the Kimogawa branch office was consolidated Ozawa gradually lost the support of most of the believers. Ozawa was stubborn and he often clashed with the officers. Ozawa had a superior ability for propagating the doctrine, but he lacked self-restraint and was not a good organizer. Finally the day came when he had to leave the Kimogawa branch office and he immediately visited Onisaburo in Ayabe to ask for his orders. At that time five gods, Ameno-Minakanushi-no-Okami, Kunitokotachi-no-Mikoto, Ushitora-no-Konjin, Hachidai-Ryuou and Ryugu-no-Otohime were enshrined in the Kimogawa branch office. Onisaburo said, "It is very difficult for one branch office to serve so many gods. I am going to secretly transfer the shrines of four gods to another place and leave only the god Ryugu-no-Otohime." After hearing this Ozawa left the Kimogawa branch office and went in the direction of Osaka and Ibaragi to continue propagating the cult.
In March, 1914, Onisaburo visited the Kimogawa branch office. Suekichi Kuruma had become the manager of his branch office and he had spread the doctrine widely. In the following autumn the Kimogawa branch of "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit" was established on the heels of organization of the Osaka branch. The hoisting of the flag ceremony at that division was held on the 6th of November at nine o'clock in the morning in the precincts of the Togakushi Shrine which was dedicated to a tutelary deity. The believers of Osaka, Masateru Naito, Etsuko Hoshida, Masayoshi Iimori and Hisa Fukushima attended the ceremony together with over forty believers of the Kimogawa district despite the fact that it was the farmers busiest season. Under the blue autumn sky the ears of rice had just reached the point of harvesting, and were waving heavily and the strong smell of the rice plant filled the air around the rice-plant rack. During the ceremony Hisa had eyes for only two of the fluttering flags, that was, the flag of the Military of the "Military" and the flag of the Reform.
After the ceremony of the hoisting of the flag of "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit" had concluded, the atmosphere was whipped up and the party, in high spirits, initiated a march to the Kimogawa branch office. However, Hisa still remained prostrated in front of the Togakushi Shrine. When she finally raised her eyes the precinct had already become as quite as a tomb but she realized that Iimori was kneeling at her side. Hisa and Iimori left the house of the Tanimae family to go to the Kimogawa district, via Umeda, by the Hankyu rail way and then via lkeda on foot she did not stop rattling about all her experiences of the Spiritual World. Iimori listened with care to her words and often expressed his admiration. "Oh, yes, since I arrived in Ayabe I have carefully observed fur a year, how things are evolving in the Omoto cult, but the real situation has kept eluding me as if it was being hidden behind a smoke screen. Hearing your story, I have now understood the outline of what we have to do to establish the land of the gods. Oh, God be praised! Bless God!"
This man, Iimori immediately understood the nature of Hisa's experiences, although her own mother Nao, her younger sister and her husband, even Hisa's own husband Toranosuke, had been unable to understand her despite living with her for twenty-six years. Looking at the profile of his faoe, she remembered the image of Masamune Ouhiroki whom she had met in the Spiritual World. Iimori soon raised his face, stood up and after clapping his hands, he bowed in worship towards the shrine. Hisa carefully brushed the soil from the knees and from the cuffs of his uniform. She said, "If you understand well the schedule of the god's regime and devote yourself to establish the land of the gods in this world, I would sacrifice even my children and my family to work with you. We should work together to establish a vanguard station of the Heavenly land of the gods in this world."
Iimori drank some sake at the canteen and after taking breath he said, "Well yes, I will do that! I have past the prime of the youth, but when I look back I cannot say that my life has been satisfactory and I do not want to leave things undone or have regrets at the time of death. I have no doubt that, in many ways, I have been working against the purpose of the gods but, as soon as I realized that, retired from office. However, even then, I was only thinking about how to have a chance to die decently. If the god had been in the world and had taken me into His service, I would already have surrendered my life to Him. But I understand now that our souls have been closely bound up together." Hisa answered, "You're quite right, we have been bound together since the age of gods." Iimori continued, "Isn't It strange that my wife's name is the same as yours. Besides, I always tell my wife that I can't help to be amazed at the fact that only one woman, in the whole world, agrees with me. I even said to her that I would throw everything away and start living with that woman. I added: 'Do you understand me?' She answered that she understood me very well and that if that was the wish of the god she would be quite happy with the whole thing. But, you, Hisa, are a woman, and you have your family, a husband and children. If we work together, the groundless rumors may arise despite the fact that the god knows our situation. Nonetheless, we must work together to achieve the model of the land of the gods in the world and we cannot be delayed by the fear of groundless calumny here."
Hisa said, "I told you the truth. The god wishes us to do only one thing now. The golden fur fox of nine tails is going to interfere with Tenno's journey on His way to the enthronement ceremony from Tokyo to Kyoto. We must crush the fox's plans. The founder has been praying to the god for thirty days without sleeping to thwart the fore intentions. If Tenno is able to arrive in Kyoto the enthronement ceremony will be held without any trouble. However, to secure only the ceremony is not enough. I have heard that The Court itself has become a den of foxes. The only way in which Tenno and the people will live in peace is for us to drive the foxes away using the sacred power and rebuild the Imperial Household." Iimori said, "I do not mind losing my life, but the part concerned with the Imperial Household is totally out of our reach."
Hisa said, "If it is beyond our reach, who will then reform the Imperial Household? Common people alone cannot slay the golden foxes of nine tails. We must attempt to attack them at the risk of our lives while under the god's protection. This great work can only then be achieved by me, Hisa, who will be spoken of as the rescuer of this world and of the world to come."
Iimori interrupted Hisa excited tirade raising his hand to his forehead with a gesture that evoked a short prayer to the god. Recovering his composure he continued, "I understand you very well, but we must choose an appropriate time for action. Calm down! Other people will lose their willingness to follow us if we are unable to show them the building blocks of reconstruction of the world step by step and within our capabilities." Hisa head his words meekly, "Well, first, we must rebuild the sacred place under the founder's knees. It is quite natural that when we rebuild the sacred place of the Omoto cult this polluted world should be rebuilt on the model of the Omoto cult." Iimori said, "What?" She continued, "I have not told the story of my dream to anyone yet, but I will tell it to you. 'A large beam was standing in the edge of a bottemless dale. Mr. Onisaburo, the superintendent priest was weighed on that beam. Oh, it was terrible! I thought that Onisaburo would fall head foremost into the abysmal ravine and would forever become unable to go to heaven. I was trying to get near him, but at the instant I thought I could reach him a weigh of the beam suddenly was raised towards the sky and Mr. Onisaburo started falling foremost. At this very moment Mr. Hirotsugu came descending from the sky, tightly holding a golden sacred staff with cut paper. Now, how do you solve this riddle, Mr. Iimori?" Iimori grumbled, "Hum! Did that superintendent priest fall into the ravine?"
Tenno arrived safely in Kyoto on the 7th of October, at five minutes to two in the aftenoon. Each town he passed on his way as well as the whole city of Kyoto had been preparing to receive Tenno and had been decorated with the paper lanterns while the national flag had been hoisted on poles at every house. About 150,000 visitors welcomed Tenno along the street that went from Shichijo station to Sakaimachi-gomon via Karasuma-dori. A lot of persons had waited along the way, the whole night, sitting down on the straw mats. The retinue of the Emperor marched on horse echoing the clatter of their hoofs. Thirteen carriages joined in the parade. The first six western style carriages were the Master of ceremonies. The second one was for the Grand Master of Ceremonies and the Vice-Grand Master of Ceremonies. The third carriage was for the Vice-Director of the Imperial Household Agency, the fourth carriage was for the Minister of Imperial Household, then followed the carriage of Tenno, in full ceremonial dress, followed by the carriage of the president of the ceremony, His Imperial Highness Prince Fushiminomiya, the carriage of the Prime Minister, Shigenobu Okuma, a palanquin which was carried by eight children called Yase-doji (Children of Yase) who had specially been selected for the ceremony of the Court in Yase Village in Kyoto Prefecture, and finally came the officers of the Imperial Guard Division.
Some people were moved to tears because they had a chance to behold the processions for the enthronement ceremonies of three generations of Emperors, that is the Koumei, Meiji and Taisho Emperors. These people thought that they were extremely fortunate and considered this the greatest gift and blessing the god and Buddha had given them in their lives. Beside Iimori stood an old man and his wife crying out of emotion but as he was watching the rear of the march, his face showed that he, himself, had mixed feelings about it. "O-Hisa-san!", he said, "you must be glad at the news that His Majesty the Emperor did arrive in Kyoto without facing any difficulty on His way. Here, at least, we can temporarily feel relieved. The enthronement ceremony will take place and you should get some good sleep tonight." Hearing the report Iimori was given her, Hisa smiled same as being spoken of her great achievement, and said, "This is a major achievement, everything is well now! We have been blessed by the god."
On that evening Hisa talked with Iimori in a very relaxed way because she finally relaxed from her ordeal of last ten-odd days, but, suddenly, she gazed intensely at the empty air and started shivering. Iimori shouted, "What are you doing?" He was surprised at her behavior and grasped her arm. Hisa shook off his hand and roared terribly just as if she was attacked by something invisible. Her face had almost instantly lost all color. She seemed to be under intense pain and seemed about to faint in agony. Then, she pushed Iimori aside with all her vigor while shouting, "Wretch! Heck!" She jumped to the recess in the room and grasped a katana which stood against the wall. It was a double-edged one belonging to Iimori. All those present ran away to the passage of the house.
Hisa quickly drew the katana and baring her thighs she seemed to be slashing at some invisible thing floating in the air. She cut through the shoji and chipped a part of a pillar, but despite his efforts, Iimori could not even get near her. Suekiehi Kuruma and his family shouted, "This is a madwoman with a naked katana in her hands. Quickly catch her, please!" They sincerely thought that Hisa had gone out of her mind. When this wild rampage, brandishing the katana ended she was utterly exhausted and breathing hard, she threw herself on the tatami. Iimori wrested the naked katana from her grasp and asked, "What were you looking at? Was it a demon?" She seemed to have no more energy to speak and only gave a clear nod, still gasping for air. Iimori sheathed the katana and pitifully helped her up to get on her feet. He resented his own helplessness against the devil, the more so because he was a soldier, and he had been standing idle while a woman, Hisa, was snuggling with the demon.
Hisa's face had recovered somewhat its natural and she started to explain in a rapid succession of words, "It was a she demon with a large ugly face, she choked me by the neck with her strong power while telling me that she was from Russia and that her name was Blabakky. She said: 'You will pay for your obstruction of my plans. I will not allow you to live any longer. I thought that I could not allow such a thing to be done to me.' And I gathered all my strength to send her flying away after cutting her with that katana. But, however much I cut her to pieces, her body would reform instantly. Despite this, you are out of danger, because I am quite sure that I drove her away. Excuse me, for all the noise I made. Well then, shall I go to bed?" Hisa made a bed in the next room adjacent to the hall in which the altar was put, and she slipped into the futon.
"Well, I am going to sleep next to you and protect you from the demon," said Iimori as he prepared his futon beside her futon. She got the sleep she hadn't had for twelve clays. She strangely sank into a loud rattling snore as if she had been taking a large amount of sleeping pills. Iimori laid himself on the futon, folding his arms and focused on the ceiling, while considering how he could protect her from the demon. He reflected on the demon's name: 'Blabakky of Russia. The name of the founder of "The Spiritual Studies" in America was also Blabakky. Iimori was very interested in "The Spiritual Studies" and he was determined to go to America, but he had canceled his plans after recognizing the greatness of the doctrine of the Omoto cult. Hisa could not have known about his plans and much less she have know the name of the founder of "The Spiritual Studies". Was it a simple coincidence that both names were the same?
On the early morning of 8th when Hisa awoke Iimori had already put away the futon and was sitting in front of the altar. After practicing her cold water ablutions, Hisa arranged herself and went to greet him.
Iimori asked, "When does the second generation arrive here?" On the evening of the 6th Hisa entrusted Etsuko Hoshida who was returning to Osaka to give Naoko Okazaki a letter ordering her to visit Sumi Deguchi in Ayabe, at once, and then come here with her to the Kimogawa district. Hisa added, "I have requested them to come here at once, but it may take a few days before they arrive because they need to make arrangements for their trips." Iimori said, "I think that it is a pity to waste our time. How would you like to go to Kobe and deliver a great speech there? How are you feeling?" She answered, "Thank you, I feel quite refreshed after the good sleep I had last night and it is distressing for me to remain idle. Let's go!" They seemed to resent even the time it would have taken to have breakfast and started for Kobe, right away. Standing on the pier of the Kobe Harbor they delivered a passionate speech. The high level reasoning of limori's speech contrasted with the loosely-knit eloquence of Hisa, but they drew a large crowd who seemed very interested in what they had to say and applauded them enthusiastically.
A policeman appeared and said respectfully, "There is the seaside, and I am worried that someone in this excited crowd could fall into the sea. I suggest you to give your speech at the place I will indicate you." The policeman took the trouble to lead Hisa by the hand to a wide square. After Hisa and Iimori concluded their speeches at the pier, they visited the the first-class cruiser Azuma (9,326 tons) which was anchored there and they again made a speech for the navel officers in the wardroom of the ship. On the morning of the 7th Sumi received a letter from Naoko Okazaki in Osaka and she asked permission to her husband and to her mother to make arrangements for the trip to the Kimogawa district by permission of her husband and her mother. On the next morning Nao met her and asked her to cancel her trip saying, "0-Sumi, be patient. Don't go to the Kimogawa district now." But, why? I am very happy to go there." Sumi asked. Nao continued, "When I was making some offering and thanking the god for His blessing, I could see O-Hisa standing in the Kimogawa district and I saw the shadow of Mr. Haruzo Shikata possessing her back. The person who called Sumi was not O-Hisa but Mr. Haruzo. This time you must stop. It cannot be helped in any way because a mysterious spirit protects her. The god on this side has difficulty in ruling over the spirit which inherited the family line of her god."
Fifteen years passed since Haruzo Shikata had died. But, how tenacious his memory was had been quite remarkable. Sumi opened her eyes and as she was struck by that wonder she canceled her trip according to her mother's suggestion. Sumi wired Hisa that she could not visit her for the time being. After a short while, an officer came to the headquarters in Ayabe and complained to Onisaburo about Hisa. Hisa was going on a wild rampage brandishing an edged tool and was always placing her futon without the slightest hesitation beside Iimori's one. The officer said to Onisaburo, "We cannot take care of her in the Kimogawa branch. Please take her back here." Onisaburo consulted the case with Nao and decided to send Yoshikichi Tanaka to the Kimogawa district to fetch her. Tanaka visited Toranosuke Fukushima in the Yagi Village on his way and went to Kimogawa with him.
They arrived in the Kimogawa district at the night. Being late at night Hisa and Iimori came back from Kobe. At the moment Hisa saw her husband, Toranosuke she nervously asked him, "Where is O-Sumi-san, Why isn't she here yet?" Toranosuke said, "The second generation cannot come here because the superintendent priest, Onisaburo, has ordered her not to come and he has also told us to bring you back to Ayabe at once. We came to fetch you, and we will start our journey home tomorrow, early in the morning." Hisa answered, "Oh! I see! But I cannot go back with you because I am too busy with the service of the god here." He replied, "Well, in spite of what you said, you must return with us even if we gave to drag you on the ground, the whole way, because those are the orders of the superintendent priest." Hisa reported, "Why should I have to return to Ayabe? I don't remember having interrupted in anyway of the Great God! I cannot comply with the orders of this foolish fellow, the superintendent. If he gives me an order it must come with a good reason to obey it." Toranosuke was growing quite excited, "Then, will you listen to what your husband says?"
Hisa became defiant and said, "Well no, I will not listen to you because the god is more valuable than my husband. It is natural that we must endeavor to serve the god as much as possible." Toranosuke said, "Fine! But, what are you doing here then? What are you doing with this sharp tool? Tomorrow, the enthronement ceremony of His Majesty the Emperor will be held. If you are suspected of the slightest abnormality in your mental condition you will be detained by the police, and be thrown in the police cell and be thoroughly investigated. That is what the superintendent priest was worried about and that is why he has ordered us to bring you back." Toranosuke did not say anything about the rumors reporting her as deeply in love with Iimori. He feared that she would get more confused and would become uncontrollable. But despite his prudence she was already trembling with rage.
Hisa said, "My behavior had nothing to do with madness. I was assailed by a she demon called Blabakky and had to struggle with her." Toranosuke said, "Even if what you say is true, your behavior was too extreme and will get you in the police station if you stay here. That is what the superintendent priest is worried about." Hum! That fellow, the superintendent priest! Well, I will go hack for him. But, I will first go to Osaka because I must straighten the officers of the Osaka branch office out. I promised that to them, some time ago." "No, you are going back directly via Fukuchiyama, not via Osaka." Zenkichi Tanaka clearly stated, "The founders orders were to go back directly to Ayabe." Hearing those words, Hisa shrank back. Toranosuke was looking at her and said, "Yes, the founder told us to do so. Which is more important for you, the order of the founder or the promise to the officers of Osaka?" Iimori who was watching the whole scene with folded arms, said in a subdued voice, "O-Hisa-san, as those are the orders of the founder lets go back directly to Ayabe in spite of your promise to the officers in Osaka. Then, after obtaining the permission from the superintendent priest and from the officers of the headquarters we can then embark on our mission again." Hisa regretfully agreed with him, "Well, I suppose that it cannot be helped. I am forced to go back, but I will, for my peace of mind, complain about that fellow, the superintendent priest.
The party arrived at Ayabe in the afternoon of the 9th. Hisa and Iimori visited the founder in her room of the Tomukaku building. Nao and Onisaburo were talking cheerfully. Hisa greeted Nao, then, turned to Onisaburo and said, "The superintendent priest, you ordered them to bring me back even if they had to drag me on the ground, I heard. Why did you say such a thing? First, I want to hear what your reasons arel." Onisaburo said with a smile, "I understand that you are upset but, please calm down! I was only worried about you because people think that you are a madwoman and as the enthronement ceremony is to be held tomorrow, I only cared for your safety. When you get too excited the demon catches the opportunity to attack you." Hisa's eyes were turned up. "The superintendent priest! You speak as if I was possessed by the demon. I only devote myself entirely to work for the country of the god and for the Great God, forsaking even my house and my children. How could the demon ever possess me under such circumstances? The demon is powerless against me! The spirit of the O-Fudesaki permeates the flesh of Hisa Fukushima entirely. This one, Hisa is giving all her soul to subdue the demon for the tranquility of the founder. What could the demon ever do to such a faithful creature as myself?
Hisa continued, "Now, the Reverend Oni, I'd like you to examine me in detail to find out which the god possesses me, the good god or the evil god. But if you refuse to do so correctly, I will begin to hate the Omoto cult because it hears the teachings of such a foolish superintendent priest as you are. Even when I am only paying a visit to the Omoto cult you should just have a look at how I am teaching the doctrine of the founder. Listen, all of you, what the superintendent priest said to me one day in summer, 1898, when he visited my teahouse in the Toratenzeki district? He told me that his role was to judges which gods are among the good gods and which have fallen into obscurity due to their ill fate in the world and that his main mission was to make Him, the true god, appear in the worlds. If you cannot judge who the great god who possesses me is, you should turn over the Omoto cult to me, and get away from here, you foolish superintendent priest! Just get ready now to judge who my god is." Onisaburo snapped out, "It is unnecessary for me to evaluate your god. The good god uses only the sacred words. Since you are abusing me verbally, I know already that whoever possesses you is a most terrible demon. Keep up your spirits!"
Hisa stood up with an angry look, and despite the efforts of Iimori and her husband to stop her, she grabbed Onisaburo with a grin in her face. He instantly pushed her away and she rolled down the corridor taking the fusuma with her. But, she quickly stood up again and like a cat she came backand grasped him once more. Onisaburo could not treat her gently anymore, despite the fact that she was his elder sister-in-law, because she would easily tear off his windpipe with her teeth. The instant Hisa ran The moment she could easily have bnawed at his very windpipe. The instant Hisa approached him with a loud cry, Onisaburo got on his knees, shouting, "Damn it! You are possessed by the demo and are unfit for this job!" He tore away her her headband and the sash of "The Military under the Spirits Direct Orders", which she used to tuck up her sleeves, and tore both to pieces. Toranosuke and Iimori stood by impassively seeming to have nothing to do with the incident. Onisaburo did not know what to do with her because she was in tears and seemed to have difficulty keeping on her feet. Nao sadly averted her eyes from them. The moment he relaxed his hold on her, she rushed out of the founder's room. She ran to the altar of the Kinryuden (the Golden Dragon Building) and threw herself down in front of it crying profusely. How could anyone dare say that she was possessed by the demon despite all her faithfulness and more so, in the presence of her mother, her husband and the respected Iimori?
She was regretting that she was to death. "I wish I could rip my belly open and show him." She thought. Sumi came running to help her. She was weeping bitterly and twisting her body. Sumi, gently rubbed her back and said, "Elder sister! The Reverend understands very well your faithfulness. You are a daughter of the founder and his younger sister-in-law. The situation of the Omoto cult is very delicate at this moment, and, if you make a wrong step, it could lead to a grave consequence. You must act with prudence. You must understand that in this very difficult situation, when at the moment you are coming back you put yourself into such a defiant and aggressive attitude, and the Reverend cannot help but being somewhat rough with you. However, the Reverend is very worried about your crying. He does not hate you but he said such things because he cares about you. Now, control your temper and visit the founder and talk to her leisurely and without reserve." Although Hisa was in a frenzy she could hear that Sumi was also naming the founder. Hisa who was very devoted to her mother, suddenly stopped crying and quickly wiped off her tears.
"What you say is true!" said Hisa. "I am a foolish woman because I am creating anxiety for the founder. I will apologize to her at once. And you, how do you feel about me, O-Sumi? Can you look at me and still be cheerful?" continued Hisa with a broad smile on her round face. Hisa was forty-eight but she looked much younger. Sumi incidentally thought that her elder sister Hisa, who was sixteen years older than herself, was to be pitied. Hisa returned to the founder's room. Iimori and her husband were still sitting in the room feeling rather uncomfortable about the whole thing. Hisa apologized to Nao for disturbing her, then said freely what was on her mind. To make short what she had to say she simply wanted to embark with Iimori on a proselytizing journey around the whole country. No one said anything. It was a difficult problem because both of them would have to leave their family behind. Hisa seemed to carry her passion to worship the god and to have the interest of her country at heart on her face. It was quite shocking to her that her request was simply brushed off as a senseless action. Iimori agreed with her completely.
Onisaburo looked inquisitively at Toranosuke, who had remained silent, like if he was asking for his opinion. Toranosuke looked alternately at Iimori and Hisa then turning towards Onisaburo, and he said, "The superintendent priest! Please do as she says! Maybe you can understand her somewhat, but, I know her better than anyone else because I have lived with her for a long time. She is passionate woman and acts with all her heart. I believe that such a woman must play a role in serving the god effectively. I am willing to turn everything upside down and take care of my children and my field instead of her. Mr.Iimori, your soul called Munemasa Ohiroki, has been helping Hisa's soul a long time ago, I heard. And now you have been closely bound up together, and will help her again this time." Nao quietly said, "We must perfectly agree with each other, because if a new dispute arises it will disturb the way of the god. How about gathering the officers, and ask them to decide this through the majority of votes."
The officials held a meeting on that same evening. First one to break the silence was Hisa. "Every one knows that I have been hard possessed by the god since the third of February of this year. Through this time I could see the whole world including the Creation and the nether world under the divine guidance. The goddess who now possesses