Volume 11: Which Way the Wind Blows
Chapter 3: The Opening of the God's Islet
At the beginning of June, 1916, the wind was blowing in the Takasago port of the Banshu County in Hyogo Prefecture, bringing with the scent of the Inland Sea. A line of the small houses had been built along the wharf. On the most southern part of it stood the house of a fisherman, Fukutaro Hashimoto. Beyond it, weeds covered most of the long stone layered pier. Fukutaro used to return home by nightfall after he had finished his daily work. On that day, after taking a short nap, he was standing in front of his house yawning heavily. Although he was muscular and heavily tanned by the wind and the sea, he was rather short, his stature not exceeding 150 cm. He had been living there since he was born forty-nine years ago.
Fukutaro married a girl called Tane, but she had died shortly afterwards. Since then, he had remained single. His mother, Yasu, despite being sixty-five years old, was still able to mend his clothes, and Yae, whom he had adopted as his daughter, when she was only four years old, was now thirteen and fulfilled her role as a woman keeping the house. He would have been lying if he had said that he did not feel lonely, but he was not ambitious and felt that his beloved and merciful sea would never let his family of three get hungry. Thanks to the sea he could lead what he felt to be a rather comfortable life.
On the opposite side of port, there was a tiny sandy Island called Mukai-shima (Mukai Islet) where several small boats were anchored. Many little birds could be heard chirping among the reeds and the thickets of the shoreline while the sea breeze kept howling through the bluish pines.
A fisherman, Tomokichi Kawanishi happened to be passing by and he called out to Fukutaro saying: "Hey, Fukutaro, look at the clouds rising from behind the mountain!" "Oh! Yea!" answered Fukutaro while looking up at the clouds which were rising in the southeastern sky. The Sea of Harima, which was sometimes called here the Sea of Hibiki, often used to get rough. Any news regarding the movement of the clouds was always of great interest to the fishermen. They had a special language to describe the movement of the clouds. For instance: The expression "rising clouds" would indicate that the clouds were moving from south to east and "falling clouds" meant that the clouds were moving from east to west. Other expressions described the movement from north to south and vice-verse. When the western sky looked good at sunset, the fishermen would say, "Tomorrow, will be a fine day. Whet your hooks! But in the case of the eastern sky being aglow with the setting sun, they would exercise caution and warn each other against sudden changes in weather saying, "The sun is falling!" That was to indicate that it would soon rain.
Tomokichi Kawanishi was a cousin of Fukutaro. He was two years older than him. Tomokichi, besides being a fisherman, ran an inn for ship passengers and he was by far the wealthiest of the two. Tomokichi had also a deep tan and was sturdily built. He had two boys by his wife, Isa. This couple enjoyed eating together and both liked tobacco although they did not drink spirits. After watching the clouds for a while, Fukutaro looked at Tomokichi again and he could see him walking towards the pier, turning his back at him. There was a small shrine at the center of the pier, and Tomokichi used to visit it every day, but only at the hours his whim dictated. If for some reason he could not visit the shrine on a particular day, he felt uneasy. On the pier, two men wearing kimonos were standing with their hair waving in the wind. Both of them were quite advanced in years. One of them was a bald stocky man with a bushy beard.
The two men, walking past Tomokichi, turned towards Fukutaro, and addressed him with the following words, "Excuse me, I would like to ask you something," said the man with the bushy beard in a light and clear tone of voice that did not seem to fit his looks. "Do you know an Islet called Hitotsujima-Hitotsumatsu (which means one Islet and one pine tree) which is supposed to be somewhere off the coast of Takasago?" "I am sorry, but I have never heard anything about it," replied Fukutaro. They bowed slightly and went on their way. About ten fishermen were sitting on the pier, repairing their nets. The two elderly men stopped besides them and started looking at the horizon behind the sea. The fishermen wondered at what these two men were doing there. Fukutaro felt uneasy and was going to leave the place, but the bushy-beard man anticipated his move and walked briskly towards him as if wanting to ask him something. Fukutaro did not like the situation at all as he did not understand the behavior of those strangers.
Fukutaro stopped, folding his arms, he started looking in the direction of the shore, affecting not to notice them. He thought that there was something strange in their behavior because they had gone past Tomokichi without asking anything and despite the Fact that many other fishermen were present there, he could not understand why they wanted to inquire only with him. Someone shouted, "What Islets? What name did you say?" The mountains of the Shikoku Island were faintly visible in the distance and he could also see the Ie-jima Islands and the Shodo Island on the right and the Awaji Island on the left. In these Islands, the round and dim silhouette of a small Islet was faintly visible in the dusk. One man was pointing in that direction with the tip of his finger.
Fukutaro pointing towards a tiny Islet on the horizon said, "That one is Kami-shima (the Islet of the god). It is also called Ue-shima (the Upper Islet) because it is located on the upper edge of a string of forty-eight Islets which form the Ie-jima Islets. That Islet has the shape of an overturn earthen pot called Houraku and it was also sometimes called "Houraku Islet", but when we see that Islet from a different angle is looks like a cow who is lying on the grass, and for that reason it is also sometimes called Ushi-jima (the cow's Islet)." The two elderly men exchanged glances. One of them asked impatiently. "Is that long and slender silhouette cutting in the sky on the top of the Islet a lonely pine tree?" Fukutaro answered, "Well, people call it Ippon-Matsu (A Pine Tree). The man with the bushy beard got quite excited and shouted, "That's it!" He suddenly became quite friendly and continued, "My name is Murano and his name is Tanimae. We belong to the Omoto cult in Ayabe. What is your name?" "I am Fukutaro Hashimoto." "Oh!, I see, Hashimoto-han. Thank you very much indeed," said Murano while suddenly extending his hand towards him. Why were Ryushu Murano and Sadayoshi Tanimae so interested in that tiny Islet? They did indeed have a reason: About four months earlier, namely on the night of February in 1916, Sumi was visiting the Garyu-tei (The Lying Dragon Building). Onisaburo was obviously considering something important. He was sitting in a room of that building and his eyes were blinking rapidly. Sumi was used to this kind of behavior. She asked, "the Reverend, why are your eyes blinking so much?" "Well, the god has me contemplating various scenes," he answered. "What are you seeing?" she asked. "Oh! Anyway you will make very little of whatever I tell you." He said. Sumi did indeed pay little attention to what he usually said under such circumstances but this time she approached him and sat near her husband saying, "Well! I promise not to cry, but tell me about the things you are seeing!" Onisaburo said, "I am wondering why I keep seeing a tiny Islet with my eyes either closed or open? I keep seeing nothing but a single tree standing on a tiny Islet. Where is that Islet? I am searching for it here and there with my spiritual eyes, but I can only find that it exists somewhere in a south west direction from here. I feel an intense urge to know more about Islet.
From that night on the lower eyelid of Onisaburo began to ache and get swollen. Sumi pressed it with her finger and felt a solid lump as hard as a stone. Onisaburo complained of undergoing severe pain. This lump got bigger and bigger with time and soon grew past his cheekbone. Onisaburo called Murano and Tanimae and ordered them to start a search for the Kami-shima Islet in a southwest direction. Tanimae, who was sixty years old at the time was the manager of an iron factory, in the Matsushima district of Osaka. He and his wife had become believers of the Omoto cult through the influence of Sutekichi Okazaki. According to the sacred orders he had received from Onisaburo, Tanimae and Murano had been wandering around the Osaka Bay and up to the Wakayama Prefecture, for many days in search of the Islet of Kami-shima, but it seemed that they were only chasing an illusion.
As mentioned before, Wasaburo Asano had visited the Omoto cult in Ayabe for the first time on the night of the 4th of April. However, Onisaburo taking leave from Asano, hurriedly left Ayabe on the same night. On the next day, which was the 5th, Onisaburo's party joined the group of "The Military under the Direct Orders of the Spirit" in the church of the Kimogawa branch. They were about five hundred men in all, who had visited the Kashiwara Shrine in the Yamato County, and who had then climbed Mt. Unebi to prostrate themselves in front of the Unebi Shrine which was located at the summit of that mountain. The Unebi Shrine was dedicated to the Late Empress Shinko. Their visit came only three days after Taisho Tenno had visited the same shrine.
Just after this, Onisaburo asked Ryushu Murano to accompany him to the shrine, at which time the shadow of the Islet dimly appeared once again before his eyes. He was now certain that this was an indication of the god and he related it with the following words, "There is an Islet which glows in the rising sun and glows again at sunset, it is called Hitotsu-Jima or also Hitotsu-Matsu. The Islet is located off the coat of Takasago. Around the roots of a single pine tree which stands on the Islet lays the treasure of all the values that are kept in the universe." Murano recited these words of the god a few times to memorize them. Onisaburo continued, "Hitotsu-Jima-Hitotsu-Matsu lays off the coast of Takasago. You, Murano, were born in the Banshu County which includes the Takasago district. I ask you for what you cherish, most, to roam this area in search of that Islet! Murano hesitated saying, "But, Head priest, your request is very difficult to fulfill, despite it being indicated by the god, because there are countless Islets off the coast of Takasago and in each Islet pine trees are to be found.
On the 8th of April Onisaburo and Murano went to Osaka. On that occasion Onisaburo became possessed by the mysterious power while facing the altar of the Namba branch office, and he composed two sacred tankas (tanka is a Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables) while under the influence of the power.
"The sacred ship which saves the people of the world according to the God's order is the same as the Azusa Bow when dangling up and down on the waves."
(The Azusa Bow is a catalpa bow, that is, a spiritualistic medium used to bring the divine spirit into the real world.)
"While, worrying for the future, I pour the salt of the world over myself for three thousand years, I vow to defend the world against all evil, hiding myself on an Islet."
Although everything was clearly an indication of the god, the location of the Islet remained shrouded in mystery. On the 13th of April, forty-eight days after the lump on the lower eyelid of Onisaburo had started to ache, the white tip of the infected lump appeared through the skin of his left cheek. He summoned Sumi and said, "Hey, O-Sumi, I cannot bear this pain. Pull it out! Sumi pulled it vigorously out with her fingertips. The lump looked a fine snow-white oval stone, flattened on its bottom. The swollen part was slightly irregular in shape. Sumi said, "Oh! this looks like O-Yashima (The land of many Islands. It means the Japanese Islands). This shape is just like the O-Yashima in the Kinryu-kai (the Golden Sea) where pine trees have not yet been planted! Did you know that, the Reverend?" "Well, I think so!" answered Onisaburo. "It looks quite familiar to me and I remember having seen that somewhere! But, O-Sumi, this is not a stone. It is something of divine origin. In fact, it is similar to the shape of the Islet called the Hitotsu-Jima which I am searching for. Go and call Murano!" shouted Onisaburo forgetting his pain. Murano came running and focused on the divinely born white stone which had already been placed in a small box. Onisaburo said, "Murano, remember that shape! It is the shape of the Islet! This shape has already appeared in the Kinryu-kai. The shape of the O-Yashima is exactly the same as this divinely born stone. Find that Islet!" "I certainly will intend to find it," replied Murano as he was departing at once to comply with the sacred order.
However, Murano was called by Onisaburo before he could find the Islet and was ordered to take care of some business in the Kanto area. He jointed a party which had been dispatched earlier by Onisaburo and stayed for a while in the Yokosuka district. Murano stopped his search for the Islet during that time, but he resumed it at the beginning of June accompanied this time by Tanimae. The Islet they had identified was only a spot on the map. It was a sad place called Ushi-Jima(The Cow Islet) and was alternately visible and invisible off the coast of Harima, but it surely had also the name of Hitotsu-Jima-Hitotsu-Matsu. It might well be that the god, the Savior, while hiding in that Islet, had been pouring salt over himself for three thousand years to defend the world against evil. The faint shadow of the Islet which they could see in the distance, perfectly matched the shape of that divinely born white stone.
Fukutaro Hashimoto was much impressed by both of them and said, "Well, that Islet has even one more name. It is also called the haunted Islet!" "Oh! Does a goblin live there?" asked Tanimae with a mysterious expression on this face. Fukutaro continued, "The fishermen you saw here, carry their catch to Osaka during the night and sell it at dawn, but, they say that one should beware of urinating during the day in the direction of the Kami-shima-san because if you do so you will never bring any fish to Osaka. They say that, in spite of rowing until dawn, you will only find Kami-shima-san nearby because you will have been rowing the whole night in vain turning around the Islet. These unexplainable things are occurring quite often. On one occasion a stonemason attempted to land on the Kami-shima-san to quarry some stones, but as soon as he had landed a large scaly snake attacked him with unusual strength. At the southwestern end of the Islet there is a cave entirely polished by the rubbing of that snake's scales. That cave is called the Dragon Gate. Yes, indeed!" "The Dgagon Gate?" shouted Murano although he seemed to be amused by something, because he was laughing somewhat at hearing that story. It reminded him of the Ryumon-kan (the Dragon Building of the headquarters of the Omoto cult in the Ayabe district) which was also black and well polished by Onisaburo and Sumi's strange long hair style and that of the believers when they went through the entrance door while entering or leaving.
Fukutaro seemed to misunderstand the reason why Murano was laughing and he insisted on narrating one old traditional story after another, "Hey! Listen to that one now and tell me if you still think that I am lying." Yanokichi Tatsumi, who lived in the Tougu-cho of the Takasago district, also heard that same story from his grandfather, when he was living in exile on the Tanga Islet in the Ie-jima Islands.
On a fine summer night, the grandfather of Yanokichi threw his net and was sleeping in his boat at sea near the Kami-shima. Suddenly a graying old man woke him up and said, "If you remain in this area you will lose your net." After saying that the old man vanished. Thinking that it was a dream, his grandfather waited until daybreak and found out that all his nets were gone. He was now sure that he had disturbed the Dragon God. That was the story of his grandfather as he related it. Another story goes as follows: "A certain day, the old of Godairiki (The Five Strong Power, which was the name of his store) threw a net at the mouth of the Kako river, but a large pine tree came floating down from the upper reaches of the river. "Oh, a pine tree is floating down river!" he said, but at the same moment the pine tree got stuck in his net and its head suddenly rose. He was much surprised at this sight and he started trembling all over. After returning home he caught a bad fever and died. The tree itself continued its way and floated in the direction of the Kami-shima-san, it was said. Other people report that while they were looking at the Kami-shima it changed to pink color just as if the whole of the Islet was ablaze and they saw a ball of fire rise from the Islet towards the sky.
Murano hurriedly asked Fukutaro, "What would you say if we asked you to carry us to that Islet?" Fukutaro felt that they were somewhat nervous, because they had been shaken by his storied and were experiencing some fear, but Tanimae explained, "We have a serious reason for making that request." Fukutaro replied, "Excuse me! However, urgent it is for you, I cannot carry strangers to that Islet on which no one lives. If we depart for the Islet now it will be night before we return. You live in a village in the mountains of the Tanba County, and you do not understand the weather at sea. If you want to go to that Islet come here again in the early morning and I will find a boat and a skipper to carry you to that Islet," continued Fukutaro while leaving them while weaving his hand.
Murano insisted, "We went through much trouble to come here and I beg you to carry us to that Islet at any price!" Fukutaro replied, "Please, do not insist any further! It is quite difficult to get ashore on the Kami-shima. This year I have reached my critical year in life and I cannot take any risks nor comply with your request. At some other time, maybe! They debated his answer, but kept insisting. Fukutaro continued, "A graceful god is hiding in Kami-shima! We must first enshrine Him in order to introduce Him to the world. I can make some arrangements to carry you to that Islet, but it must be on the 25th of May of the Japanese calendar. I will come here the night before that day. They agreed and after making sure which of the houses at the southern edge of the pier was Fukutaro's, they took leave of him. While they were walking away, Fukutaro started pondering their request and thought to himself, "The expression of their eyes clearly indicates that they are unusual characters. At the very moment I saw them, I understood that they were important figures. I must avoid to delve too far into their problem but, on the other hand, I fear that I could be killed if I don't satisfy their request, I will have to strike a deal with them.
Fukutaro, standing with his cousin Tomokichi Kawanishi, in front of the shrine at the end of the pier (the Daijingu, that is: "the Great Shrine" in Japanese), said to him, "Listen! Young man! I will carry them to Kami-shima on the 25th of May of the Japanese calendar, but I haven't heard anything from them since they left! I think that they are making fun of me because I am a simple fisherman." Tomokichi replied, "Fuku-san, you should have nothing to do with such strange fellows. If you do not handle this well you will be robbed of your boat and it is sheer nonsense to be waiting for them if you didn't got any news and don't know when they will be coming." "That is all very well, but they promised me that they would return and I cannot leave them alone after promising that. They told me that they would come, even if it was somewhat late. In fact, I will ask you, to carry them to that Islet," added Fukutaro. Tomokichi answered, "Well, I have heard that they are very charming characters. I feel rather interested in them. I don't mind doing that!"
The mother of Fukutaro, breathing heavily, came running up the pier towards him. She stopped where some grass was growing, waved her hand and shouted, "Fuku! What foolish things have you been saying! Three persons have arrived to visit you and they are waiting for you at our house. Come home quickly! Ha! I must go back immediately!" Fukutaro hurriedly ran back home. Ryushu Murano, accompanied by another man and a woman were waiting for him in the unfloored part of his house. They were Naoko Okazaki and Tsurusaburo Imada, who had arrived from Osaka preceding some other believers it seemed. "Greetings to all of you! Please, sit down here," said Fukutaro while indicating the zabutons (the cushions) which had been placed at the edge of the unfloored part. Despite Fukutaro's invitation, Murano remained standing and weighting his words said, "I cannot tell you exactly how many people will attend the ceremony tomorrow, but, please prepare for two or three large boats and their skippers." Fukutaro asked, "Will more people be coming?" Murano answered, "To tell you the truth, the number is incresing rapidly because it was decided that the Reverend would visit the Islet tomorrow and would welcome the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin (the Southwest Konjin) who has been hiding there, from the confusion of the world for three thousand years. Hashimoto-han, you will serve the god very well." "Well, I will prepare the boats if you ask me to do so," said Fukutaro, although he seemed still to have some doubts about that story.
Regardless of Fukutaro's feelings or convenience, Murano insisted in having him fulfill their requests and even added, "Oh! I have something more to ask of you. There of us are going to stay overnight at your house, even if we have to sleep in some corner of the garden." Fukutaro's house was small. It had only a 4.5 tatamis room next to the unfloored part at the entrance of the house, and two small rooms, one of six tatamis and another of three tatamis in the rear of the house. His house was really too small to accommodate them. Fukutaro said, "What you are asking for is not reasonable. Look at my house carefully. How can I accommodate you in such small house? There is an inn in the village and you could go there. My cousin manages that inn for ship passengers. He will make it cheaper for you to stay there. Come now, I will show you the way." "No, we must, by all means, avoid staying at that inn. The Reverend made it very clear that we can only stay at your house, however, any place in the house will do! A small spot in the garden will be fine but, please, let us stay at your house," insisted Murano. Fukutaro answered, "Well, the answer is no! I don't know your leader, the Reverend, the General or the boss, whatever you call him, but once I say something I never change! This is my house and the answer is No!" Murano quietly replied, "You say so because you don't understand the god's will! When the founder went to Oshima (the Oshima Islet) he was accompanied by two boatmen who served him for the opening ceremony. One of them told him that his name was Rokuzo Hashimoto, which is the same name as your family name. Although you don't know anything about the sacred world it is nevertheless closely bound together," continued Murano without retreating an inch.
"Maybe, these fellows have no money, and that is why they are so obstinately trying to stay at house. They have planned it all together," thought Fukutaro. He was getting angry at Murano's obstinacy, but despite this, he still went out to the house of Tomokichi Kawanishi to make arrangements for the boats. Tomokichi's house was, in fact, the inn for ship passengers. It was located on the seaside, opposite the fourth house north of Fukutaro's house. Fukutaro spoke ill of the strange visitors while inquiring about the boats and the boatmen with Tomokichi. However, Fukutaro abided by his fate, thinking that he had suffered some unexpected misfortune and that after all, he would let them spent the night at his house altogether. On the next morning, which was the morning of the 25th, the large boats arrived at the pier. Although the weather was calm when they arrived, the sky became suddenly covered with fast moving clouds and a strong wind started fanning high waves. As the cloudiness increased, thunder stroke and heavy rain started pounding on the boatmen as they were returning to their homes.
At about nine o'clock in the evening, Murano and his companions went to the Takasago station to welcome their friends. At first, they were only three or four, who came rushing through the rain to the house of Hashimoto, but then, several groups of two to five people followed upon their heels and in no time they amounted to more than sixty people who came rushing through the door of Hashimoto's house. Suffice it to say that the pier was we narrow to accommodate them all. Three rooms of the houses were soon filled with believers and those who could not enter sat down in a row extending to below the eaves of the house next door. All the believers, men, women or children wore kimonos, and some of them even carried an old katana. To the surprise of Fukutaro
all seemed to be cheerful despite the very heavy rain. "Hey!" they said, "It is a good rain! Look at it! It is purifying rain! It means that the Dragon God is expecting us! It is the same rain that fell when the founder opened Oshima! What a good omen!"
The believers who were filling the rooms opened the shoji and, raising their eyes towards the sky, thanked the god for that auspicious rain. But, as a result of this, the inside of the house got wet all over. The master of the house, Fukutaro was ultimately pushed out of his house and found himself with to place to take cover. He finally found some cover, with the others, under the eaves of his house but he was quite upset by the whole chain of events. He thought, "What a strange bunch of people! Why are they grateful for that heavy rain? They say that it is a good omen, but, as far as I am concerned, this bunch of fools can go to hell!" Sadayoshi Tanimae came to Fukutaro and said, "Hashimoto-han! The total number of people amounts to sixty-three. Have you made arrangements for the boats? Where are the boatmen?" Fukutaro looked sideways and answered, "I cannot ask anyone to sail in such a weather! Please, go back! All of you!" But, Tanimae retorted, "Oh! We cannot do that because the Reverend said to me that the rain will soon stop. That rain is purifying everything. Go and gather your boatmen at once, please!" Fukutaro disagreed, but could not find the proper words to convey his feelings. He became quite desperate, took off his clothes, save his loincloth, and rushed out in the rain. It may be that his true motive was simply to get away from that strange group. While he was grumbling about all these events at the house of Tomikichi Kawanishi, the southern sky turned gray and the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started. "Hey! How strange!" shouted Tomokichi. "The clouds are quickly disappearing!" While all of them had their eyes turned towards the sky a bright sunshine started breaking through the clouds. Although they were somewhat befuddled, Fukutaro and Tomokichi each ran their way to fetch the boatmen.
The believers went to the pier and were by now getting quite excited. They urged the boatmen to sail as quickly as possible shouting repeatedly, "Hey you, hurry up!" The heavy rain had calmed down, but not so the strong wind and the sea was still pounding the quay with force. In other regions, the sea used to become rough in February and in August, but here it was most dangerous during the rainy season and the boatmen were saying to them, "A west wind is blowing and that makes it very dangerous for us to set out at sea. It is very difficult for us to carry you safely to that Islet under such conditions." But, the believers answered, "The Reverend said that if we set out at sea, the wind will calm down and we will be able to sail speedily and reach the Islet without trouble. Some of the believers attempted forcefully and wit a lot of noise to board the three boats anchored at the pier." The fray attracted the attention of the people who lived in the houses along the pier and they came to watch the scene. Fukutaro approached the boatman, looking quite upset and said, "You know what? I have never heard such nonsense. We have earned our living through fishing at sea for a long time. We have no place here for fools and lunatics. That is the truth!" A boatman said, "That's it! Once they are at sea and scared they will burst into tears, they will say that they cannot take this any longer and they will beg us to return to port! Let us go out to teach them some good manners." Another boatman added "That is something I can go along with! Let's go to sea for a while to show them! The boatmen exchanged some ironic smiles.
As soon as the order to sail had been given, a girl, dressed in the fashion of a samurai, emerged from the house of the Hashimoto family. Her hair was tied up into a knot and she was wearing a white kendo (Japanese fencing) cloth, a hakama with horizontal stripes (Japanese divided skirt for a man's formal wear), straw sandals, cuffs rolled up and she was carrying a short sword on her side. She had a white bundle twined around her right wrist, and carried a bamboo hat in her left hand where the inscription, Konohana-Naozumi had been written. (Konohana is another name for sakura and is also the pen name of Naohi). All eyes turned on her as soon as she appeared.
The person who was accompanying Naohi, also attracted the attention of the crowd of curious people through the delicate aspect of its complexion. Both the believers and the crowd raised their voices in wonder at the sight of this dual appearance. It was not possible to distinguish if the person who was accompanying Naohi was a man or a woman but, anyway, that person was quite large and walked imposingly towards the boats. That person had beautiful black hair and wore it divided in the center and bound in a chignon which was hanging down on the back of the left shoulder. That person wore clothes made of three garments laying one over the other with three colors, red, white and black, and had tied the sash of the bow knot on the breast. That person also wore white tabi (socks) and zori (Japanese sandals), and a carefully made up fair-skinned face which for that reason was not entirely unlike that of a woman. The person was holding a long katana in the right hand. The fist was awfully rugged.
Two women who looked quite strained, were following that enigmatic person, as a mother would follow her daughter to her wedding. These women were the third wife of Yoshisada Tanimae, Tamako, who was thirty-seven years old at the time, and the second one was Tokiko Yoshino, the mistress of a Japanese-style restaurant owner. She was thirty-nine years old. Tamako was an ex-harlot of the Matsushima red district in Osaka. Qnisaburo had visited the house of the Tanimae family on the 24th of June of last year (the 24th of May of the Japanese old calendar). While he was looking at the framed picture of pasted cloth which hung at the wall in the room upstairs, he said to Tamako and Tokiko who had come to welcome him, "Tomorrow, I must visit the Kami-shima, disguised as a goddess. Yoshino-han, dress my hair just as it is on that picture. And, Tanimae-han, prepare some clothes exactly as they appear there also." The pasted cloth picture was a drawing of the god Izanagi and the goddess Izanami who were watching the bracing of a wagtail.
Onisaburo's intentions were but the result of what the god had ordered him to do. Tamako Tanimae, emptied her Tansu (a chest of drawers) in search of materials to prepare his clothes, while Tokiko Yoshino struggled with the more difficult task of combing the snarls out of his excessively abundant hair and getting it rid from lice. But, despite all her efforts she could not figure out how to imitate the style of the goddess hair and she ended up sitting in front of the altar all night, praying to the god to teach her how to dress his hair the way he wanted it. While the believers were noisy and distracted by the rainfall both of them had entered through the back of the house and had diligently endeavored to disguise Onisaburo as a goddess. Several believers observed, "That woman came here without anyone of us being aware of her presence. I did not see her until this very moment!" Fukutaro himself did not recognize Onisaburo and instead was concentrating in finding out if the appearance was a man or a woman. When, with an air of innocence, he got closer, to see if the person had an Adam's apple the said person whispered in his ear with an unmistakably male voice, "Hey! You! Do I look strange? Well, look at me well! I must take this strange appearance because all my acts are guided by the service to the god." At that time, Fukutaro intuitively understood what it was all about and thought to himself, "Oh! I see! This man is the one they call the Reverend."
One man was deeply moved at the sight of Onisaburo dressed as a woman. He was Jinsai Yuasa. When Yuasa returned to his home in the Utsu district, he had dreamed of Onisaburo dressed in a woman's dress and flying away to the southwestern sky, riding a great crow (a dawn's crow). Precisely at the time he had that dream, word came from Onisaburo ordering him to go to Takasago and visit the Kami-shima with him for the service of the god. Yuasa abided by that order and, leaving his rice planting tasks, hurried to meet Onisaburo. Yasuko Umeda had also dreamed of the god in woman's dress flying away through midair and disappearing in a cloud. She realized now that the god had the same appearance as Onisaburo in woman's dress. Coming from the Ayabe district the following members had arrived to join the group, "They were Heizo Shikata. Jinsai Yuasa, Youzo Inatsugu, Takekichi Usami, and Hajime Yoshida whom Usami was carrying on his back. From Kyoto came the Umeda family, Naohi and Hirotsugu, who were in their novitiate of military arts who adding to the believers of Osaka and of the Kimogawa branch church were sixty-three men in all who got on board the three large boats.
The stormy sea had now calmed down and the beats set sail at once. A layer of low fog covered the sea and all of them were reciting sacred words to pray to the Kami-shima. When the boats reached the entrance of the port, the direction of the wind changed from south to north and before they knew it the sails were swollen with a favorable tail wind. The boatmen who were at the helm were doing their best to take advantage of the wind and seemed to have forgotten that they were in a naughty mood before setting to sea. The Hitotsu-Jima-Hitotsu-Matsu was no longer a distant illusion. Its shape had progressively emerged from the haze and the Islet was now clearly visible to Onisaburo. When Onisaburo saw it for the first time, around and black shadow emerging from the sea, he was very impressed and grew impatient to draw closer and hold it, as it were, against his bosom. But although the boats were sailing under a favorable wind they seemed move much too slowly for his taste.
The believers on the boats keeping their hands joined continued to pray. The sound of their chorus, reciting the sacred words, surrounded the whole Hitotsu-Jima-Hitotsu-Matsu. As the boats were approaching the Islet the third boat of reciting believers rolled over. The Islet which had seen so many a winter, and whose rocks had been washed over by so many waves, suddenly stood in front of thorn. The Islet which was uninhabited, was about half a kilometer across and had a coastline of about four kilometers. It was made of a conglomerate of rhyolite and other rocks.
At about three in the afternoon the boats reached a sandy beach which lay under the cliffs on the northeastern side. Onisaburo dressed as a goddess and seeming very impatient to get ashore, headed for the beach, stumbling on the rocks and being followed by the believers. This was a mysterious and solitary Islet which was far out of the sailing routes of the fishermen who had been fearing its vicinity since old times because it was believed that it was the dwelling of some Dragon. The fishermen looked in wonder as the believers, including women and children, cheerfully set foot on the Islet.
On the Islet, bamboo used for arrow making was thickly growing to the average height of an adult man. Takekichi Usami climbed the mountain carrying Hajime Yoshida on his back. However, it could be said than instead of climbing he was rather crawling towards the top. Besides him an old man was also climbing with the help of some youth who were leading him by the hand and were pushing him on his back. Another little silhouette disappeared in the thick bamboo groves. The believers climbed for over three hundred meters, calling out and helping each other, and after a while they finally reached the summit. Onisaburo cleared the area of thick bamboo with his long katana, and two others, who also carried a katana, imitated him and cleared and area where over sixty people were able to sit down.
The believers placed a small shrine, (about one meter high and about fifty centimeters wide) which Ryushu Murano had been carrying on his back, in front of the cleared area and they sat down on the previously cut bamboo. Onisaburo, facing the sea breeze, played a turn on a stone flute. The sound of the flute resounded all over the Hitotsu-Matsu and faded away while mixing with the sound of the waves. Onisaburo, with due respect, wondered how the sound of his flute would echo in the mind of the Dragon God who had been living on that barren Islet for three thousand years? In order to drive away such sentimentality Onisaburo quickly started making a bow and bamboo arrows, and fit it with a bowstring made of flexible vine rod. While all the believers kept praying with their hands joined the goddess using her newly made bow, bravely started shooting arrows in the direction from which some noxious vapor seemed to be arising. Then, a ceremony was held on the summit of the Islet to pray to the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin (the southwestern god) who was to be enshrined there.
The believers descended from the mountain, carrying the small shrine which had been dedicated to the divine spirit, and then they took, all together, a souvenir picture on a narrow strip on the beach. After boarding his boat, Onisaburo shed his woman's disguise and regained his manly appearance.
They entered the Takasago port at about seven in the afternoon, after an uneventful trip on a calm sea. As if the heaven wanted to make sure that all the believers would leave the boats, it started raining heavily again. Fukutaro stopped the believers and said, "My house is too dirty, and for the sake of the god, please stay in a cleaner and more purified house!" But, Onisaburo shouted, "Who said that?" The god told me to go to Hashimoto's house, and to Hashimoto's house, I am going! Make requests and say please to yourself, not to us!" Fukutaro shouted something in response, then, overcome by despair he opened the side door of his house.
The small shrine was placed in the back room. The believers who were filling all the rooms of the house to capacity, opened the doors and windows and joyfully watched the rain of the Dragon God pour down over the surroundings. But, their behavior created great anxiety for the master of the house, Hashimoto, who said to them, "Watch that! The tatamis are getting wet and the rain is spraying all over the tokonoma!" But, Onisaburo didn't pay any attention and after wiping off his make-up and taking a rest, he said in a friendly manner, "Fuku-han, get a lantern and accompany us to the station!" When after putting on their cotton clothes, they got outside, the rain was still heavily pouring down. Fukutaro led the way, carrying a sooty and spherical lantern, and Yoshisada Tanimae followed him, carrying the small shrine on his back. The lantern's bottom was broken and it got wet inside, it went out and they found themselves in total darkness.
The believrs who were by now drenched and wet to the bones, took the ten past nine train at the Takasago Station. Their faces, peeping through the train's windows, were laughing and looked much more cheerful than they had been arriving. Fukutaro continued to wave the broken lantern towards them in response for their waving their hands. After the train had left and the darkness had returned Fukutaro suddenly realized that they had given him no money to pay the boatmen and said to himself, "Be I damned! I must pay the wages of the boatmen at once, but I have received no money from them. That is indeed an ill-natured god they are adoring! Because of this devil, I was paying attention not to get involved too deeply in their ceremony, and I tried to keep myself aloft, but this evil god took advantage of that and made a perfect fool of me!" Fukutaro returned to the pier while grumbling much ill about such an evil god. However, at this point, he could do nothing to remedy the situation.
Ryushu Murano was sitting alone in the room which, by now, was as quite as a flooded landscape after the waters have receded. Murano, addressing Fukutaro said, "Please, Hashimoto-han, here is the bill! On the next day, they experienced a refreshing fine weather. Murano suddenly said, "Before I come back I want your soul to calm down." Hashirnoto's mother, Yasu and his daughter, Yae, obediently closed their eyes, and prayed with their hands pressed together, "Hashimoto-han, you are now closely involved with the sacred role, you must play to enshrine the god here in the Takasago district. Please, sit down here!" Fukutaro reluctantly closed his eyes, but Murano shouted at him, "Close your eyes! Keep them closed!" Murano warned him against opening his eyes, but at the very instant Murano sent again his spiritual power to Fukutaro with a shout. Fukutaro again opened his eyes. "Why did you open your eyes!" roared Murano while getting somewhat angry. Fukutaro said, "You shouted ordering me to close my eyes, but I have opened them to see what you were doing!" Murano made a groan, "You are obstinate man! Is there anywhere else someone like you." Murano was amazed at his obstinacy and gave up any further attempt to persuade him. "Oh! Sumi, I have been able to locate the Hitotsu-Jima. I will come back with the God! That was the message that Onisaburo, who had bravely left the Omoto cult four or five days earlier, sent to his wife.
Upon getting the news, Nao went, at once, to the altar and delivered a message to her god, then turning to Sumi, she said, "Hey, O-Sumi, this is a remarkable happening. We have a chance now to meet the great god here! Please make arrangements for receiving Him, and open the door to welcome Him!" Nao's rather pale face was now red and flushed. Sumi began at once to set the dinner table for the god. She thought, at first to prepare the greens an fishes which were the usual offering of the believers to the gods, but at the moment she looked at the glass called Kitsune-Kazura (a fox-vine) which stood before the altar, she changed her mind. She fabricated something in the shape of the Islet, as she imagined it and put it on a small wooden stand. She unconsciously murmured to herself, "The Great God of the Moon."
One of those who were responsible for the service of the god, Kikuo Akioka, just came in and Sumi said to him, "Please try to find a round stone, I would like to place it in a way it could suggest the shape of the moon." He answered, "Oh! I just happened to have the right stone for that." "I found a very fine round stone a few days ago and I placed it in my garden." Sumi placed the stone which Akioka had brought in, behind the model of the Islet and it looked now as if a half moon was shining behind it. However, the arrangement still left something to be desired. Sumi fetched a toy and added it to the scene. Then, she thought, "The time tree will open the world but the pine tree will reign over it. That's it!" Sumi rushed to the garden, and plucked a offshoot of the ume tree and a branch of the pine tree in the garden. Finally, wanting to make the whole arrangement of an auspicious thing Sumi offered a Tai (red mullet) to the altar, because the Tai is an auspicious fish in Japan. As Sumi flattered herself that she had made a beautiful arrangement, she called Nao and showed it to her. Nao smiled and said, "You may not understand the sacred plan of the god, but this arrangement is an expression of joy. You served the god very well through this!"
Onisaburo, devoting himself to the sacred spirit, arrived in Ayabe with over twenty believers on the 28th of June, shortly after one o'clock in the afternoon. The small shrine they had been carrying with them was temporarily placed in the Ryumon-kan (the Dragon's Gate Building). Onisaburo entered into his room of the Tomu-kaku (the Control Building) and called Tamako Tanimae and Tokiko Yoshino. Then he had his hair dressed up, and after disguising himself as a woman, he opened the fusuma of the founder's room and appeared before her. Nao was quite surprised at his appearance, but she said quietly, "Who knows how much the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin (the southwestern god) has been waiting for this moment! It has been so long since the god Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto met the goddess Toyokumonuno-no-mikoto for the last time. The god Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto was the god Ushitora-no-Konjin (the northeastern god) of whom Nao was the incarnation, and the goddess Toyokumonuno-no-mikoto was the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin (the southwestern god) of whom Onisaburo was the incarnation. The god Ushitora-no-Konjin was also called the god of the demons gate, and Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin had fallen from Heaven into the world three thousand years ago. On the same night Nao and Onisaburo exchanged cups of the celebratory sake while rejoicing in the fact that the couple of the sacred spirits were now meeting through their own flesh. In the Kinryu-den (the Golden Dragon's Building) the retinue of twenty believers who had arrived with Onisaburo and about thirty more whom they had met at the Ayabe Station also exchanged cups of the sacred sake.
In the evening of the 7th of September six persons, Onisaburo, Nobuyuki Umeda, Yoshisada Tanimae, Ryushu Murano, Jinsai Yuasa and Masazumi Enomoto visited the house of the Hashimoto family. Onisaburo told Fukumoto, "This evening, I must visit the Kami-shima and stay there overnight! I promise to return as quickly as possible, but please, carry me to the Islet at once! Is that Ok?" Fukutaro did not understand why they wanted to spend the night on that Islet, but he was, by now, used to get strange requests from them. He called Tomokichi Kawanishi and prepared a fishing boat. Fukutaro put on a single loincloth, getting rid of his ordinary work's clothes. As Yae asked Onisaburo permission to accompany him Onisaburo agreed and informed the group of his decision. While the boatmen were rowing, the sea sunk into the night and got pitch dark. They longingly watched the lights of the houses of the port fade away. The boat reached the Islet after about two and a half hours of dull squeaking of the hull against the waves. At the moment they set foot on the Islet the moon and stars disappeared and an eerie and weird feeling accompanied the increasing darkness.
A paper-covered lantern was left beside Fukutaro and Yae in the boat, while the other seven persons went ashore lighting their way with a candle. The candle was soon blown out by the wind and the darkness became really horrible and frightening. Onisaburo enjoyed very good night vision and seemed to be quite at ease despite the darkness. He ordered everyone to wait while he quickly went ahead alone. Ryushu Murano, moved by a spirit of rivalry with Onisaburo, followed him guided by the noise while Onisaburo made while clearing his way through the thick bamboo. However, after progressing only about ten steps he started scream for help. Tomokichi Kawanishi rushed towards Murano and with great difficulty brought him back to where the others were waiting. Time seemed to have stopped and the six of them felt as if they were forming a single body frozen on the spot.
It was not long before Onisaburo came back, rushing towards them as if he came falling out of the sky, and he said, "Come with me, let's go to the boat immediately. Come on! Hurry up!" Following Onisaburo's voice they all rushed down to the beach. Then it became very silent to the point that they could hear the calm breathing of Yae in the boat, and they spent the night on the sandy beach. "Hey! We brought a water melon with us, didn't we?" "Give it to me, please, Hashimoto-han!" Onisaburo had asked Fukutaro to bring a water melon to eat it all together. Fukutaro fetched it in the boat and brought it to Onisaburo. Onisaburo, knocking it against the edge of the rock, split it, and sitting on the bare rock started eating it all alone. "Good! Very good! It got cold while exposed to the night dew! A very good taste, indeed!" he said while eating. Fukutaro would have liked to taste a bit of the water melon also, and he could hardly repress his anger at Onisaburo's behavior. He thought, "Despite being called the Reverend this man eats alone and before sharing anything with us. He has neither morality nor kindness. It would be natural to share this water melon with us, and he should at least give a piece to my child Tae! Oh! Dear! He is going to finish it up" all by himself because he does not loosen his grip on it! What a sorry man!"
They could not see Onisaburo in the dark of the night, but they did hear the sound which the water melon produced when Onisaburo threw the remains into the sea, and they guessed that he had finished eating it all by himself. Onisaburo said, laughingly, "Excuse me, I offerd this water melon to the sole altar of my belly. I must work for the god even when dealing with suika (water and fire, have the same pronunciation as a water melon in Japanese). "Well then," he continued, "I'd like to get some sleep before the sun rises." Saying so, Onisaburo took to the boat, and lay down on his side beside Yae. He soon began to snore loudly. "Fishermen naturally help each other, but, that savage! He acts totally selfishly. I thought he was a deity in human form, but he really is the god appetite." Fukutaro could not easily regain his temper.
As the night progressed the breeze gradually got colder. In fact, it got so cold that it became nealy unbearable for them. Only Onisaburo and Yae were sleeping. The others lay down on their side in the boat, but they could not bear the cold because they wore only light clothes with short sleeves. They went ashore and squatted down in the sand to protect themselves from the wind.
The cold was even more problematic for Fukutaro who was only dressed in his ordinary working clothes. He was unselfish by nature, and he did not sail for money, but, Onisaburo had promised him to return as quickly as possible after finishing the sacred service and Fukutaro found himself in a rather embarrassing after the announcement of the decision to stay there until daybreak. He was irritated and began arguing with everyone about it. "What is happening now? Why do we have to stay here? The Reverend said to me that he ought to work for the sacred service during the night, but, how can he be the leader of the sacred service if he is sleeping? Did he decide that the sacred work was to be the goshingyo (which has the same pronunciation as the sacred service in the night in Japanese). I never thought we would find ourselves in this situation. Had I known it I would not have accepted to come here. I am going back at once! He told me to come with him, dressed as I was, and I accepted, but he made a fool of me and now I the one who is suffering. Hey, Tomo-han! Let's go back!"
Although he was himself shivering with cold, Murano tried to appease him and said, "I think that the schedule was changed for some sacred reason, you should be patient and allow such things to happen!" Fukutaro shouted, "May the sacred schedule be hanged! We can return here in the morning! Your boss might even still be asleep! The responsibility is yours. Awake your boss and tell him to prepare for the return! Umeda and the others were sitting down and kept silent. Fukutaro could not return to port alone despite his being angry, but the cold air kept cutting through his light clothes even to his belly. "I would have paid much to eat that water melon in such a cold air! That man ate the whole water melon by himself and then got asleep! He sure is no common fellow! In fact he may even be a real monster," thought Fukutaro while pacing the rock back and forth while waiting for dawn to break through." "I sure feel chilly!" he added. Onisaburo stretched himself and looking towards the easternsky which was turning gray, he said, "Fuku-han, I am sorry for the trouble I gave you, you must be tired! Try to get some sleep, even if it is for a short while, I will proceed with the sacred service from now on." Hearing the soft voice of Onisaburo, Fukutaro instantly calmed down.
When Fukutaro returned to the boat he found that Yae was still sleeping and that someone had covered her with a haori (kimono coat) of the black silk gauze. Fukutaro looked at Onisaburo and thought, somewhat surprised, "Hey! This guy is only wearing thin white clothes, this haori must be his." He felt ashamed that he, Fukutaro himself, had not thought of protecting his daughter from the cold.
Onisaburo, now committed to the service of the god, started again the climb towards the top of the Islet. The other believers followed him in silence. After reaching the top Onisaburo sat strait on the same rock and started blowing his stone whistle again, the others spread arrow bamboo on the ground and initiated the spiritual practices to calm down their souls. Fukutaro, who had followed with the other believers also sat down among them. This time, Fukutaro kept his eyes close, not daring to open them even for an instant. While in the midst of this practice, the roar of the sea reached his ears he felt as if his soul was led to an unknown and mysterious world. Then, Onisaburo stood up and walked calmly among the believers who were remaining seated. No one moved. When they opened their eyes they heard Onisaburo clapping his hands twice and then they saw him proudly lift a white package. He said, "Okay! I have completed my mission! Let's go back now and bring this with us!" They slowly rose to their feet while looking inquisitively to the package Onisaburo was holding. It looked like two globes covered with a white bleached cotton cloth and they asked, "What is this package?" Onisaburo did not answer and no one asked him again about it.
Fukutaro was so curious about the contents of the package that from that moment on, he seemed to be glued to Onisaburo, but all is efforts were to no avail because Onisaburo did not reveal anything. Despite this Fukutaro kept focusing on a string that hung from the bleached cotton cloth which covered the package. Desperate to find out Fukutaro at last dared ask Onisaburo something about the cloth, "The Reverend! Is this bleached cotton a loincloth?" "Ah! My lower abdomen is well ventilated now! Is it not because it is not covered with any loincloth anymore? Onisaburo continued, "You fool! This is golden jade, however, this does certainly not look like gold and what is called jade is surely not purple jade but anyway this is the most valuable treasure in the universe." Fukutaro said thoughtfully, "If that is so Heaven will punish you for carrying such a noble treasure enveloped in a simple loincloth, don't you understand that?" "That is no problem, it needs to be enveloped in something even if it is jade," replied Onisaburo looking somewhat gloomy.
In the boat, on their way back, Murano was himself unable to check any longer his curiosity about the contents of the package, and he said to Onisaburo, "the Reverend! Do you allow me to receive the blessings of the god?" Onisaburo handed over the package which Murano reverently took in his hands. The others enviously focused on him. However, the forehead of Murano began soon to darken and became covered with a greasy sweat. He moaned as if succumbing to utter distress and begged Onisaburo permission to return the package to him. Onisaburo took it back with a laugh. As soon as the jades left Murano's hands he felt better again, "Such things occur when a fellow who does not have the spirit befitting the sacred jades touches them." While saying so, Onisaburo kept his eyes fixed on the pine tree of the Islet which was progressively receding into the distance. Wiping off the greasy sweat from his forehead Murano, whose face remained pale, repeatedly apologized to the Kami-shima. "Oh! I have been saved, but, I will keep inquiring about the contents of the package. I was punished by the sacred power for taking the jades into my own hands, but the Reverend did not suffer any harm despite enveloping the treasure in his loincloth. He may truly be a god incarnate." Fukutaro thought that the round objects under the cloth might be skulls. These two treasures were temporarily enshrined in a cave of the O-Yashima (the model of the Japanese Islands) at the Kinryu-kai (the pond called the Golden Dragon-Sea at the Omoto cult). Onisaburo did not reveal the location of the Kami-shima to anyone, but the rumor soon spread that Onisaburo had uprooted the Ippon-Matsu (the Pine Tree) had found the cave of the Ryu-mon (the Dragon Gate) on the Kami-shima, that he found the treasure there, and that he had brought it with him to the Omoto cult. On the 12th of September Nao Deguchi visited that cave.
___"The male holding the spirit of the female (Onisaburo) must play the role of the woof of the loom, and that male has found out that the yarn was out and that the shuttle was not inserted correctly and some other odd things as well. Everything has to overcome various difficulties which have been planned by the god. However, the plans of the god are as unclear as if you did not know what the clothes you will wear will look like until you have finished making them. Once your work is completed, you will understand what the sacred plans of the god are but before being able to do that you must surmount the difficulties of that sacred work. My spirit must be changed by the god to enable me to complete my sacred work and I must change my appearance according to the god's will, that is why I have to create so much trouble for everyone. Now, all the preliminary arrangements for my sacred work have been completed and the sacred schedule will gradually be revealed to you. Up to now, whenever the sacred plan seemed to become clear, an evil spirit would thwart it and interrupt my sacred work. In nine eases out of ten I could not recognize the sacred plan of the god because the evil spirit would throw confusion upon me. That is, the evil spirit stands in the way of the sacred work. This creates a very difficult situation we have to overcome to be able to achieve our goal. Considering the god's will you must endeavor to cooperate with each other to become able to serve the god properly. The schedule will, from now on, clearly be established and you and your protecting god will be surprised at the remarkable details of it. However, until that schedule is completed no one will be able to understand the truth to which it leads, however much intelligence and study are put into the effort. When you visited the Meshima (the Meshima Islet) all of you prayed to the god, but expressed different wishes. I want you to ponder about the fact that the god has been in agony during his long confinement on that lonely Islet, Meshima, and I assure you that no imagination is able to appraise the extent of the suffering of such a delicate god during his ordeal there. On our next visit to the Kami-shima (the Kami-shima Islet) I ask you to consider these matters carefully. (written in the Fudesaki on the 5th of September of the Japanese old calendar in 1916)
On the 4th of October (the 8th of September of the Japanese old calendar), at four in the afternoon, Nao, who was at the time eighty-one years old, arrived at the Takasago port accompanied by eighty-one men who were all believers. Others followed shortly after, among whom were the member of the Degiehi family, Onisaburo (forty-six), Sumi (thirty-four), Naohi (fifteen), Umeno (thirteen), Yaeno (eight), Hifumi (six), Naoe (two), the adopted son, Daiji (fourteen), and Nao's daughters, Koto Kuriyama, Hisa Fukushima, sister of Ryo Deguchi, and some close relations such as, Yone Ueda, Yuki Nishida, Kimi Konishi, the officers of the cult and a few other believers.
The departure of the boats was set for the next day at two in the morning, and the preparations for departure took most of what was left of the day. The wind began to blow. The plank (about forty centimeter wide) which had been laid to board the boat from the wharf was getting quite unstable, but despite herage, Nao, crossed it easily. Looking at her holy figure crossing with such ease, one of the bystanders, Tsunetaro Isaka, who was twenty-six years old and lived in the Minami-zaimoku-cho district of Takasago-cho, shouted, "That woman is a living god." At hearing him another bystander clasped his hands together and started praying while watching Nao from behind. The boat which Nao had boarded had miraculously been christened as the Jinja-maru (The Shrine). The hull of the boat was about 14.4 meters long and it had a wooden roof. For the ensuing years that boat was to be used by the moto cult to ferry the believers to the Kami-shima.
The date on which they had taken the train was the 9th of September of the Japanese old calendar, and the number of Deguchi family members who joined the party was also nine. Eighty-one believers got into the train at the Kyoto-Shichijo Station. Nine times nine was eighty-one. If the number of other worshipers from every districts was added to this the total number of worshippers did increase to over one hundred, and all of them embarked at the Takasago port at two in the morning. The total number of boats, large and small were also nine, and they saw this as a true miracle. The moon had risen in the evening, but at the time they set sail the sea was dark. They headed the boats toward the Kami-shima and landed at the Islet at four in the morning after sailing once around the Islet. However, the visit was complicated by a difficult problem. From the very moment the train had left the Ayabe Station on the 4th in the morning Onisaburo had been as silent as a calm. As he was their leader on whom they relied upon for everything, they really felt extremely uneasy. Onisaburo was giving all his instructions in written form. Upon their arrival at the Islet he wrote down some strict orders which included, "Don't set foot on the Islet before I do!"
When the boat came to rest at its moorings one of the believers, pushing the others aside, jumped off the boat and rushed towards the beach which was still dark. No one knew why he was doing that. After that curious event Onisaburo, kindly helping Nao disembarked also, and the others quickly followed them. The man who had run out, was wriggling on the beach. He was the manager of a Kyoto brothel and was saying, "It is too cruel for the god to bring me here and put me to shame in front of everyone." Nobuyuki Umeda kneeled in prayer to calm his soul, but the man remained under the effect of strong convulsions, leaned back and, despite all his efforts, Umeda could not help him to his feet. Nohuyuki called Onisaburo for help. Onisaburo took off his shoes and raised his left leg, and rubbed his bare foot on the man's left leg continuing up to his face and while his soul was calming down. He only said, "I forgive you!" Then Onisaburo became silent again. The man's convulsions ceased, his muscles relaxed and he slowly sat up again.
Later, Chuzaburo Sato protested against Onisaburo, "I have heard that a human being is the living house in which the god lives. Isn't it quite inconsiderate of you, the Reverend, to calm down a person's soul with your foot." Onisaburo replied, "That is something I can do nothing about. In the case the patient is a man, I have to rub him upwards with my left foot and in the case of a woman I must do it from the head down with my right foot. That is the ritual the god orders me to follow to heal a criminals diseased mind after the god has punished him. Remember this very well!" Onisaburo held the enshring ceremony and invited the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin to abide in the new small shrine, which Yoshisada Tanimae had donated to the Omoto cult. After the ceremony was concluded Onisaburo changed clothes and held the ritual called O-Harae to purify all people present from any pollution. When both ceremonies were completed all of them returned to the shore and watched in wonder how innumerable rays were crossing the sky as if innumerable arrows had been shot all at once and flew towards their consummation in the eastern scarlet sky. Now, that was a sign that the sun would appear above the horizon. All believers sat down on the sandy beach and clasped their hand to pray to the eastern sky. The top of the deep-red sun clearly appeared on the horizon, and grew rapidly larger in shape. The sky was dyed in violet, and the waves and the clouds shined all round in a red-gold color.
Thereupon, two branches of the pine tree came falling down from the top of the cliff on the sandy beach. The believers who were quite surprised at this looked upward, only to see the silhouette of Onisaburo standing on the cliff with his back turned to the sunlight. No one understood what he was doing there and, as such, they turned their eyes away from him at looked again at the branches trying to understand this mysterious phenomenon. Naoe who had been sucking her mother's breast, suddenly left Sumi's knees and started toddling around. After picking up the branches from the sand. she began to imitate someone who would be sweeping the place. Nao was utterly startled and out of breath and she said, "O-Sumi, do you understand what we are seeing? Do you think she is acting like a child? Certainly not! The god is showing us His will through the actions of that child. The god is going to show us the real world through the actions of that child. Focus on what she is doing! It is the model of the old man and the old woman."
While she was listening to Nao. Sumi anticipated what she was going to say next, that is, "The old woman is the female holding the spirit of the male (the god Ushtora-no-Konjin), and the old man is the male holding the spirit of the female (Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin). The god Ushitora-no-Konjin means the god of the Demon's Gate in the northeast, as was indicated to the Omoto cult by its founder Nao, and the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin means the god in the southwest as indicated to the cult by its the Reverend Onisaburo. That is to say that Nao and Onisaburo (the two gods) have ruled the whole world, each in its own direction. The great man acts as if he was sweeping the world, and the great woman acts as if she was gathering what has been swept. The great man is, strictly speaking, the Father God who sweeps and purifies the world, separating what is good from what is bad and the great woman is the Mother Goddess who is tender, soft and full of love. The Mother Goddess is called upon to save everything, be it a shrike, a sparrow, a fox or a racoon. The god makes the old woman and the old man who live in the Takasago district rebuild and re-erect the world. I understand now that the god has me beholding this scene before I start cooking the sacred dinner for the altar.
The sun was rising from the surface of the sea and strengthening its golden shining. Nine boats were returning to the Takasago port at four in the evening. All the members of the party visited the Takasago Shrine near the port and paid their respects to the pine tree called Aioi-no-Matsu. It was symbolized by the old man and the old woman. After doing so they took the train from the Takasago Station to return home. On that night the members of the Deguchi family stayed at the house of Sadayoshi Tanimae in the Matsushima district of Osaka. During all that time Onisaburo continued his spiritual exercise of keeping silent. Onisaburo drew a picture of the god while he was on the second floor of a room in the annex, after which he came downstairs to enshrine the small shrine which had been brought from the Kami-shima. Nao sat down beside the shrine and started writing the Fudesaki. Sumi, who had come to the room, through a passage, was very surprised to find her mother prostrated in front of the shrine and trembling all over. "Are you ill, the founder?" asked Sumi. Nao turned her face towards her, but she looked terribly pale, in fact, Sumi had never seen her so pale. Nao, showing her trembling thumb, held her breath for a little while, then said, as if speaking with difficulty, "I saw that the Reverend truly is Maitreya." Sumi did not immediately grasp the meaning of her words. "Maitreya?" she asked. "Is the Reverend, Maitreya?" repeated Sumi. Nao sighed heavily and continued, "The Reverend is the Great God, Maitreya, the god told me so. I have repeatedly asked the god, but, He always gives me the same answer. Up to now I have greatly misunderstood him." While saying so Nao gave the Fudesaki, which she had just been writing, to Sumi.
__"The spirit of Maitreya had already fallen on the Kami-shima (the god's Islet). Up to now the spirit of the gods Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin, Susanowo and Komatsu-bayashi played the part of the spirit of Maitreya very well. Maitreya is the ancestral father of the gods of Heaven, while the god Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto is the ancestor of the Earth. The ancestors of Heaven and Earth have faced a never ending series of trouble in their endeavor to rebuild the second world, and I have given your trouble because I am setting upon rebuilding the present world. The god is deeply aware of the fact that the difficult circumstances of the world are confusing and to remedy this. He made up the following schedule: When time is ripe the god will have a male, holding the spirit of a female, appear in the world to achieve His purposes in reality. Then the plans of the god will be shown to the whole universe. Nao Deguchi, who was eighty-one years old, at that time wrote that in the Fudesaki. (the 9th of September in 1916, Taisho 5 of the old Japanese calendar)
Sumi placed the Fudesaki on the tatami, but her eyebrows remained frown because she was now facing another problem. She thought, "My husband is a great man, but how should I treat him? How do I deal with him? This is really too much for me." Nao, on her side, was unable to get the needed sleep she was longing for, because she was very shaken by both the facts that she had discovered that Onisaburo was Maitreya, but she was also by the remorse of not having recognized earlier the true nature of Onisaburo. Nao had first met Onisaburo eighteen years ago. At that time she thought that he was only a very young man with a childish character." Later, and according to the will of the god she made him the husband of her daughter, Sumi. However, she remained always unable to criticize his behavior according to usual standards of a normal mind and person. But now, the god had clearly indicated to Nao that the position of Onisaburo, who existed to rebuild the world, was similar to that of a woof in the weaving loom. The woof (Onisaburo) was to be the root spirit of the universe called Mizu-no-Mitama, and the warp (Nao) was to mean another root spirit called Izu-no-Mitama in the Omoto cult. Nao was designated as the female holding the spirit of a male, and Onisaburo was designated as the male holding the spirit of a female. This designation of the sacred role of each of them in the real world was very important for the achievement of their sacred task.
However, deeply rooted disagreements existed between the spirit of Nao and the spirit of Onisaburo. The spirit of Nao could not help invoking the god Komatsu-bayashi, while Onisaburo wished to discard him and have him vanish from the world. The battle between the spirit of fire (Izu-no-Mitama, the spirit of Nao) and the spirit of water (Mizu-no-Mitama, the spirit of Onisaburo) lasted for a very long time. Each spirit always attempted to possess and ruin its opponent. That battle caused Nao a great deal of suffering and strained her relation with the spirit of Onisaburo. However, she recognized, at last, that the spirit of Onisaburo truly had to play an important role in the completion of the sacred work of the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin (Spirit of Maitreya) despite the fact that, up to now, Nao had been persuaded that the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin was the advising god of the god Ushitora-no-Konjin, the god who was possessing Nao. So, and regardless of Nao's expectations, the Great God had now clearly indicated that the spirit of Maitreya would appear in all the gods, that is: the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin, the god Susanowo-no-mikoto, and even the god Komatsu-bayashi whom Nao had criticized so much in the past. Moreover, the Great God had indeed indicated that Maitreya (Miroku-sama) was the root-ancestor of Heaven.
Though Nao was a woman of considerable courage, Sumi was quite surprised to see that she seemed to give in to her feelings. On the 25th of May of the Japanese old calendar Onisaburo carried the god of the Kami-shima to the Omoto cult. However, the god ordered Nao to visit the Kami-shima again and greet the god of the Omoto cult there. Nao suspected the reason for which the god had ordered her to return to the Islet and she gladly complied with the god's will. On that occasion the god indicated to Nao the following important thing: Onisaburo was Mirokusama (Maitreya) who had appeared through Onisaburo when he was dressed as a woman. At the time Nao was surprised at seeing him dressed in such a way, however, she recognized that his appearance was that of the god Hitsuji-Saru-no-Konjin, but she could not penetrate the mystery far enough to see that he also was Maitreya. The god perceived that Nao could not understand the truth about Onisaburo, and to remedy this, He ordered her to set foot again on the sacred soil of the Kami-shima. Onisaburo had indicated to her, through his silence, how to understand his true spirit. Wasn't that so?
"Did I realize that even if the ceremony was the result of Onisaburo's selfishness, it was indeed a strange ceremony?" asked Nao to herself while recovering her balance. She was listening to the humbug of the insects which seemed to be rising from the depths of the earth. She was now looking back at the elapsed eighty years of her life and it seemed too long. She had gone through these years without having any time to enjoy the changes of the seasons or the beauties of spring, summer, autumn and winter. While she endeavored to purify herself through sacred exercises and perceived the sacred power of the god she had to continue the struggle against the hardships of life for the sake of her family. But, after she had understood the will of the god she devoted herself, her mind and her flesh to work for the god, abstaining even from enjoying the natural beauty of flowers which would have provided some relaxation. Such thoughts sustained her ego at that time, but, it seemed that her ego was at last somehow broken by them now.
Though Nao had been listening to the humbug of insects every year that sound was now painful to her. The god had finished to stretch the warp. She had only to wait now for what the woof would freely weave. What extraordinary Imperial Standard was being woven? She thought so. However, Nao would not look at this preposterous textiles woven around her life. Nao thought, "I will leave everything to Onisaburo." While Nao felt deeply relieved at this thought, she also felt a deep sadness and started shedding some tears, a thing she had not done for a long time. On the 7th of October in the evening a party including Onisaburo arrived at Ayabe. On the following day in the early morning of the 8th Onisaburo went to the O-Yashima (the model of the Japanese Islands) in the Kinryu-kai (the pond called the Golden Dragon Sea in the precinct of the Omoto cult) by the boat, and Kaiko-shiki (the Ceremony of the Opening of the Door) was held by Onisaburo. What is that ceremony? In fact, it was a pity that no one knew the contents of the ceremony at all.
Onisaburo left the O-Yashima and went around the Kinryu-kai, which he liked very much, poling the boat by himself. On the fifth day Onisaburo said only one phrase, breaking his ascetic practice of silence and said, "It is now mid-autumn in the declining world."
In the Omoto cult a triple visit to the Kami-shima was called the Opening of the Kami-shima, and this ceremony had been held as very important on the occasion of the Opening of the Meshima (The Female Islet) and the Oshima (the Male Islet) in 1900, because that was the time when Nao first recognized that the character of Onisaburo was that of the god Maitreya. Since then the confusion which had bedeviled the Omoto cult came to an end and the cult entered in the era of finding the truth to rebuild and re-erect the world. What is the truth of the Omoto cult? For one thing, the certainty that the god who possessed Onisaburo was the Great God Miroku (Maitreya). From the time Nao ascertained that truth the Omoto cult entered into the era of the truth. However, what did Nao and the believers do after recognizing this the truth? They had to devote themselves to make the truth appear in this confused world according to the will of the god Miroku, that is the Great God Susanowo. These people who made the truth appear in the world should be called the true believers, isn't that so?