Mother Earth

Volume 12: The Way of Eternity

Chapter 6: Meiji Era 55

      On the 25th of June the believers of the Omoto cult boarded the 10:30 a.m. train. The members of the party were as follows: Wasaburo Asano, Yoshiyuki Ogasawara, Asako Narikawa, who was the owner of the Miuraya hotel in the Yokosuka district, Kyugo Tomoyuki, and Reitaro Hikino, who was an officer at the branch of the Omoto cult. They had the intention of visiting the Izumo Taisha on the 29th and, at the same time, do some proselytizing. They were the only ones among the passengers, who were tired from the long journey, to keep a lively atmosphere in the car. Kyugo Tomokichi kept looking intensely at Asano's face while continuing to speak in a deep echoing tone and with threatening looks. He said, "Although you keep shouting all over that you will rebuild the world, it is in vain because you are unable to move people! Tell people that the time as arrived and start doing it first yourselves. Even if you stress the fact that the Omoto cult predicted this occurrence twenty years before anyone else and prove it the people will ignore that. They will say, 'Why didn't you tell us to act then?' You are bound to be thought ill of by everyone. Don't you think so, Nakamura-san?"

      Asako Narikawa stopped fanning Asano, and said, "Anyhow, what you say is very important, and if you hesitate to make the announcement, I will not approve of it and I will tell you so. However, if you announce that the time of rebuilding the world has come I will admit that, in some way, it is the manifestation of the highly sacred will of the god!" "Why? What do I mean? I will tell you. I just become a new believer of the Omoto cult, and I don't know anything about the history of the cult, much less about its relation to the Izumo district." Tomokiyo approved while scratching his lean hair. Narukawa explained in a clear voice, "The Izumo district is the birthplace of the Izumo Shinka (the Sacred Song of Izumo) which is closely related to the Omoto cult, you know! In 1901, a party made up of the founder, Nao the second generation after the founder, Nao's eldest daughter, Naohi, and the leader of the Omoto cult, Onisaburo, visited the Izumo Taisha (the Izumo Great Shrine) to receive the sacred fire which is used in the Omoto cult as the shadow of the god. When the founder was sailing on the Shinji Lake she pointed somewhere with a branch of an ume tree and said, "I have heard that the surroundings here have been planned by the god and I cannot put it in another words, but the remarkable development of Matsue city was planned by the god."

      After Onisaburo had remained in Matsue for a week he left for his next destination, Yonago in order to do some proselytizing there. However, some members of the party, Okumura, Okada and Obara had been overlooking an important fact. A few believers who had been overtaken by the mysterious power of "The Calming of the Soul" had not yet recovered consciousness. The three were asking themselves, "Well, how do we deal with that now?" and they realized that they had forgotten to ask Onisaburo about it. The families of those believers were getting quite anguished about their condition. But even Kibutsu Kihara could not pull them out of their abnormal state through his own spiritual power. Okumura and the others hurriedly sought advice from the headquarters of the Omoto cult on this matter. On the 20th of April Masayasu Nishitani arrived unexpectedly in Ayabe before Okumura had received any answer. Nishitani was thirty-four years old at the time and he had recently moved from the Tozuka Village in the Mikata County in Hyogo Prefecture to Hongu Village in Ayabe. Nishitani said, "I can immediately help those who are still possessed by the mysterious power and have not recovered, but I can do that only in front of an altar, so we must enshrine the god."

      As they were listening to him they realized that no one in Matsue had, as yet, enshrined the Great God of the Omoto cult. They hurried to make a shrine for the Great God in a room on the second floor of the house the younger brother of Yoshio Okumura had in front of the station. Once that was done, Nishitani initiated the rites of "The Calming of the Soul". All those who were possessed by the mysterious power, soon calmed down and recovered from their trance. Nishitani suggested, "You must organize a branch of the Omoto cult here and enshrine the god in due form." No one had any objection. They immediately rented a good house in the Zaimoku-cho, and hung a sign that read, "Branch of the Great Japanese Fast Association".

      They held an opening ceremony on the 5th of May. The whole thing was done with such celerity that the branch was fully operational only one month after Onisaburo had left Matsue. There were, day and night, more than ten people visiting the Matsue branch to seek the calming of their souls and Nishitani could simply not take care of all of them by himself. Yoshio Okumura in May, and Haruzo Sasaki in June, practiced asceticism for about ten days in Ayabe, which was barely enough to get their qualification, as healers, from Onisaburo who was the spokesman of the god's will. The Matsue Branch had already a membership of over 500. Asako Narukawa reported that the branch had grown considerably and was very active. However, it was at the same time gathering heated opposition. The local newspaper, the Sanyo-Shinpo published and article ridiculing them which read, "The Omoto cult believers are possessed by the mysterious power of the foxes they, themselves, are breeding." The Omoto cult was undergoing daily attacks. Officers of the cult were often ordered to report to the police station and policemen often came to the precinct of the branch to monitor its activities.

      Hearing from Hikono, who had just returned to Ayabe, what the conditions surrounding the Matsue branch were, Tomokiyo got very excited. He was the kind of person who rejoiced at finding out who his enemies are and was very perseverant in fighting back. He said, "It is our duty to challenge that influential newspaper and the police and keep quarreling with them. Whatever their position, if we go to Matsue to take up the dispute, it will cause a great sensation. Let us fight poison with poison! Furthermore, we take advantage of this opportunity to throw the prophecies of the Omoto cult at their faces. This excellent opportunity of proselytizing suits me all too well. However, it is necessary for us to indicate clearly when the time to rebuild and re-erect the world will come. I will personally take care of the police station and the newspaper-shops." Asano had the firm conviction that the time of rebuilding the world would be in 1921-22, that is, only a few years ahead. The basis for his believing that was not a premonition while being possessed by the mysterious power of "The Calming of the Soul" but his careful study of the Sacred Words of the Omoto cult, which he believed beyond any doubt.

      __"You are straining yourself too much, trying to make peace reign over this land while everyone is fighting the difficulties brought about by the war. Despite your efforts, those easy to perform acts, will not achieve the rebuilding of the world. The efforts of a single person will not be able to play an important role in establishing the sacred world of the Omoto cult. It is too much for you and it is vain to think so highly of yourself. The circumstances in the world are becoming more and more pressing and you will not be able to move anything, even a single inch. You will only be able to say, "Whew!" The sacredness of the present situation had Onisaburo outline the process of rebuilding the world and preserve it carefully. "This sacred situation gives you an opportunity to take the Male Held the Spirit of Female and start rebuilding the world once more. Starting in the midst of 1917, and for the following ten years, will be the crucial time, when each of us must give full play to our individual abilities and skills, to rebuild the world. To achieve this great sacred work the god's plans will be moving as fast as possible and cannot be thwarted without great risk. The 3rd of March, and the 5th of May, will be favorable days to bear those hardship in the Omoto cult."
      (These words appear in the records of the cult and are dated the 12th of July, 1904.)

      Asano was so surprised at seeing the copy of the document which Onisaburo had forwarded to him, that he seemed to have a heart attack. It was a copy of "The Sacred World", June Edition of the year before. The words recorded in the Fudesaki were, by no means, clear except a stern warning, which read. "If the general conditions of society are adequate the world may be able to escape this crisis. You will avoid the end of the world, depending upon the degree to which you amend your behavior." However, in these Sacred Words the predictions clearly appeared to be dated, Meiji era 45 changed to Taisho era 1 in 1912. According to the way you count that year as two separate years or only as one year you will be able to substitute the Meiji 50 (assumed year, 1917) for the Taisho years 5 (1916) or 6. When counting ten years from the midst of the Meiji era 60, the starting of the rebuilding the world becomes the Taisho year 1 (1912) or 2. By that time the Omoto cult will have placed the Great Japanese Fast Association on a firm basis. In the country the Meiji era was substituted by the Taisho era, and in the world, the Ch'ing dynasty was ruined and the Republic of China was established. Besides this, the Balkan War and World War I broke out. Those were certainly turbulent times.

      The rebuilding of the world was supposed to be finished in 1921-22. That belief was based on the words of the Fudesaki, which read: "After thirty years the world will be changed." The followers of the Omoto cult firmly believed that the era of change would come and be concluded in thirty years. Since Nao had begun teaching the way of the god in 1892, it would be 1922 before those thirty years had elapsed. Wasn't it so? It was also possible that the world would be rebuilt on the 3rd of March and that the re-erecting of the world would be finished by the 5th of May. From the perspective of the Omoto cult the situation of the world, today, was evolving according to the predictions of the Fudesaki. Even if the hammer missed its target on the ground, it was absolutely sure that the rebuilding and re-erecting of the world would be completed by 1922.

      __"I can say that the rebuilding of the world will be concluded counting thirty years from the year 1892. However, important intermediary events, such as the people reforming themselves or not, may interfere. Despite this, the plans of the god will anyway be completed at some later time if such a thing was to happen, don't accuse the god of telling lies, because it will be your behavior which would be responsible for that. For sure, the god does not want to change His schedule, but if there is no adequate go-between, He might be forced to do so. It cannot be helped."

(This was written on the 16th of July, 1898.)

      Many believers did not doubt that the rebuilding of the world would occur in 1922. But, Asano had formerly had two bitter experiences with prophecies. It was at the time he had met the Bachelor of Science, Miyazawa and Rear admiral, Akiyama. Asano never forgot the bitter taste of those experiences. However, this time, the prophecies were the Sacred Words of the Omoto cult. What else could he do but to believe the Sacred Words of the Omoto cult of which he was a follower? In the year, 1921 (Taisho era 10) the founder became eighty-six years old. If the schedule of the god was delayed any further, the founder would not see the rebuilding of the world in her lifetime. Asano was puzzled because Onisaburo had neither confirmed not denied that the rebuilding of the world would occur that year. Asano asked Onisaburo to specify his position. Onisaburo answered with a blank expression, "Well, I will think about it but, anyhow, this is happening the Sacred World, and I am not privy to what is happening there.

      No one had heard the story of the rebuilding of the world in 1922, directly from Onisaburo. However, Asano thought that he, somehow, understood the position of Onisaburo. Onisaburo was the leader of the Imperial Way of the Omoto and he was also a superior gifted prophet. If he prophesized that the rebuilding of the world would occur in 1922, his prophecy would spread, at least among the believers of the Omoto cult. It would make too strong an impression on the believers, and if he denied it, he would expose himself, at once, to the attacks and criticism of the anti-Onisaburo faction of the cult. He wrote the following phrase in "the Sacred Song of the Omoto" so that everyone could be enlightened, "From the Year of the Horse, the Dog, the Dragon and the Tiger the battle will take place on the main stage; when the curtain is first lifted, the end of the flower way will appear..."

      The year called the Year of the Horse had arrived. The whole nation was looking with deep interest at the dispatch of Japanese troops to Siberia. The Soviet policy had been established in Russia on the 7th of November of the year before, following the October Revolution. Just after the revolution, Japan, England, the United States of America and France began to interfere with the actions of the Revolutionary Government. A socialist state had now become the Northern neighbor of Japan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of War began to maneuver to establish a buffer zone between Japan and the Soviet Union in East Siberia. England and France had asked Japan and the United States of America to dispatch troops to the area. However, the United States of America was opposed to the dispatch of Japanese troops, because they feared that Japan would annex the territories conquered by its troops.

      In Japan, the general mood was against the dispatching of troops in cooperation with the United States. But in Osaka, the Asahi Shimbun and the Toyo-Keizai-Shimbun (the Eastern Economic News) were arguing with the opposition. When Asano asked Onisaburo about the outcome of that dispute, he answered at once, "The Japanese government will send troops to Siberia in the near future." It might be that the curtain was being lifted on the first stage which had been described in the phrase: "on the main stage of the flower way, the troops will be sent to Siberia". There upon, the curtain would successively be lifted on the second and third stage. But, of course, it was natural, for the mentioned reasons, not to indicate the time clearly. There was no doubt that Onisaburo thought that the time of the rebuilding and re-erecting of the world would be soon. Although from the outside, they may have known better, it would have been inexcusable to announce that to the world. If the prediction was to fail it would do unpredictable damage to the developing image of the Omoto cult. In spite of being persuaded of that Asano was still very worried about the risks involved.

      Asano looked at Tomokiyo over his glasses with a disapproving expression and said, "The Reverend Onisaburo did not speak about this problem at all, and we are not the ones who should talk about it either." Ogasawara, who had been silent up to now, whispered, "It may be that, on the contrary, the Reverend expects us to do it for him." Asano was really impressed by the phrase. After all, it may have been true what he said. Someone had to write and publish the news of the dispatch of troops to Siberia. Onisaburo could not do it in his position because he could not afford to be bound by his own words. But, instead of having people talking at random, it might be better to have a high ranking official speak about it in which case, only Asano, himself, was important enough to do that. "I will bear my cross," he thought! If he did so Onisaburo would not be responsible for anything and it might also just be that the god had chosen Matsue instead of Ayabe to initiate the first stage of the prophesy. However, Asano had to think about it. He said, while leaning against the back of his seat, "Just a moment! I have to think about it."

      When the party arrived at the Matsue Station in the evening over ten officers and believers met them at the station. They proceeded immediately to the house of Kibutsu Kihara. They spent the calming their souls and attending a lecture. On the 26th an uninterrupted flow of visitors came to Kihara's house and the stone whistle calming down their souls echoed without a break. At four o'clock in the evening the party went to a public meeting place, the Rinsui-Tei. The Rinsui-Tei was the best Japanese restaurant in Matsue. It was located near the Shinji Lake. It had a large hall upstairs which could accommodate up to three hundred guests and provided a beautiful view of the surroundings. Some local notables such as the schoolmaster, Katsusaburo Kawai, the major general, Yamamura, captain Katsuta, captain, Kamata, the chief of the police station and several public servants and businessmen were present. After Okumura had delivered the opening address, Tomokiyo mounted the rostrum and made a fervent one hour speech of the principles and assertion of the Imperial Way of the Omoto, and the mission of Imperial Japan, as a nation. His explanation was very scientifically oriented and he made a deep impression upon the audience. Finally, Wasaburo Asano climbed on the platform, his long hair flying in the breeze coming from the Shinji Lake and said, "For the last two thousand years, Japan has been a peaceful, small, oriental and isolated island country, absorbed in the study of foreign civilizations. Those circumstances allowed the gifted Japanese to devote a lot of time to those studies without being disturbed. Our ancestors first assimilated Chinese civilization, then Indian thought and philosophy and, lately, we have been assimilating European civilization. However, those civilizations from the outside world were out of tune with each other. Ladies and gentlemen! Open your eyes as wide as you can and look at the world. With the exception of Japan, no nation has been able to assimilate both Western and Oriental cultures, either in their science or in their metaphysics. It is the results of two thousand years of study. Do you understand that? The bigoted and arrogant Chinese began gradually sending students abroad, but they never achieved anything more than completing elementary courses. The Indians and the Koreans were insignificant. Although the Europeans and the Americans claimed to belong to a refined civilization and to be pioneers, they were really too confident in their abilities. They simply became researchers whose scope was limited to the learning and the literature which had developed in their own countries. They were utterly ignorant of the literary arts of India and China and even more so of those of Japan. Could they ever rule and lead the world without understanding, acknowledging and feeling respect and sympathy for all the nations of the world? Only the Japanese have that qualification! Up to now the Japanese nation has not understood the important role it has to play on the world scene and was thinking of itself as if it was the same as any other country. However, it should be understood that Japan has the responsibility to become the leader of the world and the hero of civilization." While saying that Asano was beaming with the pride to have put his whole heart in his words. He continued, "Japan had learned long before other nations that it is indispensable to learn from each other and at last compulsory schooling is being extended in Japan also.

      Asano continued, "However hard you may try to remain shy, to retire from the world, to be satisfied with associating ourselves with the World Power and live the live a sponge, as did your parents, you will fail to meet your expectations. Because the international situation is steadily putting pressure upon us, it will not allow you to do so. Even if I were able to imagine that the war in Europe will soon be brought to a fair end, the worldwide depression, which sprang from the bottom of societies and the depths of their minds, cannot be stopped or brought to an end by any means. The causes, which brought about the first war, would inevitably kindle a second one through the internal turmoil and the starvation, which are the consequences of the depression. That trend will not be reversed until the causes, which bring about the turmoil are reversed. Now, all this turmoil is nothing but what the god had promised would happen when heaven and earth were created. The situation in Europe is beginning to change on a large scale and the East will start changing soon also. But, even more than watching Europe, we should not take our eyes off North America. Under the present circumstances the Japanese should not satisfy themselves with talking serenely as philosophers do. The Japanese government ought to take action and, I think that it will do so with energetically and fulfill its mission perfectly well. Ladies and gentlemen, to say the truth, the Japanese government bears a heavy responsibility in the turmoil assailing the world, not because Japan was involved in creating the turmoil, but because Japan has been dragged into it. The Japanese are the least responsible for that situation and for that very reason it is the Japanese government who has the responsibility to calm down the international situation."

      Asano captivated his audience and he was quite proud of it. His pale forehead was covered with shining pearls of sweat, which the evening breeze could not drop up. He continued, "Ladies and gentlemen, some of you are looking at me suspiciously. It may be that your own representation of the situation conflicts with what I am saying and that those ideas are throwing confusion in your minds. You may be thinking, "The Japanese government has no such responsibility at all." "Well, okay! Isn't it natural that you should not understand the relation between the god's world and our human world? It is all but too natural that you cannot understand our own role in the world. The Imperial Way of the Omoto of Ayabe, bust be thoroughly explained to you and must prove itself and be able to discipline and guide you. There is no other place in the world where you can learn that as well as in Ayabe. I can say that Ayabe is Japan's Takama-ga-hara (the Japanese Olympus). The reason for this is that the Omoto cult of Ayabe is directly dependent upon the Central Government of the Sacred World, in regard, as much as to the oracles, as to the solution of the problems of the world and the carrying out of the god's schedule. If someone was to say that some idea prophesizing is occurring in Ayabe I would answer that the words spoken in the Omoto cult in Ayabe are not prophecies but the truth. Everything in the world will ultimately be planned and solved in the Omoto cult of Ayabe. Before a plan was to be executed the Central Government of the Sacred World rarely announces it to the World of the Reality. However, it sometimes does it as a cautionary measure, to warn people of what is to come and enable them to prepare for the situation. The Central Government is now going to carry out a great plan, which is still top secret hut, which I am going to reveal to you, if you just want to listen to me what I am going to say is the proof that the god is spreading a net of bliss over the fortunate people who are serving him. It is your chance, of either clinging to the net and save yourselves, or let the net go and be thrown in the abyss of destruction. You are been given the choice. You can decide either way! The audience was quite impressed because Asano's speech was very convincing and able to overcome the instinctive rejection of new ideas. Moreover, Asano emphasized the meaning of the appearance the "The Imperial Way of the Omoto", its' doctrine, its' role in the Taisho Restoration and its theory. They were quite overcome with what he had said and felt like thinking deeply about it.

      Asano made a pause to gauge the reaction of his audience and took a sip of water from the glass on the table, to clear his voice. Then he continued, "The Great God, Ame-no-minakanushi expected to be able to clear the confused world of the presence of outrageous human beings and in order to do so he laid the foundations of both the Sacred World and the World of the Reality. He then delivered his first oracle to the Father of the Country, the god, Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto in 1892. Since then, and for the following twentygeven years the plans of the Father of the Country have gone ahead with little hindrances or delays. The Founder, Nao Deguchi, who is the founder of the Omoto cult and who has taught us the Sacred Song of the Omoto, was born in a remote country village of the Tamba County, where she underwent much hardship and met much adversity. Far from being able to write refined phrases she was utterly illiterate. Despite this she was able to write down sacred words, albeit in a very coarse style. There is no former instance in history of an illiterate person being able to write those profound and mysterious phrases in coarse words. It is like wrapping valuable goods in rags or having a nobleman living in a humble cottage. Anyone can understand how remarkable those facts are. I remember that I was deeply moved after my first reading of the Fudesaki. Though I plead for my inscnsible susceptibility, I was shocked by the fact that the Sacred Words became the focus of public attention and created much confusion. I can however say that the Sacred Words is the very reflection of actuality and that we cannot keep ignoring the times. The contents of the Sacred Words of the Omoto are substantial and valuable; their meaning is not thwarted by either beauty or ugliness, that is, by their outer appearance or by the skill with which they were written. As a reflection on the Creative World, the Great God, Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto wrote the refined Fudesaki for the people and for the guardian deities in the world. The Great God, Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto must complete the universe on His own responsibility. Once the believers began to understand part of 'The Sacred Words', they realized that any of the phrases or words is valuable, even if they appeared fragmented. Nowadays many people would respect the words of some foolish men or comply with the orders of an incompetent general, as if they had emanated from some sacred books. But for you, who are seekers of truth without flowers, you know that there are millions of valuable words hidden in a similar number of great sacred books. Ladies and gentlemen! We, Japanese, have been given one of those sacred books in 1892. Please, welcome the 'The Sacred Words of the Omoto' and clean your body of all the black and ignoble images that may remain in it. Read these The Sacred Words thousands and thousand of times over and over again!! That will enable you to vividly apprehend, through your spiritual eyes, the great truth emanating from the Taisho Restoration. Everyone, according to the rank of his or her spiritual power, will receive the blessing that his belief provides, those with high spiritual power will receive a high blessing while those with little power will receive a all blessing, but I can say, without hesitation, that only through 'The Sacred Words of the Omoto' will you be able to receive the blessing of the universe.

      After Asano got satisfied that he had thoroughly captivated the audience's attention, he lowered the tone of his voice to the point that a pin falling on the ground could have been heard. He continued, "The contents of 'The sacred Words of the Omoto' can be divided in three main parts. The first part deals with the truth regarding the origin of the world and its Creation, as well as the relations between the Sacred World and the World of Reality. The second part deals with the teaching of the guardian deities and the people. It explains these matters very carefully but in easily understandable terms. The third part explains the role of the Omoto cult in the timely establishment of a sacred government and takes fundamentally the form of a kind of prophecy uttered in common language. But, I must warn you, that the prophecies of the Omoto cult are not like other prophecies! They are not guesses made at random, nor are they based on rumors. The Great God reveals only those secrets which, the people are allowed to know and we will never have access to all the hidden problems. In the Omoto cult the precise dates of a foretold happening will never be stated, and that is all too natural, because the Great God cannot be bound by deadlines, nor can he be pressed to do his work hastily, due to the great responsibility he bears towards both the Sacred World and the World of the Reality. If people and the guardian deities were to listen to the voice of the Great God, this warning would be unnecessary and would have been excluded from the Sacred Words of the Omoto. But, I am sorry to say that neither the people, nor the guardian deities, appeared when, according to the god's orders, the god, Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto appeared in 1892 to help the world. And, as a result, the Great God was forced to make a warning statement for the future. Thus, as the years went by, the forecast events happened according to the prophecies. Several wars broke out, for example, the Sino-Japanese War (1894-5), the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5) and, lately a World War originated in Europe. Many people, at first, had their eyes opened, and respected their allegiances. However, I must say that the outbreak of those wars is a most important warning for the years to come. All the nations of the world, which are now disillusioned by their allegiances and will not respect them any longer must, hitherto, devote their souls to the sacred work of the god. This is the part of the most secret resolution of the Sacred Government which, I told you earlier, I would disclose today."

      Asano closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Now and here, he was going to utter words of profound significance and he acutely felt the responsibility he had in doing so. A cold sweat was running along his back. He thought, "If the god does not want me to reveal what I am going to tell them, I pray that He strikes me with a thunderbolt and silence me." The audience also noticed his pale face and his difficult breathing. After a few moments he aid, "I must tell you that the world will face a major crisis in about three or four years from now, and, if everything goes as forecast, only a third of us will still be alive after it is over. When I think about that and about the fact that the Country's God, the Great God has continuously kept shouting his warning to us, and we did not heed them, I feel like if my limbs were torn apart. That is why I have to strike forcefully the alarm bell, right now, to show that we are still alive. But, time is running out. Even if you are only half a human being, I urge you to heed this warning and to awake to the sacred work." All became quiet as Asano continued, "Thirty years have past since 1892, the next three years will see the beginning of the main drama. The war in Europe has lasted for five years but it is only a prelude, the real cataclysm will come thereafter. Earthquakes, thunderstorms, floods, fiery rains and pillars of fire will arise, and the earth will be turned into a sea of mud. But once we have transcended that crisis and start cleaning up the earth, a new world will open according to the god's will. Everything, including the deepest secrets of the Sacred World, together with heaven and earth, the sun and the moon and all the stars will be reborn at once. The world will be placed under the single reign of the Great King, the Great God, and the World of Miroku (Maitreya) will become reality. No distinction will exist between rich and poor and all the people will be equal before the Great God. That is the true significance of the Taisho Restoration and of the Imperial Way of the Omoto, that is the second rebuilding and re-erecting of the world. Comparing these events with former ones, I can confidently say that the old restorations and revolutions were all temporary events and did not amount to much more than children's play. The audience was utterly dumb struck at his words.

      Asano continued, "Well? Those important events will happen in 1921 or 1922. The 3rd or the 5th of March should become especially memorable days. If you still harbor some doubts about what I am saying, I will dispel them telling you the revelation of the god now, instead of waiting another three years. In one month from now the Japanese government will start dispatching troops to Siberia! Some of you may still doubt that, in view of the present political situation. But I warn you that you will stop laughing at me at the beginning of August, when you will be able to see by yourselves the truth of this prophecy and see through your own eyes that the rebuilding and re-erecting of the world has started. Please, understand that I am not seeking applause, but only wish to establish, once and for all, the authority of the Sacred Words of the Omoto and to encourage every individual to mend his way as quickly as possible, and to join in the Great Sacred Work!" The audience was struck dumb and followed eagerly every word that flew out of his lips. He looked to them to be faith incarnate, haughty and dignified.

      Asano continued, "We have reached the turning point for heaven and earth! The long-awaited time to put hands on the great sacred work has finally arrived! The Great Sacred Work of the god, Ameno-minakanushi-no-Okami stands before us. Since times immemorial, the gods and human beings, heaven and earth, have been preparing to complete that the Great Sacred Work. The god is immortal, but even human beings will be able to remain in their flesh for over one hundred years without difficulty. Oh! We are privileged to be alive at this historic moment, when the whole universe is at its most important turning point and headed for a new order. I must say to you, Open your eyes and look at the world! The large waves of change are reaching your own feet. The crucial moment has come and we cannot waste a single minute, not even a second."

      After one and a half hour, the lecture was finished and both Asano and Tomokiyo returned to the waiting room. A few newsmen rushed in asking, "Asano-sen, are you in your right senses? What do you think the report of such a lecture will do?"

      Asano got angry at the insolence of their questions and he answered haughtily, "At any rate, and whatever you may think, after another one thousand days, the time of rebuilding of the world will arrive. Mt. Fuji will get into a violent eruption. Mt. Daisen, which you can see from here, if you lift up your eyes, will also erupt! How will those eruptions be? Well, you will have some articles to write then, and some scenes to report, using all writing skills! I am waiting for you then! But, can you live until that time? That is the problem! So, if you want to report on that topic, you better do it right away. Then, it was Tomokiyo's turn to take on the reporters and he continued with fiery eyes. "If you like to try to make a bad reputation for the Imperial Way of the Omoto, you will be accountable for it and it will remain in the records of the Sacred World. It will be clearly stated that you have tried to interfere with the Great Sacred Work." The place of the lecture was changed to the dining hall. Over ten people, who were interested in the story of the prophecy of the Omoto, continued the conversation. Later on, they were invited to attend another lecture at Kihara's house. Then, on the 27th, at four o'clock in the evening, an opening lecture was held at the Rinsui-Tei. Not a single square foot remained unoccupied and Asano reiterated his stern warnings about the urgent need to rebuild the world.

      The two-day lectures series created a great stir in Matsue, which used to be a quiet castle town in the San-in region (The San-in region includes Tottori, Shimane Prefecture and the Northern part of the Yamaguch Prefecture). Asano was now finishing to prepare some food before embarking on a new missionary trip. But, since those lectures had taken place, many people constantly visited the Matsue Bureau of the Omoto cult in Shin-Zaimoku-cho and it's hall was almost always packed with visitors. Ogasawara, Tomokiyo and several other officials assisted Asano in taking care of the constant flow of visitors who were seekers of truth and aimed at having their souls calmed down. While performing the necessary ceremonies they used to give a lecture to every one of them. This daily flow of visitors kept them usually busy until two o'clock in the morning. Asako Narikawa was also quite busy attending home calls of worshippers and taking care of the women's section. She was usually drenched in sweat. They only allowed a brief pause in their tight schedule on the 29th to visit the Izumo Taisha (the Izumo Great Shrine). On the 3rd of July, the party finally left Matsue, while many believers gathered to bade them farewell. The party did some proselytizing in Yonago and Tottori, on their way back to Ayabe, where they arrived on the 9th of July, after two weeks of absence. Their proselytizing left a deep impression on many people.

      The Matsue Branch had sent, without delay, a report on the activities of Yamada and the others to the Headquarters of the Omoto cult, in Ayabe. The style of the report amounted to nothing short of a declaration of war and a virulent denunciation of the substance of Asano's lectures. Onisaburo had been expecting such a situation to arise since the very moment he had forwarded a copy of the Sacred Words of the Omoto to the editorial office. Onisaburo thought that the god had done nothing but follow the scheduled course of action. When he welcomed the party led by Asano, upon their return to Ayabe, Onisaburo had not changed his position. Asano had given no precise dates as to the time of the rebuilding of the world. Onisaburo thanked the whole party for their troubles with an air of innocence, "I am sorry for all the trouble you went through. But, I believe that you have laid the foundations for the faith of the Omoto cult in the Shimane Prefecture." Asano, controlling with difficulty his excitement, broke off the conversation with a nod saying, "The time will come...." Onisaburo looked pitifully at Asano's back while he was walking away.

      In the Omoto cult it is said that Nao Deguchi was the Female held the spirit of Male, and that the Fudesaki had been handwritten by herself, while the Sacred Words of the Omoto had been selected and arranged by Onisaburo according to the revelations, he had while reading the Fudesaki. In fact, what Onisaburo did, was to rewrite and correct many passages to make them easier to read, and to understand, through the use of Chinese characters. The opening of Kami-jima (the god's Islet) was done according to the instructions the Spirit of Onisaburo had received from the god, Miroku-sama of heaven, according to what was written in the Fudesaki. Only Onisaburo was given the privilege to do it. After that Onisaburo began to write "The Implications of the Sacred Words" in the 1897s, and was clearly possessed at the time it was first published. His writings were independent of the Sacred Words written by Nao. From there arose what is called "The problem the Sacred Words of the Omoto", which was published in the July issue of 1917, and which was clearly not written by Nao, but, by Onisaburo. That text was simply a series of comments on the implications of the Sacred Words of the Omoto.

      __"This time, the god takes 'The Male held the Spirit of Female' out, and He makes arrangements for the gift..."

      __"Within the following ten years, in the midst of 1917, the moment of the truth will arrive."

      __"The best days will be on the 3rd of March, 1922, and on the 5th of May. However, until those good days arrive, the situation of the Omoto cult will be very difficult."

      It is impossible to find detailed indications about the months and days on which the prophecies will be fulfilled. Nao had, of course, a limited vocabulary. The phrases quoted above, were written in the Fudesaki on the 12th of July, which was the birthday of Onisaburo. Moreover, many difficult words, which Nao was unlikely to use, appear there. It is very easy for the believers to realize that, as soon as they study those phrases carefully. However, why did they refrain from doubting the authenticity of those phrases? Was it because they were under the spell of their charm? What were the reasons of Onisaburo for leaving the meaning of the Sacred Words unclear? Why did he persistently run the risk of having the Sacred Words being misunderstood and why did he systematically refuse to publish them? If we inquire carefully in the situation of the Omoto cult at that time we can understand his behavior. After Nao recognized Onisaburo as the avatar of the god, Miroku, the officials and the believers persistently though that Nao was the main figure and that Onisaburo was subordinated to her. Many believers had absolute faith in the Sacred Words of the Omoto, but had questions about the implications of those the Sacred Words. No one believed that Nao Deguchi had played a role comparable to the one Johannes played in recognizing Jesus as a prophet. But it was still the best thing to do for Onisaburo, who was possessed by the god, to publish his interpretation of the unclear passages of the Sacred Words written by Nao. The believers used to stay that the writings of Nao were "The Face of the Sacred Words", and that the implications of those words, written by Onisaburo, were "The Backside of those Sacred Words." Nao could not see through the god, which possessed Onisaburo for twenty-four years, from 1892 to 1916. She couldn't recognize the theophanies of the god, Komatsuhayashi-no-mikoto and the god, Ushitora-no-Konjin nor could she recognize Onisaburo as the avatar of Ten-no-Miroku (the god, Miroku in heaven). She was, so to speak, immersed in the fundamental Sacred Work of establishing the Sacred Government of the gods. The Fudesaki had been written to teach people how to deal with the Sacred Government. That is to say, the Fudesaki was written as the fruit of the founder's ascetic practices.

      Onisaburo began practicing ascetics on Mt. Takakuma in 1898. The purpose was to probe the unknown truth. He concluded those practices in 1899, having attained a clear knowledge of the truth regarding the will of the god and the way to serve him. Onisaburo had understood the truth of the universe before he was eighteen. As he was the avatar of the god, Ten-no-Miroku, he considered that he had the full right to select and correct whatever part of the Fudesaki written while Nao was still unaware of the universal truth regarding the god. He could also use the Fudesaki to interpret, at will, the god's schedule. However, only a handful of people were willing to recognize the position of Onisaburo. One group was totally committed to the founder, another was centered on Yagi, who was trying to push Onisaburo on the side, and still another group expected Naohi, Onisaburo's eldest daughter, to become the leader of the third generation. Another strong faction, led by Asano, was also taking shape. Asano, who had a strong personality made a rapid ascent in the ranks of the cult since the very day he had jointed it. Some officials and believers would now go to Onisaburo and say to him, "Well, if you can't tell us, why don't you ask Asano! He is a scholar!" or else "You should leave the 'Calming of the Soul' to Asano, or visit him and ask him what to do". Onisaburo looked at this situation in various ways.

      Asano was given a proper stage to use his skills freely and, he ascended very rapidly to the upper ranks of the Omoto cult with Onisaburo's full support. From in June, 1917 Asano frequently wrote in the magazine "The Sacred World" under the penname Wanisaburo. This penname suggested that there were two persons with the same name because the former name of Onisaburo was also Wanisaburo and this might give an idea of what Asano had in mind. Didn't it? One question remained unanswered though: Why was Asano so interested in the first half of the Fudesaki, which read.

      __"You cannot rebuild the world taking things too easily. Is there really only one person who can serve the Sacred Government once it is established or is this concept misconstrued and the product of self-conceit?"

      Asano ignored that part of the phrase and focused only on the part dealing with the prophecy, because he thought that it was meant to admonish the officials who in 1904 were quite negligent. He was always getting excited when making this judgment without realizing, however, that in fact he was preparing a trap for himself. What was the nature of the trap? Onisaburo, being alone was pondering the facts: "Could it not be that, due to Asano's rather reckless talking, the Omoto cult was falling into an endless dilemma regarding the 'Implications of the Sacred Words? It might just have been that it was not the whole world but the Omoto cult itself that would not be rebuilt until the year 55 of the Meiji era, that is 1922. Who would face that awful experience? Was it the outside world or was it to be limited to the Omoto cult. In spite of knowing that truth, why did he teach it to Asano? Why did he not stop the wild run of this reckless man?" Onisaburo said to himself, "I am now able to utter a new prophecy. I should have responsibility for everything that is happening!" Onisaburo felt that he had to watch closely what the plans and the schedule of the god were.

      __"The god will put the schedule into effect at any moment now, and you should publish a special issue of the newspaper stating the prophecy even if it is only in Japanese. It is your duty towards the god, the prophecy and the press, because the god seems determined to get on with his plans to rebuild the world rather sooner than later."

      Onisaburo continued talking to himself, "The god told me in 1900. Let at least the Japanese know about the appearance of the Omoto cult. You will perform the service of informing them through the magazine 'The Sacred World' and even if the distribution is limited and even if it is restricted to the Tamba district, keep publishing it many times in the future. Through the prophecy of the rebuilding of the world the god is urging us to take part in that sacred work. It may be creating a sir in the newspapers and may give us a bad reputation, but the timing is according to the god's schedule and that gives us no choice but to do it." Onisaburo thought, "The schedule of the god will be easier to keep if people speak ill of the Omoto cult, because, while they are doing so, they will not interfere with it. As this is so. I am going to disregard Asano's behavior, because his role is the most difficult of all. The founder's death can happen at any moment now and Asano will provide a strong moral support for believers when the anxiety of the crisis assails them. Once the founder is gone, the believers will undergo severe hardships, specially once the god starts judging who among them is selfish and who is truly faithful. Even I, may be dragged outside and abused by the people until the end of the world. They may yell at me, 'Demon! Go to hell! You false prophet! Give him violent blows! Strike him! If that happens, Asano will be of great help! He will be responsible for it all!"

      Onisaburo could not help sobbing while all those ideas were making a whirlpool in his mind.

      The cicadas were signing in the trees around the Kinryu-kai (the Golden Dragon Sea, which is the artificial large pond) and the mandarin ducks were peacefully swimming on the surface of the water. The fresh looking green of the new leaves was covering Mt. Hongu, which looked at its best. Children were playing on the shores of the crystalline stream of the Tone River. However, after listening to the words, and seeing the actions of Asano in Matsue, the believers were acutely aware of the uneasy situation of the Sacred World. Tomokiyo wrote an article entitled "The Ayabe Shimbun (Report)" under the penname of Tenkou-Doujin (which means: A Taoist going to heavens) in the August number of The Ayabe Shimbun. The following sentences were to be found in that article: "Invisible to the eye the new term of autumn as arrived, but only a few people have noticed its arrival, while hearing the sound of the wind and feeling the fresh air of the new season. Important officials such as Umeda Kyokan, Asano Souto, Toyomoto Kyokan, Yuasa and Kuwabara and some others, from different areas, began to busy themselves with their respective missions and the people gradually recognized the trend of the age. At the Headquarters of the Omoto cult, Mori Kyokan and others were in full activity, sweating profusely. The students and some wandering believers were rushing to the Headquarters from every corner of the country. The leader, Deguchi did exhibit neither haste nor indifference and calmly took care of the incoming believers. Some people were asking why the Sacred Words did not appear in the current issue of the magazine "The Sacred World". The truth is that it was not easy for Onisaburo, as a leader of the cult to publish the Sacred Words, because many dangerous and even tragic prophecies were made there. If he were to publish them he would have to do it hiding the terrible occurrences that were predicted behind enigmatic words and phrases, not the least to escape the considerable risk of repression by the authorities in a wartime period. However, it was believed that the Sacred Words would be made public anyway before long. Furthermore, in this busy society, people were going to be worried about the Omoto cult anyway. Many things were occurring in the cult at that time and many questions arose. How could the believers of the Omoto cult pay for the constructions of all those buildings that were cropping up one after another? Was it not the support of the Mitsui and Iwasaki families and the financial clique who were paying for that? The cult members cannot live on air and wind alone. Such things do not happen in the world! Definitely there are wheels within the wheels to move such things. There is a unique bamboo grove in the precincts of the Omoto cult, and there is nothing like coming to the Omoto cult to study it's doctrine in practice, instead of loosing time in idle study from a distance. Everything there is beyond whatever can be imagined. Whatever foolish things you may have said, denial of the facts is not possible anymore. If studying there, and seeing what is happening there, even the devil will be moved to tears. Even an insincere person will become earnest. Those who, up to now, have not acted rightfully will have to reflect on their conduct and cannot help to become deeply ashamed of themselves. Even learned people and those of high moral repute are not able to make a fair assessment of the world's situation because human beings think mainly of the flesh and neglect the human spirit which resides at the bottom of the mind. They can only view the situation as it is reflected through a dim mirror. When a flower is reflected in a mirror, its colors are not reflected clearly. When modern people criticize the Imperial Way of the Omoto, it does not amount to more than a colorblind person commenting on the colors of a flower. The believers of the Omoto cult belong to many different social classes and professions. We can find among them a nobleman, a commoner, a high-ranking official, a mechanic, a scholar, a peasant, a Buddhist priest, a 'Shinto' priest, a journalist, a student, a rich man, a poor person and a lot of officers from the navy can be counted among them. The influence of the Omoto cult has spread to the officers of the army and even their most brilliant figures have begun to be attracted by the Omoto cult. To tell the truth, even the leader of the cult could not tell the extent of the influence the Omoto cult had in the armed forces, but those were strong men and they were the backbone of the nation. They became believers of the Omoto cult and were assuming a wait and see attitude until the time the rebuilding of the world would be ripe and, meanwhile, they were following the Imperial Way of the Omoto. According to the Fudesaki the prophecies will come without warning and I urge everyone to remain calm, but be aware that if you correct your attitude only at the last moment you will be too late for the service of the god. That warning has appeared over and over again in the Sacred Words. It may not be always so, but, in most cases, things happen like in an athletic competition, the first to start is likely to be the one who receives most blessings. The sooner you come to the Omoto cult the better it will be. Even a day will count, and while I am saying this, the flags are waving at the Omoto cult to give the starting signal. Arrangements will be made to give much pleasure to those who arrive quickly, but be aware that the sound of the starting bell does not make any echo."

      Still more, the inscriptions on the banners read: "Take notice of the autumn of the world and the falling leaves". Then, in smaller characters: "The time of the rebuilding of the world is finally drawing near! How will the next world look like?" In the issue of the "The Sacred World" on the same date, a large space had been allocated to the stern warnings of Tenko Tomokiyo's article:

      "The battle will not be decided at the time the war breaks out. We will be unable to achieve victory in a single day. A while ago, we felt the heat of midsummer but now the autumn air has already begun to flow in, and the underground is splitting! 99% of the people may still think that the sun will rise tomorrow in the East, as it has always done, and that tomorrow will be as peaceful as today, and that next year will be the same as this year, but, although the Omoto cult will remain as it is, the outside world will be changing. The average man may think that the natural calamities and the social difficulties occur as accidents, but there are no accidents in the world. All things, be they either good or bad, are but reflections of the will of the gods. Men of old, who were somewhat more sensitive, recognized that those were not accidents and, while having a smoke, expressed their feelings saying: 'Heed the autumn of the world and the moment the leaves are falling.'

      "Now, after more than a thousand years of waiting, the time to put the god's plans into practice had arrived! The god possessed the founder, Deguchi, and kept her closely linked with the plans of turning this evil world into a good one. That is, the god will first destroy everything and will start the rebuilding once every existing thing has been broken into pieces. It means, following the war in Europe, another war will break out between Japan and the world. At the same time nature will be convulsed and the god will wash away the evil of the world. Those who are set to die will surely die, but those who are set to live, will live. Nobody is exempted from that sacred rule. When will the war between Japan and the world break out? The hostilities will open every other week in less than a week from now. The Imperial Way of the Omoto does not make mistake! The Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War, as well as the war in Europe, do not amount to more than preparations for the Omoto cult to rebuild the world. At the center of all this stands the Omoto cult, where the gods and people gather and whose prophecies were clearly formulated since 1892 (Meiji 25 era, when the founder, Nao Deguchi, established the Omoto cult in Ayabe). That war in Europe broke out very suddenly, and was beyond the wildest dreams of common people, but the leader of the Imperial Way of the Omoto, Onisaburo Deguchi had predicted that dreadful event in public once month before it actually happened. From the 25th of June to the 9th of July, Asano, who was the chief official of The Imperial Way of the Omoto, made a lecture tour in the Matsue, Yonago, and Tottori areas. In every one of those places, he prophesized that the Japanese government would soon dispatch troops to Siberia. The obstinate class of intellectuals had ridiculed the prophecies of the Omoto, saying that such a thing was simply impossible given the political situation of the times. However, ten days later an extra issue of the news announced that troops were being dispatched to Siberia. That clearly shows that everything in the world is reflected in the Imperial Way of the Omoto in Ayabe, as if it was a mirror of the world's events. In the Omoto a tree or even a little bit of grass, carries a deep significance because it enables us to see the world through the sacred eyes. Currently, several important and most sacred buildings are being successively completed. They are the symbols of the pressing urgency of the times. Those things do not appear in the Omoto in vain. Although I would like to forward a detailed written account of all this. I am unable to do so at this time, but, I assure you that the god keeps a watchful eye on your behavior. Currently, people are grumbling about the sudden rise of the price of rice, but there will be more rises. In six months from now, the price will rise much more. When the war between Japan and the world breaks out the Japanese people will face many difficulties and many more hardships than during the war with Russia, two years ago. The citizen will he surprised to find out that one sho (1.8 liters) of rice fetches up to two yen. Even the financial circles will become nervous because they know that Japan is but a small group of Islands and that their resources are limited. If Japan becomes completely isolated, the people will be unable to buy rice, even offering up to ten yen per sho. When such a time arrives, the Japanese government may implement emergency distribution of food and the other necessaries of life as well as prohibit the private sale of such items, under one pretext or another. You can imagine the social confusion that such measures would bring about. There will be a great need to manufacture arms, but metal ore will become scarce and the bells of the temples, and even broken nails, will be melted down to make weapons. Any citizen who is able to move by himself will be enlisted for national defense purposes irrespective of age and sex. If you make a living, growing mulberry to raise silk worms, demand for silk will come to naught. The truth is that, if you have some land, you should grow potatoes or other foods instead. You will be able to preserve for several years the starch that you can make out of those potatoes. The plot for the rebuilding of the world has already been written and, according to the script, once Japan has been brought to a standstill, no one will come to help. Some fellows of the low standard will become the authorities, they will rule over the soldiers and disgrace themselves. Enemies will sprout up in Japan and will influence even its fleet's bases. The enemy who will occupy a certain percentage of its territory, it is said, will infiltrate Japan. From now on the Japanese must consolidate their dwelling places, because, if they are not smart enough, they will but be killed and they will have their eyeballs and their testicles scattered all over the place. When the enemy disembarks here, a foreign land to them, the devastation will be pitiful to look at, and the scenes will be even more awesome to look at than the invasion of Belgium. The Japanese who are close at hand will face tragedy but they will not be able to do anything about it. When things come to the worst, the common people will draw the conclusion that it is a natural tragedy in the same sense as a great earthquake, a large tidal wave of a rain of the fire. When that arrives, those who are set to die will certainly die. Buildings will be broken into pieces and will be burned down. That will be the first washing of the World of the Reality. Those events are beyond anyone's imagination because nobody as ever seen such terrible scenes or such social confusion before. And still, some people are still arguing about the existence or not of the god. Raise your specious arguments and I will say amen, but I tell you that there is nothing like looking for the absolute truth of the Nembutsu (a Buddhist invocation) and there is nothing like praying to Amidabha to emphasize the spiritual power of the Sutra of the Lotus. We can do nothing but face the facts, which are like cold hard iron. Well. In spite of having been born in god's country we are ignoring god and that is a crime comparable to ignoring Her Imperial Majesty Tenno while living in the sacred country. Our crime is twofold because it is a crime towards both the Sacred Country and the Sacred World. We are truly criminals, who, in spite of living a moral life, even a saintly one, we are doomed to die pitifully spitting black blood and will be confined forever to the regions of the dead if we do not understand the fundamental principle of the world. That is a certainty and it can't be helped. I must repeat that once more. The time is drawing near and I urge you to awake and not delay your actions a single day more. After one thousand days from now all the confusion will have happened and calmed down. In 1922 or 1923 the storm will be over and the world will regain its peace. From there on the survivors will be managing a new ideal society according to the god's will. Hereupon, Tomokiyo moved on to explain the meaning of the Taisho Restoration theory, and urged the audience to come to Ayabe as quickly as possible to join in the great sacred work. His paper concluded with the phrase: "At this time, it is most necessary for you to practice each one according to his character and resolve."

      Onisaburo always said, "I don't condone a threatening religion." Tomokiyo, in his essay, tried to combine parts of the Sacred Words of the Omoto, which had been written in the midst of the Meiji era, year 50, with fragments of Onisaburo's published daring words. In fact, what had been prophesized then, was surprisingly similar to the situation Japan was to confront at the end of the Pacific War.

      The Ayabe Shimbun, which had published these texts, was very much sought after for further missionary work and, as it was rapidly sold out, it had to be reprinted. However, only Onisaburo realized that the Omoto cult was headed towards a dangerous cliff with untamed optimism.

      __"The god had this Deguchi, dream everything, he thought. He could recollect the dream in which he saw the premises of the Deguchi family surrounded by a swarm of bees like people who surround a failed bank in the hope of recuperating some of their money. You went to the heavens on the night of the dream, you know. You abided in heaven, you said. But the truth is that you went to Hiroshima. You also said that, thanks to heaven, the Chinese birds would return to their country before coming to Japan. All these dreams are but indications of the god's schedule. You should start the rebuilding of the world and return their natural soul and consciousness to the Japanese people. If you do not do so, you will lose your country, Japan. Isn't it a pity that foreigners will occupy this, best of all countries, and have it go through such hardships?"

      This part of the Fudesaki had been written on the 17th of November, 1900 (according to the Japanese old calendar). It was already printed in Onisaburo's mind.

      In the text "The Outside of the Sacred Words" only the names of places are mentioned. One exception though, is a note on the sacred career of Nao. Besides Ayabe, the names of those places are Yagi, Fukuchiyama, Maizuru, Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, which Nao knew well, are also mentioned. However, it is curious that besides those names, the name of Hiroshima also appears although it was not connected to any of Nao's activities.

      __"The Chinese birds will soon come to Japan. The god knows very well that they are going to shower a rain of poison over Japan. The god has been warning you for a long time. (This was written on the 17th of November, 1917, according to the old calendar.) Warnings about that crisis were fastidiously repeated in the Fudesaki up to the day before. That day was the 25th of July, 1918 (the 18th of June in the old calendar). That was the last Fudesaki Nao had written, and she gave it immediately to Onisaburo.

      __"Henceforth, I have nothing to announce anymore and I am now trusting the sacred mind to the people who should now receive the divine grace. I have nothing to indicate to you anymore. You should, from now on, live under the rule of the god of the Omoto cult, and entrust your inexperienced minds to the faith, and start reforming yourselves. From now on, everything will move through the expectations you have about the god's power. Dump the dirty parts of your mind in the river. These words were written by the great Nao Deguchi when she had reached the age of eighty-three. It was also the time at which good was separated from evil."

      Nao, smiling somewhat sadly said, "The god told me that it is unnecessary for me to write anymore in the Fudesaki." After hearing this, Onisaburo poured some sacred sake into a vermilion-lacquered wooden set of three cups of which Nao took one and, after raising it reverently to her head, she drank it slowly. She felt somewhat uneasy and said, "It's a good luck cup, like those used for marriages!" Onisaburo also emptied his cup. When thinking of Nao's life, one realizes that she lived a life of constant devotion to the god for over twenty-six years. Onisaburo was bound to reward her for that as much as he could. Onisaburo felt that he should behave towards her as if she was his real mother. After emptying his cup Onisaburo sat down, turning his back to her and said, "Founder, please, take hold of my back for a moment." Nao hesitated then leaned her slender body against Onisaburo's back. No one was looking at them but both of them felt through the difference of their body temperature that her death was drawing near. Carrying Nao on his back Onisaburo went to the precincts. A cool breeze came sweeping over the surface of the water of the Kinryu-kai where mandarin ducks were playing, making tiny waves. The whole precinct was filled with the atmosphere of intense activity due to the preparations for the construction of the new buildings.

      Believers, who were busy there had just finished their work and were hurrying towards the restaurant, when they say Onisaburo carrying Nao on his hack. Many believers had not seen the figure of Nao since they went to O-Yashima (Japan) for the opening ceremony of the shrine there, at the end of November of last year. Since then, Nao had kept herself confined in front of the altar in the Tomu (control) Building. That was because, for one thing, her legs were growing weak and also because she was always praying and did not seem very pleased with the construction of the new buildings either. Onisaburo, standing with her on the back of the pond beside the south side of the Kinryu-den (the Golden Dragon Building), explained to her the details of the construction of a magnificent three-stories building, the Kototama-Building (the Power of the Sacred Words Building) which was to be surrounded by water and would, according to the plans, stand on the western side of the precincts. Then, Onisaburo, crossed the Hongu Bridge, and climbed the stone steps on the side of the Snail Building. Until recently there had been only a dense ticket there, but now it had become a refreshing small pine grove. On the eastern part, stood the Toseki-no-miya (the East Stone Shrine) facing the pond. On that side a training center for the performance of the "Ceremony for the Regions of the Dead" was under construction.

      "Founder! Look at that scene," said Onisaburo. "I have already secured a whole neighborhood in the Hongu-shita district. Next year, I am going to build the Miroku-den (Maitreya Building), which will cover an area of 567 tatamis in that place. I am also planning to buy some land on Mt. Hongu and build on its summit a shrine there for the Three Great Gods of Heaven. The Ayabe district has now been transformed in a world of the gods, in a heaven where the actions of the god reflect deeply on the world of reality. Ayabe is the right place to serve the gods and when all those buildings are completed. I am going to transfer the Spiritual World to Ayabe. I will also purchase the ruins of the castle of warlord during the civil war, Mitsuhide Akechi in the Kameoka district, my birthplace. I will purchase these places to establish a stronghold for missionary work. The founder's graveyard will be built over there..." Nao nodded and looked in the direction, which Onisaburo was indicating. "Furthermore, I bought in the spring of last year some land in the Tano-machi-Saikekubi district, and in, Tenno-daira-Ichinose." "Do you know the name Tenno-daira..., I often went to that place to gather firewood, and O-Sumi also to gather white-cedar and Magnolia hypoleuca leaves when she was seven or eight and lived near Mt. Seyama. On one occation, O-Sumi even fell with the firewood she was carrying on her back, in a pond, on the mountain. It all happened while I had gone to the Kurikara Village to spin yarn, and I had entrusted her to my friend from the Hokusei-cho" Nao gave a heavy sigh and fell silent. Her mouth remained closed but Onisaburo could follow the thoughts through her body, which was united with him.

      Sixty-three years earlier Nao had married a man called Masagoro and had entered the Deguchi family, in the Hongu Village, as an adopted daughter. They lived in a small house painted with Indian red, but her husband was bedridden through paralysis. To make a living she became a rags dealer. Her eldest son, Takezo, had been injured after an attempted suicide. Her daughter Yone, was mentally disturbed. Her second son, Seikichi had died in battle. Nao united with the god at age of fifty-seven. The memories of an arson attempt and her confinement, as a lunatic, all these bitter memories were clearly passing through her mind now.

      __"This village is not for human being but for the god. The god lives in this village, and this village is like the premises of a shrine. You people of this village! Mend your ways. Oshima-dono, sell your house! Shikata-dono, sell your estate to serve the sacred work! Kinsuke-dono, leave your village and make your house here. This Hongu Village has been closely related to the god, and I will build a shrine here for the god." Before the time the god came to dwell in Nao's body this whole neighborhood was only a made up of a bunch of failures. Ayabe was only a melancholy village dotted with poor people's houses. Every night, the infant Sumi, according to the order of the god, scattered salt, water and soil to purify the ground. This ground, as far as the eyes can see, has now become the precinct of the god. It is now full of clear water ponds and a lot of pine trees with rich green colors as befits that sacred place. Now, the premises have new buildings. Could an old widow operate such a transformation, and make this a sacred place only by herself? Is it not the god who has transcended Nao's power and has flown over all men as a powerful stream? While she was listening to Onisaburo's grand conception, Nao felt that she actually was only a withered old man.

      When they awoke from their dreamlike state it was already dark. The light of two lanterns was quickly drawing near. They were Yasuko Umeda and Heizo Shikata. "I am being carried around the sacred place on the Reverend's back, and but I am unable to see it," said Nao joyfully. "Founder! I thought so...," said Heizo, but he was puzzled by the tears flowing out of her nose. If the late Takekichi Nakamura and Fusanosuke Murakami, who had left, had seen the figure of the founder as it was they would have been very happy, although for different reasons because they always argued with each other on topics such as the nature of fire, water, length and cross. They used to run towards each other to get on with their arguments and ultimately last their faith through these arguments. Heizo would certainly have let them see the founder's figure.

      Despite this, Heizo, shedding bitter tears felt joy. It was because he could see in the figure of the founder and Onisaburo, the avatars of the god Ushitora and the god Hitsujisaru. That sublime scene impressed him, and had it not been for his age, he would have started dancing. After Nao had been returned to her room and Onisaburo had left she expressed her true feeling to Yasuko Umeda. "The Reverend is a gentle person and he attempts to make me happy, but, you know, O-Yasu-san, I am much happier to meet earnest persons than to see good buildings. Please, don't tell this to the Reverend."

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