Mother Earth

Volume 12: The Way of Eternity

Chapter 9: The Ascension of the Founder

      On the 3rd of November, 1918, the Great autumn Ceremony was held. The ceremony had been postponed for the convenience of the god. It had been raining from the day before, but the clouds had cleared up and the sky was as clear and bright as washed rice. The Kinryu-den (the Golden Dragon Building), the veranda and the garden, were full of people, who did not move an inch. The surrounding hotels also did record-breaking business before and after the ceremony. Even the rooms of the first class hotel Kameka were filled to capacity by worshipers. The evils spirits were driven away from the Kameka hotel by the god, although not without some difficulty. It was very suitable for the Calming of the Soul and the guests were much impressed with the obvious happiness that pervaded the place.

      On the 11th of October, a mysterious sentence appeared in the magazine "The Spiritual World". It read: The leader of the cult, Onisaburo Deguchi has taken ill for a period of 75 days, according to the will of the god, but he will recover completely by the end of October. Furthermore, it is confirmed that he will preside over the Great Ceremony to be held on the 3rd of November. Accordingly Onisaburo presided of the ceremony at the Kinryu-den. Nao had said on that occasion: "The god told me not to attend the ceremony and to take a rest instead". Accordingly she did not attend the ceremony. On the same day, Naoko Okazaki who had arrived from Osaka, offered a white snake to the altar. The snake was about 150 centimeters long and its body was covered with white scales, which radiated beams of golden light. Okazaki had bought it from a moneylender. It was said that the man who had first caught that white snake and sold it to the moneylender had, almost immediately, become blind in both eyes. After the completion of the Great Ceremony, Onisaburo took the box in which the white snake had been placed and accompanied by the deputy priests and the head priest, Nobuyuki Umeda, he carried it to the newly made house boat. Then they crossed the Kinryu-kai (the Golden Dragon Sea) and proceeded to the O-Yashima (Japan) Shrine. The white snake, which up to now had not moved a single inch, started moving quite frequently. At the very moment Onisaburo placed the box containing the snake at the entrance of the cave, the snake broke out of it and concealed itself in the deepest corner of the cave. It must be said that in honor of that snake the newly build house boat had been christened "The White Dragon-maru."

      In the morning of the 4th, the ceremony of the Sorei Shin (The Shrine which enshrined the spirit of the ancestors) and a lecture by Kunihiko Shinohara were held. The lecture related Shinohara's experiences when possessed by a mysterious power and his story threw the audience into convulsions. In the afternoon of the same day Jinsai Yuasa gave another lecture and in the evening, Hisa Fukushima recited the story of her miraculous powers and virtues. That whole day was blessed by very fine weather, but on the 5th it became cloudy again. A meeting of the believers took place in the morning and Onisaburo gave a lecture. After the lecture was finished, the believers separated and everyone returned to his own home. The Omoto cult precincts gradually returned to their usual quietness. In the evening Hisa Fukushima went to Nao's room and, accompanied by Kunitaro Fukushima (the eldest son of Hisa who had come to pay his respects before leaving Ayabe), and they chattered quietly the whole evening. Nao seemed reluctant to let them go and said: "Isn't it troublesome for you to come to Ayabe again? Please, stay one night more and go back tomorrow." She repeated that several times to whoever seemed to be leaving. Hisa realized that the guests were somewhat perplexed and told them: You can come here by train whenever you please, so, go home and come back at your convenience to receive the blessing of the founder. It is not good for you to stay away from home too long. I think that it is better for you to leave today. They followed Hisa's advice but Kunitaro went only half way to the station and decided to return because he was anguished by Nao's insistence on their staying in Ayabe. In 1915, during the time Hisa had been practicing asceticism, Kunitaro gathered his courage and repeatedly licked and wiped the sticky discharge that came from his mother's eyes. He was at that time a stout seventeen-year old young man. At about four o'clock in the afternoon, Etsuko Hoshida was reading the Fudesaki at her house near the sacred precincts of the Omoto cult and felt suddenly an unexplained urge to see Nao. She immediately went to the founder's house. She found the futon spread on the tatami and a kotatsu placed near it. However, Nao, appeared to be waiting for someone and sat beside the kotatsu giving the impression of feeling lonely.

      Hoshida suddenly said: "You will get cold there, please, sit on the futon." Nao answered: "No, I am quite well here. It is O-Sumi, who is always worrying about me, who placed the futon there without asking. I was waiting for you. From now on, and until dawn, I want to talk to you and speak my mind out about several things because I will be crossing the pass shortly. Nao had often talked about "crossing the pass", but Hoshida did not understand what she meant. Nao who was usually sparing her words was very talkative that night. She spoke about Taisho Tenno, Onisaburo, Sumi and the third generation of the founder in detail, but Hoshida did not keep any record of what the founder said that night and kept everything to herself. She said to Hoshida: "I give you the role to be the go-between Ayabe and Yagi." She called several times Hoshida attention but despite that Hoshida remained distracted. Suddenly some noise from in front the altar caught their ears. Nao asked: "Is someone there?" Hoshida opened the fusuma leading to the next room and saw that Yohei Shikata was paying service to the god. Nao gave the impression that she did not want to be heard by someone else and lowered the tone of her voice. But then, a new noise was heard in the passage and their conversation came to a standstill. After a while Nao said in a low voice: "The god told me: Today, you do not need to thank the god and from tomorrow on the Reverend will pray to the god instead of me." Up to that time, Nao had never asked anyone to replace her for the prayer. Koma Nakamura brought dinner to the table and Shioda served the meal, but Nao ate only a little spoon of rice gruel and put her chopsticks aside. Hoshida worried about her lack of appetite.

      Nao shyly said with the smile of a little girl: "A long time ago, I asked a physiologist to tell me the good and the bad about my father, myself and my grandchildren. No one had more appetite nor would have more food than myself, he said. However, things turned out otherwise and I had a very hard time caring for my children while enduring personally a quite disgraceful time. In fact, I could never eat my fill and my stomach shrunk, but no one could have guessed that. Thinking what fool I was, I complained to the god. And the god told me: 'You have to work for others to have their fill even at the cost of depriving yourself.' I heard the sacred words and felt very lucky and happy!" The chief of the Fukuchiyama Branch Office of the Omoto cult had arrived to pay his respects to the founder. Nao changed the subject of the conversation and chatted in a good-humored with him about several different things. She repeated again: "Now is the time to cross the pass, the situation is critical, please, prepare yourselves." Later, Yoshitaru Takeyasu and Jun Shiomi entered into the room and joined the conversation. Inatsugu took advantage of their arrival to take leave and went to catch his train. Jun Shiomi was with Heizo Shikata among the oldest members of the cult. They used to appear together before Nao almost every day. If Jun were late Nao would become ill humored and say, "Do you know why Jun did not come?" As the night progressed Nao looked suddenly much older. That prompted Takeyasu to offer her to enter the kotatsu. However, she declined, saying that under no circumstances would she receive a guest while sitting in the kotatsu. She said instead, "Well, I have a very important problem to talk to you about. Please, stay here until dawn and I will use the kotatsu, after all, as long as you enter it also." She seemed to be pleased by the idea and took Hoshida's hand. However, Takeyasu quietly touched Hoshida's knee and made a sign to refrain from doing it. He thought that it was not proper for Hoshida to do so.

      However, Jun could not behave differently from the others and whispered, "Hoshida-ban I thing that we should sit in the kotatsu with the founder because it may me rude not to comply with her wish." As they entered the kotatsu Nao nodded approvingly. Whenever she wanted to sleep Naohi prepared her bed along that of her grandmother and Nao's younger sister Umeno, but that night, she could not do so because the guests were still there, so, both of them went to sleep in the next room. Naohi had a touch of cold and went to bed early. Umeno remained awake for a while. According to Nao's desire Takeyasu and Jun also got into the kotatsu and continued their conversation about several different topics. However, Hoshika was growing angry by the situation: The founder told her that she wanted to talk about several important things but she had been interrupted by their presence. She did not know when they would finally leave and was growing worried by the minute about the founder's health. But it could not be helped so she decided that she would return the following morning. She said to Nao, "It's becoming quite late now! I will go home and come back tomorrow morning. She announced that she would read the O-Fudesaki while sitting with her mother in the kotatsu. Hoshida lingered to get out of the kotatsu and went home at about ten o'clock. Sumi was also worried about her mother because she had a cold and she came to see how she was feeling. Takeyasu had already gone home and but Nao was still speaking with Jun. Sumi thought, "She is staying up too long! She should be left alone now!" But, looking at them, she realized that they were enjoying the conversation and she returned to her room without interrupting them.

      Umeno entered into the founder's room with his cousin, Kunitaro Fukushima just as Sumi was returning to her room. Umeno was a night owl. Nao thought that Kunitaro had returned to the Yagi district, and she was pleasantly surprised to see that he was still there. Jun, with youth's unreserved enthusiasm, was enjoying that occasion to talk to the founder, but Nao suddenly stood up and stopped the conversation. "I will leave and sleep over there," said Umeno while leaving the room. Nao added, "Kunitaro, it is too late, sleep here, please." Kunitaro complying with Nao's wish thrust his legs into the kotatsu and fell asleep at once. Hisa, forgetting how late it was, continued talking with Kanjiro Maki in the unheated room of the Jinmu-kan Building. When they saw the clock, it was already past eleven. Hisa returned to the Tomu-kaku Building and peeped into the founder's room. Nao was sitting straight on the futon. Shesaid, "How are you, O-Hisa? Jun-san and Hoshida-can were here. They left a short while ago. Sorry to keep you awake so late. Now, have some sleep." Hisa answered, "Yes, I will go to bed. Oh, Kunitaro is there..." Her son should have returned to the Yagi district, but instead, he was disrespectfully snoring loudly, his legs extended into the kotatsu. Hisa felt like sleeping beside her mother and Kunitaro. Hisa felt that desire quite strongly. Besides, Nao would certainly be glad to have her there. That night Nao seemed to miss her friends and her family. Despite all this Hisa hesitated to propose it. What will the others say? Would it not be like stabbing the other members of the Deguchi family in the back. Sleeping in the founder's room would look like if she had become too proud? Hisa did not want to create any trouble with other members of the family.

      Hisa suddenly got angry with her son who snoring so loudly, but Nao intervened saying, "Leave it at it is, O-Hisa. Don't awake his!" But, Hisa continued, "That boy! He is so shameless to do such a thing. I prepared the bed for you in the Jinmu-kaku, and go over there as quickly as possible." Kunitaro, half asleep, went out of the room, with his arms stretched forward as if he was swimming. Hisa checked the fire of the kotatsu. She wanted to have it in order for when Nao would rise in the morning. She was undecided as to whether to add sumi (charcoal) or not. She was puzzled as to how to set it in order to keep a moderate. Then she thought to herself, "Well, I will come and add sumi in the early morning," and she left the room. From midnight to dawn, the Army Great Exercises were held around Mt. Hongu and the Wachi River. The attacking force encamped at the Wachi River, and the defending force held Mt. Hongu. It was set up in such a way an offensive and defensive battle would be repeated for the position on Mt. Hongu. From about one o'clock in the morning, the sounds of the simulated battle echoed around the Kinryu-kaiin. Etsuko Hoshida had just straightened her clothes, and sat beside the lamp, and intended to copy the Fudesaki, when she heard the noise. If the Great War between Japan and all countries of the world happens, soldiers will run out of ammunition and the citizens will fall one after another. The Japanese have only one chance in a hundred to be victorious in the end, but if that happens the founder will stand up and display the Great Sacred Power.

      Hoshida continued to copy the Fudesaki until she turned pale of exhaustion. Thinking that it was necessary to take an hour rest she went bed but could not sleep. Nao's words about "Crossing the pass" kept turning in her head, and she thought that the whole situation was somewhat unusual because Nao seemed very keen to say something to Hisa. She gave up sleeping, and got up. She changed clothes and went to the sacred place. By the time she arrived there it was already seven in the morning and the soldiers were returning from their training at Mt. Hongu. Hisa used to pray every day to the Great God from the bank of the Kinryu-kai, but this time she hurriedly ran to the founder's room instead. She entered through the garden and kneeled beside the veranda of the Tomu-kaku Building. There she prayed to the altar of the founder's room, through the shoji and whispered also some Shinto prayers. At the same time Hisa had arrived at the founder's room to add some sumi to the kotatsu. She turned around the futon and tenderly rubbed her mother's legs. "Who is it?" asked Nao. "I am Hisa" she answered. "I am sorry to bother you but could you bring me a cup of water?" Hisa brought it to her, and Nao after drinking it asked for one cup more. She drank about half of the second cup. Nao usually drank water only enough to moisten her throat saying, "This is valuable water blessed by the god." Hisa was surprised at her drinking so much this time and said, "You drank quite a lot today, didn't you?" Nao answered, "Yes, I was very thirsty and it tasted good! I always receive the god's mind with the water, and I should thank Him deeply for that grace." Hisa said, "I am going to rub your legs, and please lie down on your side." Nao said, "Thank you but before I'd like to wash my hands." Hisa followed her to the toilet, taking her by the hand. At that moment the sound of the guns on Mt. Hongu completely ceased. The forces defending Mt. Hongu had clinched victory. Meanwhile, in the corridor, Nao's eyes suddenly turned blank and after sighting she grasped the arm of Hisa and dropped to her knees. Hisa trying to support her shouted for help.

      Hoshida was praying to the god, kneeling beside the veranda, but when she heard Hisa's shout for help, she rushed to where the cry came from. However, she thought that she better should find some more help and she ran to the Kinryu-den, searching for Yohei Shikata who had been on night duty but did not find him. Desperate, she picked up a small cup of sacred water from the altar, apologizing to the god for taking it away, and ran to give it to Hisa. Nao drank the water while thanking the god for it. She felt somewhat better and with Hisa's help returned to her room. Then Hisa went in search of Onisaburo, but he was not in his room. She thought that after the morning service, he might have gone to make his round of the precincts. Hoshida hurried back to Nao's room. Nao was leaning against the pillar of the passage and was groaning, "I feel very tired and I am about to fall in doze. Hoshida raised her voice calling out to Hisa, who was puzzled as to what to do next. "The founder is not well! Let's carry her to her bed!" said Hoshida. Hoshida put one hand under Nao's head and supported her firmly with the other asking Hisa to take her by her legs. They managed to lift her up, but she was now shuddering all over. Nao opened her eyes and smiled tenderly. She started saying something to them, but then lost consciousness altogether. Though Naohi had been sleeping soundly, but she had been awoken by the sound of the guns. It surprised her so much, not knowing what was happening, that she asked if her grandmother had died. Naohi did not understand why she felt suddenly so much anxiety and why she had that thought because her grandmother was a strong sturdy woman. She felt strange that she imagined that her grandmother might have died at hearing the sound of those guns. She remembered that although Nao had been looking somewhat weak, she nevertheless kept her fair complexion and beautiful skin.

      The gun's sound died away in the distance. Naohi sat up in her bed and heard, with great relief, someone's voice. But the voice was saying that the founder was not well. Onisaburo, Sumi, Naohi, and other officials ran frenetically back and forth around the founder's bed. No one, except Onisaburo, thought that death was near, because her sleeping face looked very serene. Someone said, "I think that the god, Ushitora-no-Konjin left the founder's flesh for a while, but he will soon return." All assented. Similar situations had occurred in the past with no particularly bad consequences and the founder, after it was over, used to say joyfully, "The god carried me to several places. I have been taking an armchair tour of the earth." Hisa, who was praying in front of the altar in the adjacent room thought, "It may be true, but the god should come back as soon as possible." While she was thinking that she had a vision. She saw Naohi sitting at the founder's desk, picking up her fude and starting to write the Fudesaki. She then remembered that Nao once said, "I will transfer my sacred role to Naohi-san when she reaches age seventeen." She also remembered that about half a year ago Nao had said, "A strange matter will happen at the end of September of the old calendar. Fasten tightly the obi (the girdle)!" "It will be on the 6th of November in the old calendar, which is the 2nd of October. It was now about three days later, but, wasn't it the prophecy of the founder?" Her whole body started trembling. When she came back to the living room she asked Onisaburo, "Do you think that the condition of the founder is dangerous?" "It may still not be" murmured Onisaburo wanting to console her somewhat. Onisaburo got close to Nao and called her several times, but her expression did not change nor did he get an answer.

      Onisaburo looked up and said, "O-Hisa-han, your voice is clearer than mine, would you mind trying to speak to the founder?" Hisa tried many times but finally gave up and with bloodshot eyes said. "During my ascetic practices I saw hell in a thousand different ways but I never lost my courage. As a result I could fly Takama-ga-hara (the Japanese Olympus), while uttering the Shinto prayer for awakening. Wake up, wake up". She started to recite the prayer, and the whole air around Nao was filled with it but Nao remained in coma. She remained in that state until the evening. Onisaburo urged the hesitating officials to send telegrams to all the branches of the cult informing about the founders condition. In the evening Chuzaburo Sato heard that Onisaburo was arguing with Nobuyuki Umeda. Umeda had come all the way from Kyoto, with his family, including his wife, Yasuko, his mistress Ai, his son Itsuo, to attend the Great Autumn Festival. Umeda wanted now to return to Kyoto at once, but Onisaburo was desperately trying to keep in Ayabe saying, "The founder is dangerously ill. Please stay one night more. But Umeda would not listen and said, "Don't be foolish. If the founder were going to ascent to heaven it would have appeared in the Fudesaki because the Fudesaki does not lie. Don't be foolish saying inauspicious things. Nothing will happen to the founder. O-Yasu do not delay our packing!" When Yasuda was lecturing he had always been saying that the rebuilding of the world would happen in the founder's lifetime. He sincerely thought that there was only one chance in a thousand that the founder would die before that. In fact he was shocked by Onisaburo's insisting on announcing the founder's condition to the branches of the cult because he thought that it was a lack of respect to anticipate her death.

      Umeda thought that is was extremely rude to assume that the founder was going to die. It was an insult to her dignity. The founder was exhausted and the god provided her with a rest, that was all there was to it. All other thoughts were sheer foolishness. "Don't get confused, foolish!" Umeda felt like crying. He got more and more irritated with Onisaburo and started making malicious remarks. He scolded even his wife Yasuko and his mistress Ai, for sitting beside the founder's futon. He then left, still angry and deeply upset to catch his train home. The believers continued to recite the Shinto prayers, which resounded with the monotony of the waves on the shore. Hisa and Hoshida did not leave the founder's bedside even a foot. Suddenly, Hoshida shouted, staring at the air, "Oh, oh, the founder!" At that very moment, red light laces came down from heaven, enveloped the founder's body and lifted it up lying on her back. Hoshida desperately clung to Nao, attempting to keep her down while reciting the Shinto prayers at the top of her voice. Hisa shouted to Onisaburo who was grasping Nao's hand saying, "The god, Amaterasu-Kotaijingu-dono (the god, Amaterasu-O-Kami) is coming to fetch the founder. We should not intervene. Reverend! Pray to the god!" Onisaburo and Hisa prayed with all their fervor to the gods on the altar. It was atabout half past nine in the evening. All around and inside the founder's room was filled with sacred air as the paraphernalia of a noble woman was falling from the sky. When that ended, a beautiful young princess emerged from Nao's flesh. She looked as being around twenty-seven or twenty eight years old and was dressed with the ceremonial dress of a court lady. Not only Onisaburo and Hisa, but also Heizo Shikata and Yozo Inatsugu saw her figure through their sacred eyes. "Oh, the god, Wakahimegimi-no-mikoto is going to heaven!" Said Onisaburo with a sad voice. When the believers who had been reciting the Shinto prayers heard Onisaburo's lament they felt that their bodies were lifted up towards heaven.

      Hisa was instantly possessed by a mysterious power and shouted, "This is the god, Giritenjo-Hinode-no-Kami, you know. I should tell you, come here, Hoshida and Maki." Hoshida and Kanjiro Maki left Nao's bedside and drew near her. Hoshida wrote down a questionnary about the present time in her diary; Hisa: "Well, the problem is the following: Both of you shall become the witnesses of what is happening according to the will I spoke of. As the generation after the founder, you should carefully decide who will lead the cult from now on and take care to make the third generation fit to become good leaders. If you are not up to the task, it will cost you your necks! Once again, return to O-kami-dono (the Great God, who is Nao) and you." Maki: "I will comply with all your requests. Please be reassured." Maki asked that the founder's soul calmed down. O-Kami-dono became the god Wakahimegimi-no-mikoto and ascended to heaven. It is quite impossible for us to relate such a mysterious occurrence with full understanding, but I will tell to the Reverend what has happened to Maki-dono, Hisako-dono and Hoshida." If Nao's soul ascended to heaven at about half past nine in the evening, Nao's flesh would die about one hour later. The founder of the Omoto cult, Nao Deguchi breathed her last peacefully. Onisaburo after announcing Nao's end in a parched voice suddenly left the room. All were silent as if watching an impossible event, but then one person started sobbing and the sobbing overcame everyone covering the whole precincts of the cult.

      After a short while, a long cry was heard in the passage leading to the founders room. It sounded like the howling of a dog on the hunting trail and it seemed to summarize all the other lamentations in one single sad sound. The believers, who had gathered in the Tomu-kaku Building, looked at each other and nodded. The man, who was crying, was, of course, Onisaburo. When he was overcome with grief, he always cried in such fashion until his tears dried up. Out of respect for his grief no one dared enter the room. But suddenly, the fusuma was pulled open and the standing figure of Sumi appeared. She looked at Onisaburo, who was weeping bitterly lying on the tatami and roared at him, "What is this man doing there? There are so many urgent things to do. Get up you foolish thing!" Onisaburo sat up, kept sobbing convulsively; his face distorted by grief and bathed in tears and said, "I cannot stop crying now O-Sumi! Let me cry my fill!" "You certainly are a most foolish man. What will the Omoto cult becomes with such a leader? Are you going to remain sitting there without doing anything?" Onisaburo was awed by Sumi's voice and stood up at once.

      Looking at the behavior of her husband Sumi pushed him aside and went to the founder's room, but she felt dizzy, leaned against the pillar then slipped to the floor. She shed tears that were as clear as the water coming from a rocky spring in a valley shaded by trees. Some footsteps were heard in the passage then she felt someone grasping her while crying. It was her elder sister, Ryo Deguchi, who had been nursing the Spanish flu for several days now. Her hair had the characteristic smell of a sick person because she had hurriedly risen from her sickbed. Sumi was very close to her elder sister because when they were still children they used to cling together waiting for their mother to return from her rag dealer work. Sumi vividly recalled those long bygone days of their childhood. Her sister said, "Well, my sister, it is strange. I was so surprised by the death of our mother that my cold is cured. How did that happen?" Sumi continued, "True, I had forgotten that cold." Ryo smiled in sympathy. On the 6th of November, 1918, (the 2nd of October of the old calendar), at half past ten in the evening, Nao ascended to heaven at the age of eighty-three. She suffered much during her life, but those times were hard for all the Japanese people.

      In fact, Nao was the very symbol of the suffering of the nation. She had been born in 1836. On that same year there had been a severe famine and several pestilence were raging. She died in 1918 and that was the year of the rice riots and the Spanish flu. We could say that Nao's life was the mirror of the nation's life. On the very day of her ascension, World War 1, which had been raging for five years, was brought to an end. On the 11th, five days later, the cease-fire agreement was signed and sealed between Germany and the Allied Powers, and World War I had become history.

      At midnight, Onisaburo presided over the ceremony for the ascension of the founder, in the Kinryu-den Building. After the ceremony was over, all but one of them, returned to the founder's room and remained all night at her bedside. The unforgettable memory of Nao was deeply enshrined in the heart of every believer. Keitaro Deguchi expressed in condolences in the following way, "This spring, I had a telephone installed at my shop, the Kinryu-mochi (the rice cake named Kinryu). The first person I called was O-Yasu-san Umeda and I asked her if I could speak to the founder. She was extremely surprised and asked. 'Is it possible to speak with him in Ayabe although he is in Kyoto? This is really the best way to rebuild the world! I also want to speak to someone on the phone!' In those days, the Omoto cult had asked for a telephone to be installed at its office but the installation had been delayed because of the Bon Festival (the Lantern Festival for the Spirit of the deceased), which was held that year on the 15th of July. I had been quite absorbed by my business and had not been able to talk to the founder yet. I am so sorry that I missed the opportunity to hear the voice of the founder at least one time." The old official, Yoshimi Tanaka said, "Do you know the theater named the Choraku-za (it was built in 1901 and was burned down in 1922). Before it was built, there was a small theater named the Baba-no-Jokoya (the popular booth in the riding ground) in the same place. They had a play two or three times a year, as far as I remember. Once they had a play called "Chushin-gura" (The Soul of the Loyal Samurai) and it was promising to attract a large audience. The admission fee was only four sen, but the Omoto cult was very poor at the time, and no believer had enough money to go and see the play. I happen to pay a visit to the founder at that time. She had two sen, which had been placed on the sacred floor of the family altar and said, ' Tanaka-ban, do you have two sen?', I had no money at all, but I answered, thinking that things would get better soon, that I that one sen. Then she said, 'I have two sen here! I will get two more and give them to you so you can go to the theater and see The Soul of the loyal Samurai." Someone commented, "Oh! Did O-Kami-sama say so."

      Tanaka said, "It was really prodigious. Did the founder have pity on me because she saw that I was dejected, or did she remember her late husband, Masagoro who had a weakness for the theater? Anyway, the day after the performance, I visited her again and she immediately asked me: 'Did you see the whole story of the Soul of the Loyal Samurai?' I answered: 'Yes, I saw it from beginning to end.' Then she asked! Just before the lord of the loyal samurai, Asano-Takumi-no-kami performs hara-kiri (disembowelment) what did he say to his faithful servant?' I answered, The lord only said: 'I am sorry' The founder then said: 'As the loyal servant heard those words, the chief retainer named Kuranosuke-Oishi suffered much trouble and he, himself, gave forty-seven loyal retainers much trouble, also, you know. But when we think of the god, Ushitora-no-Konjin who has been locked up for as long as three thousand years, we should bear gracefully whatever hardships we have to endure. That man Kuranosuke was a samurai of good and steady character, it was said, but it was truly a pity that he could not have Kira-Kouzuke-no-suke mend his ways and had finally to kill him. His behavior was not yet absolutely perfect. We should build a world in which both the enemy and the ally, and all the people in the world live in peace and enjoy each other. That is how we will be truly faithful to the god Ushitora-no-Konjin. Human beings, but also animals, birds, insects and the tree and the stone, everything in the world should coexist in harmony. That is why we have to be even more sincere than Kuranosuke. If you can not achieve that, you can never say that you did your best to be faithful to the god.' Her sacred words sank deeply into my heart."

      There was a painful silence during the vigil. Only a choir of insects could be heard outside. Tanaka continued to talk, blinking his eyes, "I feel that I should tell those stories about the founder: One time a person came to her and said, 'I would like to become a sweeper in that sacred place' O-Kami-sama answered, 'It is a good idea.' But, after that person had left, O-Kami-sama said sorrowfully, 'How can he utter such a sacrilege? Only a believer who can see through everything can hope to sweep the sacred place. So, even if no one is available to do it and he is not able to change his mind, no one will be allowed to sweep the sacred place.' Whenever I remember her sacred words I feel like if she was talking about me." Tanaka cast down his eyes, and sniveled. He deeply believed the words of the Fudesaki written by Nao, and for that reason he took it for granted that Onisaburo was the evil god Komatsubayashi, and he thoroughly opposed him. His friends had antagonized Onisaburo for a long time, and he almost left the Omoto cult or thought of dying. There was only one Tanaka in the Omoto cult. At the opening ceremony of the Kamishima (the Kamishima Islet) in 1916, the spirit who possessed Onisaburo was clearly shown to be Ten-no-Miroku-sama (Maitreya of Heaven), and now, the Way of the Omoto cult was going to be entrusted to Onisaburo. In the sacred Omoto in which a usual person was not even allowed to take part, Tanaka suddenly committed a heap of his copies to the fire. "Did I commit an irreparable error?" he asked to himself. He lost all his strength thinking that Nao might have been thrown into despair and he could go to hell.

      Wasaburo Asano had caught the Spanish flu, and had been bed-stricken for several days with no appetite whatsoever and with his temperature rising to nearly forty degrees. When his wife, Tama reported to him the news of the founder's death, he whispered like in a delirium, "That is impossible. You must be mistaken." He couldn't have been more surprised at the news. It was simply incredible for him. He had always believed that the rebuilding of the world would take place during her lifetime and was eager to achieve that goal before 1922. He was remembering how frantically he always ran about and felt that his dreams and hopes had been smashed. He also felt some responsibility for not having been able to achieve his goal in time. It was maybe due to the fact that his fever had eroded the keenness of his senses that he was finally able to bear the news "She did not foretell that, she promised." He wanted to run after her to heaven and heard her voice rebuking him. In spite of her advanced age she did not have any symptoms of impending death. About her ripe age the god had told the founder that He would make her 15 years younger. I clearly remember that. Since then she had felt much better and looked much younger. I believed she would live at least a hundred years. He thought again about it and then said: "Well, wait. The god told her that He would make her about fifteen years younger, but that is different from the prolongation of life, isn't it? Did I really have any illusions about the founder's longevity?" His ideas suddenly became as clear as when a sunray pierces a dark cloud. In the current "Sacred Words of the Omoto cult" the following passage was often quoted: "The Fudesaki gave clear descriptions of the rebuilding of the world and it should be told as written." Wasaburo Asano was well aware that the Male held the Spirit of Female (Onisaburo) would play a central role in the rebuilding of the world, but he always waited what the Fudesaki written by Nao had to say about it. When he took a closer look at what had been written it was clear that the end of the founder's life had been a part of that reality. Now that the god had completed his preparations, the rebuilding of the world would finally begin, he thought, and he was ready to carry out the sacred plan.

      "I see, Japan and the Omoto cult will finally settle down in their permanent stale. It seemed to him that the ascension of Nao provided even clearer evidence that the rebuilding of the world would be carried out in 1922." The more he thought of it, the more enthusiastic he became:" Most important events are happening in the Omoto cult this year, among them, the Great Purification of the body and the soul undergone by the leader, Onisaburo is to be reckoned. His ascetic practices, which extended over seventy-five days and the founder's ascension were very clearly connected with each other as wheels are connected to a vehicle or birds to their wings. The god who possessed Onisaburo appears in various forms in the Fudesaki and Nao offered many public Sacred Words while Onisaburo interpreted their hidden meaning. To the very last, he was the assistant and support of Nao. It was now necessary for Onisaburo to purify his body and soul even more and offer the Sacred Words of Mizu-no-Mitama (the Spirit of the god, Mizu, of whom Onisaburo is the avatar). That was why he needed to perform those seventy-five days of ascetic practices. Anyway, only the soul of Onisaburo can be entrusted with the great mission of preparing the next leader and of finishing the mission of the founder. I will now practice asceticism to purify my body and soul and that is the order I am given by the god. It is the very important role of helping in achieving the great sacred work, isn't that so?" As he finally arrived at that conclusion, he realized that the Spanish flu had not yet deprived him of his physical strength and vigor.

      As Asano realized that the ascension of Nao coincided with the end of World War I, he was now absolutely convinced of the accuracy of Nao's prophecy. That war had been raging for five years, all over Europe, but the cease-fire agreement and the end of the war had now been signed. It seemed also, to him, that the whole world was to mourn the founder's death and that the use of musical instruments ought to be forbidden as a sign of penitence. It was also remarkable that the situation of the whole world was changing in concert with the events inside the Omoto cult and he could not, but wonder at the mystery of the divine providence.

      __"It was already announced that a king cannot keep the whole country under his rule for a long time. Some day, in due course, something happens unexpectedly and the whole situation changes. The relation of god and the world changes. It was to be realized that very cruel and dangerous things were bound to happen in foreign lands (Quotation from the Fudesaki). In 1893, the god had said, "A king cannot bring the whole land under his rule for a long time." The god called the people's attention upon that fact in September of the old calendar, last year. It was a terrible assertion!

      It was a historical fact that France, Portugal and even China had overthrown their respective kings and that they had become republics. More recently, the Czar, Nikolai II Alexander and his family had met a most tragic death. The Romanov dynasty had been destroyed and the Russian Revolution was spreading like wildfire. Even small countries were seeking independence. The German Kaiser was forced into abdication and so was the Emperor of Austria, which ended the rule of the Hapsburg dynasty. The old order was crumbling and was being replaced by a new one. The sounds of the rebuilding of the world were reaching Asano's ears as a distant thunder that could be heard from his bed. Asano had received some disquieting news from Tomokiyo who had inquired about his health a few days earlier. He said, "The leader of the evil gods of the world, the Great Snake with eight heads and eight tails, has now left the Czar and has possessed the Kaiser. But since the 1st of November, he has gone on a wild rampage, and has shifted the person who he is possessing to the president of U.S.A." It was said that it was the leader Onisaburo who had made that news public. Besides, there was a passage in the Fudesaki relating the same thing. A Guardian Deity will appear in Russia and then go over to another country. Nothing will stop it but it is not going to make any gain through his evil deeds.

      Talking of that day, that is, of the 1st of November: It was the last day of Onisaburo's ascetic practice of seventy-five days. But was it also connected with the contents of the Fudesaki, and if it was connected, what did that mean? Because the founder ascended to heaven five days later. At any rate, the 6th of November, 1918 (Taisho era 7) could be an important turning point in the history of the world. The flesh of the founder had finished its role as a protecting deity. Her role was to make arrangements for the rebuilding of the world through her warnings and teachings to humanity. She abdicated her sacred role in favor of the leader of the Omoto cult, Onisaburo, without any regrets. Now, the rebuilding of the world was just beginning. Since, the mourning period for the founder's death would last about a hundred days, all the believers will go into mourning and all the activities of the cult will stop. The activities related to the construction of a model for the world which is being studied in the Omoto cult will be suspended for a while, giving everyone a much needed rest. Then, when those activities are resumed there will be a bold leap towards the future. What will become of the Omoto cult then?

      On the 8th of November, at midnight, they held the rites for the placing of the body in the coffin. Then, on the 9th, at four o'clock in the afternoon, the coffin was moved to the Kinryu-den (the Golden Dragon Building). Although the Kinryu-den was a rather large building it was packed with believers who had arrived from all over the country. The late Nao was given the posthumous name of "Sinsei-Kaiso (the Sacred Founder) O-Deguchi-Kuni-Naohi-nushi-no-mikoto". Her tomb was momentarily in the commonly called "Tenno-daira-Ichinose" (Saikekubi, Tano-machi, Ayabe city) which faced a side of Mt. Hongu and lay opposite to Mt. Misen Kinryu-den, which had played such an important part in Nao's life. That place was about two kilometers Southwest of the precincts of the Omoto cult. From the 12th on, the believers began a large-scale construction to open the mountain for the late founder. The officials ordered the believers to take part in the work on that sacred place which was then spread all over with pebbles. On the 27th of November, at four o'clock in the afternoon, a ceremony was held at the Kinryu-den to mark the removal of the founder's coffin. As the ceremony was coming to an end it became dark and a heavy cold rain started falling. The believers carried the coffin to the Tenno-daira, adjusting the neckband of their white clothes while the rain was pouring down. Onisaburo stepped on the Spiritual Rock which had been placed in front of the Tomu-kaku Building and recited something, then suddenly shouted, "The god, who controls running water! Stop that rain!" Everyone noticed that his words carried the Spiritual Power of the Sacred Word and all looked upon the night sky from where the rain was falling. They saw that the clouds were breaking up and that the stars were coming out; the wind started blowing and the rain stopped. Everyone shouted their joy and joined their hands in prayer.

      At half past five the coffin was stately moved. It was a large coffin and the fence on both sides of the West Gate had to be broken to let it through. The party carrying the coffin was proceeding under the light of both torches and the watch fire. By the time they arrived at the Tenno-daira the clouds were covering only half of the sky while the other half shone brightly in the cold early winter air. The construction of the tomb was not yet complete and they had prepared a temporary enclosure for it. It might have been for the smell of the freshly opened earth, or for some other reason, but the all believers were sobbing. The ceremony accompanying that temporary burial was duly performed. Then Onisaburo took a katana (the sword) from a believer who stood nearby and cutting the air in every direction he purified the sky and stars shone even more brightly while the wind stopped altogether from moving the top of the trees. The whole surroundings and the nearby mountain were suffused with sacred light.

      On the 2nd of December Onisaburo was possessed by the god, Ushitora-no-Konjin, and wrote the following in the Fudesaki: "I invited the soul of the Male held the Spirit of Female to the Takama-ga-hara (The Japanese Olympus) of the Ryugu-kan on the 23rd of June, 1899, and I informed him of various bothersome things to reefing his soul, but he always wants to have the things his own way. I needed ten years to mend his ways. Then on the 12th of July, 1909, I made him become the protecting deity of the Hitsuji-saru (which is the direction of the southwest, and points directly to the back of the demon's gate according to the twelve zodiacal signs). I ordered him to serve the sacred of the Omoto. However, he was still in need of further purification to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of the world and he was unable to comply with my instructions. I fortified his soul and his flesh through seventy-five clays of ascetic practices and made him forsake the dirty clothes of his reality. Nao Deguchi stopped eating for thirteen days, but as the male's flesh was still impure I made her forsake food for forty-eight days causing her much trouble but I expected her to serve in the second rebuilding of the world. I told her: I, this god, order you what to do and everything will happen according to my will. Do you understand? I made the Male held the Spirit of Female get into a wooden press to make him vomit all the dirty things and on the fiftieth the god, Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto let the soul of the Male to become one with the god, Ushitora-no-Konjin and made him protect the work of rebuilding the world."

      "__After the Male finished his ascetic practice of seventy-five days, I ordered him to take two days rest and on the third day, I made him hold the last Great Ceremony of the flesh of the Female held the Spirit of Male. On the fourth day, I made him hold the Festival of the Ancestor's Shrine, and on the fifth day, I ordered him to strictly teach the details and schedule of the rebuilding of the Omoto to the believers and the officers. In that way they will have been instructed through the Male's mouth. From now on we must be watchful to avoid a situation where inner problems of the Omoto induce us to make mistakes. If any negligence occurs, the sacred schedule will be delayed and for anyone responsible it will be impossible to remedy his mistakes through apologizing to the gods. Next, on the 6th of November (the 3rd of October of the old calendar) at eight o'clock in the morning, the schedule of the sacred world (the gods' world) will be archived, and the god will order the end of World War I, while at ten o'clock in the evening, he will send an envoy to take Nao Deguchi to heaven with the soul of the goddess, Wakahimegimi-no-mokoto.

      "__As the situation in heaven is going to be clarified. Once Nao Deguchi completes her ascension, her soul will possess the third generation after the founder, and Naohi will become the central figure of our work, in the world of reality. Nao's soul will become the god, O-Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto-O-Deguchi-no-Kami and will protect the world together with the god, Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto. When these gods descend to earth the god, Kunitikotachi-no-mikoto will possess the Male held the Spirit of Female (Onisaburo), and He will make Onisaburo move his fude to write the Fudesaki for the rebuilding of the world. The soul of Nao Deguchi will possess the third generation after the founder, Naohi (though the goddess, Konohana-sakuya-hime has already dwelled in her flesh), and the soul of Nao will make Naohi become the goddess, Naohi-nushi-no-mikoto (the goddess of Nao's Spirit). According to that plan the sacred schedule will be achieved to serve the sacred world on earth and the inner situation of the Omoto cult will undergo a large-scale transformation.

      One month after Nao had ascended to heaven, that is, on the 6th of December (the 3rd of November of the old calendar), they held an impressive funeral attended by a large multitude. The executives accounted for more than 300 people, while the common believers stood in a row that extended over two kilometers from the tomb. The master of the funeral rites was Nobuyuki Umeda, and the sub-master was Yoshimi Tanaka. When Nao's end was near Umeda had returned to Kyoto, ignoring Onisaburo's injunctions to stay. He heard the news of the founder's death upon his arrival in Kyoto. At first, he laughed, believing that it was not true, but when the dire reality downed upon him he shouted, "I was taken in by her prophecy. I have been deceived! The founder promised me in such Strong words that she would never die!" He had a fit, crying frantically and rolling himself on the tatami. Yasuko tried desperately to calm him saying, "My master, that was imposed upon you by the founder! What she meant in the Fudesaki is that her flesh would die but that her spirit would live forever." Umeda continued to shout frantically, "What a fool I have been! Fool, Fool!" He sat straight and fixed his swollen red eyes upon the ceiling. Then he said to himself, "I see, I wonder if what O-Yasu said is ultimately true."

      __"You will sow seeds, and you will set your rice plants. At the time you finish your work, I will start mine. When you harvest, I will make you distinguish yourself and make you live in tranquility." (This Fudesaki was written in May 1894 of the old calendar) This Fudesaki, which he loved to recite regularly, came across his mind. The villagers sowed their seeds and set their rice plants. After doing that, they only had to wait for the harvest season to arrive. He thought that the hidden meaning of this passage was that the founder attempted to go to China at the time it was at war with Japan. But now he understood that it simply referred to the founder's ascension. Young rice plants were now growing as Nao was starting her journey to heaven. He remembered the sound of her tender voice, which resonated like so much silver bells, and the memory of those sounds pervaded his whole body. He said to himself, "I will quietly start from here and will never feel lonesome. I am ready to extend my help to you".

      "O-Yasu, let's go to Ayabe as soon as possible. We are going to visit the leader." Umeda strongly grasped her by her shoulders while someone whispered, "Is he going to kill himself because the founder has died?" But, Umeda did not pay any attention. The founder said that she was ready for the man who would give assistance to him. That man, on whom Onisaburo now relied with all her heart, had his feet firmly set on the ground. The master of the funeral rites, Nobuyuki Umeda, reverently enshrined Nao's soul in her tomb. Naohi, who was Nao's granddaughter, had her eyes fixed on the monticule of the tomb and looked quite sullen. Nao had said that when she died she wanted to be buried under the shade of a pine tree and it was still her desire, because she had repeated that to Yasuko Umeda shortly before dying. Naohi had also heard that since her childhood. She was still a child, but Naohi imagined the tomb of her grandmother to look very nice. However, the request of her grandmother had not been granted because Naohi thought that a grandiose and fine tomb did not fit the character of the founder. After the ceremony concluded the fire, which was to burn eternally, was carried away by Onisaburo Deguchi and Sumi who both held the Shinto ritual "Hitsugi-no-Shinji" (the Shinto ritual of the inheritance of the fire), which is a ritual aimed at asserting the succession of the founder in her position.

      Crossing the Kasasagi bridge Naohi went up to the stonewall of the Kototama-kaku (the Spiritual power of the Sacred Word Building). Although the construction of the base of that wall was only half-done, it was still fairly high. She remembered that about three months earlier she was standing there with her father who was carrying her grandmother on his back. She heard and saw a bumble bee fly away. She was wearing a man's hakama. (The divided skirt for men's formal wears). She looked west in the direction of the Tenno-daira-Ichinose district where the tomb of the founder was located. It was already disappearing in the cold dusk. That was due to fog coming from across the mountain covering progressively the field, the bushes and the trees and dissolving the whole shape of nature in its mass." All things are but illusions which ultimately dissolve in fog," she thought. In spite of having a warm personality, Onisaburo, her father, was a rather weak hearted man who was prone to exaggeration and sometimes rude but had generally his own way in every thing. Naohi could really not bring herself to accept his behavior. In fact, she had an almost physical aversion for him. Her mother, on the contrary, was very strong and tenacious and had a great heart. There was not a shadow in her personality. Naohi was strongly aware of the discrepancy between the character of her mother and that of her father and that might be the reason why she was so subtle. For Naohi, her grandmother was a perfect woman, and her life, the best of examples. She had a hard time accepting the reality of her grandmother's death and it caused her almost unbearable suffering. As the god, Ushitora-no-Konjin was truly the mother of the earth, the sacred schedule had to be completed so that the world would become crystal clear. Even though the founder's flesh rotted and returned to the soil of the Tenno-Daira district, the flame of her spirit would keep burning as the eternal light that would illuminate the minds of people. While her thoughts were wandering around, those ideas, Naohi's tears were running down her cheeks but she said to herself. "Cheer up!" and very tightly gripped the hilt of a wooden katana she was carrying. She looked up at the sky and saw that the constellation of Orion was starting to glitter.

      Since Nao had ascended to heaven, Onisaburo had taken over the task of writing the Fudesaki every day. The Fudesaki written by Nao's hand, was called "The Face of the Fudesaki". The Fudesaki written by Onisaburo's hand before Nao's ascension, was called "The Back the Fudesaki", and Onisaburo's writing about the God's will, was called "The Sacred Word of Izunome."

      "__The god, Ushitora-no-Konjin-Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto had dwelled in the flesh of Nao Deguchi with the goddess, Wakahime-gimi-no-mikoio for a long time and had made of her the Female held the Spirit of Male. The god had instructed her to write in the Fudesaki. His instructions about the rebuilding of the world, but the god had not dictated any instructions connected to the re-erecting of the world which was to happen after the world had been rebuild. From new on, I will stay in the flesh of the Male held the Spirit of Female (Onisaburo) and I will make him write the Fudesaki to give my instructions about the re-erecting of the world." (That was written in the Fudesaki on the 2nd of December 1918.)

      Accordingly, "The Sacred Word of Izunome" was clearly different from "The Surface of the Fudesaki", because that part gave instructions for the re-erecting of the world, which was to happen after it, had been rebuild. On the 27th of December, Onisaburo was possessed by the mysterious power of the god and wrote extensively in the Fudesaki under possession. While he was writing, no one was allowed to enter his room but the whole Ryugu (the Dragon Palace)-kan Building was enveloped in a strange mass of flesh air, and the atmosphere was so strange that even those who were ignorant of the fact that Onisaburo was writing, could not get close to the building.

      How long did Onisabur keep writing? The moment his fude (a writing brush) stopped his flesh suddenly relaxed and the blush on his cheeks faded away. He sighted in relief, and organized the pages he had just written. There was quite a lot to be published in the magazine "the Spiritual World". Currently, all the writings of the Fudesaki were warnings to the people about the dangers facing the world.

      "__The god, Ushitora-no-Konjin will appear at the Takama-ga-hara (the Japanese Olympus) of the Ryugu-kan Building and will make Onisaburo write the Fudesaki about the rebuilding and the re-erecting of the world. To serve the sacred work of rebuilding the world, I have given the 'soul of O-Deguchi-Nao, who is the Female held the Spirit of Male' much trouble. On the 16th of December, 1836, on the birthday of the god, Tenshou-Koutaijingu-dono (the goddess, Amaterasu-O-Kami), I introduced Nao to the world. Since then and for the next twenty-seven years, Nao lived in relative comfort but not in terms of the common world. I made her flesh suffer in many unusual ways. From age twenty-eight to age fifty-seven, that is, for thirty years, I caused her suffering that no one but she could endure and I showed her the naked reality of the world, to enable her to better serve the sacred work of the god. Since the very day she reached fifty-seven, the god, Ushitora-no-Konjin dwelled in her flesh and made her write in the Fudesaki the schedule of the sacred world (the god's world) and I announced the rebuilding of the world through her mouth. I had previously announced that I would rebuild the world in thirty years, but I am now intending to do it in one-tenth of that time, that is, in three years. That is a very tight schedule and I will ask 'the Male held the Spirit of Female' to help me rebuild the world in only three years. It will be a day-by-day task and it will be seen that way in the world. I made 'the Male held the Spirit of Female' appear in the world, according to the sacred schedule on the 12th of July, 1871, and I will also give him almost unbearable trouble. When he reached age 28th on the 9th of February, the god took him with Me to MtTakakuma, and make him refine his soul to better serve the sacred schedule of rebuilding the world. At that age, the god brought him to the Omoto and made him worry about many things. There he finally will complete the refinement of his soul and when he reached age thirty-nine I began to make him to gradually start working a the sacred work of the Omoto. However, he will still have to endure ten more years of trouble, as you can understand very well. You cannot be too cautious because, after another three years, a terrible demon will appear and in 1921 something really terrible will happen to the Male held the Spirit of Female, a disaster such as has never been seen in the course of history. Be prepared for it." (That was written on the 22nd of December 1918)

      "Finally, the disaster will reach us also. I feel a cold sweat running on my back, as I imagine what is going to happen." (Written by Onisaburo on the same day as above)

      If we are talking about three years, it means 1921 (or the year 10 of the Taisho era). Onisaburo could see the terrible scene in which the sky was blacken by birds of prey attacking people. The omen indicated that the enemy would throng over Japan. As the Omoto cult widened its influence the opposition of the world also intensified. The newspapers and the magazines became the first to criticize the Omoto cult. Then the police started watching the activities of the cult. This last Fudesaki incensed the police, who rushed upon the cult as starved wolves. Onisaburo had given, through this Fudesaki, the excuse to the police to suppress the cult. In fact, it was very easy for the police to find in the Fudesaki proof of acts of lese Majesty if they wanted to.

      "__The Japanese were left at the mercy of foreigners, but they were not aware of their unfortunate situation. The Japanese were thoroughly squeezed in every aspect, but they seemed to be pleased with it. The Japan of current times was gasping in disbelief. The Chinese crows would soon be flying among us and we cannot foresee what is going to happen. You should not lose a single day to **** (a blue-penciled passage). The flower of the ume will open and the pine tree will govern the world. The bamboo will defend us from foreign lands. The god is scheduled to eternally rule over the world in peace and tranquility. It is still unclear if ******* (a blue-penciled passage) and the people of the god's country still do not recognized anything." (Written in the Fudesaki on the 22nd of December, 1918.)

      "__Led by the god, Ushitora-no-Konjin, Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto, the soul of 'the Female held the Spirit of Male' will appear at Takama-gahara, and will write the Fudesaki to announce the situation of the world. Azuma-no-kuni (Japan) will have a poor harvest and will *** (a blue-penciled passage) of susuki (the Japanese pampas grass). Any country, which experiences a poor harvest, is bound to see its situation deteriorate. I have repeatedly written that in the Fudesaki, and my unfortunate prophecy will finally become reality. The sacred sky of ** is covered by black clouds, and the earth is covered with muddy water. Innumerable people are sinking in distressing circumstances and undergoing many troubles. That situation of Japanese society expresses the Buddhist inferno of starvation. The true god ought not to remain a mere onlooker. However, the protecting deity who appears now in the world does not have the Japanese spirit at all, not even the smell of it. Accordingly, people are compelled to eke out a bare existence from day to day. Can He be the god of Japan, which is called the god's country?"

      "__Even if I should think that the Japanese people are not capable of rebuilding the world the present situation is still too much to bear! As they are ignorant of tomorrow, the souls of the Japanese are confused. Japan, that small country, will not be able to rule over the world. Isn't it so? Everything has fallen into a deadlock and there is no return, but they are still firmly determined to protect their deities. Haven't you noticed the power of the god, which is giving a lesson to foreign countries? You are behaving like if you jumped into the sea clinching a heavy rock and I am unable to bear the sight of that through my sacred eyes, which were given to me by the true living god, the protecting deity of the soil of Japan. If you cannot get hold of yourself, great events will occur, both inside and outside the country, which will be torn apart and you will disgrace yourself in the eyes of the world. The true figure that I am showing you cannot be reflected in a clouded mirror, but the sacred power will not give up warning and protecting people. Now, if you don't listen to what I am telling you, terrible things will fall upon you and don't then express your dissatisfaction with the sacred Deguchi family because I will have nothing to do with it. Prepare yourselves, as shepherds do, to cook the seven spring herbs, because the Chinese birds will soon come across the sea. The Chinese birds have strong wings and long sharp beaks. Their legs are long and they are very strong. The Japanese birds must face them and rout them, blessed with their sacred power because, if not, they will be kicked out of the skies."

      "__The Kasasagi bridge (the magpie bridge) is going to be carried away. Up to now the god was protecting it but the protecting deities of Japan are reformulating their will and I don't know what will happen next. The god feels uneasy about the whole situation but the protecting deities are not yet aware of my suffering. The Isuzu Falls are becoming muddy. If feel a lot of pity for the people who are living downstream of the falls. Wait until the Soul of Water appears in the Takama-ga-hara of the Ryugu-kan (the Sea God's Palace Building) of the Omoto cult in Ayabe; he will clear the waters of the muddy stream and will pull the whole world out of the mud. The Soul of Water will purify you and reveal to you the soul of the true god. However, I cannot help people who did not mend their ways. The fellows who have taken advantage of another person's distress, the fat rapacious birds that ate too much and destroy crops will regret missing their midnight supper and will be discouraged and they will appear before your eyes. That is what lives confused by avarice and pride lead to. Their plight is a sorry one but they cannot help it because they have chosen that way. They will have difficulty making their nest, which can even, be destroyed unexpectedly. Their blunder will soon be exposed from top to bottom."

      "__Heaven and earth will be turned upside down. A succession of calamities will fall upon you. Great disasters will oocur and people will be unable to open their eyes, their mouths and their noses. Hungry ghosts will swarm all over the place. People will be displaced to unexpected locations and their minds will churn thoughts of ruin going from bad to worse. Those will be prosperous years for doctors, priests and undertakers and the price of rice will steadily increase until people become unable to buy any, however much money they may have. But, I will take care of the protective deities of Japan. Large institutions will collapse one after another. Whirlwinds will blow castles down and old men will grow anxious seeing their pools dry up but despite whatever they do, people will not be able to stop the furry of the wind. They will only get more confused by the noise; they will fall into the ditches and drown. That is the model of what will happen and the weight of events will be absolutely beyond human power. If the god does not intervene the situation of Japanese society can only but worsen. Even dung frogs and blind frogs will be unable to escape, however desperately they croak. The blind powers will wander back and forth and finally they will be unable to rely on anything but the sound of clapping hands to know the direction in which they are looking for each other. But there is only one good direction, the direction facing the god. The god created heaven and earth and is even now alive as a living god. That is the god Kunitokotachi-no-mikoto, you know. (Written with the help of 'the Male held the Spirit of Female who is Onisaburo, on the 25th of December, 1918, the day of the winter solstice.)

      "__Since the god, O-Deguchi-no-Kami appeared in the world, this god observed the world and saw that it seemed to be withering away as leaves do at the end of autumn. I do not want to be pathetic, but the current behavior of ******* is more like someone thoughtlessly playing with animals at the bottom of a valley while being totally unaware of the life-or-death situation menacing the nation. How can the sacred country (the god's country) deal with such a pathetic situation? It is very well that the protecting deities are going to mend their ways without delay, but, if the Japanese are led by the nose forever, their sacred existence is going to come to nil and the god will be forced to build the new sacred world called 'the Pine Tree's World'. The spirit of the mountain's god, who lives in the depth of the mountain, far from here, is evil, and a female bird is cackling to warn people against the dangers of the situation. Under such adverse circumstances, only what is done in earnest will succeed. However hard the god may try to take care of the protecting deities I can do nothing if the protecting deities are not mending their ways and I will be forced to pass judgment on people from the height of heaven; but I promise to take care of the most important deities again and again (Written on the 24th of December, 1918)

      Onisaburo gave a sigh of relief and muttered to himself, "Oh! I understand very well what the god said. But, if I publish such words I will be killed a thousand times." It was sad for a prophet not to be able to foretell the bitter fate of people despite knowing it. "A lot of people will throw missiles and spit at me. The Jews will creep up one after another. 'Now is the time!' they will say. "They will keep their boycott going. Their faces, faces... I was abused and oppressed by people as if I was a devil. How many people will believe me or stand their ground to the end against me?" The believers praised Nao Deguchi "O-Kami" (the Great God) and worshipped her perfectly. Certainly, it may be easier and more rewarding for them to believe a person who was a strong figure in her lifetime and was devoted to the invisible god. But, how could that bring down their absolute belief in Sushin (the Greatest of Gods) as if they were seeing his invisible figure through an opaque glass? Many believers were only thinking of their own flesh and they lost the sight of god and left the Omoto cult because their expectations had not been fulfilled. Yet, those who left the Omoto cult were still searching for the next living god not having learned the bitter lesson. The object of their worship was now Onisaburo and he could not drive them away despite feeling that the worship of the flesh was vulgar. That is one of the failures of Onisaburo as a leader and organizer. Many worshipers believed that the living god would lead them to rebuild the world, and they spent much of the energy of the Omoto cult seeking to fulfill that hope.

      Now, the Omoto cult is bursting with new energy but if it receives a new shock it will deflate like a balloon loosing its gas. Onisaburo understood that very well. One after another, the believers were screened out and examined by the god without mercy and only the good believers were chosen. All knew it very well. Even considering that Japan is the country of the living god and that the descendant of the goddess, Amaterasu-O-kami, rules it. All Japanese believe also in the god incarnate, Tenno. They are Tenno's people whose only duty is to lie down and give their hearts to Tenno. Three moles were put on the back of Onisaburo at regular intervals, just as if he had been drowning in sumi (Chinese ink). According to the story Yuasa told earlier. Onisaburo believed that his fatal stars were the three stars of the belt of Orion. Those three stars, which were enclosed in the four corners of the pattern, reflected, he thought, his character and his figure (meaning that he was a captive). He thought that Orion was the prison of heaven, and that the three moles indicated, like the belt of Orion, the Spirit of the god, Mizu (which is similar to the word of 'three' in Japanese) who always carried 'Chikura-no-Okido' on his back. Chikura-no-Okido means: Purified things. When the god inflicted a punishment on the sinners, he ordered them to carry three moles on their backs. Onisaburo has to live with that fatal mark on his back.

      According to Greek mythology, Orion was the son of Poseidon, who ruled over the sea, and the younger brother of Zeus. Orion was one of the Titans who liked hunting and could walk on the sea. The Moon's Goddess, Artemis, who was the younger sister of the Sun's God, Apollon, was tricked by Apollo to shoot death Orion, who was walking on the sea. After she realized her mistake Artemis, overcome by grief, carried Orion to the stars. Does that story not give us a hint on the fate of the god Susanou-no-mikoto who had been possessing Onisaburo? Before, the goddess, Amaterasu, who possessed Nao, started roaring: "The god, Susanou-no-mokoto has come to capture the Takama-ga-hara of the earth." The god, Susanou-no-mikoto had descended to earth, and showed His figure flying along the ceiling brushing Onisaburo with his long hair. Onisaburo recollected that scene as if had happened yesterday. Onisaburo thought that serious things were to befall him and that it was the god's plan to purify him. The model of the Sacred World (the god's world) will first be projected on Japan and will then spread over the whole world. This is the god's plan and Onisaburo tackled with it, putting his own flesh and blood at stake. "Well, I am going to send these copies to the editorial staff." Onisaburo grasped the bundle of copies of the Fudesaki, full of passages in blue pencil, stood up and went to the passage, ducking his head a little.

      On the 31st of December, 1918, that is, on New Year's Eve, a man pulling up his hakama (as a preparation for a fight) descended on horseback from Mt. Shichiyama Pass, towing another horse behind him. He rode a bay horse and the horse he was towing was light brown. Both horse's manes and tails were pitch-dark. They seemed to be very good foreign horses. In fact, those horses were so remarkable that the passers-by stopped to admire them. In addition to that, the people were also overtaken by the charming figure of the man under the sunbeams piercing under the branches of the trees. He was really a very good-looking man, trim and with a little weird air about him. As he was seeing Ayabe in the distance, he started talking to himself in a theatrical tone." Kounosuke Fukamachi, I am going to visit him you know!" Fukamachi vividly remembered that he had been very impressed by Onisaburo when he first met him: "I clearly remember that when I saw him I knew that my fate was dependent upon that great man." Kounosuke Fukamachi had been born in Kobe in 1883. Although he was already thirty-six years old, he looked much younger. According to the civil register, he was the eldest son of Toshio and Toku. Someone once told him that he was, in fact, of illegitimate birth and that he had a brother called Kikugoro Onoue who was a kabuki actor. However, he did not pay the slightest attention to these gossips although it was quite clear that he had not been born in the fork of a tree.

      Since his boyhood he had a fame of being mischievous. His character did not change with adulthood and his life, up to this very day, had been a rather wild dash. He married Suzu in 1908, at the age of twenty-six, and had two daughters from her. He established the Fukamachi Company which dealt in copper (which he refined through an electrical process). That copper was used for the manufacture of electric wire in Shimizu-cho, Minami Ward, in Osaka. At the beginning of the Taisho era, he became heir to the Dohi Gold Mine, which belonged to his father and was located in the Zushi district. That company had a stroke of luck when it hit a large gold deposit in the mountain it was exploiting. He had always been a lucky man who had even been successful with rice company stocks. He was handsome and was rolling on money, which naturally, had many women flocking around him. So he had many mistresses and a few additional children with them but he could always settle the subsequent problems with money. One woman, however, was different from the others. It was Hiroko Yamada. She had been a famous geisha, under the name of Ume-yu and was also an accomplished dancer of traditional Japanese dance. Fukamachi had her retire as a geisha and made a sweet home for her in Kobe. A baby boy was born to them in November, 1911. They named their son Buichi. He was earnest to her. Hiroko's father was Michihachi Tsurusawa (real name, Kouji Asano) called the best Shamisen player of the Bunraku. Fukumachi heard rumors about the Omoto cult from Tsurusawa, and, on the 5th of December, he first visited Ayabe with his mistress, Hiroko and his son, Buichi, who was then eight years old. They lodged at the Kameyoshi hotel, and then went to visit the Omoto cult.

      Fukumachi met the naval captain, Yutaro Yano, whom he had already met on a previous occasion, near the Kinryu-kai. Fukumachi had a habit of shaking hands with anyone he met. He was especially glad to unexpectedly meet an old friend at this unlikely place and shook hands with him quite vigorously saying, "I don't know if you are a believer of the Omoto cult, Yano-san." But Yano answered, "I am currently a believer and although I live in Tokyo, my family has moved to Ayabe last spring." "Oh, you are surprising me. Are you on holiday, then?" "Well, tomorrow is the formal funeral of the founder and I asked for a special leave of absence. As my house is quite small, I am not staying with my family but went to the Kikko-ya hotel." "Well, you see! Even heroes can become prisoners," said Yano patting Fukumachi on the shoulder. Fukumachi said, "No, I am a mere spectator. I heard about the founder's funeral only after arriving in Ayabe. I am going to have a look at the situation with my own eyes, because I heard that the Omoto is creating quite a sensation here. I must add that Hiroko's father is a very enthusiastic believer of the cult." Hiroko coquettishly bowed to Yano from behind Fukamachi's back. Takekazu was playing wholeheartedly with some mandarin ducks on the border of the pond and said, "Oh, dear! That beauty does not seem to be your wife." Fukumachi answered, "You are right, she is my concubine. Her father is, as you know the famous shamisen player, Michihachi Tsurusawa." "Oh, I see, you are the daughter of Tsurusawa-san, and you are here accompanying your love. Good, good!" said Yano jokingly.

      Fukumachi said, "If the Omoto is a sham, I will unmask it for Tsurusawa." Yano said, "What are you saying? The Omoto cult is not a sham, but a genuine and real thing. I guarantee that." Fukumachi said, "Should I take the word of believer for it?" Yano scratched his head, "Well, what you say is, of course, true but are you not going to take, at least, a session of the Calming of the Soul?" "Oh, yes, that I would very much like to do! Do you know someone who is skillful in that?" Yano smiled bitterly and said, "You better watch your words! Do you know a man called Baiken Imai, who was the chief editor of the Kobe Shimbun?" "Yes, I think I heard his name somewhere. Is he skillful in that art?" "Yes, he is very good and he has moved to Ayabe with his whole family last September." "Is that so? He also came here! Once the Omoto has caught someone in its nets it is quite difficult to escape, isn't it?" Yano continued, "Imai-san just completed his training of the Calming of the Soul, and he has very well absorbed the teaching. He seems also to be a good judge regarding the god's will. I will have him judge your god. Please, wait at your hotel and I will bring him there." While Fukumachi was waiting for them, he asked Hiroko to clean his ears. He had long hair falling over his ears and large side-whiskers. He was quite proud of that. Before long, Yano arrived with Imai.

      Imai had gray hair and wore gold-rimmed glasses. He had an emaciated face with a white beard. He had a slender complexion and was rather small. Fukumachi looked very handsome and fit compared to that meager figure which evoked an old hermit as they appear in pictures. However, despite his calm appearance, there was a feeling of strength emanating from him. Fukumachi was speechless with admiration, because he felt that his presence was quite extraordinary. Imai played the role of the judge and Fukumachi played the role of a Shinto priest at the rite of the Calmness of the Soul. Fukumachi felt that something warm was emanating from the top of Imai's finger. He thought to himself, "It is strange but I cannot allow myself to be defeated." Fukumachi tighten the muscles of his belly and stared around in wonder as the curious phenomenon continued. Though Fukumachi, playing the role of the Shinto priest, remained calm, Imai, playing the role of the judge, began to change his behavior. His head gradually went down and a greasy sweat began pouring from his forehead. After a while, he started rubbing his forehead against the tatami. When Fukamachi relaxed his body, Imai raised his head, breathing hard. He took off his glasses and wiped the sweat from his forehead. "That was is very strange, indeed. An irresistible force was pulling my head down. As I am still new here, I cannot understand how such a strange thing happened. Please, allow me to consult my senior, Mr. Asano."

      Imai rushed out of the house, and soon returned with Wasaburo Asano and the army colonel, Onosuke Komaki. Komaki was fifty-three years old, and a native of Kagoshima Prefecture. He was a giant, as bald as an egg and with a round, fat face. He was the commander of the 10th battalion of the Fukuchiyama Engineer Corps, and became a believer of the Omoto cult after being introduced by Yozo Inatsugu. When he was moved to the first reserve corps in September, he moved to Ayabe. A lot of members of the Navy were believers of the Omoto cult, but the first one from the army to enter the cult was a man named Komaki. All were now watching the rite of Calming the Soul, which Asano was performing. After five minutes, what had previously happen to Imai, did now happen to Asano, and he also started rubbing his head against the tatami. He protested loudly, "Oh, I cannot understand what is happening to me. Never has someone forced me to put my head down that way. I have been possessed by something very powerful and mysterious." Fukamachi smiled with satisfaction turning up his chin, distending his nostrils. However arrogant his behavior was, it had a touch of childishness and good-naturedness. Hiroko's cheeks flushed and she gazed fondly at Fukamachi. "I am sorry but I did nothing at all. I am sorry that a Shinto priest had his head pulled down in this rite, but I cannot answer the question as to why. I will consult with the Reverend Deguchi." Asano admitted defeat and advised Imai to visit the leader of the Omoto cult, Onisaburo.

      Onisaburo was overseeing the construction of a hut near the house of Jinsai Yuasa on the northern side of the precincts of the Omoto cult. When he saw Fukamachi he called him with a cheerful voice, "Welcome, I have been waiting for you for a long time." Fukamachi thought that the leader had mistaken him for someone else." He did not know that Asano had spoken to Onisaburo about him. He said loudly, "How do you do, I am Fukamachi, and I am coming from Kobe." Onisaburo nodded a little to Fukamachi, patted Buichi while grasping Hiroko's hand and putting it on his head, then said, "Well, well, that boy is going to be as sharp and handsome as myself." "This is my son, Buichi! Well, greet the Reverend," said Hiroko, forcefully bowing the boy's head towards Onisaburo. Onisaburo looked at the child who kept his eyes half shut. "Oh, well, good boy! You will become a good actor." His words gave Fukamachi a way to start the conversation because he felt like telling Onisaburo that he had the blood of an actor. If Onisaburo foretold that his son was going to be an actor, then it was possible that his son would fulfill his hidden wish and that maybe even the blood and music of the famous Tsurusawa was running through his veins.

      Asano told Onisaburo what had happened to him during the rite of the "Calming down of the Soul", but Onisaburo laughed loudly with his mouth wide open then said, "Well, what happened is very natural because the power which possesses Fukumachi-han is much more powerful than your own power! The Dragon god is protecting him and that is neither evil nor good. I would be able to drive that power out of the flesh of Fukuhara-han but then you would become the villain. You will be better off to just keep him company at leisure. I am sorry Asano-han to cause you trouble but that's the way it is!" Asano didn't answer and just walked away. Onisaburo sat down concentrating again on the construction he was supervising but then suddenly said, "Hey, Fukumachi!" Onisaburo did sometimes called even strangers without their honorific title but Fukumachi did not pay any attention to that and answered automatically, "Yes, sir!" "Remember that you are like a runaway horse that shook the ropes with which it was restrained, but you are compelled to exercise human compassion. You are often rushing carelessly forward and that is very dangerous, very dangerous indeed! Are you going to intend to restrain yourself somewhat." Fukumachi answered, "Yes, but are you willing to ride on such a restive horse?" Did Onisaburo awe Fuchumachi? No one could tell but, in a split second, he lowered his head, "Foolish talk! I don't place myself under Imai or Asano!" thought Fukumachi with tears in his eyes. He did not regret to feel impotent because he had the certainty that his soul was quiet, warm and great. He had never experienced such an intense emotion and his tears might well have been of joy. Buichi gazed at his father in wonder. Onisaburo nodded, showing his satisfaction and said, pointing at the hut, "What do you think, looking at that?" Only the pillars and the earth floor had been completed. "Looking at what?" questioned Fukamachi thinking he was dreaming. Onisaburo said, "Don't you recognize what it is? It is a stable. I will put a sacred horse in it." Fukumachi said, "What sacred horse? Well, I understand that it is the horse that Fukumachi brought here and on whose back the Reverend is going to ride. Isn't that so?" "Well, that cannot be! I will put two horses in it! And I am going to hurry up the construction of that hut. Help me to build it," said Onisaburo. Fukumachi held his breath, astonished, "That man seems to know that I have six racehorses. Even if he had heard that from someone, he could not have known that I was going to come to Ayabe. So, why did he start the construction of that hut for my horses without knowing if I would consent to it? Who is this man?" thought Fukamachi, continuing, "Well, I am glad to help you, Reverend and I do have six horses. Are you going to come to Kobe to choose the best one?" Onisabnro answered, "It is not necessary. These horses are sacred to the god, and I named them according to the sun and the moon. Their names are Kinryu (the Golden Dragon) and Ginryu (the Silver Dragon). Can you understand the meaning of these names? Well, you might know that, indeed!" Fukamachi was very surprised at hearing that, "Oh, yes! I have two horses named like that. The American bay horse is named Sun, that is, the golden sun and the English horse is named moon, which means silver..." "In fact, it is what you just said, Kinryu and Ginryu. Remember these names," said Onisaburo. "Thank you, and, when should I bring them here?" Fukumachi was surprised at his own submissiveness but he felt at the same time overcome with joy. Onisaburo told him, "I'd like to greet the New Year hearing them. It will be the best moment of New Year's Eve" Onisaburo was now singing, "The beginning of weaving in the Ayabe district of Tamba County. There is the first loom at the Kambe (it is the same character of Kobe in Japanese) as Aya (be)____. Did you know that song? The god is glad to hear that the sacred horses will soon arrive here after the door of Kobe as opened." Fukamachi said, getting morose, "Oh, yes, but, Reverend, are you waiting for the horses or for me?" Onisaburo answered loudly, "Well, I am waiting for the horses and for the man who is riding them. I am waiting for both! Take care of them. Kinryu and Ginryu are going to be major players. I will ride on them, display them to the world their interest in the work of the world!"

      On the next day, after returning from the funeral of the founder, Fukamachi sold four of his six horses and, in passing, his gold mine also. He first went from Kobe to Ayabe but Onisaburo told him, "Don't worry, your horse will show you the way!" When he arrived at a crossroads, Fukumachi simply let the reins loose and the horse would choose the way without hesitation. Fukamachi thought, "My boss lives in that small valley and he will let me live there also. Fukamachi drew in a deep breath, and two of his horses neighed as they quickly descended the Pass. Suddenly, a light powder snow began to fall and the red leaves of the maples trees on the precincts of the Omoto got sparkled with the snow. Then the wind started blowing and the leaves fell to the ground. Onisaburo kept concentrating on the new hut construction, totally obvious of the cold. Sumi came to call him, "Reverend, are you still there? The meal is already served!" He answered, "Wait, O-Sumi, Kinryu and Ginryu will arrive here before long." Sumi asked, "How do you know that?" "I know it! As a matter of fact I am now hearing the clatter of their hoofs nearing by." "You are now going to indulge in the pleasure of horse-riding! I hate it. Don't you understand that the time of the rebuilding is drawing near? How can you think of horse-riding now? Moreover, that man called Fukumachi has a reputation of being profligate and a poor philanderer!" "Don't speak like that Do you know that Fukamachi is your age, O-Sumi?" "Don't deviate the conversation. I am not interested in his age." "All right, but come here, come, come," said Onisaburo. Sumi used to have a slender figure but she had gained weight recently, which gave her a dignified appearance. Onisaburo grew somewhat irritated and said in a somewhat nasty tone, "O-Sumi, the situation of the Omoto is changing day by day, and there are many hurdles on the way. Asano-han came to the Omoto and published the magazine 'The Spiritual World', then, the founder ascended to heaven, and for three years from now on, Wasaburo Asano, Kazuta Kishi, Tenko Kiyotomo and Masaharu Taniguchi, and Konosuke Fukamachi, all will be needed to build the Japanese society of the Doburoku' unrefined sake' age." Sumi said, "You also talk nonsense. You attempt to bewilder me. You say now Doburoku age. What does that mean?" Onisaburo said, "Doburoku is a kind of refined sake, which comes with its sediment and as such is white and clouded, not transparent. It would be a most useful thing if the Omoto started brewing that kind of sake to offer it to the world. In that case both a wet man and a dry man will be striving for the best results. You see, when people become intoxicated, their behavior varies according to the person, some become ill humored while others start dancing joyfully. You can either laugh or cry, vomit or bump your head against everything but don't forget that however drunk a man is he will sooner or later become sober again. Sumi said, "What is this talk of yours? This is utter nonsense! You must be dreaming! And can I ask what will happen after that Dobukuro age?" Onisaburo said, "Well, I will ultimately sell that sake which has been brewed for the god. The brand name will be "Oni" (that is Demon) Killer of Mt. Oe". It will be the most appropriate sake in the world to kill the demon that lives in the mind of each of us. When people drink that warm sake with moderation it will penetrate to the marrow of their bones and they will feel as if they were making an excursion to Paradise. Sumi asked, "To what sake are you referring now?" "I am referring to teaching! Teaching the truth of the god, Susanou-no-O-kami," answered Onisaburo. "Oh, well...," Sumi was still far from being convinced but Onisaburo continued, "Tomorrow will be the beginning of the Taisho year 8. That word has the same meaning as 'finally' in Japanese." Onisaburo explained the meaning of that number according to the Spiritual Power, then continued, "Sumi becomes thirty-seven, and I fortymine, time has passed so quickly, since I married you eighteen years ago." Sumi said, "Yes, a lot of things have happened in our lives. Onisaburo said, "Sure, and I am going to fly high in the air riding that sacred horse which will drive me forward with irresistible force. I must fly into Orion. While I am not in the Omoto cult you firmly protect this cult. Sumi glared at him and said, "Great words but I have taken our house so much in charge while you are not here that I have almost forgotten the Reverend's face!" "Well I will listen to that at some later time, because Fukamachi is now crossing the bridge and is coming in our direction galloping with his two horses on the powdered snow." Onisaburo greeted him while Fukamachi dismounted and smiled childishly. Onisaburo flung his arms around the horses and joyfully pressed his cheek against them.

      Fukamachi reported, "These fellows are clever, and they know beforehand where my boss, that is, my new master is; and even I could find this place without asking my way." Onisaburo answered cheerfully, "Oh, yes, I know what you mean but don't forget that it is the Year of the Horse, which is the seventh sign of the Zodiac and coincides with the seventh year of the Taisho era. The founder ascended to heaven this year and she will be riding the sacred horse around the world and the heavens to protect us. Isn't that gracious? That is why I want to finish this year receiving a horse and I have woven, with the sacred looms of Ayabe and Kobe, the sacred schedule of the god into a cloth with the noble warp and woof blessed by the god." Fukamachi asked, "And what will be the situation of the world in the Year of the Ram, as the eight sign of the Zodiac? That will be tomorrow!" Onisaburo, beaming with joy answered, "Welcome to the Year of the Ram! I was born under that sign and I will graciously become the goddess, Hitsujisaru-no-Hime (the young Princess) and I will finally appear on the stage of the world without fearing the enemy even if they were ten millions of them. My name is Oni (Its pronunciation is same as a demon in Japanese) -saburo, but people who named me after a great Korean scholar, Dr. Wani who lived in Pai-chi of a Korean country in ancient times, call me Wani-saburo. It is very good. I will become either a demon or a crocodile (its pronunciation is same as the name of Dr. Wani in Japanese).

      Onisaburo continued to speak, "A demon" without horns will appear in the depth of the mountain in the Tamba district, and he will attack the power devils and the wealth devils of the world, one by one with the Suribachi Pass instead of an iron bar. That demon will punish them and make them mend their ways. On the other hand a huge crocodile will raise its head in the stream of the Wachi River and will devour the intellectuals and the scholars of the world liberating the us from their evil existences. Hey, Fukamachi, you are only a shark, but from now on, you should become a small crocodile, and follow me. When Fukamachi entered the green room, the first stage of the drama unfolds." Hearing Onisaburo's talk Fukamachi laughed instinctively, widely opening his mouth. Although Fukamachi could not make head or tail of what he had just hoard, ho became more and more excited. "Are you a fool? Are you a man of the Doburoku age?" Sumi hastily muttered to herself. She didn't know why, but refrained from getting angry with them. As long as Sumi had been living with Onisaburo she had been dealing with his contentious character. On the occasion of Nao's death Onisaburo had raised the theme of the battle between fire and water, which was symbolized by Nao and her husband, Onisaburo, but then he abandoned the theme and it may just be that he was now reactivating it between himself and Sumi. She also had the presentiment that no one was going to be able to foretell when the Great War against her country would occur. "If the god wants the world to be rebuilt I just have to bear whatever comes up she thought, smiling. If that is the unrefined sake produced by men I will refine it myself and make a nice offering out of it. That is my role. Even if my husband is flying high in the air on his sacred horse, I will stand firm on the earth and hold my husband.

      The snow continued to fall covering every vestige of last year under its white powder.

      __Tomorrow the curtain will be lifted on the new drama that is expecting people.

(The End of Mother Earth)

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