The 2010 Oyasato Seminar—a summer program geared toward transmitting the faith to mainly high-school-age participants who are to shoulder the tasks of the overseas mission—was conducted in four languages in the Home of the Parent during the period between July 10 to August 17. The opening ceremony was held on July 10 for most seminar courses, except the Korean Course, which did not start until August 5 due to a different school calendar in South Korea that makes it impossible for the students to return to Jiba in early July.
At the ceremony, which took place at the auditorium of Tenrikyo Language Institute, Overseas Department Head Yoichiro Miyamori gave an address and encouraged the participants, saying: “I imagine that all of you assembled here today have returned to Jiba upon the recommendation of people around you. I believe that those people recommended that you come to Jiba because they think Jiba is a wonderful place to visit. I sincerely hope that you will find out and experience wonderful things about Jiba and take courage to give a try to new experiences. I also hope that, through attending the Oyasato Seminar, you will be able to feel the parental heart of Oyasama.” After the opening ceremony, participants and staff members conducted a prayer service in the South Worship Hall, led by Rev. Miyamori.
The Oyasato Seminar was first launched in 1984 as a program conducted in English, and the courses in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Korean were added in later years. Attending the opening ceremony were 73 participants from seven countries and regions—Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hawaii, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S. mainland. There were a total of 33 participants in the English courses: 20 in Course I (counselors: David Inouye and Mary Tomizawa) and 13 in Course III (counselors: Louise Inafuku and Michael Yukimoto). The Spanish Course did not take place this year.
During the first half of the Oyasato Seminar, participants in the Chinese and Portuguese courses as well as English Course I attended classes covering the basic teachings and practiced the dance and the musical instruments for the service. “I want to be able to perform the service, not just by memorizing the hand movements but also by understanding the meanings of the songs,” says Marianne Yayoi Kokuryo, an English Course I student belonging to Granville Church in Canada.
On July 16, participants in the Chinese and Portuguese courses as well as English Course I went to cross the Jusan Pass together. Due to the bad weather, however, the group had to discontinue the walk when they reached the top of the pass. The group danced to the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo at a parking lot near the top of the pass, facing toward Osaka, where Kokan, Oyasama’s youngest daughter, spread the name of Tenri-O-no-Mikoto for the first time in the history of Tenrikyo when she was their age.
In the meantime, English Course III participants engaged in hinokishin standing guard at the Main Sanctuary with members of the Precincts Section of Church Headquarters. Morihiko Nakatomi, an English Course III student belonging to LA Shin’yu Mission Station, shared his experiences: “There were times when I was too exhausted from the long hours of hinokishin. But I remember that my mind became all clear when people visiting the Main Sanctuary said to me, ‘Thank you for your hard work.'” Also, all 13 participants in English Course III received the precious truth of the Sazuke, the Divine Grant, during the seminar.
For the second half of the seminar, the Portuguese Course and both English courses each went to a different missionary house to engage in door-to-door missionary work. English Course I went to Hiroshima Missionary House while English Course III went to Aichi. “My mind went blank [when I administered the Sazuke],” says Aisha Jade Gillespie, an English Course III student belonging to Kyokushi London Mission Station in the U.K. “When I go home, I would like to visit the mission station on a regular basis to deepen my faith so that I will be able to help out people in need.” The Chinese Course and both English courses ended on July 25 while the Portuguese Course ended on July 27.
The Korean Course was held between August 5 and 17 with 14 participants. The participants attended classes in the mornings covering the basic teachings and practiced the dance and the musical instruments for the service in the afternoons. In addition, they engaged in a variety of other activities. On the 11th, they walked from Takayasu Grand Church to Jiba, crossing the mountains in the midsummer heat just as many early followers did. On July 13 and 14, the students went out for missionary work—in Tenri on the first day and in Osaka on the second day—to follow in the footsteps of early followers.