Visit by the Former Shinbashira Encourages Followers in the U.S., Colombia, and Mexico

Former Shinbashira Zenye Nakayama traveled to the United States, Colombia, and Mexico between September 11 and 23. During this period, he visited Tenrikyo missionary facilities in these regions and warmly encouraged the followers there to take great strides toward the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama in a unity of mind.

On September 11, the former Shinbashira left Japan for New York, the first destination on his trip. Though he had been to New York on five previous occasions, this was his first trip in 11 years. About 50 followers of the path gathered at Tenrikyo New York Center to welcome him.

On the second day, a welcome party was organized at Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, which was attended by about 170 followers in New York and its vicinity. At the party, 40 members of the Boys and Girls Association gave a welcome speech. The Borromeo String Quartet, which includes Violist Mai Motobuchi, former member of Tenrikyo Institute of Music, welcomed the former Shinbashira with a performance.

On the third day, the former Shinbashira visited Ground Zero, the former World Trade Center site. In the afternoon, Tenri Cultural Institute of New York hosted a mini concert, which included performances by the Borromeo String Quartet and by Pianist Albert Lotto. On the following day, the former Shinbashira left for Colombia, the second destination on his trip. During his stay in Colombia, he visited a number of Tenrikyo facilities, including a farm established when students of the Tenri High School Evening Course immigrated to Colombia in 1961.

About 110 followers gathered at the Mission Center in Colombia to welcome the former Shinbashira, who encouraged them to strive toward the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. Rev. Masayuki Ishizaki, head of the mission center, then delivered a speech, in which he made a fresh resolve toward the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. He called on the followers to work in a unity of mind so that they may receive God’s blessings, thereby enabling them to bring back as many followers as possible to Jiba for the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.

On the evening of the 18th, the former Shinbashira arrived in Mexico. He visited two churches during his stay there. At the Mission Center in Mexico, he requested the followers in Mexico to put further effort into the activities leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.

In his speech following the former Shinbashira’s address, Rev. Minoru Kokuryo, head of the Mission Center in Mexico, expressed his wish that all the followers in Mexico would engage in missionary work–both sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and engaging in salvation work–in a unity of mind in anticipation of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama as well as the 20th anniversary of the mission center.

On the 20th, the former Shinbashira left for Los Angeles in order to celebrate Los Angeles Tenri Judo Club’s 40th anniversary. On the 22nd, he attended the 40th Anniversary Invitational Tournament, which was held at Schurr High School in Montebello, California, along with Mr. Riichi Yamane, head of the Board of Directors of Tenri Judo Association, and two Olympic medalists from Tenri, Mr. Shinji Hosokawa and Mr. Shinichi Shinohara.

In the opening ceremony, the former Shinbashira delivered a speech, in which he explained the original purpose for establishing the club as well as the spirit of “Tenri Judo,” and he thanked all those concerned with the club for their sincere efforts and energy. The tournament had about 270 participants.

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