On July 4, Action Day for the Heart-Clean Campaign was observed at about 350 venues throughout Japan. As a core activity of the Young Men’s Association organized at a local diocese level, this campaign centers around clean-up hinokishin conducted in each district once a month. The purpose of this activity is to let participants share the joy of being kept alive through performing hinokishin, which may also serve to reflect that joy to others living in the community. The first Sunday of July every year is designated as Action Day for the campaign. Starting this year, the Young Men’s Association is promoting the campaign as an occasion to strengthen family ties and is asking its members to participate in it with their family members. Thanks to the increased efforts to bring families to the campaign, participants ranging from small children to elderly people assembled at venues around Japan.
This year, Shizuoka Diocese chapter held the Action Day hinokishin activities at four venues and attracted a total of 1,340 participants, which is approximately four times the number of participants in previous years. The Shinbashira, who serves as the president of Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association, paid a visit to two venues in Shizuoka Diocese, Hamatome Beach in Yaizu City and Nakatajima Beach in Hamamatsu City.
Hamatome Beach, where Tosun, Chusunhigashi, Chusunnishi, and Seisun districts co-conducted their Action Day activities, drew a total of 463 participants including many families. The sky was clear and the weather was pleasant unlike the previous day when it rained. Before the participants engaged in clean-up activities, the Shinbashira addressed them, explaining the meaning of hinokishin and giving them a few words of appreciation and encouragement. As he walked around the venue, participants were picking up litter and cutting grass around the beach. Among the participants were some children who went into the ocean and picked up trash in shallow water.
The Shinbashira next moved to Nakatajima Beach, which is about 60 kilometers (37.3 mi.) west of Hamatome Beach. Chuen, Seien, Hokuen, and Nanen districts co-conducted the Action Day cleaning activities at Nakatajima Beach, assembling 488 participants. At the end of the clean-up activities, the Shinbashira personally thanked the participants for their efforts in doing hinokishin.
Mr. Nobuyuki Tsuda participated in the Action Day activities with his wife and a son. He shared his reflections with a smile: “Because both my wife and I work, we don’t have much time to spend together. So it was very nice to work up a good sweat together with our son by engaging in clean-up hinokishin. Also, I had a surprise meeting with my classmate from the time when I attended the three-month Spiritual Development Course a few years ago.”
Young Men’s Association Shizuoka Diocese Chapter Chairman Takichi Okano expressed his appreciation, saying: “I am extremely grateful for all of the help and support we received from so many people including the church head ministers in the diocese. Also, I want to thank all of the participants for turning out in unprecedented numbers this year. I would like to continue providing association activities as opportunities for the members to meet and communicate with one another and set up more activities that will allow their families to join in our activities and participate together.”