This year’s Tenrikyo Nioigake Day was observed between September 28 and 30, wrapping up the month that Tenrikyo Mission Department annually designates as the month to emphasize and promote nioigake, or sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings. This three-day period was designed to get all Yoboku to actively engage in missionary work. The first day of the period was also designated as the day for church head ministers to give roadside speeches. Prior to Nioigake Day, many dioceses and districts across the country had held seminars and study sessions to help prepare Yoboku for the day.
In the Eastern Kita-tama District of Tokyo Diocese, local followers actively engaged in door-to-door missionary work and passed out Tenrikyo leaflets in residential neighborhoods. In addition, they also spread the name of God the Parent and gave roadside speeches around a different train station each day. The district took the initiative to designate all three days of the period as days for church head ministers to give roadside speeches.
On the evening of the first day, 42 followers including seven church head ministers gathered in front of Komae Station in Komae City, Tokyo Prefecture. Raising a tall banner reading “Tenrikyo: The Joyous Life,” they spread the name of God the Parent while walking around the busy station, which is used by over 40,000 passengers every day. Then church head ministers delivered their speeches on the teachings in front of the station. Other followers also took turns speaking to passers-by about Tenrikyo and the joy of faith, while holding a banner bearing the keywords currently being promoted for the Joyous Life: “Gratitude, Moderation, and Mutual Help.”
This district has also been designating the first day of each month as a special day for local followers to get out and spread the name of God the Parent and give roadside speeches. As a means for Yoboku to take a step in their spiritual growth, this event has been organized since the outset of the three-year period leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. Taking advantage of it, head ministers of churches in the district have made collaborative efforts to increase momentum in the district’s missionary work. As a result of their continuous efforts, this activity now attracts twice as many participants as it originally did and has strengthened ties among followers in the community. In the meantime, the district has spent the past two years hand-delivering the Tenri Jiho newspaper, which is currently an activity being jointly promoted by the Mission Department and Tenrikyo Doyusha Publishing Company. These activities promoted by the district have allowed followers to form friendships and provided them with a sense of belonging regardless of their church affiliation.
In the Hakata District of Fukuoka Diocese, local followers also went to the busy JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka City to spread the name of God the Parent and give roadside speeches on the first day. In spite of the drizzling weather, 51 people including many church head ministers first assembled at a church in the Hakata Ward of Fukuoka City. On the way to the station, the participants walked through the streets while calling out the name of God and singing the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service. Upon arriving at the west exit of Hakata Station, they took a moment to offer a prayer. Then church head ministers took turns delivering speeches while other Yoboku distributed Tenrikyo leaflets to passers-by. On the way back to the base church, they took a different route, walking through the streets while calling out the name of God.
“When I was in elementary school, my father, who was a church head minister, would take me on his rounds of missionary work every day after school,” said a participant named Yomiko Kanno, 70, who serves as a mission station head. “Seeing church head ministers giving roadside speeches today reminded me of my father. Today I have renewed my resolve to engage in missionary work more seriously than before.”
On the second and third days of the three-day period, local followers walked around residential areas, going door to door to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings. A record number of 150 people participated in these activities during the three-day period. District Head Shinji Yamada said: “We have been blessed to see the number of participants increase every year. I’m getting a strong sense of our district becoming livelier. We would like to get more young followers involved and aim to organize some activities such as a monthly nioigake day.”
In many parts of the country, followers sprinkled the fragrance of Tenrikyo in unity of mind. Approximately 6.3 million copies of two new Tenrikyo pamphlets were prepared specifically for this year’s Tenrikyo Nioigake Day. About 1,500 people including staff members of Church Headquarters went by bus from Tenri to Senboku New Town in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, as well as to some areas in Nara Prefecture to engage in door-to-door missionary work during the three-day period.