The 78th Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Convention was held in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters on Sunday, October 27. Since it fell on the day after the Autumn Grand Service and the announcement of Instruction Two, the convention drew more than 37,000 people–about twice the number of participants at last year’s convention.
The weather was as chilly as the day of the Autumn Grand Service, the highest temperature being only 17 degrees Celsius, much lower than the average for this time of the year. Even one hour before the commencement of the convention, many members of the association’s chapters, who had paraded up Tenri Arcade and other streets with their flags flying at the front of their groups, started entering the church precincts. The Inner Courtyard was filled with the great number of participants by the time the convention commenced.
At 10:00 a.m., the Shinbashira, who is also the president of the Young Men’s Association, ushered the former Shinbashira, Women’s Association President Harue Nakayama, Director-in-Chief of Religious Affairs Tomoo Itakura, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi, and other distinguished guests onto the stage while Tenri High School Brass Band performed the “Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps Song.” The convention commenced with an act of worship, and then the opening declaration was made. Following the hoisting of the association’s flag and the singing of the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo in unison, Vice Chairman Zenpei Kubo presented the progress report on the previous year. Referring to the Shinbashira’s address at last year’s convention, where he had instructed the members to put aside hesitation and all their worries about what has yet to occur and advance in a manner befitting their role as Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path, Vice Chairman Kubo said: “In order to meet our president’s expectations, we realized the necessity of increasing the number of members who can sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and engage in salvation work, as well as the need to enrich the association’s activities more than ever. This year, therefore, we have promoted the guidelines ‘Enriching the Substance of Chapter Activities and Consolidating the Strength for Missionary Work.'” He also reported on various missionary activities such as the Missionary Campaign Week for All Chapters and hinokishin activities including the Heart-Clean Campaign and the International Hinokishin Corps, which is held once in three years.
Then, the Shinbashira took the podium to deliver his address. Referring to Instruction Two, which he had announced on the previous day, he said, “Unless our activities are characterized by vitality, high spiritedness, and energy, they cannot really be called Young Men’s Association activities.” He closed his remarks by asking the members to “unite in taking on the role of showing the world the high-spiritedness of this path by taking advantage of [their] vitality and enthusiasm that befit Arakitoryo.”
Following the Shinbashira’s address, Shikishima Chapter Chairman Chuji Yoshikawa made a pledge on behalf of all the association’s members. He stated: “Taking advantage of our youth in full awareness of our respective positions, the chairmen of the chapters based in churches as well as in dioceses and districts need to take the responsibility for venturing inward and outward in high spirits by sowing the seeds of sincerity at Jiba, performing the service, and administering the Sazuke, and we also must put aside the thought that somebody else will do those someday.” To bring the convention to a close, all the members recited aloud the “Guiding Principles of Arakitoryo,” and then all the participants joined together in singing the “Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Anthem.”