A convention commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reestablishment of the Overseas Department was held on October 28 in the Home of the Parent, with the presence of Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi, former head of the department. A total of 220 followers from 17 countries participated in the convention.
Tenrikyo Overseas Department (formerly Tenrikyo Overseas Mission Department) was first established in 1927 in order to support missionaries in overseas countries. The progress of the path in overseas countries, however, came to a halt with the end of World War II in 1945. The department was reestablished in 1952, and this year thus marks the 50th year since its reestablishment.
In his opening address, Department Head Yoshiaki Mihama said that the overseas mission appeared to have been blessed with surges of growth at 10-year intervals. He then pointed out that we need to redouble our efforts to develop human resources so that the 50th anniversary would also lead to a new surge in the growth of the path overseas. He concluded his address by calling upon the audience to join him in pledging to make utmost efforts for salvation work during this timely season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, as encouraged in Instruction Two announced by the Shinbashira.
Director-in-Chief Iburi then delivered an address, in which he pointed out that missionary activities of this path are done by people who practice the teachings of Oyasama with a sense of vocation at a given place either out of their desire to make repayment for the salvation they attained or out of their firm conviction that the path of Oyasama is the path for universal salvation.
He later indicated that the history of Tenrikyo’s overseas mission had seen two turning points at 40-year intervals–40th and 80th Anniversaries of Oyasama. At the time of the 40th Anniversary, Tenri School of Foreign Languages was established to train people to be missionaries in overseas countries. Tenrikyo Overseas Department was also originally established at that time. At the time of the 80th Anniversary, new approaches to missionary activities were taken through cultural exchanges, education, sports exchanges, and medical missions.
He then expressed his wish that those engaged in the overseas mission would use the present season to take a leading role in the work of universal salvation so that the 120th Anniversary would become the next turning point in the overseas mission. To achieve this goal, he emphasized the importance of nurturing and training people to become “authentic Yoboku,” who settle in their minds the teachings of Oyasama and actually put them into practice.
This was followed by a 30-minute video, prepared especially for this occasion, which portrayed the history of Tenrikyo’s overseas mission.
In addition, a photo exhibition entitled “To the World, To the Future” was held between October 24 and 29 at Doyusha Gallery in commemoration of the 50th anniversary. It had a total of 5,350 visitors during that period.