This year’s Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day was observed on May 18 at about 2,000 locations throughout Japan. It was also conducted at scores of locations in overseas countries on a variety of days, mostly in May. Many of the participants brought their children with them in order to implement this year’s motto for Hinokishin Day, which was “Let all Yoboku participate with their families.”
Although hinokishin refers to daily actions that express one’s gratitude for God’s gift of life and one’s joy at being kept alive, this annual Hinokishin Day provides followers with a special opportunity to combine their efforts in an outpouring of joy, thus enabling them to show their gratitude to God the Parent and make a contribution to their communities at the same time.
At the Home of the Parent, Hinokishin Day was attended by about 4,300 people including staff members of Church Headquarters, instructors and students of Tenri Seminary and the Spiritual Development Course, members of the Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps, and teachers and students of Tenrikyo schools. The participants were divided into 60 groups, which were assigned a variety of hinokishin tasks, particularly cleaning and weeding, at facilities all over the city including the train station, police station, schools, parks, social welfare institutions, and civic centers.
In Brazil, Hinokishin Day was observed in 15 districts on May 1, Labor Day, with a turnout of 2,100 followers. In the Sao Paulo district, Hinokishin Day was conducted in Ipiranga Independence Memorial Park, located in the center of the city. The number of participants at this site was 1,097, some of whom came by bus and car from other cities and towns within the district. With fanfare provided by an 80-member fife-and-drum band, the opening ceremony began at 9:00 A.M., when the message from Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi was read aloud to the participants. In addition to giving guidance on the attitude that ought to be maintained for the event, the message went on to say: “Your actions have the power to convince more and more people what a difference it makes to live with true sincerity, and I believe that your efforts of hinokishin will make a fundamental contribution to having the world be blessed with the actualization of the Joyous Life. . . . Let us continue living with the spirit of hinokishin each day so that our lives may serve as a convincing example that will make the truth of the teachings self-apparent to those around us.” The participants then spread out through the extensive park to perform their hinokishin assignments in high spirits. Other sites in Brazil included Bauru, where 157 followers did laundry, cleaning, painting, and weeding at a home for the elderly, and Campinas, where 115 followers weeded and cleaned an institution for the visually challenged.
In Argentina, 44 people did hinokishin at Buenos Aires Mission Station. In Colombia, the event was held at three sites, where a total of 87 followers cleaned homes for the elderly as well as a park. In Mexico, 39 people cleaned up around the mission center located in Mexico City, and another 37 participated at sites in two other districts. In Venezuela, 10 followers cleaned a home for the elderly and, in Peru, 25 cleaned the area around Lima Church.
In Oceania, 124 followers cleaned parks, beaches, and roads in Australia’s Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, and Gold Coast districts and in New Zealand’s Auckland district. On May 4, about 30 of those followers did cleaning and weeding along the streets near Melbourne Shinyu Church. Cleaning these streets has been a daily hinokishin practice at this church for the past 20 years and, because of these steady efforts, some of the residents in the neighborhood have even started joining in this activity.
In Hong Kong, 31 followers including 5 members of the Boys and Girls Association picked up litter on the beach at Repulse Bay on May 1. This sandy, crescent beach is reputed to be Hong Kong’s best beach and is a popular tourist attraction. Due to the spread of SARS in Hong Kong at that time, the number of participants was fewer than in previous years, but those who did come worked spiritedly to clean the beach, access roads, and parking lots.
In Singapore, 75 followers cleaned East Coast Park on May 25. In Thailand, 160 did hinokishin on May 18 at social welfare institutions in three districts including Bangkok. In Nepal, 84 followers cleaned Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu on May 17. In the Philippines, 46 cleaned a park in Manila on May 11.
In Africa, 55 followers in the Congo cleaned the streets around Congo-Brazzaville Church on May 17.
In the United States and Canada, Hinokishin Day was conducted at a number of sites during May. At Mission Headquarters in America, 128 followers cleaned the streets around the headquarters on the evening before the monthly service. In New York, following the monthly service at New York Center on May 4, about 100 followers cleaned the area around the center and 18 people donated blood at a nearby hospital. In Vancouver, 48 followers did hinokishin at a Japanese language school.
In Hawaii, 120 followers gathered at Honolulu Zoo on May 3, where they pulled weeds and raked leaves. On the Big Island and the islands of Kauai and Maui, 66 people turned out to clean cemeteries.
In Europe, Hinokishin Day was conducted in Great Britain, Italy, Germany, and France on various days in May. In London, 17 participants picked up litter in Hyde Park and 3 cleaned a street in Leeds. In Rome, 4 followers did hinokishin at a school and, in Munich, 7 followers cleaned the area in front of a school. In Paris, 18 followers did hinokishin at the Europe Center.