On October 27, the day following the Autumn Grand Service, some 15,000 members of Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association assembled in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters to attend the association’s 80th convention, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Oyasato Construction Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps. The annual convention was held in chilly weather but, fortunately, escaped the effects of an approaching typhoon.
At 10:00 A.M., the Shinbashira, 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 guests were ushered into the convention site. Following a brief act of worship and the hoisting of the association flag, Committee Member Sumitaka Shimizu declared the opening of the convention, and the participants sang the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo in unison. Association Vice Chairman Daiichi Umetani then presented the progress report. He first reminded the members that the association had been striving to carry out its pre-anniversary activities, which are focused on increasing the number of people who attend the Besseki lectures. He went on to say, “As we are determined to conduct the sort of association activities that will enable more and more members to be proficient in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and engaging in salvation work, we decided to continue promoting the guidelines ‘Enriching the substance of chapter activities and consolidating the strength for missionary work.'” In regard to the 50th anniversary of the Hinokishin Corps, Vice Chairman Umetani then explained: “The Oyasato Construction Hinokishin Corps was originally organized to consolidate the strength of young followers for the construction of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex and thereby bring joy to God the Parent and Oyasama. Committed to upholding that founding spirit until the day the construction is brought to completion, we have pledged to continue sowing seeds of sincerity at Jiba and fostering our faith while serving as members of the corps. As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the corps, we requested broader participation in the corps and, indeed, we had many more participants than in previous years. Between November last year and October this year, we had a total of 1,949 participants, of whom 1,547 were association members.” The Shinbashira then took the podium to deliver his address in his role as this association’s president. First, he shared his reflections on the association’s pre-anniversary activities. He told the members: “A number of chapters–inspired by the goal [of increasing the number of people who attend the Besseki lectures]–have been enthusiastically working to live up to it by doing all they can. However, the enthusiasm of some chapters does not appear to be up to par, and there are even a few chapters–thankfully a small number, it seems–that appear to have no clue as to how to go about their activities. I feel that our association, as a whole, somehow seems to be lacking in enthusiasm. It is for this reason that I want us to take this opportunity to take a fresh look at what it means to increase the number of people who attend the Besseki lectures.” He continued: “To accomplish this task, it is essential, first and foremost, for us ourselves to live as seekers of the path, making daily efforts to think and behave in a manner based on the teachings, so that we may be looked up to as a convincing example through the way we live our lives. With regard to the activities based in local chapters, dioceses, and districts, it is important to make steady and repeated efforts each day without losing sight of where your steps are leading you.” After noting that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Oyasato Construction Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps, he emphasized the significance of the corps: “This corps has consistently been understood as providing an opportunity for our members to sow seeds of sincerity in preparation for their future, which is to say, to lay the foundation that will enable them to serve as fine Yoboku of God the Parent and as instruments of Oyasama.” In the member representative pledge, Tamashima Chapter Chairman Masanao Okazaki expressed the members’ firm commitment to uphold the spirit of the Hinokishin Corps by sowing seeds of sincerity at Jiba and to heighten their enthusiasm for their role in the Oyasato construction. He also pledged a more active effort to increase the number of people attending the Besseki lectures as well as a concerted effort to give full play to the members’ role as pioneers of the path so that they could make further headway on the path of spiritual growth. The 13 directly supervised chapters that had fulfilled their resolutions for the Hinokishin Corps for ten consecutive years were commended. The chairman of each chapter went up to the podium to receive a certificate of commendation from the president in recognition of the efforts their chapter had devoted to the corps. Before closing the convention, the participants joined together in singing “The Oyasama 120th Anniversary Song” and “Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Anthem.” The convention-eve festivities were held in the areas on both sides of the South Gate following the evening service on October 26. Also, a photo and video exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Oyasato Construction Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps was held between October 24 and 27 at Doyusha Gallery, attracting a total of 2,844 visitors.