On October 27, the day following the Autumn Grand Service, Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association held its 81st convention in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters with a turnout of some 15,000 members including those from overseas. In contrast to the chilly weather in the early morning hours on that day, the Home of the Parent was bathed in warm sunshine by the start of the convention.
Shortly after 10:00 A.M.., the Shinbashira, the former Shinbashira, Women’s Association President Harue Nakayama, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi, and other guests were ushered into the convention site. After a moment of worship, the hoisting of the association flag, and the opening declaration, all participants sang the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo in unison. Association Vice Chairman Masaharu Matsuda then presented the progress report on the activities of the previous year. He began by reminding the members that, at last year’s convention, the Shinbashira had told them, “It is important to make steady and repeated efforts each day without losing sight of where your steps are leading you.” He then stated: “In order for us members of the Young Men’s Association to settle the teachings in mind through our activities, nurture our faith, and thereby make progress toward our spiritual growth as young Yoboku, we have set the guidelines ‘Implementing the Teachings and Establishing Strong Faith’ this year. Under these guidelines, we have promoted the effort ‘to increase the number of people who attend the Besseki lectures’ through a unified effort of our members in preparation for the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama and have been trying to achieve our individual goals.” He then reported on the activities conducted during the past year, including their chapter-based activities, community-based activities, the Oyasato Construction Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps activities, overseas-related activities, publishing activities, and nurturing activities. The Shinbashira then took the podium to deliver his address. First, he told the members, “Even when we are absolutely convinced that we are following the path in the right way, there are times when discrepancies exist between God’s intention and us.” He continued, “[S]imply pressing forward at all times is not enough, because another characteristic of being young is flexibility, which should allow you to change your state of mind with simple openness when you encounter a knot.” In concluding his address, he expressed his expectation for the association members to give full play to their potential as pioneers of the path so that they will “be able to observe the 120th Anniversary with a mind as clear as a cloudless sky” and ensure “a lively atmosphere in the Home of the Parent throughout the year of the anniversary.” In response to the Shinbashira’s address, Tohi Chapter Chairman Hiroshi Komori made a pledge on behalf of all the members. He reaffirmed the members’ commitment to be joyous and spirited in doing whatever it takes to carry out the association’s pre-anniversary activity, and thereby increase the number of people attending the Besseki lectures. He also pledged, “All of us members of the association will continue advancing along the path of spiritual growth so as to ensure that Jiba will be lively with people’s joy and enthusiasm each day throughout that year.” 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, which were held in the areas on both sides of the South Gate following the evening service on October 26, included 62 food booths as well as a variety of entertainment provided on stages.