The Shinbashira and his wife, Mrs. Harue Nakayama, made their first visit to South Korea between June 29 and July 4. It was a historic event that marked the first time a Shinbashira visited South Korea with his wife. The Shinbashira and Mrs. Nakayama arrived at Gimhae International Airport at 10:00 P.M. on June 29, and were met by Bishop Yoshikazu Terada and members of the mission headquarters board of directors. They arrived at the mission headquarters by car an hour later and were welcomed by over a hundred followers. Among them was Rev. Kim Bo-gi, head minister of Wolseong Church, who smiled broadly and said, “We’ve waited for this day for a very long time.”
6,500 Attend Installation Service for New Bishop
On June 30, approximately 6,500 followers from all over South Korea attended the installation service for the 14th bishop. The Shinbashira and Mrs. Nakayama made their way to the sanctuary of the mission headquarters dressed in kyofuku robes at 10:00 A.M. Bishop Terada read the service prayer, proclaiming: “There now have been 14 bishops since the Mission Headquarters in South Korea was established. During that time, the world has changed drastically, bringing about a path of successive difficulties in which our predecessors steadily continued their single-heartedness with God and their steps devoted to single-hearted salvation. The present path in South Korea was made possible because their minds were intently focused on the Divine Model and because of their firm belief in the path of world salvation and their desire to spread that path in this land while dedicating themselves in their respective tasks for the sake of the Tenrikyo mission.” Bishop Terada concluded the prayer by pledging: “We Yoboku resolve to move ahead in our efforts dedicated toward single-hearted salvation cheerfully, in high spirits, and with united minds while savoring the joy of the present season of the 170th year since the founding of the Teaching and solidifying a self-awareness that we are Oyasama’s instruments.”
The Shinbashira then took the lectern to deliver his address. He began by expressing his joy at being able to meet the followers in South Korea and thanked them for their dedicated efforts for the path. He went on to say: “The role of this mission headquarters is not merely to be a local outpost for Church Headquarters, but it has the important task of providing care and nurturing. It is a place to think of ways to bring churches, mission stations, Yoboku, and followers in the diocese closer to God the Parent’s intention and advance activities that encourage their spiritual growth.”
The Shinbashira also said that the installation of the bishop marked an important juncture for the path in South Korea and that it was possible to interpret such a juncture or a knot in a positive manner, as a harbinger of new developments. Yet he warned that although a knot can bring about new growth, there are also times when a knot marks a place where breakage may occur. He explained that whether a knot brings about new growth or not depends solely on the minds of those involved, and that the future of the path in South Korea depended on the minds of everyone present. The Shinbashira further expressed his hope that the new bishop would prove to be a disciple of Oyasama who would gain the full trust of followers and asked everyone present to cooperate with the new bishop for the sake of the path in South Korea.
The performance of the seated service then commenced, with the Shinbashira as the core, and followers who filled the worship hall and the outer sanctuary grounds sang the Mikagura-uta in Korean. The service was also shown on large video screens in the outer sanctuary grounds, the dining hall, and the hall of the mission headquarters’ Educational and Cultural Center.
Following the service, the Shinbashira and Mrs. Nakayama planted a tree while wearing traditional Korean clothes to commemorate the event. There were performances of samulnori (folk percussion music) and Korean drumming and dance, followed by firework displays. Followers expressed their joy at welcoming the couple by cheerfully dancing in a circle to the folk song Kang-Gang Su-Wol-Rae.
Inauguration Ceremony Conducted for the South Korea Chapters of the Women’s Association and the Young Men’s Association
On July 1, despite heavy rain, as many as 2,500 attended the inauguration ceremony for the South Korea chapters of the Women’s Association and the Young Men’s Association. Members of the two associations conducted a practice service from 10:00 A.M.
The Shinbashira then gave an address. He expressed his hope that the members of the Women’s Association and the Young Men’s Association would always remember their respective roles as “the foundation of the path” and “pioneers of the path.” The Shinbashira closed his address by expressing his wish for the associations to work in unity of mind, urging: “It will not do for the associations to have activities that are unconnected with the mission headquarters. I hope that you will join your minds together and advance your activities in conjunction with the mission headquarters.”
Speaking next was President Harue Nakayama of Tenrikyo Women’s Association. She first acknowledged the struggles of the predecessors of the path in South Korea and urged association members to always remember the sincerity dedicated by these predecessors while they devote their own efforts each day and to live out Oyasama’s teachings as straightforwardly as possible while carrying with them the joy of being the foundation of the path. She then explained the activity guidelines and goals the association is promoting in anticipation of its 100th anniversary, to be held in three years, and mentioned the Young Women’s Convention that will be held later this year. She closed her address, saying, “I ask you to make the efforts to become members who bring joy to Oyasama and pass each day meaningfully in unity of mind so that you will be able to welcome the 100th anniversary with joy.”
Mrs. Nakayama’s address was followed by a congratulatory address by Rev. Zenpei Kubo, chairman of Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Headquarters. After giving a summary of the background leading to the founding of the association, Rev. Kubo called on association members to stand at the threshold as pioneers of the path in order to help realize the Joyous Life for the entire world.
Representatives from the two newly established chapters then gave a statement of resolve. The ceremony ended with the singing of the anthems of the two associations in Korean. In the afternoon, there were performances by the Boys and Girls Fife and Drum Corps and chorus groups. Traditional Korean music and dance were also performed.