Drawing 64 followers from various parts of Indonesia, Tenrikyo Indonesia Shutchosho observed the installation service for its fourth head, Rev. Michio Harima, on July 15 with Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi attending as a guest of honor. The service, which was performed as its monthly service, also commemorated the 20th anniversary of the shutchosho as well.
The mission in the Indonesian region started before World War II. There was a Tenrikyo church in Java around that time. Because of the war, however, the path in the area was halted.
After the end of the war, the region attained its independence as the Republic of Indonesia. It is recorded that the path in that area was restarted in around 1966.
The path in Indonesia was far from easy, and followers faced a great deal of hardships and difficulties in sharing the teachings with people living in the Islamic society. In November 1987, however, the government allowed Tenrikyo followers in Indonesia to establish Tenrikyo Indonesia Renrakusho, officially recognizing Tenrikyo as a newly formed religious group. Ten years later, the renrakusho was elevated to the status of shutchosho. Yet, even though Tenrikyo was thus officially acknowledged in Indonesia, the fact that almost 90 percent of its population is Muslim made it hard for Tenrikyo to conduct its activities in Indonesia.
Nevertheless, the followers have managed to engage in salvation work and have also contributed to social welfare services by digging wells as hinokishin activities and supporting a foster parent group.
Tenrikyo now has seven fellowships and about 400 Yoboku, including some kyoto, in Indonesia. The present path there has only been made possible by the great efforts of those who are committed to the path as well as their predecessors.
After the service, Rev. Masahiko Iburi delivered a congratulatory address. Reflecting upon the path in Indonesia, he said: “We are now heading for the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama. Taking advantage of this season, I very much hope that with the new head of the Indonesia Shutchosho as the core, all staff members, Yoboku, and followers in Indonesia will refresh their mind, resolve to share Oyasama’s teachings with people in Indonesia ever more widely, and commit themselves to attain further spiritual growth.”
Then the new head, Rev. Harima, expressed his resolution by telling the listeners: “Thanks to the seeds of sincerity sown by the successive heads of the Indonesia Shutchosho and followers in Indonesia, we are able to be here today. In the hope that the path will continue to grow in this country, I look forward to joining you all in taking steps along the path of spiritual growth.”