From July 18 to 24, Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association organized its 10th International Hinokishin Corps, which is intended for association members of overseas chapters. Organized every three years, the corps—which serves as a special corps of the Oyasato Construction Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps—is designed to provide overseas members with an opportunity to sow seeds of sincerity at Jiba through hinokishin, as well as aims to facilitate interactions among members from various countries. This year’s corps comprised a total of 140 members from 10 countries and regions—Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, France, Hawaii, South Korea, Taiwan, the U.K., the U.S. mainland, and Venezuela.
At the opening ceremony, Young Men’s Association President Daisuke Nakayama delivered an address. President Nakayama first brought up the association guideline, “Take on challenges for world salvation.” He then went on to describe his vision of the future saying, “[I]n ten years’ time, Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path, will each be conveying Oyasama’s teachings and helping save people’s minds while addressing social issues in their countries and regions around the world.” He further encouraged all participants to embark on world salvation in their own ways. President Nakayama then closed his address by saying: “Through sowing seeds of sincerity at Jiba, the native place of humanity, let us receive strength from God the Parent and Oyasama. Let us make sure we give full expression to this strength by working for world salvation. To be able to do that, let us not only enjoy ourselves but spiritedly and joyously sow as many seeds of sincerity as possible over the next several days.”
Divided into seven groups, the participants started their hinokishin on the 19th in various parts of Oyasato, the Home of the Parent. Sixty-four participants from Taiwan and South Korea took part in preparing Tenri University Somanouchi Gymnasium 1 for one of the attractions to be held during the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba.
Prior to the International Hinokishin Corps this year, the Taiwan Chapter had made a resolution to have at least 40 participants return to Jiba and join the corps. Using social media to reach out to as many people as possible, they were able to fulfill their resolution with 41 participants. Taiwan Chapter Chairman Keita Kato, who is the successor-designate to the head minister of Tomon Branch Church, said: “I am very grateful to be able to see the participants engaging in hinokishin in unity of mind. I hope to convey the joy attained from sowing seeds of sincerity at Jiba to as many people as possible.”
This year South Korea Chapter had 23 participants, which was almost double the number of participants from the previous time. Among them was first-time participant Jang Yonseok, who is the successor-designate to the head minister of Gyeondong Church. Five years ago, his son was born with serious lung and heart issues. After three major surgeries, his son was able to receive miraculous blessings. Jang then decided to quit his job and work solely for the path and his church. “When I attended the Lay Minister Preparatory Course this past April, I learned that everything is drawn together by God. These words and my personal situation overlapped. I realized that I needed to make repayment for the blessings I received by doing hinokishin through the opportunity of this International Hinokishin Corps,” he said.
The group setting up the Tenri Pool area was 20 participants from the Brazil Chapter. Among them was Thiago Denner Nishikata Caldeira, who is a first-generation follower and a Yoboku belonging to Taimo Church. His first interaction with the faith was through a church sleepover. He then returned to Jiba for the first time for the Oyasato Seminar—sponsored by Tenrikyo Overseas Department—five years ago. He said: “I do not have any experiences of receiving blessings for a major illness or problem. However, I always feel that God is protecting me. My friends at work wondered why I was going to use my precious vacation time for religious activities, but I believe that returning to Jiba and sowing seeds of sincerity there is the best way for me to express my gratitude to God the Parent.”
Participants from the other parts of South America and from Europe went up into Mount Jatani—which is owned by Church Headquarters—to help transport felled timber. One of the participants was Stiven Erazo, who is a Yoboku belonging to Farallones Church in Colombia. He came to know of Tenrikyo while attending the Japanese language classes that are held at Tenrikyo Mission Center in Colombia. He then completed Shuyoka, the three-month Spiritual Development Course held in Jiba, this past June and became a Yoboku. After this hinokishin corps ends, he plans to return to his country to administer the Sazuke to his mother. “I believe that this hinokishin I am doing now helps to build a basis for receiving blessings for my mother,” he said. “Also, while doing hinokishin with people from all parts of the world, I feel that I am able to physically experience the truth of the teaching that we are all brothers and sisters and that we need to respect and help one another.”