On October 23, under clear autumn skies, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters held its annual rice-harvesting ceremony at Somanouchi Farm of Tenri High School’s Agriculture Department. The event was attended by the Shinbashira and Mrs. Harue Nakayama, as well as Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama and his family.
This traditional event was originally begun in 1937 by the second Shinbashira, who sought to experience farming first-hand to savor the teachings explained through agricultural metaphors in the Scriptures.
This summer, an active front stayed near Honshu for a long period of time, resulting in a long rainy spell unusual for midsummer and above-average precipitation falling in western and eastern Japan.
Although damage to crops due to the long spell of rain had been a concern at the Home of the Parent as well, the harvest turned out to be as bountiful as usual years thanks to the diligent care provided by many people including Tenri High School’s evening course students who belong to the Agriculture Department.
A little after 10:00 a.m., the Shinbashira and his family arrived at the farm. During the event, as the Shinbashira looked on nearby, Mrs. Harue Nakayama, Daisuke, and his wife, Nobue, engaged in harvesting rice together with about 150 people including resident officials and staff members of Church Headquarters as well as staff members and students of Tenri High School.
Approximately 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) of rice was harvested in an hour of work from the rice fields with a combined area of 1,500 square meters (1,794 square yards).
Mrs. Harue Nakayama, Daisuke, and his family also went to the adjacent field to harvest sweet potatoes. Toward the end, the high school students bound the harvested rice plants together in bundles and hung them on rice-plant racks for drying. The rice plants would be dried for about 10 days and go through the threshing and hulling processes, followed by the offering of rice to Church Headquarters.