On October 22, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters held its annual rice-harvesting ceremony at Somanouchi Farm of Tenri High School’s Agriculture Department. 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, Japan was hit with record heat. Although damage to crops 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.
On this day, the Home of the Parent was blessed with clear autumn skies. 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 80 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 half an hour of work from the rice fields with a combined area of 1,500 square meters (1,794 square yards). The Shinbashira 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.