OUTLINE OF OOMOTO 4
4. THE EARLY LIFE OF CO-FOUNDER ONISABURO DEGUCHI
Onisaburo Deguchi; born Kisaburo Ueda – called the savior and sometimes considered to be the Miroku (Maitreya Bodhisattva) incarnation was born o a poor tenant by the name of Kichimatsu Ueda (Born Umekichi Sano) in Anao village, now a part of the city of Kameoka on the 12th July 1871. He himself wrote in recollection;
Hungry son of tenant munching
Motley meal of rice and barley;
How I felt chill so biting,
Torn my socks and garments Shabby!
Such my life in hamlet lonely
(From Onisaburo Deguchi’s “Dream of my Old home” a collection of his poems)
Yet he cherished conviction that he would be somebody in the future. This was based on a family tradition that every seventh descended would surely make a well-known character. His grandfather, Kichimatsu, informed his son and his daughter in law just before he died that his grand son (Onisaburo Deguchi) would be a useful person because he was the seventh from Ookyo Maruyama (his real name was Mondo Udea) who was a lading painter in Japan.
His precocious talent was proved by the fact that he became at the age of 12, an emergency teacher in the small primary school of the village. He is said to have had to sit on a tall students shoulders in order to write on the blackboard. He remained in this position for two years.
On the other hand, he was avid for knowledge. He attended an evening school in the nearby Buddhist temple to learn the Chinese classics, and went to study the Japanese classics.
At the age of 17, he began to contribute prose and verse to a local literary circle. His literary taste was the key to the later prolific writer, and was based on a prodigious learning as well as inspiration.
He changed trades several times. For a while, he took to inventing agricultural implements - only to fail. At 23 he left for the nearby town of Sonobe, where he served at his cousins - who was a veterinary surgeon. He was naturally endowed with a marvelous memory and so he learnt and memorized by heart around 5000 pages of 16 volumes of veterinarian medicine books. He wanted to be a veterinary surgeon and soon outdid his cousin in but study and skill. But before long he loathed the profession. We must not however forget his additional efforts made towards studying Japanese philosophy and literary classics under the noted scholar - Koprehira Okada.
When he was 25, poverty drove him to take the examination for policeman and prison officer with success - but he declined both. Once he had a lemonade factory in a neighboring town, but it lasted only during summer. In January of the next year he founded the Seiyu-kan, a dairy, which flourished for a year but that, was the end of his worldly career.
His father’s death in July 1897 put him in to a position of supporting his family, eldest son as he was had to work harder than ever with his brain and muscles.
From his autobiographical writings - we can easily see that Onisaburo was not an exception to experiencing the mental unrest of youth. At the sight of the inconsistency and injustice which society abounded in he began to entertain deep doubts and distrust towards human life. Such a conception was caused partly by his fathers’ death.
When his father became ill - Onisaburo made every attempt to cure him and having found all his efforts had failed - thought of asking God's favor. Hi visited many places of worship in the neighborhoods for advise and he repeated his visits, however Onisaburo became disgusted with the superstition and corruption he witnessed throughout.
In the mean time - the invalid passed away. As a sad result Onisaburo lost all hope and courage and turned into a nihilistic atheist - abhorring Gods, religions and faiths.
In those days the actual existence of the rich and the poor reminded Onisaburo of the perpetual question:
May I leave the world as it is? Were not all means of production, including the land and capital - not given by heaven in order to let all mankind live in happiness? On what grounds and by what virtue or right do landlords and capitalist monopolize the benefit?
There are a minority who - without doing and useful work have all the food and shelter they need and enjoy all their luxuries they can think of, while there are multitudes constantly suffering from hunger and shiver from cold. Is this state of affairs to be left alone?
Preaching mercy and love - the established religion have not yet saved the present world, but only give us a kind of consolation by letting us dream of paradise in the next.
Whatever large amount of knowledge education may give us; it does not feed or clothe us for half a day. Laws can mete out penalties to offenders - but based as they are on the lowest limit of moral requirement, they are not tools for converting people into heavenly citizens. Strong armament on land and sea may serve the purpose of national defense, but it is not an implement for bringing to the suffering multitudes.
How can this inconsistent world be cleaned up and made a heaven? May we, if we are to be just and humane, look on and do nothing about the present condition of the world in which mankind in dire agony is facing imminent starvation and freezing? Onisaburo's heart was constantly tormented by these queries. Seek as he would. There was nothing in sight, which would help him solve these problems.