OUTLINE OF OOMOTO 13
13. OOMOTO UNDER NAOHI DEGUCHI
Gone are the days when Nao, Onisaburo and Sumiko preached for the salvation of mankind, and now Oomoto enters the third spiritual leaders rein. This is in accordance with the family stipulations written in Nao’s Holy Scriptures that the spiritual leader of Oomoto shall be a woman of the Deguchi family. Under her the organizations name Aizen-en was regained to “Oomoto”, and she came to appoint the administration head, that is, the President who is chosen by the Oomoto council. The headquarters of ritual services is at Ayabe while that of the administration affairs at Kameoka, where a printing office was rebuilt in 1953, Choyokan, (Morning Sun House) an official residence of the spiritual leader in 1956, Bansho-den Sanctuary with Noh theater inside the hall dedicated in 1958, Shunyo-kaku (Spring-Sun Mansion), a guest house in 1961 and the Oomoto kaikan completed in 1962.
The last is a four-story steel frame concrete building constructed in commemorating of the 70th anniversary, which consists of halls for lectures and gatherings, an administration building and a dormitory. A lecture course on Oomoto teachings is being held with a five-day program all through the year. Three-year course seminary was be opened in 1968.
On assuming the spiritual leader role she declared: Oomoto doctrine has been preached perfectly be Nao, Onisaburo and Sumiko, and there is nothing left for me but its practice.
‘Pray! On me who am
Of designated birth
To succeed this way
Could I not presume
The grace of God would descend?
‘Heaven should know well
That which I treasure as life
Left for me to go
Is the way I will only
Tread along straightforwardly!’
This means that this religious order, which came into being through the manifestation of God who had hidden for predominance of the rebel angels, and the consequent declaration of the reconstruction of the world in order to work of realizing in the Kingdom of Miroku. Everybody will clearly know that this is not so easy an enterprise when we find ourselves surrounded by a variety of social wrongs, but we have actually survived the twice-severe persecutions in these 100 years. Though we cannot attribute our present activities to history, we may have learned some lessons in life.
Nevertheless the publication of the 70 Year History of Oomoto, which consists of two thick volumes, will be mentioned as one of the greatest achievements during the 3rd spiritual leaders life. Its compliment started by forming its committee in April 1962, with President Eiji Deguchi as board chairman. The committee consisted of 9 prominent persons from Oomoto, and another 9 specialists of religious, sociology and history – Professors – Iichi Oguchi, Eitaro Kishmoto, Minoru Shibata, Tatsusaburo Hayashiya, Shigeo Kitayama; Assistant Professors – Masaaki Ueda. Care was taken to emboss objectively the course of the religious order so that it would be equally valued as a history book at whole, not remaining merely as its chronicle. At the same time, importance was attached to clarifying the truth of the Oppression of Oomoto which has been said to be a blind spot in the contemporary history of Japan as an unprecedented religious persecution on a large scale, the truth of which has never been revealed.
Collecting the historical data was difficult because its headquarters had been demolished in the persecution case, and its activities were void. Especially with regard to Oomoto case II, data was obtained by visiting many survivors concerned on the sides. Besides they collected top-secret official documents and judicial records, etc. Further inquiries were made to those persons experienced; their scope of gathering extended even to China, south America and Europe.
Thus in February 1964, volume I was published comprised its records of foundation, extension of achievements, Oomoto case I, etc till 1928. The publication of volume II on August 7 1967 represents work, which took over 7 years and 4 months to complete. The magnum opus comprises 2,646 pages with 1,300 pictures, and the historical records employed were as many as a few thousand. It aroused such favorable comments in the leading Japanese press, which also printed an illustration.
Another publication with great success was obtained by ‘Ikigai no Tankyu’, or ‘In search of Meaning” written by Rev. Hidemaru Deguchi on September 20 1966. This was originally a product of profound suffering and thought jotted down casually on note-books, which amounted to more than 20, during 1919 to 1927, and first saw the light of day “Konohana”, a literary magazine in 1925. It was published by the Tensei-sha in book form entitled ‘ My Notes of Faith, Vol I’, till volume 7 1965. These notes struck the sympathetic chord of men with eyes a won applause outside the religious order, too. It was Rosanjin Kitaoji, famous ceramist and critic, who passed such a suggestive comment on it; A great philosopher’s writing! I think there are no thinkers in Japan today who are able to write this much…Those are the sentences composed of, as it were “Blood spouts out the pours”; I have recently known nothing so valuable a style with truth is related in it’s thinking. Its excerpts have been translated into Esperanto and English to be published in respective review OOMOTO and attached public attention. Now In Search of Meaning is an excerpt from the seven volumes of ‘My Notes of Faith’, but quit a new arrangement in one book, published by the Kodn-sha, one of the leading publishers in the Orient. It is really one of the best sellers worthy to note. Mr. Tadao Umesao, Professor of the university of Kyoto pointed out, ‘ both the thoughts and expressions contained in the writing are so fresh that I can hardly believe that theses were written forty years ago.
Hidemaru Deguchi, husband of the spiritual leader Naohi Deguchi and he him self as co-spiritual leader of Oomoto, was born in 1897 in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture. Three years of study at the literary department of the imperial university of Kyoto, he left it of his own free will and joined Oomoto. He was once a tutor of Naohi in younger days. He has done great service not only to out Oomoto and ULBA but also to the peace of the world through religious activities. He is now busy communicating with spirits day and night for salvation, leading the life of shinsen, that is, godly saint. His everyday life reminded us somewhat of Han-shan, one of the great hermit poets of China. He was indisposed for long after the violent torture he went through during the Oomoto case II, which is noteworthy and cannot be remembered without deep regret. But he was a model of living miracle in a way.
A striking event during the period of the special activities in celebration of 100th anniversary of the Oomoto’s inauguration was the mass conversion of the kakure kirishitan (Underground Christians) to Oomoto. There were 156 men and women of 34 families in the town of Tamanoura on one of the Goto Islands, Nagasaki prefecture, who had been secretly handed down the Christian faith for 350 years through the persecution of the feudal regime.
What were the causes of those secret Christian conversions? Oomoto sent a group of scientists to investigate for five days so that they could throw light in their history. But is short, whose who had had long endured persecution and clung to the Christian faith since the days of the Tokugawa Shogunate Government found a home of faith to be in the contents within faith and passion of Oomoto followers who had fought out twice suppression. An edifice of 100 square meters was built and dedicated on October 25 1961.
Next, Oomoto’s overseas mission was obliged to produce a period of vacuum for more than ten years by Oomoto case II, besides loss of competent evangelists in WW II, but its activities gradually regained after the revival until the staff of the International Department was much strengthened in 1961, and came to get help from Mrs. Doris M. Worcester and Mrs. M. Cox from the United Kingdom. Above all it is remarkable that in Brazil, where the Catholics are predominant among citizens, Oomoto branch was legally authorized to engage in missionary work on August 4 1960. Up to that time Oomoto envoys had been working to organize the members of the ULBA. In compliance with the repeated request of the Brazilian adherents special envoys Kiyomi Monji was dispatched there in April 1956, until the next year the Aizen-do (Virtue loving Temple) was completed and dedication was conducted. under Oomoto representatives were sent.
On the way they paid homage to Tao Yuan in Hong Kong to see the executives of its headquarters. They then visited the Ministry of Religion in Israel, the Bahaist Headquarters in Haifa and then traveling through Italy, Switzerland and Germany and continued to Denmark where received by the Founder of the Martinus Institute of Spiritual Science. They visited the W.A.W.F the Two Worlds, the Psychic News and Marylebone Spiritualist Church and onto San Paulo Brazil in July.