OUTLINE OF OOMOTO 15
15. CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
A fruitful result of the Esperanto activity in Oomoto was the Oomoto International Festival held on August 13 - 15 1965 in Kameoka, Kyoto - Oomoto Headquarters, when there was an exchange of greetings between 500 Japanese and 136 foreign guests from 25 counties. That being the year of International co-operation as well as the 50th Universal Congress of Esperanto in Tokyo (July 31 - August 7), we had planned and organized the festival without missing the happy occasion. The program was fully and colorful: the first day the participants enjoyed a Noh drama -Hagoromo played on the stage in the Banshoden Sanctuary where the inauguration ceremony had been conducted in the morning. In the Oomoto hall a welcome reception was given under the joint auspices of Naohi Deguchi and Dr. Y. Otsuki, the then - Mayor of Kameoka.
The second day began with lectures, and there was a discussion on religions and civilizations in the occidental and in the orient inn the afternoon. The International Uta-Festival, the first of its kind, excited interest and attention, when it was conducted at dusk on the open-air stage, built specially for this purpose in the Oomoto precincts. It was something like the Eisteddfod in Wales: After the ritual with a maiden dance, the recitation of the best poems in Esperanto, contributed especially for the accompaniment of instruments. They were selected out of 71 poems by 73 contestants from 24 counties. The third day falling on a memorable day for Japanese - the end of World War II, we had a memorial meeting, after lectures, followed by the presentation of a ballet 'No More Hiroshima's' by Kameoka Junior High School girls, silent prayer. The thrilling finale of the three day Oomoto International Festival was a two hours excursion down the famous Hozu rapids to Arashiyama, Kyoto.
Before that year the first number of 'OOMOTO' after a long interval had appeared in 1950 under the new editor of Tazuo Nakamura, and the magazine reached the 300th issue in 1965. In 1955 Mrs. Doris M. Worcester of London visited Japan and came to Oomoto and helped Esperanto movement. She returned home, but came again in 1958 at the invitation of Oomoto and worked energetically for the spread of Esperanto among Japanese. Eizo Itoo, President of the Esperanto-popular-Asocio, participated in the 44th Universal Congress in Warsaw 1959. He made a travel in Europe and America about a year making lectures on Japan and Oomoto. In 1963, we cerebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Esperanto Movement of Oomoto, when we erected a stone monument with the following inscription: Unu Dio, Unu Mondo, Un Interlingvo, (One God - One World - One Language), which simply expresses the Oomoto principal. In the same year for the first time Oomoto sent two young men - Kyotaro Deguchi and Yoshimi Umeda - to the 48th Universal Congress in Sofia. They traveled five months through Europe and America and returned with useful experiences. On the occasion of the year of International co-operation 1956, Oomoto decide to support the proposal of the Universal Esperanto Asocio to the U.N in favor of Esperanto, and launched the nation wide signature collection. At the same time the Esperanto Popular Asocio initiated the signature collection of the petition to the Japanese diet for introducing Esperanto in schools and in international relations.
By the way of English organs, Oomoto was first published as a quarterly in 1956, but later became a bi-monthly and editor Iwao P. Hino succeeded Tazuo Nakamura since 1961.
Present day colorful art activities in Oomoto are acquired on the Prototype of Onisaburo who was a versatile artist as well a charming religiously leaders as has already been mentioned. 'Contemporary scholars', he said, say that - "Religion is the mother of all art", or "It is religion that gives birth to art"; I hear. Contrary to them, I insert, "Art is the mother of religion; art begets religion". He who created the vast universe should be a great artist. The motive power that created the world is the very germ of great art. Then those Oomoto followers who love Good as the first artist should necessarily be in continuous quest of art and beauty. Their way of life finds its inevitable association with art.
Beginning with Nao, Onisaburo, Sumiko, Naohi and Hidemaru - all of the leaders of Oomoto were excellent artists or poets and they have created masterpieces. They have succeeded in planting in the hearts of their followers the art activities which have roots in traditional Japanese culture.
Naohi, in particular is a versatile artist like her grant father, Onisaburo. She could compose well, showed fine skill in calligraphy and learned tea ceremony in her teens, stared learning Utai (chanting of Noh text) in her early twenties, and after the revival of Oomoto she became a pupil (c.1948) of the late Meisui Nakano in Noh plays- (c.1950) and of Munemaro Ishiguro and the late Toyo Kaneshige (living cultural asset) in ceramics, all of which she had mastered.
In conclusion, everybody should understand what art is, Oomoto estheticism is an important part of its doctrine, because life can be brighter, richer and more beautiful, where serene peace reigns, through the true understanding of art and practicing the creative activities in the daily routine of our life.