Encyclopedia of Shinto Kokugakuin University
 main menu
  »New EOS site

  »Home

  »Foreword

  »Guide to Usage

  »Contributors & Translators

  

  »Movies List
 Links
AND OR

Home » 8. Schools, Groups, and Personalities » Personalities
Nakayama Miki
(1798-1887)
Founder of the religious group Tenrikyō. Called Oyasama ("Beloved Parent") within Tenrikyō, Nakayama was born in Sanmaiden Village, Yamanobe District in Yamato Province (present-day Nara Prefecture) on the eighteenth day of the fourth month 1798, as the eldest daughter of Maegawa Masanobu, the Village Headman, and Kinu, his wife. At about age twelve, she was married to Nakayama Zenbei who lived in Shōyashiki Village in the same district.
        In 1838, Nakayama experienced divine possession (kamigakari) lasting for three days. Later, the day when she first became a "living shrine" for the kami (kami no yashiro)—the twenty-sixth day of the tenth month—was established as the beginning of the religion. Subsequently, Miki followed the order of the kami to "fall into poverty" (hin ni ochikire) by giving all her possessions to the poor. From about 1854, she started acts of salvation such as using her paranormal powers to guarantee safe childbirth (an act referred to as obiya yurushi within Tenrikyō) or healing the sick. Eventually she formulated two works: the Mikagura-uta (Songs for the Service), which provides Shamisen-accompanied songs for Tenrikyō's main ritual activity of kagurazutome dance, and the Ofudesaki (Tip of the Writing Brush), which contains Tenrikyō's teachings in verse form. These works explain the salvation of the "children" (Tenrikyō's term for human beings) by God the Parent (Oyagami), thereby consolidating the doctrinal foundations of the religion.
        In the Meiji era, government suppression of the religion increased. In 1875, Miki designated the location of the former Nakayama household as the jiba, the birthplace of mankind, and pressed on with the construction of the kanrodai ("pillar of heavenly dew"). However, the construction was forcibly interrupted by the government, and Miki herself was arrested several times. In her last years, she fiercely emphasized the supreme authority of God the Parent over secular authorities to those leading members of the organization who were seeking legalization of the group. Her words became one part of the revealed text called Divine Directions (Osashizu) that now represents one of the fundamental texts of Tenrikyō, alongside the aforementioned Mikagura-uta and Ofudesaki.
        Miki died on February 18, 1887, at the age of ninety. According to the "principle of the ever-living Oyasama" (zonmei no ri) accepted within the group, however, her passing is not regarded as an actual death.

—Yumiyama Tatsuya
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
4-10-28 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-8440, Japan
URL http://21coe.kokugakuin.ac.jp/
Copyright ©2002-2006 Kokugakuin University. All rights reserved.
Ver. 1.3