The kanji character 用 (yo) means “to be able, useful” and consists of two parts.

Caligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

A vertical center line represents a nail. All other lines represent pieces of wood. The pieces of wood were put together by the nail. 意(i) means “thinking in your heart,” which consists of two parts. Above is a person’s voice and below is a heart. So together, you can express your feelings or thinking with your voice.

My wife Alice, Mr. Kinya Matsuno and I attended the interfaith emergency workshop at St. Mary’s Cathedral as representatives of the Konko Church a few weeks ago. In attendance were a few hundred ministers and leaders from churches in San Francisco. We held a memorial service for earthquake victims from around the world who died over the past 10 years. There were almost a million victims if we include the victims from all major disasters.

We learned how to react in case the big earthquake hits San Francisco. In the past, most people were not ready for disasters and many were killed. We learned how to organize, lead, and to protect and guide our church members and community.

After the workshop, I realized that the majority of us not only do not prepare for natural disasters but also do not prepare for family or personal disasters like sickness, injury, relationship problems, losing jobs, separation, divorce, death of family members, and one’s own death. We must be ready mentally, physically and spiritually for anything that might happen today, tomorrow, next week, next month, even next year.

If an earthquake hits San Francisco tomorrow and there is no transportation, what will you do? Yes, we all have to walk.

I began to walk a month ago. This was for my preparation to climb up Mt Fuji this summer.

But now my purpose to walk is mental, physical and spiritual preparation for any disasters that come my way in the future. However, in fact, I began to prepare for my happiness and eternal peace at the end of my life when I was only 20 years old. Let me ask: How many of you can achieve eternal happiness before leaving this world?

I believe that Kami-sama/God wants each of you here today to achieve eternal happiness and peace during your lifetime. If you don’t have it yet, you must prepare for it.

I heard that it’s very tough to climb up Mount Fuji; well, it’s very tough to obtain true happiness in life. That may be so. But if I prepare, I will be able to climb up Mt. Fuji. If we prepare for happiness in life, we will be able to accomplish and achieve happiness as well. Let us be ready.

Rev. Masato Kawahatsu is a minister at the Konko Church of San Francisco and Konko Center of South San Francisco. He teaches shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and martial arts. He also gives spiritual counseling. He can be reached at

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