富 (Fu or Tomi) means “richnes.” This character comes from a shape of a warehouse which is full of crops or treasures inside.

士 (Ji or Shi)            means “samurai” who guards the King or lord.  This character comes from a shape of a weapon which can protect the king or lord.

山 (San or Yama) means mountain,  which is from a shape of mountain.

Fuji-san Calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

I would like to share my recent trip to Japan with you. There were several reasons for this trip. One was to take our Boy Scouts to a Japanese national jamboree. Another reason was to climb Mt. Fuji. We also had the opportunity to learn more about the Japanese culture and lifestyle by visiting churches, temples, shrines, castles, companies and through our home stay. I went to Japan with eight other people including two Boy Scouts, one high school student and five adults. The oldest was 67 years old and the youngest was 17 years old.

We arrived at the Osaka airport on July 27. Our home stay was at a church member’s home and at the Konko church of Tamamizu in Osaka.

While we were in Osaka, we visited the Duskin Company’s Mr. Donuts college.  We not only learned how to make donuts but also how to share joyfulness through business with all people, which is a very unique idea or concept. Then we visited Konko Osaka high school to learn kendo, tea ceremony, and calligraphy, which were the first experiences for most.

After Osaka we went to the Konko headquarters in Okayama. Even though most of our tour group were not Konko members, I encouraged them to do Toritsugi mediation (spiritual counseling) with the Konko head minister. One person of our group asked Konko-sama (the Head minister) “Does Kami-sama or God give us blessings unconditionally or conditionally?” Konko-sama said, “Kami-sama is unconditional.” The person said, “How do you know?” Konko-sama said, “Because our founder Konko Daijin said so.” Then the person and Konko-sama’s conversation was over.

I thought that it was a very important conversation that I needed to explain more. I said that Kami-sama gives us blessings unconditionally; however, at the same time, whether we receive divine blessings or not depends upon our heart. In order to receive his blessing fully, we must have faith and Wagakokoro — a harmonious, joyful and appreciative heart. Kami-sama only wishes us to have faith and happiness.

After visiting the Konko headquarters, we went to the Konko church of Oguma in Kyushu where my friend Rev. Ishii presided. Since his church has a campground behind the church, we set up tents and slept in them. We felt like we all were Boy or Girl Scouts.

Then everyone except me visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on the way to Kyoto. I waited at the Hiroshima station because I had hurt my foot. At that time I thought that I might be unable to climb up Mt. Fuji with my foot,  so I tried to take easy.

In Kyoto, we visited the Konko church of Karasuma and did a home stay. The next day, we visited a cookie factory where we could join a class to make our own cookies. Then we visited Gekeikan Sake company to learn how to make sake. Finally, we visited Inari Shrine, which has 1,000 torii gates.

I had believed that Inari Shrine worships the fox for many years but I found out that they worship the Kami of rice.

After Kyoto we went to Fujinomiya City which was near  Mt. Fuji and the Boy Scouts Jamboree site. While we stayed there, six of us tried to climb up Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan.

One of us reached the top and three people reached the number nine station. Although I almost gave up once, I climbed up and reached the number eight station. One person reached the number seven station. We took about nine hours before coming down to the start line.  I was very exhausted. I thought it was not an easy task but I may try to go there again someday.

One day, we visited our Boy Scouts at the Jamboree site and also experienced one day of jamboree together. More than 20,000 young scouts camped out in a mountain near Mt. Fuji.

Afterward, we went back to Konko headquarters in Okayama to join the Konko youth festival and to participate in the youth parade. We proudly walked together carrying an American flag.

After Konko headquarters, we went to our last stop of Tokyo. In Tokyo , we visited the Konko church of Tokyo and greeted the head minister, family and members.  The last day of our trip, I asked each person about  his or her impression of Japan. Most people said they had a great time and they were impressed by the kindness of people in Japan. I took many groups to Japan in the past but this trip was one of the best.

Rev. Masato Kawahatsu is a minister at the Konko Church of San Francisco and Konko Center of South San Francisco, who teaches shodo (Japanese calligraphy) and martial arts. He also gives spiritual counseling. He can be reached at or (415) 517-5563.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *