THE HEART OF KANJI: Divine dragon

龍 (ryu or tatsu) means “dragon,” which consists of three parts. The top left side represents a person standing, and below that represents the moon. The right side represents the form of a dragon.

Ryujin. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

Ryujin. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

神 (jin or Kami) means “God,” which consists of two parts. The left side represents a divine altar and the right side represents powerful lightning or thunder. Kami or God can create something very powerful like lightning.

As you know, this lunar year is the Year of the Dragon. I hope and pray that you start the New Year with renewed energy and vigor.

There’s a story about how the carp became a dragon. There once was a carp that went swimming up against a strong waterfall. The waterfall symbolizes toughness or difficulties. The carp symbolizes a person overcoming great obstacles in his or her life. When the carp reached the top of the waterfall, it transformed into a divine dragon. This year, I believe we all have great opportunities to become the divine dragon by developing a strong faith and higher spirituality.

This year, I began experiencing some tough times. For the past few weeks, I had an extremely dry mouth, such that I have never felt before. So I went to Kaiser Hospital. My doctor said I needed treatment immediately for my condition. The emergency treatment for my enlarged prostate helped release urine, which came out in three large containers.

Now, I have to constantly carry around a bag to help release the urine. I normally move around so much and perform so many activities for all kinds of church events, including teaching martial arts and calligraphy. But I can’t do much now.

I have maintained great health for more than 40 years. This is a great challenge for me, like a carp swimming up against the water current and against the waterfall. Yet, I see this situation like a promotion to a higher level of spirituality in my life; I am looking forward to becoming the divine dragon, Ryujin, one day.

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 is the author of “An Eternal Journey.” He can be reached at or (415) 517-5563. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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