THE HEART OF KANJI: Divine arrangement


Kami hakarai. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu
Kami hakarai. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

Happy New Year! Today I would like to talk about “Kami hakarai,” or divine arrangement.

神 (Kami) means “God/Divine Parent of the Universe,” and consists of two parts. The left side represents the divine altar and the right side represents lightning or thunder. Kami or God can create powerful things such as lightning and other miraculous natural events.

計らい (hakarai) means “arrangement or accounting,” which consists of two parts. The left side represents a person talking and the right side represents tying many things together by string. By accounting or arranging, you can get a total figure.

In 2013, I had the opportunity to visit Japan twice. First, I visited with 18 Boy Scouts and their leaders. We visited Osaka, Kyoto, the Jamboree site in Yamaguchi, the Konko headquarters in Okayama, Mt. Fuji and Tokyo. We had homestays and visited companies, the Konko high school and a professional sumo school. Our highlights were participating in the Nippon Jamboree with 15,000 Japanese Girl and Boy Scouts, along with 1,500 scouts who were from other countries around the world, and attending the Konko Youth Festival at the Konko headquarters. Our scouts joined a parade with the Konko youth groups. I am glad that though we had minor incidents during our trip, all of us were able to come back safely to San Francisco.

My second trip was to attend the Konko founder’s 130 years memorial service at the Konko headquarters with many church members and my wife. After the service, my wife and I scheduled a visit to Okinawa. However, we found out that a big typhoon was approaching Okinawa. At first, we were not sure whether we should change our plans or not. But we left our plans up to Kami and decided to go to Okinawa as long as our flight was not canceled. Our fight was on time. We arrived in Okinawa safely, and even did some sightseeing that same day. But the typhoon hit Okinawa the next day and our all-day tour was canceled. We were disappointed, so we tried to call Konko church of Naha — the only Konko church in Okinawa. When we met the Rev. Hayashi at the church, he said that it was a divine arrangement for us to meet. He had been planning to fly to the Konko headquarters, but because of the typhoon, was not able to fly. Because of this, he was able to see us instead.

Through these two Japan trip experiences, I realized that everything happens for a reason. This upcoming year 2014 is the Year of Horse. We will have many different experiences throughout this new year, but I hope that we will be able to accept our good or bad situations as divine arrangements.

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 and 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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