THE HEART OF KANJI: Love of heaven and earth


天 (Ten) means “heaven.” The top line indicates the sky or universe and the bottom lines indicate a big person who is standing with open hands.

Tenchi no ai. calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

地 (Chi) means “earth or soil.” The left side represents the ground and the right side symbolizes a snake. This is to show that the earth is not flat, but is uneven and has curves like a snake.

愛 (Ai) means “love.” The top lines represent a person who is standing with a oar. The lines below depict a boat, and below that, is the symbol for a heart and a foot. A person is oaring the boat to see someone who they love, but the boat isn’t moving as fast as they would like.

Recently, I read a book by Dr. Kazuo Murakami, who is a professor emeritus at Tsukuba University in Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan and an expert on DNA. He writes, “Life started as one cell started on the earth 3.8 billion years ago.” The first life has since spread into more than 30 million species. In our body alone, we have trillions of cells.

When I was 20 years old, I became ill for six months. Though I prayed hard, I could not get well, and I started to doubt of existence of Kami/God. I visited the Konko founder’s cemetery and asked his spirit, “Please show me proof that Kami exists.” Then I had a vision of a person who was praying wholeheartedly. I thought that there was someone caring for me with unconditional love. I then thought of my parents, grandparents and all my countless ancestors. Perhaps they were the ones who were praying for me. I realized that the universe has been putting unconditional love into our creation from the beginning of time.

It was then that I realized that I have been ignorant of the unconditional love Kami has given us for the past 3.8 billion years, and regretted that very few people have given thanks for this. I used to believe that I had grown up through my power alone, but we are all the result of countless blessings, love, and power given to us by the universe and nature. Science and spirituality can be connected after all.

Fusami Kudo was awakened to understanding the unconditional love of the universe by the aforementioned book, and she started expressing “arigatou.” Thus, she was able to recover from her deathbed and return to a healthy life. She will speak at the Konko Church of San Francisco, which is located at 1909 Bush St. in San Francisco’s Japantown, Thursday, April 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, April 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. (The requested donation is $10 in advance or $15 at the door.) I hope that many people come to hear her speech and people will be able to wake up their spirit or soul as well.

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). 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.

One response to “THE HEART OF KANJI: Love of heaven and earth”

  1. Jonny Avatar

    No , i think this is lost in translation, a better translation of this : ten ( is also chinese Fu) means cosmic supernatural energy, Chi means reality and the universe- the harmony of good and evil – the life force that all living things are binded by and share as alive and connected. Ai means love as a form of euphoria and positive emotion , spiritual ascension .

    the chinese and japanese dont have a concept of heaven, or a concept of God , they are dao and xen bhuddist, their concept of heaven is the universe its self and eternity , and its multiple dimensions. their concept of GOD is yin and yang, the balance of good and evil positive and negative luck and fortune.

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