THE HEART OF KANJI: Take care of yourself


Jibunjishin wo taisetsuni ­ Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

自 (Ji) means “yourself.” This character represents a person’s nose. In Japanese culture, people point to their nose when they say “me or myself.”

分 (Bun) means “a part of.” The top part of this word represents two pieces, and below this symbolizes a knife.

Together, this character shows that our life was divided from Kami/God.

身 (Shin) means “body.” This character depicts the shape of a pregnant woman. We should take care of our bodies in the same way a women carrying a child in her womb would take care of herself. If she worries often, her baby’s character may also worry often too. We must take care of both our body and soul.

大 (Tai) means “big.” This character represents a big person that is standing.

切 (Setsu) means “cut.” The left side of this word represents cutting a shape, and the right side represents a knife. Imagine something being divided into small pieces and checking it for fine details.

Jibunjishin wo taisetsuni. calligraphy by  ­
Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

How often do we think of our birth into this world? We were able to come this world because of our parents and our parents came this world because of their parents. The first human life on Earth was roughly 3.8 billion years ago. So our life came into this world not just 20 years or 30 years ago. When people celebrate their birthday, I wish them well on their 3.8 billionth birthday. I believe that our lives began 3.8 billion years ago from our Parent Kami. When our parent Kami sent forth the first life on Earth, our parent Kami wished us to find true peace and happiness.

It is like when parents send their children into the world to become independent and find their own path in life. They wish for their children’s happiness. Therefore, we all have a great responsibility to obtain true happiness in our life. How can we gain this true happiness?

When my father was 28 years old, he became seriously ill with tuberculosis. He thought, “I accept my death, but I cannot stand to see my mother’s sadness.” He prayed to Kami-sama deeply, “Please save my life for my mother’s sake.”
Kami-sama/God recognized his unselfish and compassionate concern for his mother’s happiness. Miraculously, my father was saved from this serious illness and recovered fully. He realized the gift of life he was given and took care of himself by eating good healthy foods, prayed and always appreciated Kami, never got angry, had less worries and left everything up to Kami. He used his life to provide guidance and prayer to many people. I’m happy to report that my father was able to live a happy and full life to the age of 100 years old.

I respect and am so thankful to my father for the great examples and inspirations he taught me and others during his life. I wish to follow his legacy in my life.

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.

Leave a Reply

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

See the 2024 CAAMFest