Appreciate all the functions of our body

Shintai no hataraki ni orei . calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

身体 (Shintai) means “body.” The first character represents a pregnant woman. The left side of the second character represents a person, and the right side represents a tree with roots.

働 (Hataraki) means “function or work.” The right side represents a person, the middle section represents heavy items and the right side indicates power.

礼 (Rei) means “bow or appreciate.” The left side represents a divine altar and the right side represents a person who is bowing with appreciation.

Shintai no hataraki ni orei . calligraphy by Rev. Masato Kawahatsu

I mentioned before that we are born into this physical world and are miraculously chosen out of trillions of countless possible souls. We live each day because of the trillions of blessings from the world and universe. The great functions of the many cells within our body also allow us to live. These cells make up our organs, bones and blood and we would not be able to survive without the strong function of all these parts.

Though most of us are born with a complete body, some are born with handicaps. A woman named Seri Kuramoto was born in New York City. Her parents had moved from Japan to the U.S. for work. When Kuramoto was born, her parents were informed that she had no eyes and was missing parts of her brain, which would impede her ability to walk. Kuramoto’s mother blamed herself since she could not find a good reason for why this had happened. She did not want to tell her parents in Japan and even considered committing suicide.

Kuramoto’s mother told her husband and though he experienced a moment of deep grief, he was strengthened every time he saw his daughter laugh or take a step. These little accomplishments gave him hope and he refused to give up or believe that she was lesser because of her handicaps.

After their firstborn, the couple had three healthy children. They stayed in New York and found a good school that catered to their daughter’s needs. They had strong community support and never felt that she was a burden because they felt gratitude for every small achievement that she made because of her resilience.

Kuramoto’s parents, family and community were often reminded to be grateful for the workings of their bodies because of Kuramoto. They did not take for granted their ability to see and walk with ease. They shared Kuramoto’s story with others in the hope of spreading the message of gratitude for our bodies.

What are your thoughts on Kuramoto’s story? Do you take your body for granted? It is easy to forget that our heart pumps blood, our lungs help us breathe, and our stomachs process nutrients for energy when we are healthy. It is usually when we are sick or suffering that we are reminded that our body works so hard every day.

Please practice saying thank you (arigatou gozaimasu) to your body, mind, and spirit for all its functions that keep us walking, talking, and living each 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). He can be reached at or (415) 517-5563. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei News.


In November of 2022, I published a new English book titled “Arigato 100 Times a Day.” It has taken me four years to translate the book from Japanese to English. If you wish to buy this book, please contact me by e-mailing or calling (415) 517-5563.

Leave a Reply

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