Arakitoryo -- Pioneers of the Path

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

Tenrikyo Young Men's Association has undertaken a number of vibrant activities in its history, such as the "sprinkling the fragrance to 30 million households" movement that sought to sprinkle the fragrance to every family in Japan, conventions in Honolulu and Tokyo's Nippon Budokan, and the 30,000-kilometer mission caravan trek across Eurasian Continent consisting of two cars named "Arakitoryo." Some of you may remember these activities, and the Young Men's Association has also contributed toward adding momentum to activities leading up to Oyasama's anniversaries and others that involved the entire Tenrikyo faith.

It can be said that what can be consistently observed in these activities is the pride which Tenri young men take in being arakitoryo, or pioneers of the path. As for the source of this term, it can be found in The Songs for the Service:

When you go into the mountains,
Take with you the wood master [arakitoryo]!

Mikagura-uta XII:8

"Arakitoryo," or "wood master," as it is translated here, refers to a master carpenter who enters previously unexplored territory to cut down trees for lumber. In other words, it may be said that it refers to a trailblazer who heads for places where God the Parent's intention remains unknown in order to lay the path, convey the teachings of God the Parent, and open up a way to guide new people to the faith.

Further, the term "arakitoryo" does not merely refer to an external effort of blazing a trail on new ground. It also refers to the inner work of pushing the frontiers through unexplored territory in the realm of faith--the work of turning inwardly to examine the mind, becoming aware of being immature in one's own faith, and pursuing the path to delve deep and refine the uncultivated regions of the mind.

Of course, the original meaning of "arakitoryo" has no direct correlation to any specific age or gender. However, Tenrikyo Young Men's Association, as the organization of young men who have faith in this path and who are full of youthful energy, aim to be at the forefront of the world mission out of their self-imposed sense of duty as "pioneers of the path." With this in mind, the periodical of the Young Men's Association and the vehicles used for the purpose of sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings have been christened with the name "Arakitoryo."