Memnosyne Foundation

Memnosyne Japan gatherings in Harima, Tokushima and Otaru

Under the auspices of Memnosyne Japan, the Rev. Hiromi Yano helped to promote three traditional art exhibits by the Oomoto Foundation in the first half of 2012. At these three events, and in two guest appearances at Oomoto branches, the Rev. Yano talked about the Memnosyne Foundation, its charitable activities around the world, and how some of its principles are parallel to the teachings of Oomoto, a 120-year-old Shinto religious organization.


Onisaburo Deguchi (1871-1948), the Co-Founder of Oomoto, said, “Art is the mother of religion.” Some people think it is the other way around, that religion as the mother of art because historically much great art was created in the name of religion, to glorify religion, and was paid for by churches and other religious organizations.



Osaka, the third largest city in Japan after Tokyo and Yokohama, March 30-April 4. The Rev. Yano was born and reared in Osaka and still has many friends and acquaintances, personal contacts he used to announce and advertise the exhibit. Many of those friends came in groups and brought others with them. The Rev. Yano gave each group a personal tour of the exhibit, and used the opportunity to talk about the activities of the Memnosyne

Foundation.

Kameoka, which is a small city outside Kyoto, where the exhibit was held at the Gallery Oomoto, April 28-July 22. The Rev. Yano also has many friends and acquaintances in Kameoka, and used these connections to promote the exhibit and follow up with discussions with friends when they came to the show, using the opportunity to talk about Memnosyne.

Otaru, a city on the northern island of Hokkaido, June 16-June 24. The Rev. Yano was invited to attend June 16-18 as a keynote speaker at a gathering organized by Oomoto followers living in Hokkaido, who also financially supported the exhibit. He gave three separate lectures in Hokkaido, using one of them to discuss his encounter with the Memnosyne Foundation, his visit to Dallas with the Rev. Masamichi Tanaka, and the

subsequent visit by Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk and others from the foundation to Kameoka and Ayabe.


Exhibit in Otaru, Hokkaido 3



Memnosyne - Japan Chapter

At Oomoto, most members practice some form of traditional Japanese art, from sumi painting to calligraphy to tea ceremony and Noh drama, as part of their spiritual life. Onisaburo was adamant that the practice of art does not belong solely to professionals or specialists, but “is a Way for every ordinary human being to himself and to God.” By practicing art in our daily life, by taking up the Way of tea or Noh or calligraphy, we will improve our spiritual condition.


This idea is compatible with the philosophy of the Memnosyne Foundation, so Memnosyne Japan lent its help to three exhibits of the traditional art works created by Onisaburo Deguchi and by other members of the Deguchi family, all amateur artists who followed Onisaburo’s teaching to use art for spiritual practice. The centerpiece and highlight of the exhibit were several of the thousands of hand-crafted “yowan” -- tea bowls used in the tea ceremony -- that Onisaburo made toward the end of this life. Other art pieces included sumi paintings and calligraphy. The exhibits, each with free admission, were held in:




Onisaburo really meant what he said -- art is the mother of religion -- but he was not referring to any particular piece of art per se. He was referring to the creative act, and included acts of nature that, in his view, created and continue to create the universe. He was not against people collecting art works or supporting artists, but his statement was intended to urge people to use art as a practice– or Way -- that is part of a spiritual life.

Osaka, the third largest city in Japan after Tokyo and Yokohama, March 30-April 4. The Rev. Yano was born and reared in Osaka and still has many friends and acquaintances, personal contacts he used to announce and advertise the exhibit. Many of those friends came in groups and brought others with them. The Rev. Yano gave each group a personal tour of the exhibit, and used the opportunity to talk about the activities of the Memnosyne Foundation.


Kameoka, which is a small city outside Kyoto, where the exhibit was held at the Gallery Oomoto, April 28-July 22. The Rev. Yano also has many friends and acquaintances in Kameoka, and used these connections to promote the exhibit and follow up with discussions with friends when they came to the show, using the opportunity to talk about Memnosyne.


Otaru, a city on the northern island of Hokkaido, June 16-June 24. The Rev. Yano was invited to attend June 16-18 as a keynote speaker at a gathering organized by Oomoto followers living in Hokkaido, who also financially supported the exhibit. He gave three separate lectures in Hokkaido, using one of them to discuss his encounter with the Memnosyne Foundation, his visit to Dallas with the Rev. Masamichi Tanaka, and the subsequent visit by Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk and others from the foundation to Kameoka and Ayabe.



Exhibit in Otaru, Hokkaido

Exhibit in Osaka

Among all these venues and appearances, at least 120 people heard the Rev. Yano discuss Memnosyne activities. The reactions were very positive to the foundation’s work.


For example, Dr. Shingo Shibata, a physician with his own clinic in Tomakomai City in Hokkaido, who supported the Otaru exhibit financially, said he likes how Memnosyne supports the arts, especially arts from the native American and Mexican cultures that – similar to Oomoto -- believe that God can be found throughout nature, which is sacred.

The Rev. Yano had two other opportunities to discuss Memnosyne with members of Oomoto this year when he made visits to Oomoto branches (similar to parishes) for monthly religious ceremonies.

One visit was to the Tokushima branch on the island of Shikoku, June 2-4. The head of the branch, Mr. Akira Suda, had heard Mary Anne speak at the Autumn Grand Festival in Ayabe last year, and wanted his branch members to know more about the foundation. Mr. Suda found Memnosyne and Oomoto have in common respect and appreciation for indigenous cultures.



The Rev. Yano had two other opportunities to discuss Memnosyne with members of Oomoto this year when he made visits to Oomoto branches (similar to parishes) for monthly religious ceremonies.

One visit was to the Tokushima branch on the island of Shikoku, June 2-4. The head of the branch, Mr. Akira Suda, had heard Mary Anne speak at the Autumn Grand Festival in Ayabe last year, and wanted his branch members to know more about the foundation. Mr. Suda found Memnosyne and Oomoto have in common respect and appreciation for indigenous cultures.


The Rev. Yano had two other opportunities to discuss Memnosyne with members of Oomoto this year when he made visits to Oomoto branches (similar to parishes) for monthly religious ceremonies.


One visit was to the Tokushima branch on the island of Shikoku, June 2-4. The head of the branch, Mr. Akira Suda, had heard Mary Anne speak at the Autumn Grand Festival in Ayabe last year, and wanted his branch members to know more about the foundation. Mr. Suda found Memnosyne and Oomoto have in common respect and appreciation for indigenous cultures.


Monthly religious service at the Harima branch


The Rev. Yano also attended the monthly religious service at the Harima branch on June 10. After the ceremony he talked about Memnosyne activities.