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The Fourth Konko-Sama

The Reverend Kagamitaro Konko

The fourth Konko-Sama was the eldest son born to the third Konko-Sama ― the Reverend Setsutane Konko and Mrs. Kikuyo Konko on April 26, 1909. He was named Kagamitaro Konko. After graduating from Konko Middle School in 1927, he entered Kyogikokyusho (forerunner to Konkokyo Seminary) and was ordained a Konkokyo minister in 1929. Thereafter, he always served at the third Konko-Sama's side and consecutively held various positions, such as Assistant Head Minister of the Central Church (Hombu Kyokai), Director of Konko Library and Director of Naishobu (forerunner to Worship Hall Affairs Department).

In 1943, the fourth Konko-Sama established the Konko Library in hopes that it would benefit society. He assumed its first directorship position. The Konko Library officially opened its doors to the general public in 1947, and within the devastation following World War II, it had played a prominent cultural revival role. In this way, he poured much energy into his deep interests of culture and education to revitalize them.

In July, 1963, the Reverend Kagamitaro Konko was inaugurated as the Spiritual Leader, succeeding the third Konko-Sama. At that time he composed a tanka poem, "Whenever I find myself at a loss, through my late father's support, I feel renewed each day." Because the third Konko-Sama had earnestly served Kami for seventy years, every follower placed him in extraordinarily high esteem. We can only imagine how much pressure and responsibility the fourth Konko-Sama felt when succeeding his father, no matter what remarkable talents he possessed. Since he became the Spiritual Leader, he succeeded the Mediation of Ikigami Konko Daijin with a humble heart and remained humble.

At the Mediation Seat he shared the teachings of the Founder to worshippers using contemporary expressions. "Have a grateful heart for all that benefits you" is a teaching representative of him. He himself practiced living a life based on gratitude. He taught numerous worshippers to live a life based on gratitude by focusing on the favors they received from many people and things, rather than a life focused on their problems. Throughout his lifetime there have been countless people that he met, healed their hearts, prayed together with them for their wishes to come true, and rekindled their spark for life.

In addition to his work as the Spiritual Leader, he had a pen name, "Konko Hekisui" and left fine pieces of work as a poet and calligrapher. His calligraphy offered a ray of hope and peace of mind to people and tanka poems describing his own heartfelt thoughts throughout his daily life, validated and gave them principles for life. "Hekisui" means "flow of deep clear water." His 44,572 tanka poems are published in an anthology spanning nineteen books, entitled "Tsuchi."

For twenty-eight years, the fourth Konko-Sama shouldered heavy responsibilities to guide Konkokyo as its Spiritual Leader until his passing on January 10, 1991. While society and the way of life severely changed in Japan, he imparted, "Take care of everything with sincerity and wholeheartedness." He pursued this way of life, dedicated to serving Kami wholeheartedly.

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