The Memorial Day Service

May 28, 2012



Mitama no Kami-Sama, Arigato Gozaimasu
Eternal Spirits of All Departed Souls. Thank you very much

Beloved Mitama No Kami, eternal Spirits of all departed loved ones: Pioneer Issei and Nisei, dear Ancestors, as well as all those who have given their lives building a hope for future generations...

Today, we gather at the Japanese Mausoleum under the auspices of the Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago for our Nikkei Community Memorial Day Service. May the recognition we offer bring joy, comfort and eternal happiness to your peaceful rest.

I, Masanori Takeuchi, as minister of the Konko Church of Chicago voice these prayers with deepest respect on behalf of those here gathered. May your spirits be with us today as we celebrate your lives and honor your invaluable contributions to our families, community, nation, and world.

You dedicated yourselves as a gift for our present. You embodied the noble Japanese values of diligence, honesty, consideration and respect for the harmony of society. Because of your faithfulness we now enjoy respect as citizens of this great country.

Daily we seek to renew in prayer our appreciation for the foundation you built, morning and evening. However once a year; on this special occasion, we wish to offer much more. Together, may we offer up an even more profound expression of respect and appreciation before you by this Memorial Day gathering of religious communities, civic representatives, friends and families.

You who came to this country as first-generation pioneers, faced many challenges. But you of the second, third and generations beyond, still had many challenges and hardships to overcome. This was never truer than during the 2nd World War when our countries of birth and heritage were at war and the ugliness of discrimination against Japanese American citizens came to a head.

Your faithful devotion to the best of family traditions overcame those many hardships in a unique and truly pioneering American spirit. You laid a cornerstone that continues to enrich not only the lives of your descendants but of all Americans. Especially Nikkei-only-military unites, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion fought valiantly with the spirit of "Go For Broke" in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Admiring those Nisei veterans' heroic services, the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award was awarded in November last year. How honorable it was! We thank you with all our hearts for your incredible sincerity and sacrifices to make our present freedom, prosperity and opportunities possible. We gratefully receive them in trust, to protect and pass on to generations of the future.

We call on your strength as we face difficult challenges of our own days. Nature has been tumultuous. Wars abound and people are exposed to the menace of terrorism. A year & almost three months have passed since the biggest earthquake in the Japanese history hit near the seashore of the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011. It caused devastating tsunamis sweeping away houses, cars & livelihoods there. The size of the devastated area is beyond belief. Even worse, it brought about the crisis of the Fukushima nuclear power plants.

Through this service we would like to pray for Japan's healing from the devastating last year's Great East Japan Earthquake. We ask that Kami's wish for healing be fulfilled in the good will of all the recovery efforts. We pray for the eternal peace and happiness for the thousands of victims of this catastrophe.

In so doing, we look to you, o' eternal Mitama Spirits who risked your lives to establish peace in our society today. We sincerely ask that you strengthen us to follow in your footsteps and continue the noble struggle toward a world of peace and prosperity for all human beings.

May this be the time that all people, regardless of differences of race, culture, nationality and belief, realize that we are children of the living Kami. As the Divine Parent of the Universe Tenchi Kane No Kami allows us to live by sustaining us each and every day. Help us to realize that human beings are born into this world to polish the gem of their hearts to more perfectly reflect the Divine Will of the Universe. May we daily practice lives through deepened, peaceful, joyful hearts. And through such a union of hearts, may the glory of Kami appear and make this world a place where Divinity and humanity meet together in prayer, rejoice together in gratitude and delight together in mutual satisfaction.

Divine Mitama spirits, you are always with us. We sincerely pray that our memories of you and your good works survive through us. Strengthen our resolve to contribute more successfully to the betterment of society throughout our lives. With all those here today present, I pray most reverently. We promise to keep you in mind so that you may rest in complete peace and happiness, now and forever.








御霊様方は、早くより、アメリカの地に移住し、また、その子孫として、この地に生まれ、多くの艱難辛苦を味わわれ、別けても、第二次世界大戦の時には、ひときわ厳しい人種的偏見・差別を受けられました。けれども、その中にありましても、持ち前の勤勉さと礼節を重んじる精神と献身的努力によりまして、ひたすらにそれを乗り越えられ、日系人、およびその家族のために、命を賭して奮闘され、今日の米国社会において尊敬される一員としての地位と生活の基盤をお築きくださいました。とりわけ、昨年の11月には、第二次世界大戦での日系二世の442/100部隊の “Go For Broke”の精神をもっての死闘と軍情報部(MIS)の功績が認められ、市民の最高栄誉賞である「コングレッショナル・ゴールド・メダル」を受賞されました。真に尊く忝けなく、私どもの誇りであり、どれほどお礼を申しても、お礼の申し上げようもありません。







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