By Jenifer Tull-Gauger


We had at least a few hours before our evening baseball game, and only had use of one vehicle at this time.  Hakugin-do Temple waited about a 30-minute drive away from Naha. This shrine to self-control topped my “must do” list for the trip. Depue Renshi, Gauger Renshi, Tull-Gauger Sensei and I took the trip to Itoman, the small village that holds Hakugin-do. Most of the group walked around Naha, to a park that was closed for the day. We saw these sights seen on the drive:

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Hakugin-do is in a small fishing village.  It has a natural cave at its heart.  This sacred site was originally believed to be the residence of a sea god.  The legend that makes it important to me and to many people today is of a fisherman and a samurai.  The moral of this story is about Dojo Kun # 5.

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An online article posted 2009-08-13 is titled “Fisherman, Samurai Legend marks Hakugindo’s 400th Anniversary.”  I don’t know if that means the legend has been around that long, or the temple (or both).  The area was quiet and meditative, with large rocks and tropical plants at the back and on at least one side.  I will share a short version of its legend while sharing photos of Hakugin-do:  A Japanese samurai once loaned money to a poor fisherman from Itoman.

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On the loan’s payback day, the samurai found the fisherman hiding in the cave of Hakugin-do.  He did not have the money, so the samurai drew his sword to cut off the fisherman’s head.  He allowed the fisherman to say his last words.

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The fisherman said, “When your hands go out, keep your anger in; when your anger goes out, keep your hands in.”  The samurai relented, spared the debtor’s life, and agreed to meet him on a later date to collect the money.

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When the samurai returned home, to all appearances, his wife was cheating with another man.  He stormed in, sword drawn, ready to kill.  The fisherman’s words came to him just before he started swinging, and he calmed himself and looked more closely at the situation.

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This was not an adulterous man, but his own mother, dressed in his clothes.  She explained that she had done that so potential intruders would be deterred from the home.  The samurai learned the true value of not acting out in anger.

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The next time they met, the fisherman had the money, but the samurai refused to take it, because the fisherman had given him a priceless lesson.  The fisherman would not keep the money either.  They decided to bury it at the Hakugin-do site, where a temple was later built. End of legend.

Hakugin-do temple ceiling by the mouth of the cave of Hakugin-do

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Next to the Hakugin-do temple structure was a small staircase, with a stick by it.  We guessed the stick was to tap on the ground to scare away the deadly habu snake.  We took this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go check out the area above the stairs, banging the stick on the concrete and rocks to make plenty of noise. When we saw no habu, we took our time and quietly enjoyed the beautiful temple and grounds.

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On the drive back to Naha, we stopped at an intersection, and two young schoolboys crossed in front of us.  When they saw two white men (one bald) in the front seat of our car, they stopped and bowed to us.

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We got back to the stadium for the Japanese baseball game, which was the last thing on our Wednesday itinerary.


Fans cheered and clapped for good plays on both teams.  Additionally, the band/cheering section was out past the outfields.  The marching band kept a constant beat going.  Men and women (not young in age) standing out by the band, cheered and did what I called deep knee bends the whole game.  They definitely demonstrated Dojo Kun # 3 (perseverance) and # 4 (respect for the baseball players).

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The view from our lodging at night (You can see the American Village Ferris wheel in both: the bright round light, left and center in the left photo, and center toward the top in the right photo.):

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On to Okinawa trip #14