Women's Mission, Fulfillment, and Travel: The Experience of Taiwanese Female Tenrikyo Missionary Returning to the Ojiba
Shwu-Wen Chiou (Department of International Affairs and Business, Nanhua University)
Utilizing the theoretical framework of structure-subject, this article clarifies the possibility of realizing “ojibagaeri” (returning to the original place) for the Tenrikyo Taiwanese female missionaries in recreating their self-subjectivity. The structure refers to the multi-layered social system surrounding them, in the state apparatus, patriarchy, colonialism and its extensions. The responses of Tenrikyo Taiwanese female missionaries were as follows: in the face of the restrictions of the state apparatuses of Taiwan and Japan on transnational travel for religious purposes, they used detours to obtain a visa to Japan and residence period qualification. To overcome the oppression of patriarchy, in particular the husband’s opposition to their beliefs, they used forbearance or “osazuke” (divine empowerment) to win trust and support. They made good use of their Japanese language skills acquired by colonial education and their own high degree of cultural identity; they accumulated religious capital and gradually entered the world of Tenrikyo. This article addresses five target groups-freshman training students, the learning-by-doing first phase lecturers, care-giving dormitory teachers, trustworthy pilgrimage group leaders, and returnees who had a covenant with God-to grasp the multiple identities of the Taiwanese female missionaries in the “ojiba” (original place), in order to analyze the conversion of gendered roles, the transcendence of stratified roles, and the hierarchical relationship between humans and God. The study has found that the operational logic of these identities is in the manifestation of the spirit of “hinokisin” (volunteering). The Taiwanese female missionaries developed their relationships with themselves, others, and God, engendering a high degree of mutual subjectivity. They embarked upon a spiritual covenant with God, and their experience and emotions flowed from their feeling of being with God, as if the source of living water that strengthens religious beliefs and expands life energy. The features and contributions of this paper are in highlighting the profound meaning of self-exchange and intersubjectivity in the field of religion, as well as deepening the discussion of the relationship between humans and God, thus rendering the subjectivity of the Taiwanese female missionaries more vivid and dialectical, coming closer to their true process of entering into belief.
Tenrikyo, Taiwanese female missionaries, ojibagaeri, hinokisin, intersubjectivity