The following are a few interesting stories that Ajari Tanaka has told over the years regarding the circumstances of his birth. These stories were originally related to Ajari Tanaka by his parents and grandparents.
In the early 1940’s the town of Kumagaya in Saitama Prefecture Japan was the home of the Tanaka family. Kumagaya was at that time a small town north of Tokyo that was also the site of a fighter plane factory. On August 14th, 1945 at around 4:00 or 5:00 PM local time a squadron of American B-29’s flew a bombing run over Kumagaya, almost completely destroying the town. Though many of the residents of Kumagaya were killed in the bombing, the Tanaka’s survived unharmed.
The very next day, August 15th, 1945 Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan to the Allies marking the end of World War II in the Pacific Theater.
Sometime during 1946 a Japanese priest recently returned from China where he had spent the war, passed through Kumagaya. This particular priest was what is known as a "takuhatsu" or begging priest. The Tanaka’s offered both food and lodging to this takuhatsu. The Tanaka Family was a Yamabushi family dating back some five generations and the caretakers of an old Fudo Myo-o dojo. The Tanaka’s invited this takuhatsu priest to stay in this Fudo Myo-o dojo. Grandmother Tanaka prepared his meals throughout this three-day visit.
Prior to the departure of this takuhatsu priest, he told the Tanaka’s that soon another grand child would be born into their family. The priest said that the child would be a boy and encouraged them to take special care of this particular child because he would become a Buddhist priest.
On July 18th, 1947 the Tanaka’s daughter gave birth to a boy in the Fudo Myo-o dojo. After consulting with a local Buddhist priest he was given the name "Noriaki." Noriaki is taken from the Rishu-kyo, The Sutra of the Way of Great Enjoyment, which is a very important sutra in the Shingon tradition. "Nori" means Law or Dharma and "aki" means light. So Noriaki translates as Dharma Light.
Tanaka Biography >