The Catholic Church In Japan
By Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi, D.D., Bishop of Osaka, Japan.
Australian Catholic Truth Society No. 1089 (1949).
[At the end of the Second World War, and upon the defeat of the militaristic regime of Japan, many Catholics in Australia were curious to know of the fate and state the Catholic Church in that defeated nation. It is to answer that question that Bishop Taguchi [later to be a Cardinal] has written this essay.]
THE CHURCH’S BEGINNING IN JAPAN.
Through the mysterious Providence of God, in the very first page of Japanese Christian History, appears the grand and lovable figure of Saint Francis Xavier. This Saint knocked at the door of Southern Japan on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1549, accompanied by two missionaries and a newly converted Japanese, one Yajiro. Endowed with a deep humility, unlimited confidence in God, and an exuberant enthusiasm, the great Apostle of the Orient began to carry out the sublime mission, entrusted to him by Our Lord, amidst prayer and mortification, in the virgin soil of the Empire of the Rising Sun.
When he had seen of what that high-spirited and intellectual race was capable, under the influence of Christianity, he wrote a famous letter, which is a presage of the nobility of the Catholic Japanese: “Oh Japan, if I were to speak to you, I would never finish… .” “You see I can hardly bring this letter to an end. Indeed, is it not to my Brethren and Fathers that I write? And I write of a subject that is so dear to me, the Japanese Christians, my delight.” (Saint François Xavier by A. Brou, volume 2, page 144.)
It proved, later on, that Saint Francis was not to be disappointed in his high expectations, Elias (Elijah) may now be taken away from the earth; he has left his cloak in the hands of Eliseus (Elisha). After the departure of Saint Francis, the messengers of the Holy Gospel, prompted by the same Spirit of God, were continuously dispatched from Macao and the Island of Luzon, having but to continue the furrow begun by their illustrious pioneer. Among the most famous was Saint Peter Baptista, former Provincial Superior of the Franciscan Fathers in the Philippines, later elected Bishop of Neuva Caceres, who was providentially destined to be the principal character in the case of the well-known twenty-six Japanese Martyrs in Nagasaki. According to some of the contemporary historians, the Christians of that time numbered about one million. This included, among others, many feudal lords, who earned for themselves illustrious names in History.
There are, however, among the thousands of Christian heroes, two leading figures, one a man, the other a woman, both noble by birth and by faith. They are like the shining sun and the beautiful moon, amid the countless stars, scattered in the sky. One of them is (Dom) Justo Takayama Ukon, feudal lord of Takatsuki, near Osaka; the other, Dona Gracia, wife of Tadaoki Hosokawa (known as Hosokawa Gracia), worthy representatives of Christian manhood and womanhood, respectively. Adam was created by God to be the leader and guardian of Eve. Dona Gracia Hosokawa, was deeply touched at the beauty of the daily conduct of Justo Takayama Ukon, is said to have become a Christian for this reason. As a matter of fact, both were well endowed by nature to be the instruments of Divine Grace, for according to Tertullian: “man is naturally Christian.” Our Theology teaches us that “Grace does not destroy nature, but supplements it and elevates it,” just as it shines out over the world and allows the various kinds of living creatures to grow according to their species and characteristics. Dona Gracia was the first Japanese lady in whom east met west, harmoniously hand in hand. She is still looked upon, throughout the country, as a heroine who knew well how to develop the splendid womanhood of Japan by her natural Faith. As to Justo Takayama Ukon, his fame as the embodiment of noble Japanese chivalry is world-wide. This spirit, or Bushido, as it is called, is the exalted spirit of self-abnegation, including the three outstanding virtues of wisdom, benevolence and valour, but raised to a far higher level by the supernatural influence of Faith.
Ukon was born in the Province of Settsu, in the year 1550. He was the second son of Dario Takayama and received in Baptism, the name of Justo, when, at the age of eleven, he became a Christian together with his whole family.
Endowed with great natural qualities, he distinguished himself by his military talent, but even more so by his indomitable spirit of bushido. He also attained great experience and skill in the art of Tea Ceremony (that is, “cha-na-yu” and “otemae”).
Happily, the good seed had fallen on fertile soil, whence sprang up a magnificent tree, beneath whose branches might shelter a people, anxiously seeking rest and refreshment of mind and soul. Our great Japanese Knight, Ukon, was, above all things, a Christian, strong and fearless in his profession of Faith.
This has been universally acknowledged in books on Church History, where he is referred to as: “The pillar of the Japanese Christian Church”; “The great patron of Los Padres” (The Fathers); “a light of brilliant virtues,” and other terms of praise. In his own day, Father Luis Frois wrote of him: “His example and fervour led countless others to the threshold of the Church. Not even the missioners can equal him in the extent of his evangelical work.”
For the sake of the Faith, he, his family and his Christian colleague, Juan Naito, went to the Philippines in December, 1614 (in fact it was exile), in company with other Japanese Christians, including Naito’s sister, Julia, who later on founded, in Manila, a convent. Here, among the rest were thirteen Japanese nuns, including Mencia, daughter of Otomo Sorin, a famous feudal lord of Bungo, and Maria, daughter of the feudal lord, Tatsui Tadatsugu (Tsutsui Sadatsugu).
On their arrival in Manila, Takayama Ukon was solemnly received with unprecedented honours by the Governor-General, the Church dignitaries and thousands of Christians, and was everywhere looked upon as a living saint and hero. The new arrivals were greeted triumphantly by the ringing of bells as they passed the Cathedral and the Church of the Augustinians.
Soon after his arrival, however, Ukon fell suddenly ill and all remedies having proved of no avail, he yielded up his pure soul into the hands of his Creator on February 3, 1615. The people with one voice, proclaimed the passing of a great saint, as they reverently kissed his holy remains. His funeral rites were carried out with the greatest pomp for nine successive days amidst universal mourning, in the presence of the military, civil and religious authorities, together with a great concourse of people.
At the Bishops’ Conference, held in Japan, six years ago in 1943, it was unanimously decided to initiate legal procedure for the introduction of the cause of Beatification of this Servant of God; thus realizing the ardent longings of the Catholics of Japan, with the assurance that the whole world would acclaim his being raised to the altars. [In 2013, he had the status of ‘Servant of God’.]
The Church in Japan is already rich in the number of her Saints and Blessed Martyrs; let us hope that e’er long, Holy Mother the Church will have added to this number the first Confessor to serve as model and exemplar to us all.
According to historians, the persecution of Christians in Japan was due to a misconception. Saint Paul Miki, one of the twenty-six Japanese Martyrs, when undergoing the penalty of having his ears cut off, bore his sufferings calmly and even rejoiced in the hope that his sacrifice and the shedding of his blood might draw down the light of God upon his countrymen and open their eyes to the Truth, the Truth in which the Japanese delight and for which they are ready to die. Herein lies the great ideal of the true Japanese spirit, which was best described by the celebrated scholar, Motoori Norinaga: “If a person were asked what was the spirit of Japan, he would reply: ‘It is like the blooming of the cherry blossom, resplendent in the morning sun’.”
RESURRECTION OF THE CHURCH.
It was in 1873 that the ban on Christianity was lifted in Japan. The Foreign Mission Society of Paris, which had been preparing for the preaching of the Gospel once more in Japan, by order of the Holy See, was awaiting an opportunity to dispatch Monsignor Forcade, the first Vicar-Apostolic of Japan, to his new post, waiting since 1846. Bishop Forcade was not given the opportunity to, work in Japan. Shortly after, Father Petit-jean, later appointed Vicar-Apostolic of Japan, was permitted to enter the port of Nagasaki in Kyushu, together with several other French missionaries. Thus, the ground was broken for the revival of Christianity in Japan.
Shortly afterward occurred the most dramatic incident in the history of Catholicism in Japan, one which can never be forgotten. Although in those days the erection of churches was legal, Japanese were not allowed to enter them. Monsignor Petit-jean had built one in Oura, in Nagasaki, for the use of foreigners. Here, one day, he was praying before the altar, when several old Japanese women approached the church cautiously, lest they should be seen and reported, then slipped furtively through the door. One of them, drawing near to him trembling, lest the very walls should have ears, whispered: “Where is the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary?” Monsignor Petit-jean, who was unaware of their approach, turned round in wonder at the unexpected question. Disguising his emotion, he pointed towards the altar, beside which stood the statue of Our Lady.
The women for a while, gazed in wonder and admiration; then casting themselves on their knees, forgetful of their fears, they poured out their hearts in prayer, as their eyes filled with tears of indescribable emotion. They who had been all their lives orphans, now found themselves face to face with their true Mother, whom unknowingly they had been seeking all the while, their whole being thrilled with joy.
Having discovered that these French missionaries were celibates, envoys sent by the Holy See, the women were confirmed in the belief that these were indeed true Catholic priests, who had revisited their shores once more.
Then, one of the women, voicing the sentiments of her companions, laying her hand upon her breast said: “Our hearts are the same as yours.”
This incident is unparalleled in the history of the Catholic Missions. These women were the descendants of the Christians, who for four hundred long years, in the absence, of priests and churches, in the face of cruel persecution had maintained their Faith inviolate.
This is an historic fact bordering on the miraculous, that for over three centuries, the Catholic Faith remained alive without priest or church. It was indeed the statue of the Blessed Virgin, which served to reveal to the world these disciples of Christ who lied been hidden for so many years. Soon thousands of ardent Christians were discovered at Kamino-shima Island, off the port of Nagasaki, the Goto Islands and Sotome.
By the promulgation of the Constitution by the Emperor Meiji in 1889, religious freedom was assured, bringing persecution to an end, both in name and in reality. Catholicism in Japan took its first step toward a revival.
In May, 1876, all Japan was divided into two Vicariates, Monsignor Petit-jean, the first Vicar-Apostolic of Japan, was appointed to the Southern Vicariate, with Osaka as residence; Monsignor Osouf, newly-consecrated Bishop, in charge of the Northern Vicariate, with Tokyo as his See. In 1888, the Southern Vicariate was subdivided into the Southern (Kyushu) and Central Vicariates (Provinces of Kinki, Chugoku and Shikoku). The first Vicar-Apostolic of the new Southern Vicariate was Bishop Cousin, successor of Bishop Petit-jean, who died in 1844. Nagasaki was his official residence. The newly-consecrated Bishop Midon was appointed the first Vicar-Apostolic of Central Japan, and fixed his See at Osaka. In April, 1891, the Northern Vicariate was in turn subdivided into the Northern and the Hakodate (later, in 1936, Sendai) Vicariates. To the latter Monsignor Berlioz was appointed, being consecrated Bishop.
Seeing that Catholicism was fast gaining ground, Leo XIII formally established the Hierarchy in June, 1891. The Apostolic Vicariates were now superseded by the Archdiocese of Tokyo and the dioceses of Osaka, Nagasaki and Hakodate, respectively.
In the short time since its rebirth, Catholicism has steadily developed. New Dioceses, Vicariates and Apostolic Prefectures were established by the division, of the dioceses above mentioned. Today there are new dioceses in Fukuoka and Yokohama, Apostolic Vicariates in Sapporo and Hiroshima, and Apostolic Prefectures in Kyoto, Urawa [in 2003 renamed Saitama], Shikoku [in 1963 renamed Takamatsu], Niigata, Nagoya and Miyazaki [in 1961 renamed Oita]. [Today they all have diocesan status.]
THE CHURCH IN JAPAN TODAY.
Most of the missionaries who came to Japan soon after the Meiji Restoration were French. Later many Mission Societies and Religious Congregations, consisting of Germans, Italians, Spaniards, Swedes, Swiss and Poles, visited Japan one after another.
The officials and people of Japan accorded them the most cordial welcome, granting them the maximum convenience in the propagation of their religion, within the scope and restrictions of the Constitution.
Irrespective of their nationalities, foreign Catholic missionaries have no political, economic or military relation with the countries of their origin. They devote themselves solely to the propagation of the Faith. When their mission lands reach a state of independence and self-subsistence, they depart, willingly, entrusting the mission work to the native clergy.
The above is an established policy, ever since the foundation of the Catholic Church, and is unequivocally set forth in the Encyclical, “Rerum Ecclesiae,” the famous Magna Carta of the Foreign Missions of Pope Pius XI, “Pope of the Missions.”
The most important work, therefore, and that first undertaken by foreign missionaries upon their arrival in Japan, has been to select from among the sons of devout Catholics, such promising youths as appeared suitable for the priesthood, to educate them at the seminaries with all possible care, so as to make them holy and able priests, ready to shoulder the burden of the Church of the future.
As a result, there are at present about 170 Japanese priests scattered throughout the country.
Pope Pius XI stressed missionary work to such an extent that he has been often called the Pope of the Missions. His aim was to entrust as far as possible the missionary work in mission lands to native priests. He inaugurated a drastic missionary policy. In 1926, he invited to Rome six Chinese priests, in order to personally consecrate them Bishops. In 1927, he did the same for Father Januarius Hayasaka of the Sendai diocese in Japan to become bishop of Nagasaki.
The writer had the honour of attending this historic consecration, which ushered in a new epoch, that of the first Japanese Bishop of Japan. In a most solemn ceremony at the Basilica of Saint Peter’s, the largest cathedral in the world, Father Januarius Hayasaka was consecrated a member of the Episcopate, the first Japanese Bishop in the history of Japan, successor of the Apostles. An unprecedented happy event for the Catholic Church in Japan, Bishop Hayasaka’s consecration in Rome became a symbol of Japan’s potential rosy future.
It was only natural that the first Japanese Bishop should be appointed to the diocese of Nagasaki, which occupies a peculiar position in the history of early Japanese Christianity, as well as in the history of the Christian revival in Japan. Monsignor Hayasaka, however, resigned his post in 1937 owing to a serious illness and Father Aijiro Yamaguchi was consecrated as Bishop of Nagasaki that same year. On February 13, 1938, Father Peter Tatsuo Doi, Secretary of the Apostolic Delegation, was appointed Archbishop of Tokyo, the Metropolitan Bishop, taking the place of Monsignor Chambon, a member of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris. With this appointment, the highest position in the Catholic Church in Japan was transferred to a Japanese.
In 1939, the Religious Organization Bill was introduced by the Government of the Imperial Diet to solve the pending issue of forty years of the relationship of the state with various religious organizations including Buddhists and Shintoists. (See below in Chapter 4, for more information.) With the passage of the Bill by both the House of Peers and the House of Representatives, the religious circles in Japan were confronted with a great reorientation to not fall foul of military intervention. Under such circumstances, the Catholic Church in Japan also felt it necessary to inaugurate a suitable adaptation programme. This it did voluntarily for the sake of the Church itself and for its future welfare.
The foreign Bishops and Ordinaries in all dioceses and vicariates, therefore, voluntarily resigned as Ordinaries in favour of native priests, in order to personally set an example of adaptation to the circumstances. Their spontaneous resignation was nothing but the perfection of their original mission, for foreign missionaries are primarily the explorers of mission lands, being destined to hand over the leadership of the Church in the mission lands to the native priests when the mission districts have reached the state of self-sufficiency both in personnel and in finance.
Viewed from another angle, the aforementioned change testified to the high prestige of the Catholic Church in Japan, showing that it is by no means inferior to the Catholic Church in the so-called Catholic countries, in spite of the fact that there are as yet, only a small number of Japanese priests and faithful.
Under the highest authority of the Pope, the twelve Japanese Ordinaries are now solidly united and doing their utmost for the rapid spread of the Gospel and for the materialization of the true adaptation principle, strongly advocated by the famous Matteo Ricci and Roberto de Nobili. In this connection, his Excellency the Most Reverend Archbishop Paul (Paolo) Marella, former Apostolic Delegate to Japan, clearly declared in his speech, in the recent Bishop’s Conference held in Tokyo:
“But beyond all, let us examine carefully that most signal benefit derived from these trials; namely, that of having accorded a signal occasion, an opportunity of hastening the nomination of Ordinaries of Japanese nationality, throughout the whole mission field. The Holy See of its own accord appointed these Ordinaries and later on raised three of them to episcopal dignity, thus bringing the number of Japanese Bishops to five. I said it was the ‘occasion’, not the ‘cause’. I said it was done ‘freely’, and not ‘by constraint’. Let us study the ‘Minutes’ of our former meetings at Sekiguchi. It was as early as 1935 that we recognized the necessity of a Japanese leader in each of the missions, on condition, nevertheless, that the Religious Orders and Societies should continue to supply the same personnel and the same pecuniary resources. Only, we questioned whether it were not asking too much, requiring what amounted to heroism. That heroism has become an accomplished fact, and it was approved and consecrated by various documents of the Holy See; letters both to the former and to the newly-appointed Ordinaries; letters of thanks for the disinterested yielding up of positions of authority; letters to Superiors of the various Orders and Religious Bodies, exhorting them to allow their subjects to continue their labours as of old under the altered circumstances.”
At present the Catholic Church in Japan has fifteen ecclesiastical Circumscriptions, namely, the Archdiocese of Tokyo; Dioceses of Osaka, Nagasaki [both are now Archdioceses], Sendai, Fukuoka and Yokohama; Apostolic Vicariates in Sapporo and Hiroshima; and Apostolic Prefectures in Kagoshima, Shikoku [in 1963 renamed Takamatsu], Miyazaki [in 1961 renamed Oita], Kyoto, Nagoya, Niigata and Urawa [in 2003 renamed Saitama]. [They have all been elevated to dioceses today.]
As already mentioned, the Archdiocese of Tokyo, formerly entrusted by the Holy See to the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, with members of the Society appointed as successive Archbishops, is now governed by Monsignor Peter Tatsuo Doi, a Japanese, who succeeded Monsignor Chambon in 1938. He is assisted by numerous religious congregations. Being the capital of the country, Tokyo has several central agencies for the benefit of all missions in this country, the Apostolic Delegation, the Major Seminary, the Catholic University, the National Catholic Committee, and flourishing Catholic secondary schools for boys and girls.
The Nagasaki Diocese also belonged to the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, with their own Bishops, until the accession of Monsignor Hayasaka. The diocese is now in the care of Monsignor Paul Yamaguchi, who succeeded Monsignor Hayasaka as second Japanese Bishop of Nagasaki. The Nagasaki Diocese is renowned throughout the world for its Martyrs, as well as other famous Christians of ancient times. It counts about sixty thousand Catholics, being, roughly, half the Catholic population of Japan. Most of the religious vocations, either for the Priesthood or for Sisterhoods, come from the old Catholic families. It is here that the discovery of the three century old Catholics took place.
The Osaka Diocese was also entrusted to the French Fathers of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, which supplied it with several Bishops in succession. Monsignor Castanier resigned in 1940 in favour of Monsignor Paul Yoshigoro Taguchi, then Secretary of the Apostolic Delegation in Japan. This diocese has two large cities, that is, Osaka, second largest city in Japan and the centre of commerce and industry, and Kobe, one of the, largest international ports, with a Catholic population of about ten thousand; it is also noted for its importance in the Christian history of this country. It ranks next to Nagasaki and Tokyo in the number of its believers. The Osaka diocese is now entrusted to the native clergy and the Fathers of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, together with many religious Orders, who help in the work of the parishes.
The Diocese of Sendai, formerly knows as Hakodate Diocese, belonged to the Fathers of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, under French Ordinaries, and then to the Canadian Dominican Fathers, under Monsignor Lemieux, first Bishop of Sendai, who was succeeded in 1941 by the present Bishop Urakawa. The diocese is now in the charge of the native clergy and the Canadian Dominican Fathers. In the Sendai Diocese are the two famous convents of Trappists and Trappistines.
The Diocese of Fukuoka was established in 1927 through the division of the Diocese of Nagasaki, on the occasion of the appointment of Monsignor Hayasaka. At first, it belonged to the French Missionaries of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris under successive Bishops of the same society, but then its leadership was transferred to Monsignor Fukahori, first Japanese Bishop of Fukuoka. This diocese has a fairly large number of Christians and is famous for its industry.
The Diocese of Yokohama was established through the division of the Tokyo Diocese. Monsignor Chambon, formerly Archbishop of Tokyo, was appointed first Archbishop-Bishop of Yokohama, but he spontaneously resigned in favour of Monsignor Ichitaro Ideguchi, who however was soon appointed to Kagoshima. Now this mission is entrusted to the Fathers of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris and the native priests, under Bishop Thomas Wakida.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Sapporo became independent of the Diocese of Hakodate in 1915. It was entrusted to German Franciscan Missionaries and is now under Monsignor A. Seno, its present Apostolic Administrator.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Hiroshima became an independent Division separated from the Diocese of Osaka in 1923. It belongs to the German Jesuit Missionaries, under the present Apostolic Administrator, Monsignor Ogihara, S.J.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Shikoku [in 1963 renamed Takamatsu] became independent of the Diocese of Osaka in 1904 and has been in the charge of Spanish Dominican Missionaries under Monsignor Paul Taguchi, Bishop of Osaka, who in addition, holds the post of Apostolic Administrator of this mission.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Niigata became independent of the Archbishop of Tokyo in 1912 and belongs to the Society of the Divine Word.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Nagoya has also been entrusted to the same society. Both of them are now under Monsignor Peter Matsuoka, Apostolic Prefect.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Kagoshima became independent of the Diocese of Nagasaki in 1927. It formerly belonged to the Canadian Franciscan Missionaries. With the evacuation of these Fathers during the war, it passed to the control of Japanese priests under Monsignor Ichitaro Ideguchi, Apostolic Administrator.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Miyazaki [in 1961 renamed Oita] became independent of the Diocese of Nagasaki in 1928 and is still in the charge of Italian Salesian Missionaries under Bishop Fukahori of Fukuoka, concurrently Apostolic Administrator of Miyazaki.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Kyoto became independent of the Diocese of Osaka in 1937 and was entrusted to the American Foreign Mission Society of Maryknoll, under Monsignor Patrick Byrn, M.M. The Maryknoll Fathers opened several posts in the new mission for the extension of the Kingdom of God. In 1941, Monsignor Byrn resigned as Prefect Apostolic with all other foreign Ordinaries in favour of Monsignor Paul Furuya, Apostolic Prefect.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Urawa [in 2003 renamed Saitama] became independent of the Diocese of Tokyo in 1938, and is now under the charge of the Canadian Franciscan Missionaries, under Monsignor Paul Uchino, Apostolic Prefect of Urawa.
PERFECT FREEDOM OF FAITH AND CENTRAL CATHOLIC ORGANIZATION.
As mentioned before, the forty-year-old problem since 1899 was solved with the passage of the Religious Organization Bill by both the House of Peers and the House of Representatives in 1939. The Law was promulgated on April 8, the same year, as Law Number 77 and was put into effect on April 1, the following year. Legislation regarding religious organizations was thus readjusted and unified, marking the completion of basic rules for the operation of the religious administration.
The Religious Organization Law pretended to uphold firmly the principle of the freedom of religion in accordance with the Constitution. It does not provide for any restriction against religious doctrines, creeds or internal structures, putting stress, as its name indicates, on the proper supervision and guidance of the external activities of the religious organizations.
Until the promulgation of the Religious Organization Law, Christian organizations in Japan were, as far as the law was concerned, only religious societies, not recognized by the Education Office, in spite of the fact that they were actually fully fledged religious organizations. In other words, they were, legally speaking, merely tolerated.
The Catholic Church in Japan, too, was morally compelled to formulate “Regulations of the Catholic Civil Corporation in Japan,” required by Article three of the Religious Organization law, and asked for recognition as a juridical person, without which its existence was in danger. As a result, it was formally recognized by the Education Minister ahead of other Christian organizations in Japan on May 3, 1941. Catholicism thus came to enjoy the same rights obligations and protection as Shintoism and Buddhism, both of which have long histories in Japan.
Following the unconditional surrender of Japan at the end of the war, all the Articles of the Potsdam Declaration are to be executed as faithfully as possible by this country. The perfect freedom of Faith and Religion is no doubt a great concern, and has a special importance amongst the Articles of the said Declaration. The 28th article of the Japanese Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of Faith and Religion, contains a clause saying: “Unless it is against the public order and the duty of citizens.” As a result, this clause is susceptible of many capricious and opportunistic interpretations compromising the freedom itself, on the part of misled Government officers and extremists. In 1946, the Japanese Government promulgated the Constitution, in which the freedom of religion, as we ardently hope, is perfectly guaranteed. With a view to safeguarding perfect freedom of Religion, all laws, ordinances or institutes compromising it were definitely abrogated or dissolved; among them the Religious Organizations Law and its annexed regulations, secret police system, gendarmerie, et cetera. The Bureau for The Religious Affairs in the Education Ministry changed its policy from supervision and guidance to the protection of religious bodies. As a matter of fact, the aforementioned Religious Organizations Law was patterned after the constitutional regulations of Buddhist and Shintoist sects then (and still) prevailing in this country, which contain many articles antagonistic to the Christian organizations.
The great mistake in this law was the standardization or uniformity in the composition of the different articles, which are applied to all religious alike, regardless as to whether they are Buddhist, Shintoist or Christian. There were also too many bureaucratic articles requiring a very complicated business routine from pastors, who were rather business men than teachers of religion.
As a natural course, with the abrogation of the aforementioned law, the ‘Kyodan’ (Catholic Civil Corporation) based upon it, was necessarily dissolved. Even under the mentioned law and in spite of the Kyodan, the Canon Law was, in fact, recognized by the Japanese authorities and fully observed by the Catholic Church in Japan, although it may appear otherwise.
What was seemingly against Canon Law, was always to be interpreted in a civil sense and not canonically. In this connection, our former Apostolic Delegate keenly observes in his above-mentioned speech:
“Now, being free, ‘qua libertate Christus nos liberavit’, ‘by the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free’, (Galatians 4:31) eased of that oppressive yoke of governmental control, let us not disdain or set too low a price on these efforts towards prudent adaptation to which we owe these positive advantages. “The first of these advantages is the official destruction of that century old prejudice, by the recognition of our equal rights to existence as Catholics on the same footing as other religions in Japan. “The second is to have more securely established the meetings of the Ordinaries by cementing between them a closer union, rich in fruitfulness. It is our cherished hope that this union should continue to grow closer and more fraternal still, if possible, owing to the establishment of the permanent Committee of Bishops, with appropriate offices, for the purpose of studying the new problems of the nation and to allow fruitful intercourse with the civil authorities.
“The third advantage is to have drawn up a programme of economic independence, which although an ambitious one, has nevertheless served to awaken the attention of the faithful to their duty of supporting the material needs of the Church. “The fourth is to have made ourselves known and at times even appreciated by the officials both in the capital and in the provinces, many of whom, until the passing of the law, had scarcely heard of the existence of the Catholic Church. “The fifth, is the necessity of being ever on the watch with regard to what we said, wrote or did, of racking our brains, as it were, to show in a fitting light to those, who had been sent precisely to catch us in our speech, now this aspect and now that of our Holy Religion. An exercise it is, which has taught us self-control and prudence, the necessity also of carefully studying the would-be enquirer before opening to him the Treasures of the Christian Truths. Let the fruit of so many discussions, of so many measures of prudence in the correction and revision of our religious books, remain in the new Japan as a monument to future ages of the way in which missions should overcome difficulties in moments of crises, without succumbing.”
Archbishop (Paolo) Marella goes on to say, “It was my intention only to stress a point on which I was anxious, that liberty should not be mistaken for confusion. I wished to insist on the necessity of concord, according to the well-known saying of Sallust: ‘Concordia parvae res crescunt, discordia maximae dilahunt’. ‘Little things grow through concord, through discord, great ones fall to pieces’. We feel the great necessity of co-ordinating and organizing our energies and works in this country where there are numerous ecclesiastical circumscriptions, so many religious congregations and so few Catholics in so limited an area. It is even so after the dissolution of the Catholic Corporation (‘Kyodan’) following the abrogation of the Religious Organization Law.”
As a matter of fact, the Ordinaries of Japan, in the Conference of 1945, discussed seriously the problem, and decided to establish the National Catholic Committee of Japan, after the model of the National Catholic Welfare Conference in the United States of America. The National Catholic Committee is not a council or legislative assembly, as contemplated by the Sacred Canons, but is an organization of the members of the Hierarchy of Japan, therefore, every Ordinary of the Church in Japan, ipso facto, belongs to it and has an active voice and a passive voice in the Conference. As the Conference or Committee was recognized as a juridical person by the Authorities, all Ordinaries were appointed directors of this foundation.
Practically, however, the Committee is to be administered by a permanent executive Committee, composed of three Ordinaries, who are to be elected for the purpose at the annual meeting of the Hierarchy of Japan. The Conference has its executive organ, with its office, under the chairman of the Executive Board, with six different Departments under respective Directors. All the members of the aforementioned Administrative Committee, the chairman of the Executive Board and Directors of the Departments, were elected at the last meeting of the Ordinaries in 1945 to serve for the term of five years. The Archbishop of Tokyo is elected the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Conference; members of the permanent Administrative Committee are Monsignor Doi, Archbishop of Tokyo; Monsignor Taguchi, Bishop of Osaka; and Monsignor Uchino, Apostolic Prefect of Urawa; Bishop Taguchi is the chairman of the Executive Board; the Rev. Father Shimura is appointed the Director of General Affairs; Rev. Father Fukahori is Director of the Department of the Press; Rev. Father Roggendorf, S.J. is Director of the Education and Culture Department; Rev. Father Flaujac, M.E. is Director of the Department of Social Works; Rev. Father Henvers, S.J. is Director of the Catholic Action Department; Rev. Father Bitter, S.J. is Director of Restoration.
RELATIONS BETWEEN THE VATICAN AND JAPAN.
Settling a long-pending issue, the Japanese Government, on February 26, 1942, formally adjusted its diplomatic relations with the Vatican, appointing Ken Harada the diplomat, Counselor of the Japanese Embassy in France, as the first Special Delegate to the Vatican.
The friendly relations between Japan and the Vatican, to which Minister Harada was dispatched, have a very long history. The first intercourse was the dispatch of the Juvenile Amity Envoys by the three Lords of Kyushu, namely, Ōtomo Sōrin, Arima Harunobu, and Ōmura Sumitada, in 1582.
In 1615, the famous Tsunenaga Hasekura was dispatched as a mission of the Date Masamune, feudal lord of Ou.
After the Meiji Restoration, Pope Leo XIII caused Monsignor Pierre Marie Osouf, Archbishop of Tokyo, to submit his personal letter to the Emperor Meiji in 1885. To return the courtesy, the Emperor sent Prince Kimmochi Saionji to the Vatican as a Minister Extra-ordinary Plenipotentiary; after which, Pope Leo XIII dispatched his Excellency the Most Rev. William Henry O’Connell, Bishop of Portland, later Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, to Japan as a Special Envoy. Monsignor O’Connell arrived in Japan on October 29, 1905, and was received in audience by the Emperor Meiji on November 10, the same year, at the Imperial Palace, whereupon he submitted the personal letter of the Pope to the Emperor.
In 1907, Japan decided to send a Special Envoy to the Vatican, appointing Yasuya Uchida (often known as Uchida Kōsai) as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See on April 25. Ambassador Uchida left Japan on May 1, and was received by the Pope on July 22, when he presented to him a personal letter from the Emperor Meiji.
In the Emperor Taisho era, Monsignor Joseph (Giuseppe) Petrelli, Apostolic Delegate to the Philippine Islands, was sent to Japan on the occasion of the Enthronement Ceremony of the Emperor Taisho, as a Special Envoy of Felicitation, while several negotiations were conducted between Japan and the Vatican concerning the settlement of the missionary issue in the Japanese mandated ‘South Sea Islands’ of Micronesia (Marianas, Carolines, Palaus and Marshalls) and other problems. In 1923, the question of stationing a minister at the Vatican was taken up by the Japanese Government, but the plan did not materialize.
When the Reigning Emperor, Hirohito, the then Prince Regent, went abroad, his Majesty met Pope Benedict XV at the Vatican on July 15, 1921. To return the courtesy, the former Pope, Pius XI, sent Monsignor Mario Giardini to Japan as a Special Envoy in 1922. The Emperor received him in audience and granted him the First Order of Merit with the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun on May 23. The Ruler then granted him a banquet and gracious words.
Moreover, the Sovereign has granted audience on several occasions to Monsignor Paul (Paolo) Marella, Papal Envoy. His Majesty has also received in audience several persons related to the Roman Catholic Church. His Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu, younger brother of the Emperor, met Pope Pius XI in 1930, at the Vatican.
The Vatican was visited by Prince Iesato Tokugawa in 1931, by a party of the Dai Nippon Boys’ Association, headed by Viscount Michiharu Mishima in 1938 and by a good-will mission to Italy headed by Ambassador Naotake Satō, former Foreign Minister, in 1940. Besides, many dignitaries of Japan’s political and diplomatic circles visited the Vatican.
From the Vatican, an Apostolic Delegate was dispatched to Japan for the first time in 1919, when Benedict XV was Pope. The first Apostolic Delegate to Japan was the Most Rev. Archbishop Peter (Pietro) Fumasoni-Biondi, who came to Japan, where he remained until 1921. Archbishop Mario Giardini came to Japan from Italy on March 19, 1922, as the successor of Monsignor Peter Fumasoni-Biondi and remained nine full years, till April, 1931.
The next Apostolic Delegate to Japan was the Most Rev. Archbishop Edward Mooney, who held that post for a little over two years. He was appointed Apostolic Delegate to India, January 8, 1926, and later appointed Apostolic Delegate to Japan on February 25, 1931. He was then transferred to the See of Rochester, New York, on August 28, 1933, and later transferred to the metropolitan See of Detroit on August 3, 1937. He has since been created Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
On September 10, 1933, Monsignor Paul (Paolo) Marella, Auditor of the Apostolic Delegation to the United States, was appointed Apostolic Delegate to Japan, and was promoted Titular Archbishop of Doclea. He was consecrated in October in Rome and arrived in Japan on December 19, of the same year.
No Treaty has so far been concluded between Japan and the Vatican, so the recent appointment of the Minister Ken Harada as a Special Delegate to the Vatican was based on an Imperial Ordinance, No. 64, of 1917. His appointment was regarded as a preliminary step to the future appointment of a Minister or an Ambassador to the Vatican, and he received treatment as an Ambassador Plenipotentiary in the Vatican.
Hailing from Kyoto, Minister Harada is a refined diplomat, while his wife, Wakako, is a devout Catholic, graduating from the Sacred Heart School, both in Osaka and in Tokyo. Father Tomizawa, of Kyoto, was the Ecclesiastical Counselor to Minister Harada. The appointment of Minister Harada proved very popular not only in official quarters and in private circles in Japan, but also in the Vatican. The order of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers to the Japanese Government issued on October 25, 1945, recalled all Japanese diplomats; this applied also in the case of the Japanese Special Delegate to the Vatican. He and his family came back to Japan.
In 1948, Archbishop Paolo Marella was transferred to the Apostolic Delegation of Sydney, in Australia, and in 1949, Archbishop Maximilien de Furstenberg was appointed as Apostolic Delegate to Japan, and arrived in Tokyo on July 2, 1949.
PRIESTLY VOCATIONS AND SEMINARIES.
The Catholic Church in Japan leapt, so to speak, from its infancy to the prime of life, skipping the period of youth, by force of circumstances, during the war and pre-war times. This phenomenon was indeed an act of Providence. The necessity for Japanese priests became imperative, for at such a moment Japanese priests alone could meet the requirements of the Church in the emergency. Under the circumstances, the Catholic Church in Japan started anew with the object of materializing economic independence and is making great strides towards perfect self-sufficiency in personnel.
According to an investigation conducted in 1948, there were 122,468 Catholics in Japan proper. The number of Catholics is quite insignificant amongst a total population of 80 millions. There were at that time 519 priests in the Japanese Empire, of whom about 167 were Japanese, much too small a number for the present requirements. The Catholic Church is, therefore, making untold efforts to foster Japanese vocations, in spite of the great sacrifice it entails.
In 1929, Monsignor Chambon, then Archbishop of Tokyo, established the Major Seminary for the Archdiocese of Tokyo. The Seminary was recognized in 1932 by the Holy See as the only Regional Seminary in Japan, both in name and in reality.
At the same time, its management was entrusted to the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, which has the longest record of mission work in Japan, since the Meiji Restoration. In 1940, however, the supervision of the seminary passed into the hands of the native Ordinaries.
The Seminary has a Philosophy Department, with a three-year course and a Theology Department with a four-year course. Only the graduates of Secondary or Higher Schools are admitted. Before the war, the Seminary had about a hundred students. It is not too much to say that the future of the Catholic Church in Japan depends on these students.
During the war, the majority of the Seminarians were called up for military service. They came back little by little from the front to take up once more their life as Seminarians. The buildings, too, were badly damaged but were repaired; which fact, together with the shortage of food, has necessitated a temporary closing of the Seminary.
Now when circumstances seem so favourable for the growth of the Church, the ecclesiastical authorities have determined to focus all their attention on fostering priestly vocations. A crusade of prayer is being organized to implore God to send labourers into His vineyard; to stir up in the hearts of the young that generous ardour to answer His call; to grant us splendid vocations, for herein, we all appreciate, lies the hope of the future.
The Diocese of Nagasaki, watered by the blood of the martyrs, has ever been a fruitful soil for priestly and religious vocations, and it is among the descendants of the old Catholic families that the best vocations are found. Certainly, the choicest blessings of Heaven have been reserved for these worthy descendants of the old time martyrs; for as Tertullian says: “Sanguis Martyrum, semen Christianorum.” “The Blood of Martyrs, is the seed of Christians.”
But in other dioceses, too, we find excellent vocations, even among the upper classes, among the students of universities, high schools and colleges. The low level of morality has been considered as the cause of the war, or at least one of its causes, by the public, who now realize that in Religion lies the country’s salvation. Our generous Catholic youth is anxious to consecrate his life to the service of God and the spiritual renovation of our people.
To maintain seminaries and to support and train our seminarians, requires large sums of money. The Pontifical work of Saint Peter helps to defray the expenses of the latter to a great extent, our Japanese Catholics, too, are generous in their support; but we are still far from being self-supporting.
There are Minor Seminaries, which serve as preliminary schools to give secondary education to students for the Major Seminaries. There are now the Minor Seminaries in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Nagoya and Sapporo, the number of whose students total about two hundred.
There are two Major Seminaries, one in Tokyo, conducted by the Jesuit Fathers, and another in Fukuoka, in Kyushu Island, run by the Sulpician Fathers.
There are a fair number of Catholic schools in Japan, all of them recognized by the Government. The Education Office, in its Decree No. 12, of 1898, revealed its fundamental policy concerning religious education. According to this Decree, secular education and religious teaching are to be kept separate. This applies not only to Governmental and Public Schools, but also to all private schools recognized by the State. This regulation has been maintained until recently. According to the regulations, no religious doctrine could be taught during school hours and no religious ceremonies could be performed. This, however, did not apply to private instruction given to individuals at their own request.
Though in theory, private schools were not obliged to apply for State Recognition, in practice it was essential to do so, for without it a school had no standing and could not obtain the confidence of the parents, and therefore obtained no recruitment.
All the Catholic schools applied for this official recognition. Enjoying the confidence of the public, as to the manner of education, they find it difficult to accept all the applicants who flock to them each year. Especially numerous are students coming from well-to-do families. Not only the private lessons in the Catholic doctrine, but still more, the good example and holy lives of the Fathers, Brothers and Sisters lead to many conversions among the students and children. Many of their graduates are now holding important posts in the Government or in public or social circles, or have become wives of those who hold such posts. They are the wives of the prominent personages, and mothers of promising youths. As a matter of fact, these Catholic schools have had a greater influence than the parishes, in the conversion of the intellectual classes.
On October 15, 1945, Mr. Tamon Maeda, Minister of Education, issued an epoch-making decree on religious education in private schools. Notwithstanding Decree No. 12 of the Education Ministry, issued in 1898, religious education can be given as an extra, and religious ceremonies can be held under the following conditions: (1) That the religious liberty of the students be safeguarded; (2) that mention be made of the particular religion, whose doctrine is taught, or of the ceremonies to be performed; (3) that care be taken not to overburden in any way the students to the detriment of their health and not to cause them anxiety of mind.
The Catholic schools, as the salt, or the light of the world, are expected to fulfil from now on even more efficiently the important mission entrusted to them by Our Lord and His Church for the conversion of the intellectual classes. We rejoice to hear on all sides of the plans made to carry out this programme. Unfortunately, sixteen of our larger Catholic schools were victims of the recent war. This is a very heavy loss for a missionary country such as Japan. Nagasaki alone lost twenty Sisters of the educational Orders. The rebuilding of our schools is a great problem. Let us hope that many more schools will be established and that as soon as possible they will play their part in helping the great work that Providence has entrusted to them. We must remember that the Protestants have far more schools of all types than we have, universities, colleges, high schools and elementary schools.
The Jesuits came to Japan in 1913 and established Sophia (Wisdom or ‘Jochi’) University at Kojimachi, Tokyo. The University has a philosophy, literature and commerce department as well as a college. The students number about one thousand.
The Marianist Society has contributed much to Secondary School Education in Japan. It has many Japanese members. These Marianists came to Japan in 1888 and founded, in Tokyo, “The Morning Star” Middle and Primary Schools, Saint Joseph’s College in Yokohama, “The Brilliant Star” School in Osaka, and “The Star of the Sea” School in Nagasaki, each of which has about one thousand students at the present time.
In 1932, the Fathers of the Society of the Divine Word opened the Nanzan Middle School in Nagoya and founded a college in 1949. Later, German Fathers of the Franciscan Order established the Kosei Commercial School in Sapporo, while in 1938 the Diocese of Nagasaki established the Tokyo Middle School.
The Salesian Fathers are running professional schools in Tokyo and Osaka.
The activities of the Catholics in Japan are more conspicuous in the education of girls than of boys.
The Sisters of Saint Maur came to Japan in 1872, opening the Koran Girls’ High School in Yokohama, the Futaba Girls’ High School, Primary School and Kindergarten attached thereto, the Girls’ High School in Fukuoka, and the Sumire Joshi Gakuin or ‘Our Lady of Violets and Wisdom High School’ in Tokyo.
The Sacred Heart Sisters came to Japan in 1908 and established the Seishin Gakuin (Sacred Heart Academies) in Tokyo and Kobe, both of which have a Women’s College, a Girls’ High School, a Primary School and a Kindergarten.
The Sisters of the Sacred Heart and those of Saint Maur chiefly educate girls of the upper classes. Many of their graduates are playing important roles in Japanese society.
The Sisters of Chauffailes came to Japan in 1877 and established the Shinai Girls’ High School in Osaka, the “Ecole Sainte-Marie” (Saint Mary’s School) in Kobe, the Joshi Girls’ High School in Nagasaki, and the Kambayashi Girls’ High School in Kumamoto, as well as many kindergartens and orphanages.
The Sisters of Saint Paul de Chartres came to Japan in 1878, and opened primary and secondary schools for girls in Tokyo, Katase, Hakodate, Morioka, Sendai and Yatsushiro, while the French Sisters of Nevers opened the Seibo Girls’ High School in the outskirts of Osaka.
The Sisters of the Holy Ghost came to Japan in 1908 and founded a Girls’ High School in Akita.
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur came to Japan in 1924, and opened a large Girls’ High School and the Women’s College in Okayama. The Dominican Sisters arrived in 1925 and inaugurated a Girls’ Commercial School in Matsuyama. The Spanish Sisters, known as the Mercedarians, also came some years ago and founded the Koen Girls’ High School in Tokyo.
Recently the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary opened the Kai-sei Girls’ High School in Kolu.
The Handmaidens of the Sacred Heart opened also a large Middle School and College for girls in Yokosuka.
The Japanese Sisters of the Visitation and the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, which were established in 1927 and 1928 respectively, have kindergartens in various parts of the country. The former, moreover, has also a Girls’ High School in Miyazuru and one in Maizuru, in the Kyoto Civil Prefecture.
CATHOLIC CHARITABLE INSTITUTIONS.
“Have compassion on them,” said Jesus Christ. To relieve the sick and the poor, is to follow in the footsteps of Christ crucified.
The arrival of foreign missionaries, both men and women, in Japan, saw the foundation and growth of charitable institutions of every kind. The first leprosarium founded in Japan was the Fukusei Hospital at Koyama, Shizuoka Prefecture, which was established by Father Testvide, of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, in 1888. At present, the Canadian Sisters of Christ the King are in charge of the hospital.
The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary are in charge of the famous International Hospital in Tokyo, a work of charity on a vast scale. They have also in their care the General Hospital at Yokohama and the International Hospital of Kolu.
Father Flaujac, of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, has been engrossed heart and soul in anti-tuberculosis enterprises for some years, managing two sanatoria for this purpose, known respectively as Bethany House and Bethlehem Garden. Further extending his activities, he founded the juridical corporation, “Jisai Kai,” (‘Helping Sisters’) as well as the Religious Congregation called “Bernadettes,” who devote themselves chiefly to the cause of patients and children. There are already a good number of Sisters belonging to the new Congregation.
Father Vincent Totsuka founded the Sakuramachi Hospital in Tokyo and the “Kai-joryo” (Sisters’ benefits) in Chiba Prefecture.
The Adoratrice Sisters came to Japan in 1928 and established the “Shiragikuryo,” a reformatory for girls, in Tokyo and Yokohama.
The Sisters of Charity opened the Seibo Hospital and “Social Hall,” a dispensary for the purpose of giving free medical treatment to the poor of Osaka, a much-needed charity in that large industrial city.
The Jesuits and Salesians of Tokyo are engaged in enterprises for the relief of the poor at Mikawajima, in Tokyo, while the Japanese Sisters of the Visitation are in charge of the Saint Theresa Sanatorium at Shichiri-gahama, in the Kanagawa Prefecture, the Sanatorium at Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture, and a hospital at Shindenbara, Fukuoka Prefecture.
Also playing an important role in charitable works are the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, a Japanese Religious Congregation, who manage kindergartens, dispensaries, nurseries and sanatoria throughout the country and spend themselves in the service of the poverty-stricken people.
The Sisters of Saint Paul de Chartres, with their headquarters at Tokyo, are devoted mainly to enterprises for social welfare. They have hospitals, free dispensaries and nurseries in various cities.
The Diocesan Charitable works are too numerous to enumerate here. Especially numerous are the nurseries in Nagasaki and other dioceses, which occasionally receive Imperial monetary grants. The Central Government, as well as the Metropolitan and Prefectural Governments, have given aid on numerous occasions, presented subsidies to charitable enterprises in various dioceses and commended the Fathers and Sisters for their generous help towards the social and cultural welfare of the people. The Imperial Foundation, “Keifuku Kai” for women, has given monetary encouragement to social welfare enterprises connected with Catholics.
It must be clearly understood, that as followers of Christ, zeal for souls is ever uppermost in the hearts of the priests and nuns who devote themselves to these works of charity. In this spirit, they and their helpers visit the public hospitals and sanatoria and other charitable institutions, that they may bring spiritual consolation to the inmates, and Baptism to countless souls on the threshold of eternity. A lady catechist in Osaka baptized 902 persons “in articulo mortis” (“in the nearness of death”) in a single year. Is it not a wonderful supernatural work?
Owing to the destruction caused by the war in most of our large cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka, there are hundreds of thousands who are homeless, wandering about the streets, cold and hungry, often lying at death’s door by the roadside. The Daughters of Saint Vincent de Paul and the Japanese Sisters of “Caritas” (Charity) are opening Homes of Refuge for these unfortunates in the city of Osaka, and have received help and encouragement from the authorities and from kind benefactors. It is to be particularly noted that Mr. Shinjiro Torii, president of the Hoju-kai, the Community Charity for Women, in Osaka, is tendering the hands of charity and mercy to countless afflicted people of the war, through the activities of the Catholic nuns.
In Tokyo, Father Flaujac, of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris, has also inaugurated a huge spiritual campaign towards this end.
CATHOLIC CULTURAL ENTERPRISES.
Two obstacles, so far, have prevented any Catholic literary work on a large scale: First, the Missioners were foreigners; secondly, they were comparatively few in number and missionary work proper absorbed all of their energies. One name stands out above all others for labours in this sphere, namely, that of the late Father Liguel, of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris. While Superior of the Tokyo Theological Seminary, Father Liguel published such voluminous books as: “Theological Outlines,” “Scholastic Philosophical Outline,” and his “Ideal Young Men.” He was indeed a prominent figure in his day.
Another able writer was Father Lemoine, M.E., who founded and was the publisher of the Catholic organ known as “Koe” (The Voice). Father Steichein, M.E., of Luxemburg, succeeded Father Lemoine as editor, and devoted his life to forwarding the spread of Catholic literature.
Father Steichein wrote a famous book: “The Christian Daimyo,” which was subsequently translated into English and French. Father Drouart de Lesez, Director of the Fukusei Hospital, in Shizuoka, in his later days, was in the forefront of the literary movement as a philosopher and a theologian.
His book, “The Origin of Truth,” is very popular among the people who consider it one of the literary masterpieces of the day.
Father Raguet, M.E., of Nagasaki, while engaged in preaching the Gospel, translated the New Testament into Japanese from the Greek original, and today the translation is widely used because of its accuracy.
Father Raguet, M.E., also published other religious books as well as a French-Japanese Dictionary, thus contributing much towards the linguistic studies of the country.
Father Villon, M.E., of Osaka, known as “the gem of the missionaries,” wrote “Senketsu Isho” (The Blood-Stained Will), which is the record of martyred Christians, and which won literary fame for its author.
Father Joseph Dalmann, S.J., who was a professor at Jochi (Sophia) University, and who lately passed away, was a great authority on Indian philosophy, comparable with the German scholar, Deusen.
The late Father Bousquet, M.E., apostle of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar and devotee of Saint Therese of Lisieux, wrote many books on the life of the Little Flower and on the devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which were appreciated not only by the Christian people, but also by others.
With the advent of the new age and the reign of Hirohito, Catholic publishing circles became animated. The Catholic Press Centre was founded in 1931 to publish numerous Catholic periodicals. Taking over the right of publishing, the Press Centre began publishing the magazine “Koe” (Vox Catholica) (Catholic Voice), which had been circulating for forty years. This latter was intended for the ordinary public. Another magazine, called “The Catholics,” was devoted to research work. The new organ began publishing a weekly, “The Catholic Times,” (“The Catholic Shimbum”), hitherto published tri-monthly by the Catholic Young Men’s Association of Tokyo. In 1934, it published “Umi no Hoshi” (Star of the Sea), as a magazine for juveniles.
Prior to this, a conference to discuss ways and means of controlling the minor Catholic periodicals published in various parts of the country, was held during the latter part of 1931. Bishop Paul Taguchi, of Osaka, while a young diocesan priest of Tokyo, took the leadership of the Catholic Press Centre as its Director General. This post he held from 1931-1937.
“The Catholic Shimbum” then became the important organ of the religious organizations. Subsequently, the magazine, “Catholics,” had its publication rights transferred to the Catholic Research Company founded by Father Soichi Iwashita. Today it is being edited by the professors of Jochi (Sophia) University.
Standing head and shoulders above their contemporaries at the beginning of the new age of Emperor Hirohito were Fathers Soichi Iwashita and Bunkei Totsuka, both influential Japanese.
Born of notable families, they graduated from the Tokyo University with honours. Abandoning worldly ambitions, they became Catholic priests and devoted their lives to the relief of the sick and the needy while serving ever in the vanguard of the Catholic literary movement.
For many years, Father Iwashita led a life of sacrifice among the lepers of the Fukusei Hospital at Koyama, of which he was in charge. Being an able Professor of Philosophy, he made himself felt through his lectures to the Catholic Research Associations of various Universities in Tokyo, as well as in the Tokyo Regional Seminary.
Founding the Catholic Research Association and Saint Philip’s Home in Tokyo, he devoted his life to the proper guidance of young people. He also wrote various books, including “A Correspondence Course on Catholic Doctrine,” “Saint Augustine’s City of God,” “Study on Mediaeval Philosophy” and “Pioneers of Modern Thought.”
Following his death, his followers published a collection of his works, through the famed Iwanami Book Publishing Company in Tokyo, which had already published such volumes as “A Legacy of Faith” and “A Study on Mediaeval Philosophy.”
Father Totsuka was a gifted literary man. He was especially famous for his translations of well-known Occidental works. He was also the author of many original works, including, “Saint Paul,” “Rural Reform” and “The Introduction to a Devout Life.”
Both Father Iwashita and Father Totsuka did much towards the establishment and management of the Catholic Press Centre. Father Iwashita was especially active, publishing deep theological essays in every issue of the magazine, “Catholics.”
As already stated, Father Raguet M.E. had translated the New Testament, but there was still no translation of the Old Testament for Catholics, Father Osamu Shibutani now determined to supply the deficiency, and so to complete the translation of the Holy Scriptures.
Father Shibutani, of the Vicariate of Hiroshima, had previously established the Okayama Catholic Ideological Research Institute and had been publishing “Biblical Ideology.” Manifesting great zeal in the study of Scripture, he has been appealing to new Catholic followers.
At present, Father Shibutani is endeavouring to complete the Japanese translation of “The Old Testament,” in Nagasaki. Aiming at issuing “A Collection of Christian Thoughts” in a series of about twenty volumes, he has already published “Various Problems of Spirits” and “Comments on Christian Doctrine.”
At this time, when the study of ancient Christianity is of such interest in literary circles in Japan, “Christian History Research Institutes” have been founded both in Tokyo and Nagasaki, and some invaluable publications have been issued.
Prominent among those engaged in this study are Bishop Urakawa, of Sendai, and Father Laures, S.J., Professor of Sophia University, and Dr Peter Humberclaude, S.M., Secretary of the Apostolic Delegation and lecturer of French literature in the Imperial University of Tokyo. Bishop Urakawa, having been Superior of the Nagasaki Seminary for many years, and having lived in Nagasaki, the cradle of Japanese Christianity, studying both the written and oral tradition of its people, now offers the fruits of his studies to the public in numerous books, including, “The Revival of Christianity” in two volumes.
Having travelled extensively both in Japan and abroad, Father Laures has collected Christian literature and established “The Christian History Library” at Sophia University. It is a centre of attraction to the students of Philosophy and Theology.
Famous in law circles in Japan is Professor Kotaro Tanaka, of Tokyo Imperial University, who is a member of the Imperial Academy and a devout Catholic. Although he specializes in Commercial Law, Professor Tanaka is well-versed in Philosophy of Law. Few excel him in the study of the legal ideology of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Also well-versed in various languages, he is gifted in cultural arts, especially music. As an exchange professor, he delivered lectures at the University of Rome. Subsequently, he visited Latin America on invitation, making a lecture tour.
Professor Tanaka has published numerous books on commercial law, as well as on other subjects. Included among his works are “Theory of World Laws,” in a series of three volumes, “Study on Commercial Law” and “Laws, Religions and Social Life.”
Doubtless, Professor Kotaro Tanaka is one of the foremost scholars of the present day in Japan.
Concerning the study of the theological and philosophical doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas, various professors of the Tokyo Catholic Major Seminary and Sophia University are most active. This was especially true of the late Yoshihiko Yoshimitsu, a lecturer of Tokyo Imperial University and professor at Sophia University, a learned scholar on Thomism. Much was expected of him. His death in October, 1945, was a great loss. Rev. Father J. B. Noda, professor of the Major Seminary in Tokyo; Father Doumolin, S.J.; Father M. Noll, O.F.M.; Father V. Pouliot, O.P.; Father Siemes, S.J.; Father Roggendorf, S.J.; Father Herzog, S.J., et cetera … . are devoting themselves to Catholic cultural movements through lectures, conferences and by the press. Newly converted Professor K. Ko Kufu, of Ritsumel ‘University of Kyoto’ is very active in giving public lectures in various universities and colleges on Catholicism. He is a born linguist and a great scholar of Greek and mediaeval philosophy.
As for the economic doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Father Laures, S.J.; Father Herzog, S.J.; Dr. Manji lijima and Professor Shinjiri Yokibe, of the Kobe University of Commerce, are famous. Dr. Akira Ozawa, Professor at the Kyushu Imperial University, who is a scholar on International Law, is also active in the study of the economic theory of Saint Thomas.
It is especially noteworthy that Sophia University, at the request of, the Holy See, began compiling a great Catholic Dictionary several years ago. Professors of the University, as well as international scholars of repute, have collaborated and hastened the completion of the work of compilation.
Already the Institution has issued the first two volumes, which have won commendation among scholastic circles as novel publications.
Attracting the keen attention of those in the Japanese academic field is the Catholic doctrinal system, based on the doctrines of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine, and a galaxy of some twenty Catholic professors are lecturing at Government, public and private universities and colleges in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai, Kyushu, Hokkaido and other cities.
The majority of these professors have made an academic study of Catholicism and have been converted to the Catholic Church. In Tokyo, there is the Catholic Cultural Association, with Catholic professors of various Government, public and private universities and colleges as its members and Professor Tanaka as its president.
Various plans for art and music as two of the major items of the Catholic cultural movement are being carried out as Catholic activities in Japan. Playing the most active roles in Tokyo are the following organizations of three movements:
Established towards the end of 1928, the Catholic Arts Society held art exhibitions on seven occasions, exhibited works of art at international amity exhibitions, produced motion pictures, and held functions to announce the results of its researches.
Founded in the spring of 1943, the Catholic Musical Society aims at contributing its share towards the sound development of music in Japan by holding grand concerts, lectures and musical research functions.
The organization, which appeals mainly to music lovers among the general public, has as its members expert musicians and Catholics connected with musical activities.
Planning the sound development of church musical culture and the promotion of friendship with various foreign countries through the study of music, the society is now active in appealing to the choirs of Tokyo and other dioceses.
- There are diocesan associations for men of mature age and for young men; for women of mature age and for young women, all organized to promote Catholic Action; having the Tokyo and Osaka Dioceses as centres.
In close co-operation with the Catholic authorities, these organizations are taking an active part in showing to advantage the ideals of Catholic Action. By far the most prominent leader in this campaign was the late Rear Admiral Iwata Yamamoto, a devout Catholic, who passed away in 1942. (He was a distant relation of the more famous Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.)
CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS HOUSES.
Religious Orders and societies may be divided into three classes:
The Contemplative, which consecrate themselves entirely to prayer, contemplation and manual labour done in the spirit of penance.
The Active, devoted to works of charity, based on shorter periods of intense prayer, and done in union with Our Lord.
The Mixed Life, mainly devoted to the work of education, combined with and permeated by prayer.
Zeal for the Glory of God and the good of souls is the guiding star of all three classes.
Of the second and third classes we have already spoken. There still remains to tell of the part played in Japan by the Contemplative Orders.
The Trappists came to Japan in 1897, and settled at Tobetsu, in the Province of Hakodate. The Trappistines, in the same year, made a foundation at Yunokawa, also in the city of Hakodate. Engaged in a life of prayer and farming, they have done much to develop the barren land.
Lately the Trappists made a second foundation at Shindenbaru, in Fukuoka Prefecture, and the Trappistines one at Jurevji, Nishinomiya City, in the suburbs of Kobe.
The Carmelites arrived in Japan in 1934, and founded a large monastery near the Major Seminary in Tokyo, and another monastery in Osaka in 1947.
Of the missionaries and their coadjutors, engaged in the propagation of the Catholic Faith, the Jesuits and Dominicans attach most importance to academic studies; the Salesians are engaged in industrial development and charitable enterprises and also contribute much towards educational activities; the Franciscans excel in the virtue of poverty and in benevolence, according to the spirit of, Saint Francis of Assisi, their founder. Recently some Australian Marist Fathers have joined the missionaries in Nara prefecture.
All these institutions, by the practice of the same three vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, though variously interpreted, as to details, do a great deal for the advancement of Japanese society as a whole.
Various Catholic Orders and Congregations have novitiates in their Mother Houses for the training of their young aspirants. According to the general directives of the Holy See, Japanese nationals have replaced foreign Superiors in the government of religious houses, in accordance with the adaptation measures.
It is a matter of sincere congratulation that the Seishin Aishi Kai (Daughters of the Sacred Heart), the Homon Kai (Japanese Sisters of the Visitation), and a few entirely Japanese Congregations, such as the Sisters of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (Zunshin Kai), of Nagasaki, Sisters of the Apostles (Hirari no Shito), founded, by Sister Nagata, Sisters of “Caritas,” of Miyazaki, and Sisters of Saint John of Tokyo, et cetera, have come into existence in this country after the war. The Missionary Sisters of Saint Joseph were established in the Osaka Diocese on the Assumption day of 1948, to help the priests in their missionary apostolate. In this connection, it is to be noted that many excellent vocations to the contemplative life are to be found among Japanese girls of the upper classes, a number quite remarkable in proportion to the number of Catholics in Japan.
According to the statistics compiled in Japan in 1948, we read as follows:
Total Number of Catholics: 122,468.
Japanese, Major: 151.
POST-WAR CONDITIONS OF THE CHURCH.
As a worthy Spouse of a Crucified Lord, the infant Church in Japan has had to pass through many trials, both spiritual and temporal. Liberty of preaching and of carrying out her small religious ceremonies was granted her, but she had many difficulties to encounter, both from civil authority and from patriotic organizations. These were caused by measures taken to advance the prosecution of the recent war. Lost in the midst of non-Christian surroundings, mixing daily with those utterly out of sympathy with Catholic teaching and ideals, of which they were wholely ignorant, many of our Catholics lacked the courage to profess their faith openly. The majority of our Catholic people, living in large cities, were forced to evacuate to the country districts, far from a church and priestly ministrations, where there were no religious facilities.
On August 9, 1945, an atomic bomb destroyed two large and flourishing parishes, Urakami and Nakamachi, in Nagasaki, the centres of Catholicism in Japan. About one thousand descendants of the old Catholic families perished in the disaster.
Materially, we have suffered very heavily, especially in large cities, such as Tokyo and Osaka. In general, fully fifty per cent, of the total ecclesiastical institutions were destroyed. The following is a list of our principal losses: Fifty-one churches (the Apostolic Delegation, too, was a victim); Cathedral churches of Tokyo, Osaka and Sendai, completely destroyed; fifty-four priests’ houses, including those of the Bishops of Osaka and Sendai: The Cathedral of Nagasaki was badly damaged; sixteen secondary schools belonging to different Religious Congregations were entirely destroyed; the one and only Major Seminary in Japan was badly damaged; the wooden building of the Catholic University belonging to the German Jesuits was reduced to ashes; twenty-six convents; the buildings belonging to thirty different charitable organizations, including kindergartens, and the premises of three printing establishments were razed. This is an overwhelming blow for the Church of Japan, still so young and so poor.
Of course, we are endeavouring to do our best to face the situation by all the means at our disposal. For the present, it is impossible to rebuild definitely all the burnt churches; the lack of material and workmen and exorbitant prices prevent our doing so. We have, for the moment, to be satisfied with minimum repairs; (yet these provisory buildings will cost far more than the insurance money will cover, and our funds will soon be consumed). Before the war, many of our parishes were economically self-supporting; now many of our people are scattered, others are financially ruined, or very badly off, and we can no longer count on them to provide what is required for such repairs.
Thanks be to God, the victims of the war among our priests and nuns, were comparatively few: fifty-four priests and twenty-five Sisters. During the war, the Missionaries, Brothers and Sisters of anti-axis nationalities were interned; as were also most foreign missionaries, toward the end of the war. However, they gave a beautiful example of patience and perseverance, winning the admiration of our countrymen. It is no exaggeration to say that, at this moment Christianity has got its great chance. Intellectual circles fully realize that the thing most wanting to the Japanese is religious conviction and that the mental crisis Japan is undergoing now, can only be overcome by religious education. As a matter of fact, we observe already a widespread and promising movement towards Christianity among the educated classes. It is indeed the sacred duty of every Catholic to guide them in their spiritual concern and to lead them along the road to salvation. It is with this aim in view, that we are mobilizing our energies and means to found parishes, schools and charitable institutions and to publish Catholic papers and magazines.
Thanks to the extraordinary assistance received from the Propagation of the Faith in Rome and from foreign and Japanese benefactors, practically all churches and other ecclesiastical establishments of the Japanese Mission have been restored. Of course, these are only temporary buildings, and for the more permanent buildings, we must continually make appeal for help.
Answering the plea of the Holy See and the appeal of the Bishops of Japan, many religious congregations and mission societies of both sexes have come, or are coming, to help us extend the Kingdom of Christ. Among the newly-established congregations of men that have arrived are: Saint Columban’s Society, Congregation of Scheut Fathers from Belgium, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Redemptorists, Foreign Mission Society of Canada, Clerics of Saint Viator, Fathers of Bethlehem, and Franciscan Friars of Atonement. Sisterhoods: Sisters of Presentation of Mary, Missionary Benedictine Sisters, Hospital Sisters of Saint Francis, Sisters of Christ the King, Carmelites of Charity, Poor Sisters of Saint Clare, Good Samaritans, and Notre Dame Sisters.
Two years ago, His Eminence Cardinal Gilroy of Sydney and Bishop McCabe of Port Pirie, South Australia, visited this country and realized our great need for priests. As a result of that visit, fourteen Australian priests (Diocesan) are now working in Japan, in the Dioceses of Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Osaka and Yokohama.
This year, the fourth centenary of the arrival of Saint Francis Xavier in Japan, was celebrated with great solemnity. The Japanese people, Catholic and non-Catholic, the authorities, press, and radio all contributed to make the celebration a huge success. His Eminence Cardinal Gilroy, Papal Legate, led the pilgrimage, accompanied by Bishop Thomas McDonnell, National Director of the Propagation of the Faith in the United States, Bishop Ortiz from Spain, together with seventy pilgrims, representing fifteen nationalities. The holy arm of Saint Francis Xavier was brought from Rome especially for the occasion. Great respect and reverence was shown towards the arm by all the Japanese people. These celebrations certainly gave great prominence to the Catholic Church and its teachings.
The construction of new churches and the restoration of old ones is going on slowly but steadily. The number of baptisms is increasing very rapidly. Of particular interest at present is the mass conversion of whole villages in the country. Previously, practically all our energies were concentrated in the cities.
About six months ago, the representatives of Saga, a village in the northern part of the Osaka Diocese, asked that some priest be sent there, as they were ready to embrace the Catholic Faith. I sent a Japanese priest, Father Itakura, to them, and he found them sincere and well disposed.
So I went myself to celebrate Mass there on the 16th of March. They realized that only the Catholic Church could stem the advance of Communism; that the Catholic Faith is the only religion common to all mankind; that the Catholic religion alone can reform the daily life of the people. There are five Buddhist temples in the area. Two wives of the Buddhist priests, together with their children, are taking instructions and hope to be baptized before long. Father Itakura and six catechists are continuously giving instructions.
On the Feast of the Assumption this year, we expect 1500 baptisms in Saga alone. Practically the entire population of 3000 is expected to be baptized before the end of the year. Five other villages are ready to follow this example, and are asking for instructions. This is possibly the beginning of the mass conversion of Japan. The Grace of God seems to be at work among our people. I recommend these people to your fervent prayers. “The harvest is great, the workers few.”
Permit me to add a few lines about the Diocese of Osaka and the Apostolic Prefecture of Shikoku [in 1963 renamed Takamatsu] under my jurisdiction. According to recent statistics, there are about ten million non-Christians in my diocese of Osaka, and three and a half million in the Prefecture of Shikoku; while the Catholics of the Osaka Diocese number about ten thousand and those of Shikoku only six hundred. These two ecclesiastical divisions have faced perhaps the most terrible trials among the dioceses of Japan during the war. In the Diocese of Osaka, out of twenty churches, eight were burnt, including the Cathedral Church; nine priests’ houses, including the Bishop’s residence, an historic building; six auditoria, two convents and two large Catholic schools, with buildings annexed. The Cathedral of Osaka, founded in 1878, was one of the most beautiful and historic in Japan, so full of memories of Bishop Petit-jean, the first Vicar-Apostolic of Japan, and of Bishop Laucaigne, his auxiliary. In fact, Bishop Laucaigne was buried in the Cathedral. The Bishop’s House stood on the precincts of the Cathedral, it, too, was full of memories of former Bishops of Osaka back to Bishop Midon, first Bishop of Osaka.
The burnt Tamatsukuri Church was the centre of one of the most flourishing parishes in Japan, and was considered the centre of the young men’s Catholic Action movement.
The ruined Church of Nakayamate, in Kobe, which was also destroyed, was a solid building with a steel frame; indeed, a beautiful Gothic church, which did service also for the foreign Catholics of this international port.
Both the burned Church and the priest’s house at Amagasaki were of recent construction.
The Church of Maizuru had to be pulled down, during the war, by order of the Japanese authorities, on the assumption that the site was necessary for purposes of defence.
The Apostolic Prefecture of Shikoku lost six churches and six priests’ houses, with its annexed ecclesiastical buildings and one large Catholic High School for girls. This is a fatal blow to a prefecture as small as Shikoku.
What I have written regarding the dispersal of the Christians in the country and of the difficulties regarding the restoration of the churches, is to be applied in the case of the Osaka Diocese and Shikoku Prefecture. We can expect nothing from these people, even for repairs and the provisory arrangement of the churches and ecclesiastical establishments and for the maintenance of the parishes and their priests. I dare, therefore, to appeal to the generosity and benevolence of foreign Catholics, asking them to help us in whatever way possible to patronize the great work of Christianizing Japan.