An Inter-Religious Conference on Article Nine and Peace in Asia was held November 29-December 1, 2007 in Tokyo, Japan. This historic peace conference was convened by the National Christian Council of Japan and was attended by over 200 international leaders of diverse religious traditions, including Global Ministries Co-Executives David Vargas and Cally Rogers-Witte and East Asia Area Executive Xiaoling Zhu. The Conference issued a Statement calling for solidarity in support of Japan's Article Nine and affirming the global need to renounce the use of war.Read more
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more -Micah 4:3 Recently I was deeply honored to interpret at the "Inter-Religious Conference on Article Nine of the Japanese Peace Constitution", organized by the National Christian Council of Japan. Article Nine of the Japanese Constitution renounces war as a means of solving international disputes and prohibits the maintenance of armed forces. This cross-cultural exchange included over 200 people from Japan, India, Korea, China, and America. Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and Hindus all came together, out of a deep commitment to our religious traditions, to affirm a common commitment to protect life. It was a community that declared "No More War!" The Japanese constitution is scheduled to be reviewed in 2010, and there is an internal struggle between powerful nationalist political forces who want to do away with Article Nine, and other grassroots people's movements who want to renounce war once and forever. The voices we heard at the conference were the voices of religious people who refuse to stand in despair, and who dream together of an alternative world where people would learn war no more. One of the closing prayers still stays with me and I share part of it: O God of love Into a chalice, we have poured our stories of the wounds of war Into this cup, you have dropped your tears of compassion But also your breath, your grace, your power to transform. In moments when we dance on the edge of despair Help us remember this cup of stories and longing And drink strength from new global bonds of solidarity Fuel us to be co-authors to break open a new moment in history And chart a path to abolish war forever. Amen. Jeffrey Mensendiek serves with the Council on Cooperative Mission as Director of the Gakusei (Student) Center in Sendai, Japan.Read more
During this season of Lent, I pause to reflect on what might be the most crucial message to send to you from Japan at this time. In this letter I would like to share with you about a recent interfaith peace conference that took place in Tokyo last November. This conference focused on the Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution, which is in danger of being revised to allow for Japan to establish a military and to participate more fully in war. At present, Japan has a ‘Self Defense Force' and its constitution prevents actual participation in war. This means that Japan has been only supporting the Iraq war effort. (By providing equipment for refueling of US military and its allies.) Leaders of Japan are intending to revise the constitution, to eliminate Article 9. Many people in Asia are weary of Japan becoming an aggressive military power, reminiscent of what lead to World War II.Read more
The first Protestant missionaries came to Japan in the 19th century from the mainline denominations about the time when the Western Great Powers forced the national government to do away with its isolationist policy with their battleships. More missionaries landed in Japan as the country asked for the latest Western knowledge and civilization. The Christians were persecuted in the society even after the abolition of the prohibition on Christianity in 1873. Evangelism, hence, has been successful through Christian institutions, such as private schools and social welfare organizations.Read more
Tahoku Gakuin University was founded in 1886 as Sendai Theological Seminary. Tohoku Gakuin University became an accredited university in 1949 and is today the largest the liberal Arts and engineering based private university in the Tohoku and Hokkaido area.
Vision Statement: Life in all its fullness is what Jesus Christ lived and died for. NCCJ envisions this life in a just, egalitarian, self-reliant and sustainable society.Read more
The Miyagi Girl’s School was founded by the Church of Christ in Japan with the assistance of missionary William Edwin Hoy in 1886. It was expanded into a high school in 1911, and chartered as a university in 1946.
The Korean Christian Church in Japan traces its history back to 1908, when Korean students in the Tokyo area began worshipping together. In 1912, Korean Presbyterian and Methodist churches combined their efforts to work together for mission among Koreans in Japan. The ecumenical character of the KCCJ today reflects this early history. From 1927, the Presbyterian Church in Canada started to support this mission work. During World War II, the KCCJ was forced to join the United Church of Christ in Japan. But in 1945 it again became autonomous. Today the KCCJ is a self-governing denomination having special fraternal relations with the Methodist Church, the Holiness Church and Presbyterian churches in Korea, with the Japanese churches and with churches in North America.Read more
Pursuing the college motto—“Love Thy God, Love Thy Neighbor,” Kobe College seeks to provide an environment and education based on Christian principles that nurture individuals who understand their role in their environment and are able to act upon it, without being swayed by the trend of the times, thinking beyond personal interests, discerning what is truly important for mankind, with a genuine empathy for others.