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Building an Intercultural Church in Imperial Japan: Yunosuke Hiratsuka and the Utilization of the Church of Christ and National Identities, 1897–1945

Author: Yukikazu Obata
Published: Summer–Fall 2017

MD 8.2

Article Type: Conference Article

Christian missions have the potential of forming intercultural networks that affect the existing identities of those who are involved. In this paper I examine the story of Yunosuke Hiratsuka (1873–1953), a leading figure among the pre-World War II Japanese Churches of Christ, to show how he managed to honor two strong and developing identities of the time, the national identity of Imperial Japan and the Church of Christ identity. The discussion includes Hiratsuka’s family networks, the role of Bible women, the teaching of distinctive Church of Christ doctrines, relationships with other denominations, and the efforts of US Church of Christ missionaries.

As historian Andrew Walls says, the missionary movement has revitalized Christianity through the process of crossing cultural boundaries, as well as having dialogues with cultures.1 This process, in turn, has the potential of forming networks that destabilize or alter the existing cultural identities and creating new, often hybrid identities among those who are involved, as transnational studies have pointed out.2 Church of Christ missions in Japan from the end of the nineteenth century through World War II provide a good ground to investigate such issues of identity.

On the one hand, the Churches of Christ in this period were in the process of establishing their group identities with some distinctive church doctrines and practices.3 In general, the teachings of Church of Christ missionaries to Japan during this time certainly reflected this development in the Church of Christ identity. On the other hand, this period coincided with the period in which the people of Imperial Japan were developing their distinctive national identities centered on the Japanese emperor system. Imperial Japan embraced expansionism as she invaded East Asia, and she ultimately ended up attacking Pearl Harbor and engaging in warfare with the country from which the Church of Christ missionaries came. So, how did Japanese Church of Christ members understand, embrace, and balance Church of Christ and Imperial Japanese identities? What was it like for them to have a strong national identity on the one hand and a strong religious identity on the other hand?

In order to wrestle with these questions, I focus on the story of Yunosuke Hiratsuka (1873–1953). Hiratsuka was the minister at the Kamitomizaka Church of Christ in central Tokyo from 1903 through 1943 and a leading figure among the pre-World War II Japanese Churches of Christ. While the larger context of how Church of Christ missionaries launched missions in Japan and how the Kamitomizaka church grew under Hiratsuka’s leadership are important, my aim in this paper is to analyze how Hiratsuka wrestled with two strong and developing identities of the time, the national identity of Imperial Japan and the Church of Christ identity. I argue in this paper that Kamitomizaka church managed to honor both Imperial Japan’s national identity and Church of Christ identity at the same time. As such, Kamitomizaka church, perhaps beyond Hiratsuka’s intention, existed in a subtly hybrid position, exhibiting itself as an intercultural church that was distinct from more monolithic positions or churches that were dominated rigidly by either of the two otherwise robust identities.

Yunosuke Hiratsuka, Kamitomizaka Church, and Imperial Japan’s National Identity

Kiyoko Takeda, one of the leading interpreters of Protestant Christianity in Japan, has pointed out that there were three characteristics of the Japanese people during the Meiji period (1868–1912): (1) the Japanese people as the participants of the familial nationhood (the connection of familialism and patriotism); (2) filial piety and obedience to the head of a family; and (3) unconscious subordination to the emperor.4 Taken together, the characteristics led to a unified system of unconscious, obedient, and patriotic filial piety among the common people, with the emperor at the top of the totem pole. In other words, the national identity of the Japanese people during this era was characterized by their devotion to the Japanese emperor.

Kamitomizaka Church of Christ, with its influential leader Hiratsuka functioning as the figure of the head of a household, was also an integral part of pre-WWII Japan and its social system centered on the mentality of filial piety. Furthermore, Hiratsuka came from a culturally prestigious and conservative family background in which sincerely honoring the Japanese emperor was the norm.5

The pages of the Kamitomizaka Church diary certainly include the records of the church’s periodic expression of thanksgiving and devotion to the Japanese emperor during its regular meetings, a practice certainly not unique to this church.6 For example, at a Wednesday prayer meeting on February 15, 1911, the members of Kamitomizaka Church had a special time to express their deep gratitude for the special money they were given from the Emperor Meiji at the occasion of Kigensetsu (National Foundation Day, February 11). One of the Kamitomizaka elders, Tomeji Yokowo,7 gave thanksgiving remarks, and other important members such as Rokuemon Hori and Hirosuke Ishiguro led thanksgiving prayers, followed by Hiratsuka’s reading of a Scripture passage and a message about the occasion.8 Just as most other Christians of his time, Hiratsuka’s devotion to the emperor was unquestionable.9 Reflecting the cultural ethos of the time, the members of Kamitomizaka Church of Christ embraced the national identity centered on the Japanese emperor.

Hiratsuka’s Relationships with US Missionaries and His Life in the United States

Hiratsuka, an unashamed admirer of the Japanese Emperor, was also one whose ministerial life was characterized by his close relationships with Americans, especially missionaries. In 1895, Hiratsuka, before he became a Christian, went to an English school in Kanda Ward of Tokyo. His English teacher was J. M. McCaleb, a US Church of Christ missionary who had arrived in Japan in 1892. Hiratsuka then started attending McCaleb’s Kanda Chapel to hear McCaleb’s gospel message, and McCaleb baptized Hiratsuka shortly after.10 Hiratsuka’s connection with the Churches of Christ, however, was interrupted soon after the baptism, until he resumed the connection in 1903 and started serving at Kamitomizaka Church of Christ.

In fact, Hiratsuka was exposed to other Christian denominations, as well as a life in the United States soon after McCaleb baptized him. Hiratsuka soon stopped going to the English school McCaleb was teaching, because he was not satisfied with the level of instruction at the school. Hiratsuka then went to the night school held at the famous Ginza Church, a Methodist church in one of the busiest shopping districts of central Tokyo.11 At the Ginza Church Hiratsuka met Sho Nemoto, a noted Christian politician who was involved in such organizations as the Tokyo Temperance Union12 and the Japanese Colonization Society.13 Nemoto and Hiratsuka were from the same prefecture of Ibaraki, and Hiratsuka followed Nemoto’s path to go to the United States to study, as well as to prepare himself for an honorable career. In 1897, Hiratsuka arrived in San Francisco, and he went to a Japanese Presbyterian church there, as Sho Nemoto had written recommendation letters, addressed to the pastor of that church.14 At this Presbyterian church Hiratsuka met another American by the name of E. A. Sturge (1856–1934). Hiratsuka’s family members claimed that Hiratsuka admired Sturge as his spiritual mentor throughout his life.15 Sturge even spoke at Kamitomizaka Church of Christ in 1915 when Hiratsuka was serving as the minister of that church.16

Sturge, who had a PhD and an MD, was a former Presbyterian medical missionary to Thailand (1880–1885) and was the Superintendent of the Japanese Presbyterian Mission on the Pacific Coast from 1886 through 1922.17 In San Francisco, Sturge helped Hiratsuka not only as a missionary, but also as a medical doctor when Hiratsuka’s health was declining. Apparently, Hiratsuka was deeply involved in the mission Sturge was leading. Thus, Hiratsuka’s portrait was included in a special photo collage printed on a page of the book the mission produced. The collage was made up of a photo of Sturge and his wife, surrounded by the photos of twenty-two Japanese people who admired Sturge.18

Hiratsuka’s first ministry experience took place in this Presbyterian mission on the West Coast. In January 1901, Hiratsuka moved to Salinas, about 100 miles southeast of San Francisco, due to health concern and Sturge’s advice to stay away from the big city. The Japanese Presbyterian Mission in Salinas, served by the Japanese pastor Kenichi Inazawa, had about twenty to thirty members.19 After moving to Salinas, Hiratsuka’s health condition improved, and around the spring of 1902 Hiratsuka quit his previous manual labor and started helping Inazawa’s ministry. He was in charge of the Salinas mission while Inazawa was opening a mission in nearby Watsonville.20 Inazawa also asked Hiratsuka to help him with the translation of J. L. Hurlbut’s Studies in four Gospels. The translated book, with Sturge’s preface, was published in Japan the year Sturge was decorated by the emperor of Japan.21

During his stay in the United States, the Church of Christ identity did not mean much, if anything, to Hiratsuka, even though he had been baptized by McCaleb and had attended his chapel at least a while. A hint of how Hiratsuka might have understood his Church of Christ connection during his US days is indicated in the story of his encounter with Tomijiro Hosogai, a Japanese Disciples of Christ pastor who once worked alongside a cappella Church of Christ missionaries. Hosogai had left Japan in 1894 and was helping Sturge as an interpreter at the San Francisco mission when Hiratsuka arrived there.22 According to Hiratsuka’s Japanese autobiography, Hosogai told Hiratsuka when they met, “We are brothers from the same church, the Church of Christ.”23 Hosogai probably heard Hiratsuka’s self-introduction that included the name of J. M. McCaleb, who baptized Hiratsuka in 1895. Hiratsuka, however, did not quite understand what it meant when Hosogai said that they were from the “Church of Christ.” Nowhere in his English or Japanese autobiographies does Hiratsuka ever mention attending any worship services or meetings associated with the US Churches of Christ. Hiratsuka, however, did mention in his Japanese biography his experience of attending gospel meetings held by Dwight Moody and William Booth of the Salvation Army in San Francisco.24

Hiratsuka’s short transnational experience in the US did not mean abandoning his Japanese national identity, especially because Hiratsuka stayed basically within the community of Japanese immigrants and students, which was often a means of preserving the national identity of Japan.25 Still, his experience in the United States helped him to acquire non-Japanese ways of life, and, more importantly, the ability to speak and write English, which was certainly helpful in the next steps of his life, even as he went back to Japan. It should also be noted that Hiratsuka’s identification with the Church of Christ heritage was vague at best during his US days, from 1897 through 1903.

Returning to Japan and Serving at Kamitomizaka Church of Christ

Hiratsuka’s reconnection with the Church of Christ circle did not take place immediately after he returned to Japan in August 1903. About a week after his arrival back in Japan, Hiratsuka was married to Hanako Okushi, who later became a beloved minister’s wife at Kamitomizaka church. Hiratsuka was pressed to find a job, though he was reminded that he did not acquire any special job skills in the United States. This caused him great emotional distress, although he retained a spiritual strength to start teaching his new wife the Bible every day.26 One Sunday, he attended service at a nearby Presbyterian church and talked to the pastor there. The pastor was sympathetic but could not provide any job for Hiratsuka. A few weeks later, Hiratsuka “suddenly remembered” about the Church of Christ missionary J. M. McCaleb who had baptized him. “Come to think of it,” Hiratsuka wrote later, “I should have visited him soon after my return from the United States.”27 Although not mentioned in his English autobiography,28 Hiratsuka’s distress over his jobless situation and his failure to find a position through his Presbyterian network were part of the context that helped Hiratsuka reconnect with the work of the Churches of Christ in Japan.

As it turned out, Kamitomizaka Church of Christ, also called Koishikawa Chapel at that time, was a perfect fit for Hiratsuka, and vice versa. After visiting McCaleb, Hiratsuka “felt like he had been given a great hope.”29 The following Sunday, Hiratsuka met another US Church of Christ missionary, William Bishop, for the first time. Bishop had just started his work at Kamitomizaka and its printing office in February 1903.30 McCaleb was also part of the church, as he had closed down the Kanda Chapel.31 After a few weeks, Bishop asked Hiratsuka to help with the work of the mission. Hiratsuka, thinking to himself he did not have any other job and this might be God’s call, accepted the offer.32

Hiratsuka, Other Denominations, and the Church of Christ Identity

Hiratsuka was an elder and minister, as well as a leading figure for Kamitomizaka Church after William Bishop left Japan, due to illness, in January 1913. Under Hiratsuka’s leadership the church grew to be one of the most active and largest congregations among Japanese Churches of Christ before 1945. Whereas the US Churches of Christ continued to develop their distinctive sense of sectarian identity following the 1906 official division from the rest of the Stone-Campbell churches, Yunosuke Hiratsuka developed a somewhat different sense of identification with the distinctive Church of Christ doctrines and practices. It would be misleading, however, to suppose Hiratsuka was simply indifferent or antagonistic about the Church of Christ distinctiveness.

Certainly reflecting Hiratsuka’s prior experience with Presbyterian missions, Kamitomizaka church and its Japanese members were not reluctant to have fellowship with, or even work with, the members of other denominations. For example, Kamitomizaka Church of Christ participated in the nationwide and ecumenical (Protestant) evangelistic campaign in Japan, Zenkoku Kyodo Dendo (Cooperative Campaign of Evangelism), which lasted from spring of 1914 through fall of 1916. The idea was prompted by John R. Mott, who suggested, upon his visit to Japan in 1913, to launch such a campaign in the spirit of the 1910 Edinburgh World Missionary Conference that he chaired. Different types of gospel meetings were held throughout Japan, such as the gathering of three churches in one region, or a larger gathering at a larger hall such as Tokyo YMCA.33 According to the official report of the campaign, a total of 777,119 people attended 4,788 different meetings, and there were 27,350 respondents.34

Kamitomizaka Church opened its building to be used for this campaign, and during the three-year period a total of 388 people attended eight meetings at Kamitomizaka, and there were 46 respondents.35 While the numerical results may not be very impressive, these efforts accomplished one of the original purposes of the campaign, namely the ecumenical cooperation of local churches. All of the eight meetings were held at the Kamitomizaka church building, and for each meeting there were typically two preachers from two different denominations, such as Baptist, Methodist, Evangelical Church, Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, and an independent church.

Despite his openness to work with the members of other denominations, Hiratsuka was also concerned about honoring the identity of the Churches of Christ and their distinctive doctrines and practices. Baptism by immersion, understood as being “for the remission of sins,” and the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper were two important practices among the Church of Christ heritage, and Hiratsuka embraced these doctrines. For example, Hiratsuka wrote in one of Kamitomizaka church’s monthly newsletters: “Some say one does not have to be baptized as long as you have faith. That is a great mistake, because it is taught [in the Bible] that being baptized is a necessary condition of salvation.”36 He taught the importance of baptism by explaining the sections of the Bible concerning Jesus’s baptism, Jesus’s encounter with Nicodemus, the so-called great commission in the Gospel of Matthew, and Peter’s sermon at Pentecost. He then cited Acts 2:38, the quintessential proof-text US Church of Christ members used to teach the importance of baptism.37 Hiratsuka’s similar teachings on baptism can also be found in the nationwide Japanese Church of Christ periodical, Michishirube.38

In the mid-1930s Hiratsuka also played a role in nationwide efforts among the leaders of the Japanese Churches of Christ to discuss how they should deal with distinctive doctrines and practices of the Church of Christ heritage. The minutes of one of those meetings held in 1935, as recorded in the pages of Kamitomizaka church diary, are very clear about the conclusions of some of the distinctively Church of Christ issues that were discussed in the meeting. Regarding baptism, the minutes state that nothing but immersion should be recognized as baptism. Singing during public worship must be a cappella, citing Eph 5:18–19 and Col 3:16.39

Hiratsuka even changed Kamitomizaka church’s prior practices in accordance with what was agreed among the Japanese Church of Christ leaders in the mid-1930s. From its early days, Kamitomizaka church had several “Bible women”40 who were active especially in teaching children. It had been common for the Kamitomizaka church to ask one of those Bible women to lead one of two prayers offered during the communion.41 Nonetheless, the minutes of the 1935 nationwide meeting of Japanese Church of Christ leaders also included the agreement to restrict women’s roles during worship services,42 in accordance with the standard practice of the US Churches of Christ of the day.43 After this meeting no names of women were recorded to lead prayers during Sunday worship services in the pages of the diary of the Kamitomizaka church.

In sum, it was not contradictory for Hiratsuka to have deep associations with the members of other denominations and to honor distinctive Church of Christ doctrines at the same time. As mentioned above, Hiratsuka had prior ministry experiences with Presbyterian missions, and he truly admired the Presbyterian missionary E. A. Sturge. At the same time, Hiratsuka always appreciated and acknowledged the work of US Church of Christ missionaries. Thus, when Hiratsuka wrote histories of the Kamitomizaka church, he was always conscious about recording who served at the early stages of the church, and he wrote words of appreciation for their service.44

Joining the United Church of Christ in Japan during World War II

The story of how Hiratsuka and Kamitomizaka church embraced the Church of Christ identity is further complicated when the church faced the wartime situation in Japan. In October 1940, fourteen months before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ) was formed as a federation of most Protestant churches in Japan, established as a response to the Japanese government’s policy to control Japanese Christianity. Hiratsuka, along with other Japanese ministers, initially supported the idea of Japanese Churches of Christ joining the UCCJ.45 Some even claimed that joining the federation and conforming to the Japanese identity was in line with the Japanese spirit of self-sacrifice, to which Japanese Christians should also hold.46 Nevertheless, these Japanese leaders, after much discussion, decided to follow the US missionaries’ advice not to join UCCJ.47

Keeping the Church of Christ identity by not joining the UCCJ, however, did not last for the whole duration of the war. When the Pacific War began in December 1941, Hiratsuka was in charge of the ministry of two congregations in Tokyo, the Kamitomizaka church and the Zoshigaya church. J. M. McCaleb previously led Zoshigaya church, but Hiratsuka had taken over its responsibility after McCaleb went back to the United States just before the war began. Serving the two churches soon became quite difficult for Hiratsuka, who was in his late sixties and early seventies during that time. Thus, the two congregations were united as one congregation in 1943, and it joined the UCCJ.48

Hiratsuka’s ambivalence about joining the UCCJ during wartime is indicated in what he wrote in English after the war. Hiratsuka reclaimed his Church of Christ identity by leaving the UCCJ after the war, but he did not tell the members of US Churches of Christ the full or exact details of what happened during the war, when he reported the incident in the history of the Kamitomizaka church. When he wrote in English about the state of Japanese Churches of Christ during the war, he stated:

The war unfortunately started, to our great grief, in December 1941. We continued the work for two years in that way. However, we elders had a conference with the members of the two churches in September 1943. It was decided to unite those two churches, Kamitomizaka and Zoshigaya, naming it “Toshima Zoshigaya Church of Christ.” And we had a conference, also, to have Brother Suematsu SAITO as minister of that church.49

The English name of the new congregation, Toshima Zoshigaya Church of Christ, would seem to indicate that the congregation was part of the Churches of Christ. However, the correct name of the congregation was actually, “Nihon Kirisutokyodan Toshima Zoshigaya Kyokai,” which should be translated as “Toshima Zoshigaya Church of the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ).” This slight alteration in the translation of the church’s name seems to show Hiratsuka’s struggle to identify himself with the US Church of Christ circle, as well as his knowledge of how the correct name might sound negatively in the context of doctrinal exclusivism most US Church of Christ members held to at that time.

Whatever Hiratsuka’s intention of changing the church’s name might have been, the occasion of the Kamitomizaka/Zoshigaya church joining the Japanese federation of Protestants points to the complexity of how Japanese members struggled with the Church of Christ identity. At a first glance, the initial decision of Japanese Church of Christ leaders to stay away from the UCCJ may seem to indicate their willingness to keep the purity of their denominational identity. If so, Hiratsuka’s alteration of the name of the new church in Tokyo, in his post-WWII report to US Churches of Christ, may be seen as his embarrassment over the defilement of the presumed Church of Christ purity. However, it must be noted here that the ways Kamitomizaka members kept their Church of Christ identity was different from the ways US Church of Christ members kept their group identity. Kamitomizaka church was part of the global Church of Christ fellowship and shared some of the fellowship’s core doctrinal beliefs. Kamitomizaka church, however, was unique in terms of the ways its members associated with the members of other denominations.

As such, it is possible to interpret that a defilement of the presumed purity of the global Church of Christ identity, or the expansion of the global Church of Christ identity of the time, took place when Japanese Churches of Christ did not join the UCCJ and stayed as an independent group. At that time, the Japanese Churches of Christ in a sense expressed their loyalty to US missionaries and affirmed their way of keeping the Church of Christ identity. The Japanese Churches of Christ’s reaffirmation of belonging to the (global) Church of Christ fellowship also meant that a rather unique doctrinal practice, namely the openness to and associations with the members of other denominations, entered into the (global) fellowship of the Churches of Christ. In other words, the nature of global Church of Christ fellowship was altered by having Japanese churches in the fellowship. Such alteration was a significant result of missionary interactions, or crossing of cultural boundaries across the Pacific.


The genius of the Kamitomizaka church lies in Hiratsuka’s effort to honor, in an exquisite balance, imperial Japan’s national identity and the distinctive Church of Christ identity. Hiratsuka and Kamitomizaka members shared the common understanding of the Japanese national identity centered on the Japanese emperor. Hiratsuka’s sense of national identity was also somewhat expanded as he acquired deeper awareness of US culture and better English skills. It is noteworthy that Hiratsuka’s transnational experience was at least partially prompted by his Christian commitment. In fact, both US Church of Christ missionaries and Hiratsuka crossed national and cultural boundaries, and the Kamitomizaka Church of Christ was a fruit of such interactions.

Hiratsuka dealt with the issues of the Church of Christ identity in ambivalent ways. His initial awareness of the Church of Christ identity was vague. One could argue that Hiratsuka found his ministerial position at the Kamitomizaka Church of Christ almost by chance or simply because he was trying to find a job. Also, the Kamitomizaka church was different from most US Churches of Christ of the day, as its members enjoyed a wider association with the members of other denominations. Nonetheless, Hiratsuka was also one who would honor the distinctive doctrines and practices of the Church of Christ heritage. The fact that Hiratsuka and the Kamitomizaka Church of Christ kept having a wider association with the members of other denominations can be interpreted as the expansion of the Church of Christ identity at a global level.

Yukikazu Obata is Assistant Professor of Christian Education at Ibaraki Christian University (Ibaraki, Japan). He has served as senior minister at Mito Church of Christ in Japan and has studied at Keio University, Abilene Christian University, Harding School of Theology, and Fuller Theological Seminary. He is contributor to Reconciliation Reconsidered: Advancing the National Conversation on Race in Churches of Christ (ACU Press, 2016).

Adapted from a summary of ch. 4, “A Church Built at a Crossroads: US Missionaries, Yunosuke Hiratsuka, and the Kamitomizaka Church of Christ in Tokyo” in Yukikazu Obata, “Against the Odds: J. M. McCaleb’s Missionary Vision of Universality in the Context of Imperial Japan, 1892–1945” (PhD diss., Fuller Theological Seminary, 2016), presented at the Thomas H. Olbricht Christian Scholars’ Conference, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN, June 7–9, 2017.

1 Andrew F. Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996), xvi; Andrew F. Walls, The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission and Appropriation of Faith (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002), 32.

2 For the incorporation of transnational studies in the history of missions, see, for example, essays in Hilde Nielssen, Inger Marie Okkenhaug, and Karina Hestad Skeie, eds., Protestant Missions and Local Encounters in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Unto the Ends of the World (Leiden: Brill, 2011).

3 Thus, Robert Hooper names the period of 1906–1930 as “a search for direction” for the Churches of Christ. Gary Holloway and Douglas Foster characterize the period of 1906–1941 as a time when “the Churches of Christ develop an identity” and when “a distinctive church takes shape.” Robert E. Hooper, A Distinct People: A History of the Churches of Christ in the 20th Century (West Monroe, LA: Howard Publishing, 1993); Gary Holloway and Douglas A. Foster, Renewing God’s People: A Concise History of Churches of Christ, 2nd ed. (Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2006).

4 Kiyoko Takeda, Ningenkan no Sokoku: Kindai Nihon no Shiso to Kirisutokyo [Conflicting vews of human nature] (Tokyo: Kobundo, 1959), 248–51.

5 Hiratsuka wrote autobiographies in English and in Japanese: Yunosuke Hiratsuka, The Autobiography of Yunosuke Hiratsuka: Evangelist of the Kamitomizaka Church of Christ in Tokyo, Japan (1952), Unpublished manuscript, William J. Bishop Papers, Special Collections, Brown Library, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX; Yunosuke Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi [Living peacefully in God: autobiography of Yunosuke Hiratsuka], ed. Keiichi Hiratsuka (Tokyo: Yorudansha, [1933–1936] 1989).

6 For example, see Akio Dohi, Tenno to Kirisuto: Kin-gendai Tennosei to Kirisutokyo no Kyokaishiteki Kosatsu [Christ and the Emperor of Japan] (Tokyo: Shinkyo Shuppansha, 2012), 396.

7 Ishiguro later became the minister for the Japanese Church of Christ in Los Angeles, California, USA.

8 Kamitomizaka Kirisutokyokai Nisshi [The diary of Kamitomizaka Church of Christ, January 1905–March 1944], Special Collection, Ibaraki Christian University Library, Ibaraki, Japan, February 15, 1911.

9 See, for example, the case of Toyohiko Kagawa in Thomas John Hastings, Seeing All Things Whole: The Scientific Mysticism and Art of Kagawa Toyohiko (1888–1960) (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2015), 20.

10 J. M. McCaleb, Once Traveled Roads (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1934), 94; Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi, 41.

11 Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi, 42, 56.

12 Another US Church of Christ missionary, Loduska Wirick, who was also involved in the work of Tokyo Temperance Union, had some connection with Nemoto, too. Nemoto even spoke at Wirick’s funeral, held in Tokyo in 1914. Fred Eugene Hagin, “Miss Loduska J. Wirick,” in The Christian Movement in Japan 1914, ed. John Lincoln Dearing (Tokyo: Conference of Federated Missions Japan, 1914), 361.

13 Nemoto Sho Kenshokai Chosaiinkai, ed., Nemoto Sho no Shogai [The life of Sho Nemoto] (Nakamachi, Ibaraki, Japan: Nemoto Sho Kenshokai, 2001).

14 Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi, 62.

15 Masunori Hiratsuka, “Chichi oyobi Masakazu wo Shinobite [In rememberance of my father and Masakazu],” Jisenyoko [Reminiscences of Yunusuke and Hanako Hiratsuka], ed. Michio Hiratsuka and Masunori Hiratsuka (Chiba, Japan: Hiroike Gakuen Shuppanbu, 1967), 139–140; Tsuneo Komai, ed., Sohu Hiratsuka Yunosuke no Ashiato: Kenbunroku III [The footprints of grandfather Yunosuke Hiratsuka: Travel report III] (Sakura, Chiba, Japan: Kounsha, 2009).

16 Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi, 175.

17 Michael J. Kimura Angevine and Ryo Yoshida, “Contexts for a History of Asian American Presbyterian Churches: A Case Study of the Early History of Japanese American Presbyterians,” The Diversity of Discipleship: Presbyterians and Twentieth-Century Christian Witness, ed. Milton J. Coalter, John M. Mulder, and Louis Weeks (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1991), 297.

18 The Committee of Presbyterian Japanese Missions on the Coast, ed., The Spirit of Japan, with Selected Poems and Addresses of Ernest Adolphus Sturge (San Francisco: H.S. Crocker, 1903), 130.

19 Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi, 64.

20 Ibid., 83–101.

21 Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, Shihkuinsho Kenkyu [Studies in four Gospels], trans. Kenichi Inazawa and Yunosuke Hiratsuka (Tokyo: Chuyodo, 1904).

22 Hiratsuka, “Autobiography of Yunosuke Hiratsuka,” 16.

23 Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi, 66 (my translation).

24 Ibid., 82–83.

25 Ryo Yoshida, “A Socio-historical Study of Racial/Ethnic Identity in the Inculturated Religious Expression of Japanese Christianity in San Francisco, 1877–1924” (PhD diss., Graduate Theological, Union, 1989). On E. A. Sturge’s admiration of Japanese culture, see: Ryo Yoshida, “Earnest A Sturge, the Japanese People, and Culture in California, 1885–1922,” American Presbyterians 74, no. 1 (1996): 17–29.

26 Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi, 113–14.

27 Ibid., 114.

28 Hiratsuka, “Autobiography of Yunosuke Hiratsuka,” 24.

29 Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi, 115.

30 William J. Bishop, “Bishop-Hiratsuka Japan Mission,” Christian Leader and the Way (May 3, 1910): 4.

31 According to Hiratsuka, McCaleb preached at Kamitomizaka the first Sunday Hiratsuka visited, as well as other times around this period. Hiratsuka, Kami ni yorite Yasushi, 116, 119, 123.

32 Ibid., 116. The English narrative of this part is as follows: “‘Willingly,’ I answered, ‘It is a great favor of God, if I can help your work.’” Hiratsuka, “Autobiography of Yunosuke Hiratsuka,” 26.

33 Richard H. Drummond, A History of Christianity in Japan (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 245; Tomobumi Kurokawa, Nihonshi ni okeru Kirisutokyosenkyo: Senkyokatsudo to Hito wo Chushin ni [Christian missions in the history of Japan: focused on mission activities and people] (Tokyo: Kyobunkan, 2014), 218–35.

34 The total number included the result of meetings held in Korea, Taiwan, Manchuria, and other parts of China. Zenkoku Kyodo Dendo Iin, ed., Sannen Keizoku Zenkoku Kyodo Dendo [Three-year cooperative campaign of evangelism] (Tokyo: Zenkoku Kyodo Dendo Iin, 1918), 62–63.

35 “Kamitomizaka Church Diary,” October 10-11, 1914; May 1-2, 1915; May 20-21, 1916; and November 1-2, 1916.

36 Yunosuke Hiratsuka, “Kirisutokyo no Nidaireiten [The two important sacraments of Christianity],” Kamitomizaka Kirisutokyokai Geppo [Monthly newsletter, Kamitomizaka Church of Christ], May 15, 1934, 1.

37 Ibid.

38 See, for example, June 1934, December 1936, and August 1938 issues.

39 “Kamitomizaka Church Diary,” January 16, 1935. Attendees (and their churches) were: Hiratsuka (Kamitomizaka church), Fujimori (Sawara), Aoki (Zoshigaya), Yanai (Musashino), Shigekuni (Ota church), Horiguchi (Omiya), Akutsu (Nagasawa), Kakinuma (Shizuoka), Takaboshi (Ohara), Tadamichi Fujimori (Sawara), Mio (Sawara), and Tsubaki (Sawara), along with two “observers,” Elder Tomeji Yokowo (Kamitomizaka) and missionary Lily Cypert (Musashino).

40 “Bible women” were local female Christians who helped evangelizing and ministering to other women and children on the mission field, particularly in East and South Asia. Mission historians have noted the significance of their service. See, for example, Ruth A. Tucker, “The Role of Bible Women in World Evangelism,” Missiology: An International Review 13, no. 2 (April 1985): 133–46.

41 See, for example, pages of September through October, 1917 in “Kamitomizaka Church Diary.”

42 “Kamitomizaka Church Diary,” January 16, 1935.

43 Debra B. Hull, Kathy J. Pulley, and Eleanor A. Daniel, “Women in Ministry,” in The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, ed. Douglas A. Foster, et al. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 779. This is not to deny any possibility of exceptions. In fact, Daniel Sommer, an early twentieth century Church of Christ leader who was otherwise very conservative, allowed women to lead prayers. Newell D. Williams, Douglas A. Foster, and Paul M. Blowers, eds., The Stone-Campbell Movement: A Global History (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2013), 73.

44 Yunosuke Hiratsuka, “History of the Church in Japan (History of Kamitomizaka Church of Christ), 1952,” Unpublished manuscript, William J. Bishop Papers, Special Collections, Brown Library, Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX; Takehiko Ueno and Michio Hiratsuka, eds., Kamitomizaka Kirisutokyokai Sanjunenshi [History of the thirty years of Kamitomizaka Church of Christ] (Tokyo: Kamitomiaza Kirisutokyokai, 1928).

45 McCaleb wrote, “Our Japanese brethren are much inclined to go into it [UCCJ]. . . . Brother Hiratsuka said they wanted to go into this federation to save the work for which I had given my life, but I replied that I had rather see every church building closed and the brethren remain true than have them remain open to teach error.” J. M. McCaleb, “Mine a Separated Life,” Gospel Advocate, January 2, 1942, 8.

46 Otoshige Fujimori, “Gisei to Shintaisei [The new order and our sacrifice],” Michishirube, May, 1941, 2–3.

47 Back in the US, McCaleb expressed his satisfaction over such decision. J. M. McCaleb, “Brother J. M. McCaleb’s Comment,” Christian Ledger, February 17, 1942, 3.

48 The process of joining UCCJ is recorded in Hiratsuka, “History of the Church in Japan (History of Kamitomizaka Church of Christ), 1952”; Ueno and Hiratsuka, Kamitomizaka Sanjunenshi [Thirty years of Kamitomizaka Church].

49 Hiratsuka, “History of the Church in Japan (History of Kamitomizaka Church of Christ), 1952,” 39.

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