Thinking about Religious Life in a Multi-faith Society

by Kobayashi Makoto, pastor

Enshu Church, Shizuoka, Tokai District


One’s life of faith as a Christian is one of being sent out from the Sunday worship service into the world of one’s everyday life and then coming back to church the next Sunday after living out one’s faith that week. In other words, it does not end with just one’s church life, and thus the portion of one’s life of faith lived outside the church is much longer than that lived within.


Moreover, the situations one is sent out into—be that one’s family, one’s workplace or school—are in the context of a society with a Christian population of less than one percent. So while there may not be actual persecution, other people typically have little understanding of or interest in faith issues. Likewise, particularly for churches in outside metropolitan areas, the issues of how to relate to other religions are often difficult, as the surrounding communities are more closely knit and the religious traditions are stronger than in the cities.


Parishioners frequently ask their pastors such questions such: “What do I do when the situation leaves me no option but to attend some religious observance of another religion?” “When I attend a Buddhist funeral, how should I approach the issue of offering burnt incense?” “It causes bad feelings when I refuse to contribute money to the local Shinto shrine or to join in cleaning the grounds, et cetera, so what should I do?”


When I am faced with such questions—particularly those that relate to other religions and their facilities in the local community, I respond as follows: “First of all, we need to be cognizant of the fact that just as the Ten Commandments state, the God of the Bible is actually the only God that exists, and there are no other gods that really exist.  Thus, Christianity is not a religion where we simply worship one God among many. It is true monotheism, where we worship the one and only God. So really be clear about that in your minds, and once you fully understand that, then how you react to situations involving other religions will fall into place naturally.”


So, with the above principle in mind, we then move on to the specifics of each situation. Whatever the response decided on, it is always important to remember to show respect for other religions and their ceremonies.  Without that, one will develop an exclusivist attitude, which will only result in the Christian becoming isolated. Of course, if one simply adjusts one’s actions to suit other people without being guided by principles, this will not be pleasing to God, so care is needed.


For example, when offering incense during a Buddhist funeral, my personal opinion is that it is all right to do this, provided that you are clear in your own mind that the only God who actually exists is the God of the Bible and that you clearly show that you are doing this out of respect for the deceased and to show sympathy for his or her family.  Likewise, it would be good to say a prayer something like, “O Lord, receive unto yourself the spirit of the deceased” while burning the incense.


Likewise, when it comes to making a contribution to the local shrine, I think it is permissible to do this as a symbol of relating to the community, provided that you can accept this as a part of local Japanese culture. Of course, simply declining to participate in this way because of one’s personal faith is another option.


What is important here, of course, is that there are no pat answers that fit every situation, so the individual Christian will need to make these judgments according to the “measure of faith” he or she has been given.  Can one live one’s life only before God without paying any attention to what others think, or is a certain amount of compromise necessary?  One’s stance on these matters is something that develops over time and is part of one’s maturing in the faith.


Perhaps you have been making the expected contribution to the local shrine, but as your Christian faith matures, you decide to change your mind and become able to decline graciously to make future contributions. To my way of thinking, giving careful consideration to such matters is what is important. One should not make such contributions without giving it any thought, but for instance, if you feel unable to decline, then the person coming around to collect could be asked to wait a minute at the door while you offer a prayer to God, saying something like, “I am sorry, Lord, but I just do not yet have the courage to refuse.” I think God honors such prayers.


The above thoughts, of course, are my own, and so I should add that there is a range of opinion on what kind of advice should be given for such matters. At any rate, a good bit of wisdom is necessary to figure out how to be faithful to the one true God while living out one’s Christian faith within a multi-faith society such as Japan, and this kind of wisdom is not something that is gained overnight. It takes time and is acquired as we continue to listen to and study the words of Scripture.


Finally, I would like to add a bit of historical background as to why Shinto shrines would expect to be able to collect contributions from all local residents as though they were all their parishioners. During the Edo Era, the feudal government set up a forced registration system for local Buddhist temples, where all the people had to register to “prove” that they were Buddhists (and not one of the outlawed Christians). After the Meiji Restoration, this system was changed so that in effect, the government gave special status to Shinto shrines, and in 1871, the Meiji government passed a law requiring everyone to register at the local shrine. This was thus closely related to the establishment of State Shintoism. The idea was that “1,000 households would support one shrine,” so all citizens were made “parishioners.” This system was in effect for only two years before being rescinded, but the effect has lasted until the present. (Tr. KY)


—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friends) February 2013 issue



小林 眞こばやし まこと/静岡・遠州教会牧師


クリスチャンの信仰生活は、教会での礼拝から押し出されてそれぞ れの生活の場に遣わされ、一週間の証しの生活を終えて再び教会の礼拝に帰ってくるというものです。つまり、教会の中だけで終わるので はなく、教会の外での生活のほうが圧倒的に長いのです。

しかもそうして遣わされた場である家庭、職場、学校のいずれにお いても、クリスチャン人口一パーセント未満の日本においては、迫害まではないものの、信仰に対する無理解と無関心とが一般的です。ま た、とりわけ地方教会においては、地域との関わり、地域の宗教や伝統との関わりが深く、他宗教とどのように付き合うべきかという問題 に絶えず悩まされることになるのです。

事実、牧師は日常的に信徒から、「他の宗教行事に出席を余儀なく されているが、どうすればよいか」「仏式の葬儀に出席するが、お焼香はどのようにしたらよいか」などという質問を受けます。また、 「神社への寄付や境内掃除を頼まれるが、断ると角が立つ。どうしたらよいか」というのもよくある質問です。

こうした、信徒の日常的な悩み、特に諸宗教や地域の宗教施設に関 わる悩みに対して私は次のように答えてきました。

「まず、基本的なことは十戒にあるとおり、聖書の神さまは唯一の 神さまで、これ以外に神さまはいません。キリスト教は、たくさんの神々がおられてその中からお一人の神を信じる『拝一神教』ではな く、ただお一人の神さまがおられることを信じる『唯一神教』です。これをまず肝に銘じてください。それが心から理解でき、納得できれ ば他の宗教への対応も自然と決まってきます」と。

まず、以上の基本をわきまえた上で具体的な指導をします。その場 合大切なことは、諸宗教や宗教的な儀礼に対しては敬意を持つということです。そのことが抜けていると排他的な態度となり、結果として クリスチャンが孤立してしまいます。もちろん、そうかといって無節操な迎合をすると、神さまを悲しませることになりますが。

たとえば、仏式葬儀でお焼香をする場合も、あくまで聖書の神さま 以外に神さまはおられないことを確信しつつ、故人への追悼と遺族への慰めという気持ちをはっきりと示すなら、それは許されることでは ないかと思います。また、お焼香をしつつ、「故人のすべてを、主よ、お受けください」と祈るのもよいでしょう。

神社への寄付も、これは日本の習俗・伝統の一部だと明確に割り切 ることができるならば、お付き合いの印として出すこともありうるでしょう。もちろん、本人の信仰によってはっきりと断ることも一つの 姿勢です。

重要なことは、これらを画一的に考えるのではなく、今、信徒一人 びとりに与えられている〈信仰の計り〉に従って判断するということです。人の目を気にせずに神さまの前だけで生きうるのか、それとも ある程度の妥協はやむをえないと思うのか。その姿勢そのものが変化・成長するのであり、またそうでなければならないはずです。

今は神社に寄付しているが、信仰の成長とともに考えを変えて決断 し、何年もたって断ることができるようになるかもしれません。私はこの、「考える」ということが大切だと思っています。考えることな く当然のようにお金を出すのではなく、寄付を集めに来た人をちょっと玄関に待たせて、たとえ一分でも「神さま、ごめんなさい。今は断 る勇気がありません」と祈って出すのでも、神さまは評価してくださるにちがいないと思うのです。

ただ、以上のような考え方は私の答えであり、このような指導には いろいろな幅があるということを申し添えておきます。

この多宗教社会日本においてキリスト教信仰を貫き、唯一の神さま への真実を尽くすことは、さまざまな知恵が必要です。そしてその知恵は一朝一夕に身につくものではありません。時間がかかります。み 言葉に聴き続け、学び続けるときに少しずつ整えられていくのです。

最後に、なぜ神社は当然のように住民を氏子として寄付を求めてく るのでしょうか。それは次のような歴史によるのです。

江戸時代、幕府は寺請制度を作って仏教を保護していましたが、明 治時代になると政府は今度は神社を保護することとし、一八七一(明治四)年に「郷社定則」を定めました。これは神社を格付けするとと もに、「住民一千戸で一つの神社を支える」というもので、その住民はすべて氏子と定められたのです。

すなわち、幕府の寺請制度に代わる国の宗教政策としてとられたもので、「郷社定則」そのものはすぐに廃止されましたが、実質は引き継がれて現代に至っているのです。つまり国家神道形成と深い関わりがあったのです。 (信徒の友2月号)

Gertrude Sara Bigelow: Educational Missionary to Yamaguchi Prefecture

Gertrude Sara Bigelow was born on May 17, 1860 in the town of Batavia in Genesee County, New York. After graduating from Hamilton Ladies’ Seminary, she worked at a local school. One year, when a missionary on furlough spoke about mission in Japan and called out for “those who would dedicate their lives to spread the gospel to Asia,” Bigelow responded to the call. As preparation for coming to Japan, she earned a middle-school teaching license from the State of New York in September 1886 and was sent to Japan in 1887 at the age of 26.


From Shinei Girls’ School to Kojo Girls’ School

In 1888 Bigelow took a teaching position at Shinei Girls’ School as an educational missionary from the Presbyterian Church. After a year, she became the principal, but in 1890, she moved to Hokuriku Girls’ School in Kanazawa, where she remained for two years, to help establish the school there. In 1892 she moved to the city of Yamaguchi to a newly established school, Kojo Girls’ School. The school was founded as Yamaguchi Eiwa Girls’ School in 1891 by Hattori Shozo but had just been relocated and renamed. There is a record of the local people’s remark that “such a young lady came to such a deserted area in the midst of the mountains!” It was a small school of only about 20 students, with a principal (Hattori Shozo), one foreign teacher, and three Japanese teachers. Bigelow taught English, ethics, music and physical education.


Bigelow went back to the U.S. on home assignment for the church mission board for a year from 1893 and attended the mission conference in Detroit. Including that time, she went home to the U.S. four times for home assignments (1893, 1903, 1915, and 1923). In 1897 her younger sister Florence Bigelow arrived at Kojo Girls’ School. In 1899, at the age of 39, Sara Bigelow became the school’s second principal. She even brought out a small organ and various sporting equipment, such as dumbbells and sticks, to the school playground in order to help teach physical education class. She was a multi-talented person who could also teach sewing (both Western and Japanese style) and needle-point work. Her students remembered her enjoying horseback riding on her own horse, named Kaiser. In 1909, she contributed an article, “Japan’s Daughters and Missionary Teachers,” to the magazine The Assembly Herald, published by the Presbyterian Church, reporting about girls’ education in Japan.


Yamamoto Tsuchi and Yamamoto Goro

In April 1899, a twelve-year-old girl entered Kojo Girls’ School in Yamaguchi City from Chohu (Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture), traveling by steamboat and horse carriage. It was Yamamoto (Hironaka) Tsuchi, who later became the principal of Joshi Gakuin in Tokyo (1947-1966). Tsuchi was one of the precious fruits of Bigelow’s hard work. She was Bigelow’s successor, and she contributed greatly to women’s Christian education in Japan. When Joshi Gakuin lost its building, right after it had been rebuilt following World War II, Tsuchi stood firmly and faced the difficulty as she led the students with confidence. She is also known as the translator of Pollyanna (by Eleanor Hodgman Porter, Japanese translation published in 1916).


Yamamoto Goro, Tsuchi’s husband, was the person who introduced the Big Brothers Big Sisters movement to Japan. As chair of its board of directors, Yamamoto also led Baiko Jogakuin, which was Bigelow’s last school, when it was going through a tough time during WW II.


Baiko Jogakuin

In 1914 Kojo Jogakuin merged with Umegasaki Girls’ School in Nagasaki and moved to a new location, where a new school called Baiko Jogakuin was established in Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The name “Baiko” was written with a combination of characters from the names of the old schools. The principal was Hirotsu Tokichi from Umegasaki Girl’s School, and Bigelow taught the Bible and English.


It was said of Bigelow: “She did her best wherever she was placed by the Lord and endeavored to be a cornerstone.” “It was all because of her that the students were not so much affected by the bad influences of that era.” Her beloved student, Yamamoto Tsuchi, also worked with Bigelow at Baiko for a time. In 1919, Bigelow received the medal for service to education from Yamaguchi Prefecture and in 1921, a celebration of her 30 years of service was held.


Bigelow also dedicated herself to the friendship between Japan and U.S.. In 1927, through the work of missionary Sidney Lewis Gulick, who longed for friendship and peace between the two countries, a total of 12,739 “Blue Eyed Dolls” were sent to Japan from the U.S.. Bigelow gathered student representatives from elementary schools to a conference hall in Yamaguchi to dedicate them. Even today one doll remains at Odono Elementary School in Yamaguchi. The doll is wearing a winter coat with a back pocket and is called Rose Mary.


Returning Home and Her Last Days

In May 1930, after staying in Japan for 45 years, of which 38 years were spent at Kojo and Baiko, she finished her service and returned to the U.S. at the age of 71. She donated 200 books and a strong brick building on the hill behind the school as a prayer and meditation house for Baiko Jogakuin. This “Prayer House” is still standing as one of the few buildings that survived the bombing of Shimonoseki in July 1945. Sara Bigelow went to her heavenly home on Nov. 1, 1941 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 81.


Baiko Gakuin will celebrate its 100th anniversary in Shimonoseki in 2014. Bigelow, who has been praised as a “reserved” woman who had “a gentle and sincere personality” and who “loved the students with an extraordinary passion,” was an excellent educator and missionary for the young girls. Her will and longing for peace still lives on in the “House of Prayer” at Baiko Gakuin. (Tr. BN)


Bibliography: History of Baiko Jogakuin, Kuroki Goro, 1934,

Baiko Jogakuin, A Distant View, Baiko Jogakuin Almni, 1987


—Toyoda Shigeru, archivist

Baiko Gakuin University




 梅光学院大学・学院資料室 豊田 滋(とよだしげる)



ガートルート・サラ・ビゲローは、1860年5月17日、New York州Genesee郡Bataviaに生まれた。

1883年、ビゲローは、Hamilton Ladie’s Seminaryを卒業後、地元の学校に勤務していた。ある年、帰国した宣教師が日本伝道の話の後「だれかこの中で東洋にキリスト教を伝えるために献身する方はいないでしょうか」と呼びかけ、この呼びかけに応えたのがビゲローである。日本に赴任するために1886年9月ニューヨーク州の試験を受け、中等学校教師の免許状を取得。1887年来日。26歳だった。



1888年、ビゲローは長老教会Presbyterian Churches教育宣教師として新榮女学校に着任。一年後には校長に昇任する。1890年には、北陸女学校に転任し、学校の草創期に金沢で2年間勤務する。


「山の中の淋し い土地に、あんな若い婦人が」と周囲から驚かれた逸話が残る。


1893年7月から1年 間、伝道局の規定により一時帰国し、デトロイトで開かれた会議に出席している。一時 帰国はこの後、1903年、1915年、1923年の計4回である。


1899年39才で、ビゲローは第2代院長に昇進。体操ではベビーオルガンを校庭に持ち出し、ダンベルやクラブ を使った体操も指導している。和裁・洋裁・刺繍も教える多才な教師でもあった。愛馬カイザー号を駆って乗馬を楽しむ姿も教え子の記憶 に残っている。

1909年には米国の長老派事務局発行の雑誌『The Assembly Herald』に「Japan’s Daughters and Missionary Teacher」を寄稿して、当時の日本の女子教育事情を報告している。



1899年4月、長府の 町(現・下関市長府)から山口まで、蒸気船と馬車を乗り継いで12才の少女が光城女学院に入学する。この少女こそ、後の女子学院院長(1947年~1966年)山本つち(旧姓・弘中)である。女子学院が戦災から復興したばかりの校舎を再び失ったとき、 毅然(きぜん)として困難に対処し動ずることなく生徒を導いた山本つちこそ、ビゲローの薫陶の結実、その意思を継いでキリスト教女 子教育に貢献した人物である。また、つちは『パレアナ』(Eleanor Hodgman Porter著、1916年 に和訳出版)の訳者としても知られている。

つちの夫、山本五郎は1913年日本にBBBS(Big Brothers and Sisters movement)運動を紹介した人物で、ビゲロー最後の任地である梅光女学院では、戦時下の理事長として困難な時代を支えた功績がある。





「おかれた地位 に本分を尽くし、むしろ隅の置石たらむことを心がけられ」、「生徒等が、時代の悪風に浸むことの少かったのは先生のお蔭による」と語 られた人物である。愛弟子山本つちも、一時期、梅光で共に働いている。





1927年宣教師ギューリック(Sidney Lewis Gulick)の日米友好と平和を望んだ働きかけによって、アメリカから総計12739体の「青い目の人形」が日本に届いた。ビゲローは山口市の公会堂に小学生代表を集めて贈呈式を行った。




帰国と晩年 1930年5月

1930年 5月日本在留45年間、光城・梅光38年間の長きにわたる奉仕を終え、帰米。71才。梅光女学院に200冊の書物と、校庭後ろの山上に祈祷黙想の場所として煉瓦造りの頑丈な東屋を建築し寄贈した。この「祈りの家」は1945年7月2日の下関大空襲で焼失を 免れた数少ない建物として現存する。




梅光学院は、2014年に下関開学100周年を迎える。「温厚篤実にして寡言」「学生を愛すること尋常でなく」「女 子教育家としてはた宗教家として申し分なし」と語り継がれるビゲローの志と平和への希求は、「祈りの家」と共に今も梅光学院に生きている。


記録出典:梅光女学院史(黒木五郎著 1934)、梅光女学院遠望(梅光女学院同窓会編1987)ほか

Serving a Japanese Church in Present-day Canada

by Zama Yutaka, pastor of Vancouver Japanese United Church (UCC)


I was sent to the United Church of Canada (UCC) as a commissioned Kyodan missionary in August 2012 and assigned to serve the Japanese congregation in Vancouver. Although I am recognized as an official member of the local UCC Presbytery, there is no clerical category of “foreign missionary” within this denomination. Thus, I am simply an ordained clergy of another denomination who is appointed to be a minister at a particular local congregation of the UCC. I find this situation a bit awkward, however, since being sent by the Kyodan is not formally recognized. Christian ministry to Japanese people in Canada began with this congregation in 1892, 15 years after the first Japanese immigrants arrived, and was supported by the Methodist Church in Canada (which became part of UCC). Today, Vancouver Japanese United Church is the only such congregation remaining from the prewar years that is active in Canada.


This history of over 120 years is divided into two stages by World WarII. Prior to the war, membership grew so that by 1941 the church consisted of 340 members and had developed various community services for Japanese people, such as language study and education, social work, a community newspaper, a medical clinic. It also spread the gospel to those who lived in remote areas along the coast and inland towns and established a second-generation sister congregation operated in English. While these two congregations exist under one banner of Japanese-Canadian, they have nevertheless operated as separate entities from the beginning.


When WWII broke out in 1941, all those of Japanese origin or ancestry, whether or not they were Canadian citizens, were treated as “enemy aliens,” and forced by the government to relocate to various inland “internment camps” far from the West Coast, losing their jobs, properties, and community life. Thus, the history of the Japanese church was interrupted by the war.


The Canadian Government gave people of Japanese descent two options: go back to Japan or move to the eastern provinces for resettlement. As a result, several Japanese churches were established in Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, and other cities east of Rocky Mountains. For four years after the war, Japanese people were forbidden to go back to their homes in and around Vancouver. The authorities had sold their houses, properties, cars, fishing boats, et cetera, without their consent, and even the building and property of Vancouver Japanese United Church was sold by the denomination. As the church has not yet been repaid, the congregation this year is claiming compensation for the unjust loss of the original property to UCC.


After the war, 50 former members of this congregation tried to restart the church in Vancouver and purchased a building. Later, new immigrants from Japan joined the congregation. During the 1960s, Sunday worship and other activities regained their former strength, and during this time, the number of Japanese UCC churches across Canada increased to 14. The ministers periodically rotated in serving these congregations and formed the Caucus of Japanese United Churches as an ethnic network among the Japanese UCC churches. This continued until about 1990, but since then, the Japanese-Canadian churches have been in decline.


In the old days before the war, the Japanese church in Vancouver functioned as a social community center. People met others in the church and connected with and supported each other, particularly the newcomers not yet used to life in Canada. Non-Christian people also valued the cultural center, and people often gathered to enjoy Japanese food, such as udon and sushi and sweets, such as manju. Nowadays this function has mostly been taken over by secular organizations. One event that this church still holds, however, is a spring bazaar with a variety of homemade Japanese food, such as 4,000 traditional manju cakes, 1,000 rolls of maki sushi, and 600 bowls of udon noodle soup.


Before the war, new immigrants were mainly relatives or those who came from the same hometown as the early arrivals, and thus their relationships were strong and mutual. Many worked as farmers, fishermen, or in the mining and lumber industries. After the war, the occupations of new immigrants characteristically changed to ones related to the economic development of Japan, such as commercial business, professional engineering, and independent enterprises.


The population of those who speak Japanese in and around the Vancouver area has remained about 25,000, with few Christians among them. The number of Christians has not increased because coming from Japan are already Christian, and new arrivals  often long for traditional Japanese things so are actually less open to Christianity than they would be otherwise. Also, society in western Canada has been becoming progressively less religious, and Christianity is not attractive to Japanese immigrants. Not only my Japanese congregation but also other Canadian churches are considering mergers to survive.


The Japanese community in Vancouver has a well-organized volunteer network that works hard to present Japanese culture with traditional spirituality: for example, omatsuri, bon-odori, mikoshi, karaoke, mochitsuki. These activities come from a common longing felt by those living in this multi-cultural society to connect with their Japanese identity, which is rooted in the desire to remember the good things of Japan even when overseas, along with the general multi-cultural atmosphere of Canadian society, which accepts everyone.


New immigrants since WWII are comparatively good in English, so if they marry an English-speaking spouse, they may more easily go to a local English-speaking church, if they go at all. Children of Japanese-speaking parents are raised as Canadians, and even if they attend church school in Japanese, they soon “graduate.” Unless new Japanese-speaking people come into the church, the Japanese-speaking church cannot survive. However, it is difficult now to find new Japanese believers who can join this church.


The time for change has come. One by one the Japanese-speaking congregations across Canada have shut their doors and merged with other local Canadian congregations. Many of the Japanese-speaking ministers have retired without being replaced. When the Japanese economy began to shrink in the 1990s, the number of new immigrants to Canada decreased, and the Japanese business market began downsizing. Such a change in the social environment had a negative effect on the Japanese-speaking congregations as well. As of today, Vancouver Japanese United Church has only 30 members and is the only Japanese-speaking congregation in the UCC. The number of members is getting less and less as well as older and older. In the last decade, only a few have newly joined the congregation.


As mentioned previously, I started my missionary life here in Vancouver just a year ago. The church had been without a pastor for almost six years as the last Kyodan missionary left ten years ago. It has been a time of transition again, with the finances so critical that by the end of this year, the bank balance will be completely exhausted. The monthly deficit is $4,000.  The Presbytery, which is the supervising body and thus holds a certain degree of authority over it as well as the responsibility to see that it remains in good standing, has advised this congregation to join with other Asian congregations that are also unable to be fully self-supporting. However, this congregation decided to remain independent as a Japanese-speaking group as it is quite proud of its long history in this country, its deep relationship with immigrants from Japan, and the good reputation of its former activities that helped the Japanese people gather into a mutual supporting community.


The purposes of my ministry are, first of all, to care for this congregation in accordance with the Christian faith, to preach the gospel in the Japanese language, to encourage each member of the congregation towards maturity in faith and love, and to build up this congregation in Christ. It is quite urgent and essential to carry out this mission for this church, which had spent many years without its own minister. Thus as my priorities, I focus on Sunday worship, prayer meetings, Bible study groups, visiting the sick and elderly people, calling on long-term absentees, communication, and fellowship with individual members of the congregation, as well as constructive discussion with the administrative board.



教団派遣宣教師 坐間 豊


1.     カナダへの宣教師派遣

2012年8月 に教団派遣宣教師とされ、カナダ合同教会(UCCan)のバンクーバー日系人合同教会で牧師とされまし た。当地の教区(Presbytery)の正式メンバーですが、UCCanでは、「外国の教会からの宣教師」という規定が無いために「他教派に籍のある教職」という扱いです。教団からの派 遣はまず認識されません。微妙な居心地感で教会に仕えています。カナダに日系移民が始まった15年後の1892年に、この教会が始まり、以後、カナダ全土へ広がる日系人教会の歴史が始まりました。今日存続しているのは、この 教会だけです。


2.     カナダにおける日系人教会の略史


戦争前の1941年 には、この教会だけで会員数340人を擁していました。バンクーバーに集まった日本 からの移民者に対して、教会はコミュニティーセンターのように、語学学習や教育活動、社交、新聞、医療など、生活全般にわたる様々な サービス活動を展開し、支えました。バンクーバーから離れた沿岸や内陸の地方にも、教会は福音を伝えました。若い世代には別に英語教 会も始めました。日語と英語の教会は同じ日系人の名の下に、最初から別個の教会として働きをしていました。

1941年に戦争が勃発すると、カナダ政府により、カナダ 国籍を取得した人も含めて日系人はみな「敵性国民」とみなされ、家や財産は没収、仕事も失って強制収容され、沿岸から遠く離れた山間 地方へ強制移動させられました。こうして、日系教会の歴史も戦争で分断されることになりました。

その後、カナダ政府は日系人に、日本へ帰国かロッキー山脈より東への強制移動を迫りました。バンクーバーに教会は 無くなり、東部諸州にいくつかの日系人教会が起こされました(トロント市やハミルトン市、ウィニペグ市ほか)。

強制移動させられた日系人は、戦後の4年間はバンクーバーに戻ることを赦されませんでした。人々の家や土地、また車や漁船などの財産は、了解なく政府に よって処分されており、バンクーバー日系人合同教会の資産も上部組織が売却し、今も返却・補償はないままです。今年(2013年)、当教会は州の合同教会当局に、当時の不正な 取り扱いについて補償を請求することにしました。

戦後、約50人 の元教会員はバンクーバー日系人教会の再建を願って、あらたに土地建物を購入しました。以後、カナダの日系人教会は、戦後の新移住者 も加わって、再び盛んになります。全国で日系人諸教会は14に増え、「協議会」を作って連携を強めました。1960年代からは各教会は牧師の赴任を輪番制としまし た。これは1990年近くまで続きました。しかし、その後日系人教会 は減衰していきます。


3.     日本人コミュニティーと日系人教会

戦前は、日系人教会は一種のコミュニティーセンターでした。人々 はここで出会い、現地生活に不慣れな新しい移民者の世話を行いました。相互扶助の意識は高かったです。クリスチャンで無い人々にも、 日系カルチャーセンターとして重宝がられました。うどんやすし、まんじゅうなどの日本食が食べられるのです。今日ではこうした働きの 多くは教会の手から離れ、教会とは別の民間団体が担っています。今でも教会は春のバザーを行いますが、なかでも手作りの日本食、特に 各種まんじゅう四千個や巻き寿司一千本、六百食のうどんは圧巻です。

戦争前には、移住者は親戚や同郷という関係が深く、密でした。多くの人々は農業や漁業に従事したり、鉱山や林業で 働きました。戦後のバンクーバーでは、戻って来た戦前からの移住者と、戦後あらたに日本から移住して来た人たちが混ざり合っていま す。新移住者は、規模の大きい貿易ビジネスや工業技術等の専門職、また、起業といった日本の経済発展を背景とする職業が目立ちます。

バンクーバーの日本語人口はあまり変わらず約2万5千 人と言われますが、クリスチャンは少ないです。クリスチャンが増えないのにはいくつも理由があります。何よりも、日本からクリスチャ ンとして来る人が少ないです。そして、海外に来ると日本国内ではあまり意識しない日本情緒や伝統文化にむしろ刺激され、キリスト教へ の接近はかえって遠のきます。当地のキリスト教は社会全体で弱まって来ているので、日本から来た人がキリスト教に惹かれることは少な いです。日系人教会に限らずUCCan では教会合併を進め、存続を図っています。当地で は日系市民団体がよく組織され、日本の伝統文化を紹介し、普及交流に努めています。たとえば、お祭り、盆おどり、神輿、カラオケ、も ちつき、などなどの行事。これらは、海外にあっても日本の良さを忘れない心情に根ざしており、複合文化を旨とするカナダ社会にあって 誰もがたえず受けいれられるものになっています。戦後の新移住者は、英語が堪能です。英語を母語とする配偶者を持つと、教会に行くと しても英語教会に行きます。親が日本語を話しても、その子供たちはカナダ人として育ち(カナダは出生地主義で国籍を与えられます)、 日本語の教会学校はじきに「卒業」していきます。要は、日系人教会は日本語を用いる教会なので、日本語を話す人々(一世)が加わっていかないと存続していきません。当教会に新しい日本人クリスチャンが加わるのは、難しい状況になって来 ているのです。


4.     過渡期にある教会での宣教


カナダ全国に展開していた日系教会は一つまた一つと、解散したり地元英語教会に合併していきました。日系人宣教に 従事していた日本人牧師は、隠退していきましたが、交代要員はありませんでした。日本の経済的繁栄1990年代に反転したとき、カナダへの新移住者の数は減 少に転じ、当地の日系ビジネスも縮小していきました。こうした社会状況の変化は日系人教会の上にも後ろ向きな影響を及ぼしました。

今日、バンクーバー日系人合同教会は、会員数約三十人です。カナダ合同教会の中で、唯一の日本語教会です。会員数 は減少、高齢化が進んでいます。過去十年間で新たに加わった人はほんのわずかです。

冒頭に記したように、私はちょうど一年前にここで宣教師としての働きを始めました。それまで、この教会は6年間牧 師がおりませんでした。教団から宣教師が派遣されたのは10年前が最後です。それ以後、当教会はふたたび過渡期に入りました。教会財 政は、当年末に銀行預金残高がゼロになるという危機的状況です。毎月、収支は4千ドルの赤字です。教区は当教会を監督する権限を持っているので、 自立の難しい他のアジア系教会と合併する提案をして来ましたが、当教会は今のままで行くことに決めています。日系教会としての歩みは 長いですし、移住者との深い関係も、日系社会で重ねて来た働きと評判も、大切な誇りとしているからです。

ここでの私の働きは、まずなによりも、キリスト信仰によってこの教会に仕え、日本語で福音を宣べ伝え、一人一人の 教会員を信仰と愛とにおいて成長するよう励まし、教会をキリストに根ざして立ち上げることです。牧者を長年欠いてきたこの教会には、 こうした働きが第一になされなければならない原点です。日曜礼拝や祈祷会、聖書研究、病者や高齢者の訪問、長期欠席者への働きかけ、 教会員個々との密で良好な関係、そして役員会との前向きな取り組みです。


A change from poor English and poor personal relationships — Learning to Live to Become My True Self

by Hasegawa Satoshi

Keiwa College Graduating Class of 2012


My mother took me to church from the time I was a child, and I grew up in that environment. In the beginning, church was a place for me to interact with friends, but as I grew older, I became aware of God’s presence in my life and was led to baptism. With a desire to further deepen my faith, I entered Keiwa Gakuen High School.


During my school life at Keiwa, I found my dream for the future. That dream was to be an English teacher at a Christian school. The truth is that I was poor in English from the time I was a junior high student. The main reason was simply that I could not understand how to read and write English.


However, one of my high school English teachers taught me how to find phrases when reading and took time to teach me carefully the rules of English. As a result, I began to understand what I was reading, and this understanding led to the enjoyment of English. Because of this experience, I want to be able to share that enjoyment with students who are having difficulty. When I found out that I could acquire an English teaching certificate/license here at Keiwa College, I felt that God had led me to continue my study here to become an English teacher.


Now, as I reflect before graduation, I realize that in the midst of the difficulties of my course of study, I have experienced much joy. I have learned the importance of accomplishing tasks not just as an individual but also as a member of groups working together. And I have felt the challenge and calling to be a teacher. Further, in the midst of my education at Keiwa College, I have found a new me. During high school, I was rather passive and had poor social skills in relating to people. However, toward the end of my high school life, I began to take some leadership in school activities. Through those activities I realized the pleasure of interacting with people. Once I entered university, I decided to be actively involved and try something new. That led to my participation in the Brass Band.


I had been interested in music from childhood and had tried to play various musical instruments. Here at the university, I decided to try the tenor saxophone. Until that time I had generally held back from doing what I really wanted to do, but I finally realized that it was okay to express myself. Furthermore, I found it enjoyable. In this way, I became more positive and active in personal relationships. Since then, I have been blessed with wonderful friends, and these four years of university life have been an endless source of joy and fulfillment for me.


I have studied here for seven years. During high school, I was able to make a start, and during my university life here I have found myself. Reflecting on this, I strongly feel that God led me here and has given me my dream for the future. At this point, I am still looking for a teaching position, but it is my intention to do my utmost to realize my goal of being a teacher. It is my strong wish to use my gifts as a teacher in a Christian school. (Tr. JS)


長谷川 智 敬和学園大学






私は幼いころから母に連れられて教会へ通い、キリスト教と関わる生 活を送ってきました。そのころの私にとって教会は友人との交流の場でしたが、次第に私の隣にいつも神さまがいてくださることに気付 き、受洗へと導かれました。そして、キリスト教とのさらに深い関わりを求めて高校から敬和学園に入学したのです。

その敬和学園での学生生活の中で、将来の夢にも出会いました。それ は、キリスト教学校の英語の教師になるという夢でした。実は、私は中学生のときから英語がとても苦手でした。なぜ苦手だったのかと考 えると、英語の読み方、書き方がわからなかったことが一番大きな原因だったと思います。

ところが、そんな私に高校の先生が、文章を読むときの区切りの作り 方や、英語のルールを詳しく教えてくれたのです。おかげで次第に英語がわかるようになり、わかることから楽しくなっていきました。そ してその経験から、私と同じように英語が苦手な子どもたちに英語の楽しさを伝えたいと思うようになったのです。しかも、同じ敬和学園 で教員免許が取得できることがわかり、神さまが敬和学園での学びを通して私を英語教師の道へと導いてくださっていると感じ、敬和学園 大学へと進学しました。

今、卒業を目前にして振り返ると、大学の教職課程での学びはつらい ながらも喜びの多いものだったと強く感じています。私はそこで一人ではできないことを仲間と共に楽しみながら行うことの大切さと、教 師という仕事のやりがいを見つけることができました。

さらに、学園生活の中で、新しい自分を見つけることもできました。 高校在学中、私はどちらかと言えば消極的な性格で、人と関わることがあまり得意ではありませんでした。ところが高校生活の終盤に学校 行事でリーダーの一角を担うこととなったのです。その経験を通して人と関わることの楽しさにやっと気付くことができました。そこで、 大学では最初から積極的に行動したいと考え、新しいことに挑戦しようと思いました。それがブラスバンドとの出会いでした。

昔から音楽に興味があっていくつか楽器に挑戦してきたのですが、大 学では新しくテナーサックスに挑戦することにしました。それまでは、本来自分がやりたかったことを抑えながら生活をしてきました。で も本来の自分を出してもいいんだ、出すことがとても楽しいんだということに気付き、人間関係においても積極的な自分を出すことができ るようになったのです。それ以来友人にも恵まれ、四年間、笑いの絶えない充実した学園生活を送ることができました。

敬和学園で高校・大学と七年間学びました。高校できっかけを作り、 大学で本来の自分を見つけることができました。そんな学生生活を振り返り、今では、私を敬和学園へと導き、将来の希望を与えてくれた のは神さまだと強く感じています。私はまだ就職活動中で教師として働くことはできていませんが、敬和学園で得た目標を実現するために これからも全力で努力し、自分の賜物を教育者の一人としてキリスト教学校にて発揮できることを強く望んでいます。

A University Equipping People to Serve

by Suzuki Yoshihide, principal of Keiwa College


Keiwa College was established in April 1991 as a university based on Christian educational principles for service to the local community and to the world at large. Since then, we have maintained these principles of education. The name “Keiwa” itself was chosen to reflect the principles of our institution: kei means “honor” or “respect,” which reflects our honor of God; wa means “peace” or “harmony,” which reflects our commitment to the creation and preservation of harmony and peace among people. In keeping with our principles, we are sending out men and women equipped to serve people, not things.


At Keiwa College, a commitment to a liberal arts education is one of our distinguishing features. By “liberal arts,” however, the emphasis is not simply on intellectual acquisition. It is also on application, experience, and an awareness of our neighbor. In other words, it is holding in common with the local community those problems that concern all of us. As people living in the 21st century, this is the starting point for a proper global perspective.


Keiwa College is a community developing within its local setting, and there is a larger community of people who value and support Keiwa College. We are educating men and women who come together in this setting to prepare for their journey into the future. (Tr. JS)


From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend) May 2013 issue



敬和学園大学長 鈴木佳秀

敬和学園大学はキリスト教主義、国際主義、地域主義を掲げつつ、1991年4月に建学され、以来、教育を主眼とした大学であり続けてきました。敬和学園という呼称は、神を敬い、人と 人の和を重んじる共生の精神から命名されましたが、その建学の精神や理念にのっとり、何かのために生きる人材ではなく、誰かのために 生きる人材を送り出しています。


敬和学園大学では、教養教育を前面に掲げた教育を特色としていま す。ここでいう「教養」とは、知識偏重ではなく、実践や経験、他者への思いやり等を重んじ、地域との密接な関係を維持しながら人々と の問題を共有することです。21世紀に生きる人間としてふさわしいグローバ ルな視点も、出発点はここにあるのです。

地域と共に生きようとする敬和学園大学と、そんな敬和学園大学を大 切に支えてくれる人々。こうした環境の中で自分と向き合い、未来への道を拓いていく学生を、私たちは育成しています。(信徒の友5月号)