Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters Opens — Supported by prayer and hoping to give personal support

On July 22, 2011, the Kyodan opened the Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters in Room 11 on the first floor of the Japan Christian Center to restore damaged churches as well as to develop the Overseas Donation Project, aimed at humanitarian support.


A variety of projects are in progress, including the Tohoku District Center for the Support of Victims in Sendai (Emao Ishinomaki, which started in August and is referred to as “Emao,” based on the biblical place name “Emmaus”), and other supportive activities for the rebuilding of lives. Likewise, there is the Center for the Prevention of Suicide, which offers grief-care in Tono, the Installing Air-conditioners Project to protect the lives of children who are exposed to radiation, the Short-term Reprieve Program, and the scholarship project for Christian schools. The Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters also offers support for the Aizu Radiation Information Center, for the provision of emergency food, for other church-related grassroots activities, for ecumenical collaboration, and for various other Christian institutions.


Planning and clerical work can be done even in Tokyo, but in order to connect the victims with those who support them, staff members need to be on-site and involved in the actual relief projects. We avoid using the word “inspect” and instead go to “work” together with volunteers and the local staff as much as possible. “Inspectors” are only permitted to view the stricken scenes, but “workers” in the area can meet with the people who are actually suffering. The victims have said, “We will not be deceived by tears, but we do believe in sweat.” Taking their words to heart, we are running to and fro in Tohoku with the motto, “Work anytime, whenever we have a chance!”


Regarding support activities in the disaster zone, the problems in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima are quite different from each other. The issues that confront the Center for Preventing Suicide being developed in Iwate around “issues individuals cannot face alone,” including loneliness and isolation in temporary housing, are becoming increasingly serious. What is needed now, before winter sets in, is to take time to build up reliable human relationships.


Also, concerning the issue of exposure to radiation, long-term solutions are being implemented, such as the Installing Air-conditioners Project, which took shape through the enthusiasm of the members of the Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters to “protect the lives of children,” and the Short-term Reprieve Program, which was born from the proposition: “Let’s start a concrete program to get children away from radiation exposure.” Likewise, in order to be better supporters of the Aizu Radiation Information Center, we have visited the center many times and listened to the opinions of the staff there, paying careful attention to each of their activities.


Three people work in this office: Kato Makoto, the Kyodan executive secretary in charge of disaster relief (and of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries), as well as Shiratori Masaki and Maekita Mio [the writer], both of whom have worked through Emao as volunteers, cleaning up debris and mud. We opened this room in July but have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of the disaster and the scale of the cleanup operations. Nevertheless, we continue to seek God’s leading as we endeavor to make a difference, and we give thanks to everyone who has supported us with their prayers as they sent us into the disaster zone.


It has been over eight months since the disaster, and no doubt people in areas unaffected by the quake have settled back into a normal routine. However, those in the disaster zone call out to us saying, “Please do not forget us. There is still such a long way to go.” So we ask people everywhere to please continue their support. (Tr. AY)


—Maekita Mio, staff member

Disaster Relief Planning Headquaters

From Nov. 26, 2011 issue of

Kyodan Shinpo (Kyodan Times)








進行中のプロジェクトは仙台の「東北教区 被災者支援センター(通 称:エマオ)」、8月より始動した「エマオ石巻」をはじめとする生活復興支援、遠野にある「自殺防止センター」のグリーフ・ケア、放射能の影響下にある子どもたちの命を守るプロジェクト「エアコン設置プロジェクト」「短期保養プログラム」、またキリスト教系学校の奨学金プロジェクト、会津放射能情報センターや炊き出し支援などの教会を中心とした市民活動への支援や超教派との支援コラボレーション企画、キリスト教関係諸施設への支援など多岐にわたります。







前北未央報(教団新 報)

Founder of Kochi Girls’ School (now Seiwa Jogakuin): An Educator of Love

Annie Dowd was born as the third daughter of a lawyer on Nov. 6, 1861. Her home was so well known that mail was delivered even without a proper address. People only needed to write Dowd, Mississippi on the mail. After graduating from a women’s college, she worked as a music teacher at a church-related school. Later, however, she gradually started having a strong desire to share the Gospel overseas. At that time American Southern Presbyterian Mission received a request for another missionary in Kochi, Japan, and Dowd was sent there when she was 26years old.


In 1887, Dowd arrived in Kochi as a teacher at Kochi Eiwa Girls’ School, but in her free time, she also taught the Bible to women and communicated the gospel eagerly herself. Although this school was closed within ten years, Dowd stayed on in Kochi and preached the gospel to the people in the countryside. She could not forget the underprivileged girls she had met while she travelled the countryside, and she started praying for them to have faith and education.


In 1901, when the then 40-year-old Dowd returned to Japan after being succesfully treated for breast cancer, she rented a house in Takajomachi, where she welcomed two girls into her home and started educating them. This was the start of Kochi Girls’ School, which later became Seiwa. She started receiving girls one after another who were raised in poor homes and had had no opportunity for an education, even at the age of 15 or 16. Dowd lived with them and taught them life skills as well.


Kochi Girls’ School was a home-like school with a dormitory. A time of worship was held every morning and evening, and on Sundays, everyone attended church. The school laid emphases on English and music, and everyone was able to play the piano and organ. The embroidery patterns made at school were sold at churches in the U.S. to help pay for school fees.


Financial management of the school was difficult, but the administrators always managed to supply the girls’ needs. Dowd scrimped in every way she could in order to use her own salary for the needs of the school. She bought second hand clothing and had to tailor them to fit, and she often wore mended socks and sown buttons over the holes in her skirts.


As the school’s numbers continued to increase, the mission took over the management of the school from 1915, and in 1924, a new school building was built in Takajomachi with funds contributed by church women in the U.S. Sadly, on Dec. 3, 1927, after only three years of operation, a fire caused by a faulty stove burned down the building. Dowd led the students out of the burning building, taking with her only her old Bible, but fortunately nobody was injured. The headlines in the local newspapers read “Crying students and Dowd’s tears.” It explained how Dowd led the students to safety as quickly as possible. At this time Dowd was 66 years old, and although she was disappointed by the loss of the new school building, she said “Let’s stop crying. There is nothing that God cannot do.” And immediately, she started praying for a new school building. She was unable to get support from the mission, however, as they thought it best to just close down the school. However, she was able to rebuild a new school the following year with the support of former students and other people who valued her work. Because of Dowd’s hard work and endless community support, Kochi City decided to honor her with a commendation ceremony. At first, she intended to decline such an honor, but the teachers of the school encouraged her, saying this was a reward for her hard work in serving God for his glory. So she accepted it on Feb. 11, 1933. The certificate of commendation stated: “You are calm and sincere, rich in philanthropy, and you came all the way to this city as a missionary to passionately engage in evangelism. You also established Kochi Girls’ High School and educated underprivileged girls for over 30 years. Even though you are over 70 years old, you never show signs of fatigue and continue to put your efforts into local education. Your achievement has been enormous.” The name Dowd and her work were known all over the prefecture.


Dowd had been postponing her retirement as a missionary, but when the mission delegated management of the school to Kochi Church, she decided that this was the appropriate time to return home. Dowd, who was 76 years old, arrived back in the U.S. on April 12, 1937. She offered almost her entire adult life to Kochi. She had said, “I do not really want to return, and if it is God’s will, I would like to die here.” She had even bought a cemetery plot on Mount Takami. God had appointed her to work in Kochi but also decided that she should return home.


Seiwa Girls’ School, which was established in 1901 by one missionary, still exists despite some difficulties, continuing to treasure Dowd’s mission. When we hear the name Dowd, we remember that small works of faith bear much fruit.


After Dowd went home, she lived in a retirement home in Jackson, Mississippi. In spite of difficulties walking, seeing, and hearing, she continued to serve by visiting bedridden women in the home, as well as continuing a Bible study, always praying and reading her Bible as she was able. On April 23, 1960, she passed away at the age of 99, having served God her whole life. (Tr. NS&JGO)


—Yokoyama Yoshiro, principal

Seiwa Girls’ Junior and Senior High Schools

Kochi Prefecture, Shikoku



『愛の教育者 アニー・ダウド』

清和女子中高等学校校長 横山義郎



1887年、高知英和女学校 の教師として来高したダウドは、教師のかたわら、独力で市内の婦人達に聖書を教え、キリスト教伝道を熱心に行いました。この学校は10年足らずで廃校にな りましたが、ダウドは高知に留まり、僻地伝道を始めました。その途中で出会った恵まれない少女 達の事が忘れられず、この少女達に教育を受けさせ、信仰を持つことが出来ないものかと祈り願うようになりました。

1901年、乳ガンの治療から帰えってきたダウドは、鷹匠(たかじょう)町(まち)の借家に2名の少女を引き取り教育を始めました。 ここに清和の前身である『高知女学会』が誕生しました。ダウド40歳でした。15・6歳になっても全く教育を受けていない貧しい家庭の 少女達を次々に引き取りました。ダウドは、生活を共にしながら勉強だけでなく生活に必要な全てのことを教えました。

高知女学会は家庭の ような学校で、全員が寮で生活をしていました。毎日、朝夕に礼拝を守り、日曜日には全員が教会に出席しました。英語だけでなく音楽教 育にも力を入れ、全員がピアノやオルガンを弾く事が出来ました。授業で作った刺繍の作品は、学費補助のために米国の教会で販売して貰い ました。

女学会の経営は困難 でしたが生徒達は必要な物を十分に与えられていました。ダウド自身は自らの給与を切り詰め、安い質流れ品の洋服を仕立て直し、繕った靴下を履き、穴を隠すために幾つものボタンをつけたスカートをは くなど質素な生活をしながら経営を続けていました。規模が大きくなった学校の経営は、1915年からはミッションの経営に変わりました。1924年には米国の教会の婦人達の献金によって鷹匠町に新校舎を建てる事が出来まし た。しかしこの校舎は3年後の1927年12月3日、ストーブの煙突の故障が原因で全焼してしまいました。ダウドは使い古した聖 書だけを片手に生徒達を誘導し、1人の怪我人も出しませんでした。『泣き叫ぶ女生徒。ダウド嬢の目にも涙』の見出しで、機敏な避難の様子が新聞記事に残されています。ダウド66 歳の時でした。校舎の消失にがっかりしたダウドでしたが、『泣くのは止めましょう神様には仕方がないことはありません』と再建へ の祈りを始めました。廃校を考えていたミッションの支援は得られませんでしたが、卒業生とダウドの働きに共感する多くの人々の支 援により翌年には校舎を再建することが出来ました。

このようなダウドの 働きに対して、高知市はダウドの表彰を決めました。当時としては異例のことでした。最初、固辞していたダウドでしたが、神の栄光のた め、全力を注いで主の業に励んだ結果だと教職員に勧められ、1933年2月11日に表彰を受けました。その文面には、『冷静深厚、博愛の心に富み、宣教師として遠く本市に来任し、熱 愛を持って伝道に従事せらる。傍ら、高知女学会を創設して薄幸なる女子教育に従事すること30余年。古希を過ぎても疲れることを知らず、地方教化のために力を 尽くされた功績は寔(まこと)に甚大なり。』と記されていました。ダウドの名前と その働きが県下に知られるようになりました

宣教師としての定年 延長をしていたダウドでしたが、高知女学会の経営がミッションから高知教会に変わり、清和女学校になったのを機に帰国の決心をしまし た。

1937年4月12日、76歳のダウドは帰国の 途につきました。人生のほとんどを高知のために捧げ、『帰りたくありません。神様が赦して下されば高知で死にたい』と高見山(たかみやま)に墓地まで買っていましたが、神様は高知での働き をこれまでと定められダウドを帰国させました。

1901年、一人の宣教師によって始められた小さな清和学園は、多くの困難の中でダウド の思いを大切にキリスト教主義の学校として存続しています。ダウドの名前を聞く時、私達は信仰による小さな働きが、大きな実を結ぶこ とを思い出します。

ダウドは帰国後はミシシッピ州ジャクソンにある老婦人ホームに暮らしました。目 も耳も不自由になり、足も弱っていたダウドでしたが、ホーム内では、バイブルクラスを開いたり、寝たきりの婦人達を訪問するなど、祈 りと聖書を読む事を欠かさない生活を送り、1960年4月23日99歳で天に召さるまで、ダウドの生涯は神様に仕えるものでした。

“Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

by Reiko Okuma , pastor La Gloria Church Colonia Okinawa, Bolivia


“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

It has been 33 years since I was led to come to Bolivia, and during this time, these words of God have continued to support and encourage me daily. I have nothing in my heart but thankfulness to the Lord.


There are three incidents I would like to relate in which the Lord helped me.

1. The first one happened 25 years ago. That day, there was a conference in Santa Cruz, about 100 kilometers away from our village. I was coming home late at night.  In those days, there were few cars, and by 10:00 at night, there were no cars at all on the roads. I noticed that in front of me, there was a man standing next to a motorcycle in the middle of the road, holding a long gun, and looking at me. On both sides of the road, there was only jungle, and not a single house. In a moment of surprise, I said, “Huh?” In my heart, I cried, “Oh, Lord, help me!” I drove by the man, and as soon as I passed him, I increased my speed and continued driving.  I drove about 40 kilometers from that place, and returned safely to the parsonage and breathed a sigh of relief. I said, “Thank you, thank you!” to the Lord for protecting and helping me.


2. One day I visited a home, and we were able to have a very good conversation. After that, I returned home, giving thanks in my heart. In front of my car, there was a boy riding a bicycle. Perhaps he did not notice my car. Without looking behind him, he suddenly tried to cross the road. I cried out “Oh no!” as my car bounced over something twice before I was able to stop the car. I thought, “I ran over someone with my car. Now I will not be able to do evangelism here.” I got out of the car and noticed that I was right in front of the police station. I looked under the car, afraid of what I might see. The boy was crouching there. The boy was immediately taken to a nearby hospital, and I went to the police station and reported my name and occupation. Then I hurried to the hospital. While I was sitting in a chair and waiting at the hospital, I kept praying, “Lord, please spare the boy’s life.” Soon, the head nurse came out of the medical consulting room and asked me, “Ms. Okuma, did you really run that boy over with your car?” Surprised, I answered, “Yes. I clearly remember the car bouncing over something twice.” The nurse said, “The boy is all right. There are some scratches on his abdomen, but there is no pain when his abdomen is touched.” Apparently, because the car’s frame was high off the ground, the boy’s body stretched out and fit neatly under the car, and the tires and other parts of the car did not touch him. Also, fortunately, the front and back wheels of the car rolled up onto, and rested upon the bicycle, and because of that, the boy’s body was miraculously protected. When I heard what had happened, I prayed, “Lord, it was you who helped him. Thank you! Thank you!” And I thanked the Lord again and again.


3. The regular worship service (those days it was evening worship) had ended. As I was going to bed, I was thankfully praying, “Lord, thank you for watching over me today.” Outside, I could hear music with the volume turned up very loud. It was about one o’clock in the morning.  Suddenly I thought I heard a banging sound.  The next thing I knew, somebody opened my bedroom door and came in.  I thought, “What?  Who’s that?  If that person has a knife, I’m in big trouble!”  The text for that day’s sermon had been Psalm 121, and I had been blessed with the opportunity to speak these words: “The Lord will surely protect us and help us, so instead of feeling uneasy about the future, let us give thanks to the Lord, and with joy in our hearts, let us live to the fullest, every day which has been given to us.”  I cried out in my heart, “Lord, I trust in your protection.”  Then, the man came onto my bed.  Instinctively, I sat upright.  The next instant, I was grabbed and held tightly by the man.  Struggling was useless.  That man was much too strong for me.  Right away, I gazed steadily into his face, even though it was dark in the room and I could not really see anything.  Then, perhaps because the man’s face had been seen, he suddenly left me and ran away outside.  As he was leaving, he did not notice the offering money lying on the desk, so the offering was also protected.  Of course, the Lord protected me too, completely, and kept me safe.  Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you!


There are still many more times when the Lord helped me.  I have had on a daily basis such experiences as I have described here.  I am strongly, strongly reminded that there is power in the word of the Lord.  Daily, I continually cry out, “Lord, I give thanks to you!”   This place which I was led to is an Okinawan settlement.  It is now officially recognized as “Okinawa Village”.   When Okinawa was under the rule of the American military forces, a policy was under consideration to encourage people to emigrate people overseas, and Bolivia was chosen as the destination of the emigration.  On August 15, 1954, in accordance with the primary emigration program of the Ryukyu(Okinawa) government, 275 emigrants were relocated to a settlement in Bolivia.  This emigration was continued until the 19th emigration program in 1998.  A total of 584 families, including 3385 people, emigrated.   In 1998, the Bolivian government established “Colonia Okinawa” as an administrative district, and the Okinawa Village City Hall was erected within the first settlement (there are three settlements in total), and this City Hall remains until this day.  I live in the first settlement.   All the people of Okinawa have emotional scars caused by the war.  Therefore I (from Saitama prefecture), of course as a follower of Christ, and also as a fellow human being, am happy to cooperate in any way I can.


In our village a big event is held every year, called “Colonia Okinawa Jukan(traverse) Ekiden”, which is a long-distance relay race.  A sash is passed along by a team of 29 people for a distance of about 38 kilometers.  The anchor leg is designated to be run by a man who is in his 60′s, but in recent years, by the request of the village sports committee, I have had the honor of running the anchor leg.  The anchor runner runs one kilometer along the main street of the village.  Last year, the mayor, who is Bolivian, cheered me on with a loud voice, saying, “Pastora Reiko, ganbare!! (Let’s go, Pastor Reiko!)”  I responded by waving my hand.   We do not compete as a team; rather, prizes are awarded to the top three runners of each leg of the race, so even when I come in last place, it is no problem.  However, the people on the sports committee never forget to prepare a special prize for “the woman who ran the leg that is designated for a man”.  I am honored to be able to work in a village which has such considerate people, and I am thankful, so thankful for the blessing of being able to serve gladly the people of this area, in any way that I can.  This is due to the fact that I am blessed because the Lord gives me strength, and helps me.


The church has a kindergarten attached to it, which holds a worship service every morning from Monday to Friday.  The kindergarten children memorize scripture in Japanese and Spanish, and also sing hymns in Japanese and Spanish.  The Lord watches over these energetic children, and we are thankful, so thankful every day.   As for the church, at last year’s Christmas worship service, a high school girl was baptized, and this year, at the end of November, a boy who has just graduated from his third year of junior high school will be baptized.  In this way, the Lord provides souls for baptism, and all of us rejoice together.  Also, we pray that the Lord will use many young people in many ways in future worship services, including leading worship services, and giving offertory prayers.   Because I will soon be 73 years old, I put in a request to the World Mission Board for someone to serve as the pastor here, and one woman responded, and she is now scheduled to come here as a pastor in May of next year.  She is from Yomitan in Okinawa, so the members of the church are already waiting for her with great joy and prayer.  (Some members are from Yomitan.)   We can do nothing but bow our heads in admiration of the Lord’s wondrous work, filled with love.  We have only thankfulness to the omnipotent and loving Lord, who knows our needs better than anyone else, and works everything out to be perfect for us.  Thanks be to the Lord!  (Tr. KT)



「主に感謝・感謝・感謝」 大熊豊子(ボリビア



“恐れてはならない。わたしはあなたと共にいる。驚いてはならない。わたしは あなたの神である。わたしはあなたを強くし、あなたを助け、わが勝利の右の手をもって、あなたをささえ る。”            イザヤ書四十一:十


この御言は、こちらに導かれてもう三十三年になりますが、この間、ずっと日々小さき者を励まし支え続け てくれました。私達の主に感謝あるのみでございます。


一、今から二十五年前のことです。その日は、私達の村から約百キロメートル離れた サンタクルースの町で会議があり、夜遅く帰って参りました。当時は車も少なく、夜十時ともなれば全く走っ ておりません。前方を見ますと一人の男性が、オートバイを横におき、長い銃を持って道の真ん中で、こちらを見て立っているではありま せんか。道の両側はジャングルで、家など一軒もありません。「ええっ?」と一瞬びっくり致しました。「主よ、助け給え。」と心の中で 叫び、車を走らせてその人を通り過ぎたとたん、スピードをあげて走り続けました。その場所から約四十キロ走り、無事牧師館に到着し、 ホッと致しました。まず主のお守りとお助けに感謝・感謝でした。

二、ある日、家庭訪問をし、良き話し合いが出来たことを感謝しつつ家に向っておりました。私の車の少し 前を自転車に乗った少年が走っていました。少年は私の車に気付かなかったのでしょう。後ろも見ずに急に道を横切ろうとしたのです。 「ええっ、何、何?」と二回バウンドをした後、車を止めました。「私は人を轢いてしまった。もう ここでは伝道できない。」と思いつつ、車の外に出ました。そこは丁度交番の前でした。恐る恐る車の下を見 ますと、少年が蹲っていました。少年はすぐ近くの病院に運ばれ、わたしは交番に行き、名前と職業を語りました。その後、私も病院へと 急ぎました。

病院の椅子に座って待っている間、「主よ、少年の生命を助けて下さい。」と祈り続けました。暫くして婦 長さんが、診察室から出ていらっしゃり「大熊さん、本当にあの少年を轢いていますか。」と尋ねるではありませんか。私はびっくりして 「はい、二回バウンドをしたのを、はっきり覚えておりますから。」と答えました。「少年は大丈夫です。腹部にかすり傷はありますが、 腹部を触っても痛みがありませんよ。」と。

車高の高い車であった為、すっぽり車の下に少年の体が伸び、タイヤや他の部分が少年に接触していなかっ たようでした。さらに、幸いにも、自転車に車の前輪と後輪が乗りあげた為、少年に体は奇跡的にも守られたのでした。それを知らされ 時、「主よ、あなたがお助け下さったのですね。ありがとうございます。ありがとうございます。」と何度も主に感謝致しました。

三、聖日礼拝(当時は夜の礼拝)が終わり、「主よ、今日もお守り下さりありがとうございます。」と感謝し つつベッドに入りました。外からはボリュームを上げた音楽が聞こえてきます。午前一時頃になりました。急にバタンと音がしたような気 がしました。すると、どうでしょう。私の寝室のドアをギーと開けて誰か入ってきたではありませんか。「ええっ?誰?誰?刃物を持って いたら困るわ。」と思いましたが、聖日礼拝でのメッセージは、詩篇百二一篇からで「主は、私達をしっかり守り助けて下さいますから、 未来に不安を持つのではなく、主に感謝しつつ、喜びをもって与えられた一日一日を精一杯歩んで行きましょう。」と語らせて頂いたばか りでしたので、「主よ、あなたのお助けを信じます。」と心の中で叫びました。すると、男の人は私のベッドの上に来ました。私は思わず ガバッと起き上がりました。次の瞬間、男の人に私はきつく抱き締められてしまいました。もがいても駄目でした。やはり男性の力にはか ないません。私は、すぐに近くにあるその男の人の顔をじっと見つめました。室内は暗いので、全然見えなかったのですが・・。すると、 男の人は顔を見られたからでしょうか。急に私から離れ、外へと逃げていきました。逃げて行く途中の机の上には、献金があったのですが それには気付かず、献金も守られました。勿論、主は私をしっかりお守り・お助け下さいました。感謝・感謝・感謝。

主のお助けを頂きましたことは、まだまだ沢山ございます。以上のような経験を日々させて頂きますと、主 の御言には力があるなあと強く強く思わされ「主よ、感謝致します。」と日々叫び続けております。



1998年ボリビア政府はコロニア・オキナワを行政区として制定し、第一移住地内(第三移住地まである)にオキナ ワ村役場を設置し、現在に至っております。私は第一移住地に住んでおります。

沖縄の方々は、皆さん戦争の心の傷を持っておられます。ですから私は(出身は埼玉)キリスト者としては 勿論ですが、一人の人間としましても、出来ることは何でも喜んで協力させて頂こうと思っております。


キロを一チーム29人でタスキを繋ぎます。アンカーは60代男性と決められておりますが、ここ数年私は、村のスポーツ委員より依頼され、アンカーを務めさせて頂い ております。

アンカーの走る場所は村のメインストリートで走る距離は一キロメートル。昨年はボリビア人の村長が「パ ストーラ(女牧師)レイコ、ガンバレ?」 と大声で応援して下さいました。私は手をふって応えました。

Threat of Invisible Radioactivity Breeds Isolation and Panic

by Kataoka Terumi, member Wakamatsu Sakaemachi Church Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, Tohoku District


March 11 was a very important day for my husband and me. It was our wedding anniversary as well as our fourth son’s junior high school graduation day. Being the chairperson of the PTA, I gave an address at the graduation ceremony in the morning and was on my way to Nishinomiya in Hyogo Prefecture, where our second and third sons awaited me. Our second son was also graduating from university.


I got on the 2:14 p.m. train and after about 30 minutes, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.  Fortunately, since the train had not gotten very far, I was able to get back home around 8 p.m., after having been stranded on the train for about 3.5 hours. In the midst of continuing aftershocks, my mother called me in the middle of the night, saying “Get ready, Ms. Uno Akiko is coming to church to seek shelter.”


Uno is the chairperson of the committee for Decommissioning of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. This committee was planning to hold events around the entire prefecture throughout the year from the end of March, in order to call for the decommissioning of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which was approaching its 40th year of operation, and to fulfill energy needs without nuclear power plants while focusing on the local community.


Uno, who has been tackling the problem of nuclear power plant for many years, judged the seriousness of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant caused by the earthquake and the tsunami, and she took her little daughter with her friend and her children to seek shelter from Fukushima city.  It was about 3 a.m. on March 12, 12 hours after the earthquake.


After that, about 30 other people followed after Uno and came to take shelter. All the children were wearing raincoats and masks. Needless to say, they were for protection from exposure to radioactivity. But Aizu Wakamatsu was not safe enough for them, and so after getting their families together, they evacuated to places further away.  Our fourth son who experienced such a state of emergency complained, “Mom, I think I’m going out of my mind.”  I thought I stayed calm, but come to think of it, I was beginning to quietly panic on the inside.


The Decision to Evacuate


The word that Uno left me was “We must evacuate in order to change the sense of crisis around us.  However, I felt I couldn’t do that myself. This was perhaps because my impression of Ms Uno, the leader of a movement against dependence on nuclear power, running away from Aizu Wakamatsu just after meeting her husband who had been away on a business trip, was not very positive. She seemed callous, as she left her friends and their children, who had evacuated together with her to Aizu Wakamastu, behind.


*{The ability to clearly perceive a crisis and come to a common understanding


When I saw Uno and her family evacuating, I certainly did sense “human callousness” at that time.  But now, some 10 months later, I have come to understand that I was in error.  The reason that she took that action was, in fact, based on her “ability to clearly perceive a crisis,” and that itself was grounded in her long involvement in the anti-nuclear power movement.  Likewise, whichever Uno or her friend  had evacuated first, they could respect each other’s decision because they had a “common understanding of the crisis.”  Thus, I now understand that it was because of that that they took different courses of action in fleeing the situation.}


My parents, the former pastors of this church, urged us to evacuate again and again, since they were ready to stay behind in church instead. But I had already decided that I would never leave the congregation and our precious friends behind. I would never be able to do that.


My husband headed for Sendai and its turmoil right after the service on March 13.  I sent all the evacuees, along with our fourth son and niece, to my brother-in-law’s house in Mie Prefecture, and I endeavored to remain calm while all alone at home. The following day, March 14, was Monday. It was a practice day for Aizu Mass Choir, a gospel choir that used the church as its base, and the members who had gasoline for their cars gathered together. They discussed volunteer work and how to receive the victims from that time on.


But early morning on Tuesday, I saw subtitles on the TV indicating that express buses to Niigata from Aizu Wakamatsu had resumed operation. I had assumed that I could not run away because I could not drive myself.  But there was a way to do it! I called my husband right away and said, “Sorry, I want to get away after all.”


If he had responded, “No, you are supposed to protect the church; you cannot leave,” I don’t know whether I’d be here today. But he concurred that I should leave. So together with my nephew, who resisted because he did not want to miss his elementary school graduation ceremony, we left Aizu two hours later. Together with two other friends who had come to discuss evacuating, we went via Niigata and Tokyo to take shelter at my brother-in-law’s house in Suzuka, Mie (about 500 km from Fukushima), where my sons and niece were waiting.


Days of agony


As soon as I arrived in Suzuka, I called my fourth son’s junior high school and the Aizu Wakamatsu city board of education to entreat them to work out countermeasures against children’s exposure to radiation. However, neither the school nor the board of education took any action, as no evidence of danger was apparent.  (Later, the city made an announcement that there were 2.57 and 2.22 microsieverts of radiation per hour on March 15 and 16.)


On March 17, I began to panic. Images of having “left the congregation behind while I ran away” and “locking up the church door as I ran away” welled up within me one after another. I cried and cried and kept on blaming myself. Somehow I saw the disciple who betrayed Jesus on the cross in me.

My first and second sons came to visit me when they sensed something was happening to me. I thought they just did not want to see their mother crying, but they said to me, “It’s okay, Mom.  Your decision was right because you are the only one who can protect the life of Kibou (my fourth son).”


Although it took a long time for my tears to dry, I was certainly beginning to be able gradually to bounce back.  I was given strength by the hugs and words my husband’s parents, my sister-in-law, the family of my brother-in-law, my sons, and Pastor Kawakami Jun, his family, and the church members at Higashi Kobe Church when we visited for the service on March 27, together with our friends from the Kobe Mass Choir. Through crying together and sharing meals around the table, a sense of normality returned, which gave me strength.


At the same time, I began to sense “colors” again. I came to feel that everyday life was filled with colors.  What I saw from the train as I was stranded on March 11, and then from the bus when I was evacuating to Niigata, was only gray skies and blowing snow. That image was seared in my eyes, which may have made me insensitive to any colors.



Solidarity with people who were isolated and misunderstood


About that time I was informed by my colleagues in the “Kenpo Kyujo-no-kai” (an association supporting continuation of Article 9 of Japan’s “Peace” Constitution, the article renouncing war in the Japanese Constitution) in Aizu that a petition drive to demand the decommissioning of the Fukushima nuclear power plant had begun.


Even though I was far away, I found something I could get involved in. I contacted the Kyujo-no-kai in Suzuka and began a petition drive. I kept sending emails to my friends in and out of Japan to ask for their signatures.


Then, on March 29, I went back to Aizu Wakamatsu. I expected to hear comments like: “You obviously evacuated; do you have any idea what has been said about the church?” But the friends came to greet me were gratifying figures indeed. “Was it easy to be away from here?” When I said honestly, “No, far from it; I cannot tell you how much I blamed myself for doing that,” my friends, who had wanted to evacuate but could not, forgave me saying, “That’s what I assumed.”



The death of one Russian couples’ child and its relation to Fukushima now


My evacuation was a struggle with my own thoughts. I am the only one who can protect my children’s lives, but how will I be viewed by the surrounding people? Am I, being 100 kilometers away from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, making the right decision?


When I returned to Aizu, there were mothers who were experiencing the same bitterness I was. These mothers, are frightened by radiation they cannot see or feel, but other people tell them bluntly that they are worrying too much. The bonds of families and neighborhoods were beginning to fall apart. Thus, we formed the Aizu Association For Protecting Children’s Lives From Radiation in order to help such isolated people connect with each other.


About 15 years ago, a Russian baby in our church’s baby home suddenly died after several months in our care, due to a rare disease. I was shocked when I saw the body, because it had the same purplish face as the children who had died from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which I had seen in a photographic collection. When I was reminded of this incident, after the Fukushima nuclear accident, someone who had been with the deceased baby contacted me. Apparently, the cause of death was exposure to radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In fact, the area where the baby’s mother was brought up had been contaminated with radioactivity. This tragedy struck ten years after the Chernobyl disaster. I never want the parents in Fukushima in ten years time to shed the tears of that young couple.


Thinking about the pain of pastors and their families and all the church members, who live in the area being exposed to radiation, makes my heart ache. I have been put in a difficult situation for these past five months, filled with the anxiety of continuing to stay on versus the emotional turmoil of whether I would be able to live with myself and maintain my Christian faith if I ran away.


We Japanese committed a serious sin against our Creator and our children’s future. Our not being able to prevent this nuclear disaster from happening is regretful beyond words. But we do not have the luxury of a reprieve anymore. We need to take action, while praying and raising our voices of anger, in order to protect lives of our children. (Tr. SM)



From “The 3/11 Great East Japan Earthquake: A Briefing Session in the Field,” compiled under the joint sponsorship of the Nippon Christian Academy, the Kanto Activity Center, and the North Subdistrict of Tokyo District, as reported in Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)


*The section in brackets was added to the KNL translation for clarification.


日本クリスチャン・アカデミー関東活動センター、東京教区北支区共 催

「3.11東日本大震災 現地報告会」より





かたおか てるみ/福島・若松栄町教会員




三月十一日は私たち夫婦にとって大切な日でした。結婚記念日であり、四男の中学卒業式の日でもありました。PTA会長だった私は午前中の卒業式で式辞を述べ、次男 と三男の待つ兵庫の西宮へ。次男もまた大学卒業だったからです。


宇野さんは「ハイロアクション福島原発40年」の実行委員長です。この会は稼働四〇年を迎える福島原発を廃炉にし、その後の原発のないエネルギーと地域社会 を実現させるため、三月末から一年間をかけて全県でのイベントを行う予定でした。

長年、原発問題に取り組んできた宇野さんは、地震と津波による福島原発の深刻さを即座に判断し、福島市から幼い娘さんと友人、その子どもを連れて避難して来たのです。地震発生の一二時間後、十二日 夜中の三時頃でした。

その後、宇野さんを追って三〇人近い人が避難してきました。子どもは皆、雨合羽とマスクという姿。言うまでもなく放射能被曝の予防でした。しかし、彼らにとってここ(会津若松)も安全な地ではな く、家族が揃い次第、さらに遠くを目指して避難して行きました。そのような緊急事態を身近で経験した四男が、「おかあさん、僕、どうにかなりそうだよ」と訴えました。私は冷静でいたつもりでしたが、今思えば、密かにパニックが始まっていたようです。




避難する宇野さんが私に残した言葉は「まわりの危機意識を変えるためにも、逃げなくてはいけない」でした。ですが、その時は、自分は 逃げることはできないし、するつもりもないと感じていたのです。それは、脱原発運動のリーダーである宇野さんが、一緒に逃げてきた友 人親子を残して、出張中だった夫と再会した直後に会津若松から逃れる姿に、人間の非情さのようなものを感じたからかもしれません。


{危機を見抜く力と共通理解  避難する宇野さんご家族を見て、その時は確かに「人間の非情さ」を感じ ました。しかし、10ヶ月立った現在は私のその時の認識が誤ったものである ことを感じています。つまり、宇野さんも一緒に避難してきた友人も長らく 脱原発運動に携わり原子力に危険さについて学ぶ中で「危機的状況を見抜く 力」を持っていたからこそ、避難という行動が取れた。さらに、ふたりには どちらが先に避難することになったとしても、その行動を尊重する「危機に対する共通理解」を持っていたから別々に逃げることができたのだと、今は 理解するようになりました。}



ところが、火曜日早朝、テレビには、会津若松から新潟まで高速バスが開通したとのテロップが……。運転ができない私は逃げたくてもできないと思い込んでいたのです。でも、逃げる方法があった! すぐに夫に電話しました。「ごめん、私、やっぱり逃げたい」。















でも、直接そのことを言いに来てくれた友だちはうれしい存在でした。「逃げてて楽だった?」「そんなことない。逃げて、どれほど自分を責めたことか」と正直に話すと、「やっぱりそうだったのね」 と、逃げたくても逃げられなかった友人たちが許してくれました。





会津に帰ってみると、私と同じ辛さを味わっているお母さんたちがいました。目に見えず、皮膚に感じもしない放射能を恐れる母親たちと、それを心配しすぎだと言い放つ人びと。家族、地域の絆が壊れ始 めていました。そのような孤立している人びとをつなげるために立ち上げたのが「放射能から子どものいのちを守る会・会津」です。

十五年前、教会のベビーホームで預かったロシア人の赤ちゃんがいました。数カ月後、突然その赤ちゃんが亡くなったのです。非常にめずらしい病名がつきましたが、私は遺体を見て衝撃を受けました。写 真集で見たチェルノブイリで亡くなった子どもたちと同じ紫色の顔をしていたからです。

今度の福島原発事故で、そのことが思い出されていたとき、亡くなったその子に付き添っていた方から連絡がありました。やはり死因はチェルノブイリ原発事故の被曝であった、と。実は、あの若い夫婦 は自分の子どもの死を覚悟していたのです。なぜなら母親が育った地域が放射能に汚染されていたからでした。この悲しい出来事はチェルノブイリ原発事故の一〇年後に起きたのです。私はあの若い夫婦の涙を、一〇年後の福島の親たちに決して流させたくはないのです。

放射線被曝に晒されている地域の牧師ご家族、教会員のみなさんの辛さを思うと、胸が痛み呼吸も苦しくなります。住み続けることの不安、しかしそこから逃れた後、自分は信仰者として生きていけるのか との葛藤の中に、この五カ月間置かれているのです。

私たちは創造主と子どもたちの未来に大きな過ちを犯しました。阻止できなかったことが悔やまれてなりません。しかし、もはや猶予はありま せん。小さな命を救うために、祈り、怒りの声をあげつつ行動することが求められているのです。  (信徒の友)




Home Hospice Care, Supported by Words of Faith A Clinical Report by a Christian Doctor

By Mizuta Tetsuaki, the director of Yoshikawa Chuo Hospital,member of Matsudo Church, Chiba Subdistrict, Tokyo District


During the first half of the 1960s, 80 percent of Japanese people died at home, but since then the number of people dying in hospitals has increased so that deaths occurring at home decreased to a mere 14.4 percent in 2005. However, following the establishment of the medical clinical support system in 2006, the ratio of deaths occurring at home have increased and in 2009 became 16 percent of all deaths. In particular, it is reported that 60 percent of cancer patients opt to die at home. In relation to that, we would like to introduce one example of home hospice care by a Christian doctor, Mizuta Tetsuaki.


In October 2007 Mariko (a pseudonym), age 47, had surgery following the diagnosis of advanced rectal cancer. Therapy to prevent the recurrence of cancer was begun, but the following year it did recur. Outpatient treatment continued, but in July 2009 her condition worsened, and she was hospitalized. Her condition was thoroughly explained to her and to her mother, and as a result of their discussion together, Mariko chose to begin hospice care at her home from July 23. Mariko did not profess any particular faith, but when she was discharged from the hospital I prayed for her, with her consent, and gave a written copy of the prayer. She responded with words of gratitude. After that, with each house call a prayer was written, and after the prayer was offered, it was given to her and accepted.


In addition, during the first house visit, we exchanged mobile phone email addresses. When a report of Mariko’s medication condition was received from the visiting nurse, Mariko was quickly contacted by email, with words such as “May God protect your body and your heart. I do not need a reply. When you are experiencing difficulties, even in the middle of the night, please call me at any time or send me an email”; “We are always with you! Trust in God’s love, living each day with care, and let’s live together”; ”Always praying for you!” In the case of patients with terminal cancer, the visiting nurse is on call 24 hours a day, and the program is structured so that she can call whenever there is an emergency. During one visit, I gave Mariko an “angel” music box to celebrate her birthday. She responded with gratitude.


One of the principles of home hospice care is that, to the extent possible, no restrictions are placed on the patient’s normal life. With the passing of time, Mariko’s physical condition worsened, and a report was received disclosing Mariko’s feeling: “I want to die quickly!” Along with giving palliative care, I asked the visiting nurse to tell her that I had prayed, asking God to take away Mariko’s pain.The other aspects of hospice care are for the family: meeting with them, and when the cancer advances and the patient reaches his or her limit, the family is told that death will soon occur. It is important to help the family understand and be able to accept that the death of the patient is a natural occurrence. This is one area of care for the family and is called “death education.” Mariko entered into eternal sleep on the morning of Aug. 13, with all her family at her beside. Three months later, I visited her mother in her home to console her. Bringing consolation to relatives is also part of the work of hospice care and is called “grief care.”



Looking back at the experience of this home hospice care, Dr. Mizuta shared the following remarks.


This hospice care is bringing faith to the fore in mental health care. The patient is contacted directly by email. The hospice care given this time was a bit different from a typical one, though basically the same, with religious faith being included in mental care and frequent and direct communication with the patient through email.  I think the exchange of email, as a sure means of communication, gave Mariko a sense of security. Depending on the situation, that can be thought of as a very helpful means of care. Prayers were prayed for Mariko in front of her, and the emails also spoke of faith with colorful words. She remembered that with joy, and I think it surely gave her courage and comfort. However, I have doubts about my own words; perhaps I blocked her from really being able to express her true self and by so doing to have a peaceful heart. Mariko shared with the visiting nurse the ‘fear of death’ that she was not able to tell me about, and received a hearing. By lending an ear to what the patient says, the visiting nurse gives valuable care, I think.


In approximately her last month of home care, Mariko felt stress related to her consciousness of death. I think that even in the midst of that pain, she was able to enjoy the periods when she was physically comfortable and even while experiencing fear was able to transcend it, being able to live out her own strong individual life, which had joy and pain.


Valuing the patient is an important aspect of hospice care. Good care cannot be given without emotional input. However, if the emotional input is too strong it cannot help but cause one’s judgment as a doctor to become lacking in objectivity. Maintaining emotional distance between the patient and doctor is a difficult thing.


Mariko’s ability to surrender herself obediently to the support of the persons around her enabled her to live out her last moments in her own way, and beautifully. As persons face death, they frequently return to their true selves and become very beautiful people. Strengthened by that kind of posture, I want to continue from here on to do hospice work. (Tr. RT)


— Summarized by Nishio Misao, member

Suginami Church, West Tokyo District and

KNL Editorial Committee member

Based on an article in Shinto no Tomo (The Believer’s Friend)


Note: What is home hospice?

Hospice care is care that is given to patients who, at the time when there is no hope of recovery, decide to stop painful medical treatment in the desire to make the most out the remainder of their lives.


A team representing various specialty professions, in response to societal needs, brings psychological relief in relation to an illness in which a key element is pain, with the basic concept being that care encompasses not only the patient but also the family. When the place sought for medical treatment is the home, and the care providers visit there and carry out hospice care, it is called home hospice.






水田哲明(みずた てつあき)



1960年代前半、日本人の自宅での死亡率は8割を占めていたが、その後病院での死亡者が増加し、2005年には在宅死亡はわずか14.4%になった。しかし、2006年に在宅療法支援診療所制度が出来てから在宅死亡率は増加し、2009年には全死亡率の16%になった。特に、がん患者の6割は在宅を希望するとの報告がある。ここに、クリスチャン医師水田哲朗さんによる在宅ホスピスの一例を紹 介する。



まり子さんは特別な信仰は持っていない とのことだったが、退院の時、本人の承諾を得て彼女のために祈りを捧げ、祈りを書いた紙を渡した。彼女からは感謝の言葉が返ってき た。それ以後、往診の折りは祈りを書いて持っていき、祈った後それを渡すことにした。

さらに初回の往診の際、メールアドレス を交換した。訪問看護師より病状報告を受けるとすぐまり子さんにメールで対応。「あなたの身体と心を神さまが守って下さるように。返 事は要りませんよ。つらいときは、夜中でも、いつでも、電話でもメールでもしてください。」「私たちはいつもあなたと一緒にいますか らね。神様の愛を信頼し、一日一日を大切に、ご一緒に生きていきましょう」、「いつも祈っています」とも伝える。末期がん患者の場 合、訪問看護は二十四時間対応で、緊急時はいつも訪問する体制にしている。また、往診の時、まり子さんの誕生日祝いをして、天使のオ ルゴールをプレゼントした。彼女から感謝の応答があった。

在宅ホスピスの基本の一つは患者の日常 生活を出来るだけ制限しないということだ。時が進むにつれて、まり子さんの身体症状は悪化し、看護師には「早く死にたい」との気持ち を漏らしたとの報告を受ける。緩和ケアをすると共に常に神さまが彼女の苦痛を取り除いて下さることを祈っていると伝えた。

残される家族へのホスピスケアとして、 家族に会い、がんが進行して体力が限界になり、まもなく亡くなられることをお話しする。患者の死が自然の出来事であることを理解さ せ、それを受け入れられるように説明することが大切である。これは家族へのケアの一つで、死の教育と呼ばれている。まり子さんは、8月13日の朝家族に看取られて永眠された。三ヶ月後にご自宅に母親を訪問し、見舞った。遺族への慰めのためのケ アもホスピスケアの仕事の一つで、悲嘆のケアという。


この在宅ホスピスケアの体験を振り返っ て、水田医師は次のように述べている。

「今回のホスピスケアは、メンタルなケアに信仰を持ち込んだこと、患者さんとメールを通して直接、頻繁に コミュニケーションしたところが通常とやや異なってはいるが、基本的には変わっていない。

メール交換による通信手段が確保されて いたことはまり子さんに安心感を与えたと思う。場合によってはケアの手段として、役に立つと思われる。

まり子さんの前で彼女のために祈りを捧 げ、メールでも信仰に彩られた言葉を語った。彼女はこのことに喜びを覚え、心に勇気と慰めを与えられたのは間違いないと思う。しかし 彼女が本当の自分を表現すること、そしてそのことで心安らかになることを私の言葉はさえぎった疑いがある。まり子さんは私には言えな かった‘死の恐怖’を訪問看護師に訴え、聞いてもらっていた。訪問看護師が患者の言葉に耳を傾けるのは大事なケアだと思う。

在宅ケアに入ってからの最期の一ヶ月 弱、まり子さんには死を意識した緊張感があった。その苦痛の中でも身体が楽になった一時を喜んだり、怖れながらもそれを乗り切り、喜 びも悲しみもある中身の濃い命を自分らしく生きることができたと思う。

患者を大切に思うことはホスピスケアの 大切な要件である。感情移入がなければ、いいケアは提供できない。しかし、感情移入が強すぎると医師としての判断に客観性を欠くこと になりかねない。患者と医師の感情的距離感をどう保つかが難しいところだ。

まり子さんは、素直に周りの人びとの支 えに自分を委ね、終わりの時を自分らしく、美しく生きられた。人は死を前に真実のその人に戻り、とても美しくなることが多い。そうい う姿に力を与えられながら。私はこれからもホスピスを続けていきたいと思う。」



ホスピスケアは、がんの治る見込みがなくなったとき、苦しい治療は止めると決断し、残る人生を自分の生 活を大切にして過ごしたいと望まれる患者さんに提供されるケアです。

痛みを主とする症状の緩和、心理的、社会的ニーズへの対応、異なる専門職種のチー ムによる対応、ケアの対象が患者のみでなく家族も含まれることなどが基本的な考え方になります。療養の場が自宅で、そこへケア提供者が訪問してホスピスケアを行う場合を在宅ホスピスといいます。(「信徒の友」要約:西尾操 杉並教会 員、KNL編集委員)