【February 2016 No.386】Toward a Relationship Between “Listening and Being Listened To”

Miyako Church in Iwate Prefecture was founded in 1909, but 82 years after its construction, the sanctuary was flooded to a depth of two meters by the tsunami resulting from the 2011 earthquake. The new sanctuary was built in October 2015, and the attached kindergarten, called “Hikari Yochien,” which previously had been located some distance from the church, was also reopened in December 2015 on the neighboring lot. This small church of ten members has an average worship attendance of about 15 persons. Kitamura Yoshikatsu is a church member who is working with children and their parents who are having difficulties.

by Kitamura Yoshikatsu, member  Miyako Church, Ou District


I have worked for seven years as a member of the counseling support team at the Miyako City Board of Education’s Child Development Support Center in Iwate Prefecture. At the time of the earthquake, I was just getting ready to move on to my next destination after finishing counseling at a school near the seacoast. I had stopped by my house to check on it when I saw kindergarten children hurrying down the road in front of me. The tsunami soon followed, stopping just at my garden, but most of my hometown below me was destroyed. I went to help out at the evacuation center in the elementary school. There was quite a contrast between the adults, who were very preoccupied with the emergencies of the day, and the children, who seemed so surprisingly lively. I gradually began to understand, however, that during such times of emergency, children adapt themselves to that environment in ways like this. It has been four-and-a-half years since then, and I have learned from the counseling sessions how these children have lived during this time.


A mother living together with her son Ken (a third-year junior high school student) complained to me, “By afternoon, Ken becomes quite agitated at school and has to leave school early. As he can’t settle down, I end up having to leave my job early as well. But when he sees me, he gets even more hyper. I’m the only one, however, who can quiet him down, and so I’m now at the breaking point both mentally and physically.”


She eventually came to the realization that such behavior was related to the earthquake disaster and began to talk about that day. “I was not able to leave my workplace, and my son’s aunt was the one who came to pick him up at school. She carried him on her back as they slugged through the ooze to the nearby evacuation center. He spent the night there, and it was the next day before we could meet.” She then added, “He recently said as he clung to me, ‘I feel strange when I see the sea, and by evening I want to blow off steam.’” It was the first time she had told this story to another person. As we discussed this, we came to see that Ken was maturing both physically and mentally, and as he felt more settled in his environment, he was finally beginning to be able to express in words that frightening experience. It appears that he is gradually settling down and is able to feel comfortable in school again.


Another example is a mother who came to consult with me about her daughter, who was in the sixth grade. She said, “Yuki has recently been getting some of her energy back, but she has been absent from school now for three months.”As she spoke of her family, she said, “In the area where our family home is, the tsunami destroyed houses all the way up to our next-door neighbor’s house. My own mother was deeply hurt by some of the neighborhood people who had lost their homes, and she suddenly died a couple months later of overwork. A year later, my father also died from an illness he already had prior to the disaster. During this period, I, as the only child, had to take care of my parents and my father-in-law while running around this town of rubble for my job and household errands. I don’t really have clear memories, but I do recall hearing that Yuki had to go in to see the school nurse several times.” The mother also said that when she was young, before having her own family, she had had a stress-related illness and that her mother had said, “I can cure you by myself, without depending on doctors and medicine.”


“I lived a life practically smothered by my mother but did get better. As I look back,” she said, “there are many things that connect my daughter’s present situation to the situation following the disaster. After she stopped going to school, I thought that the best way to help her was to relate to her as my mother had related to me. But I sometimes feel unsure about that, so I suppose the reason I came to see you was to confirm whether that is the best way or not.” I patiently listened as she related the series of deaths that followed in the wake of the disaster and the various problems that came one after the other. I could see how these two were trying their best to protect themselves from the onslaught of those consecutive shocks.


The body and mind of a child changes rapidly. If adults fall into difficulties caused by something like an earthquake, children have a sense of impending crisis, because children seek security from adults and depend on them to provide it. When children can no longer endure a sense of impending crisis and begin to express this in various ways, they finally get the attention of the adults in their lives. I sensed that as Ken’s mother expressed her realization that his problems stemmed from the earthquake and tsunami disaster, a light came on in their relationship and a sense of security was reborn. Likewise, I also felt from Yuki’s mother that something like a warm spring breeze was blowing into the winter they had endured. To their children, sensing a “light” and a “warm spring breeze” from the important adults in their lives is life itself.


We humans support each other as we listen to and are listened to in our interpersonal relationships with each other. This is true not only in times of disaster, but in ordinary life as well. In this age of consumer goods and overflowing information, is it not still true that the way opens only through direct relationships?


On that day, Miyako Church was covered with mud. During these four-and-a-half years, our precious God has been listening to the cries and groans of our church and has led us in the decision to rebuild the church and the kindergarten Preschool and Kindergarten in a new location and next to each other. It is my prayer that the church and kindergarten will be more united in purpose and will be like a beacon of light and a warm spring breeze to the people who come into contact with us.(Tr. KY)


From Shinto no Tomo (Beleiver’s Friend), December 2015 issue

(Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko)



岩手県・宮古教会は1909年に創立されましたが、2011年の東日本大震災で、築82年の礼拝堂は2mの津波で浸水。2015年10月に新会堂が建てられ、離れたところにあったひかり幼稚園は、11月に隣接地で子ども園として開園しました。教会員は10名、礼拝出席は平均14~16です。そこに、困難 の中にいる子や親の相談を受けて働く一人の信徒がいます。

北村嘉勝 きたむら よしかつ
宮古市教育委員会事務局発達相談支援員 岩手・宮古教会員

Kitamura Yoshikatsu, member of Miyako Church, Ou District

私は、7年前から岩手県宮古市の教育委員会のこども発達支援センターの相談支援員として、親、先生、子ども本人の困難や悩みを一緒に考えています。2011年3月11日の 地震の時、私は、海近くの学校での相談を終え、次に移動しようとしていました。自宅に寄ると、目の前を幼稚園児が避難していきました。その道を間もなく津波が襲い、波は自宅の庭で止まりましたが、故郷である街は大半が壊滅しました。私は小学校の避難所を手伝いました。その 日の生活に必死な大人の傍らで、子どもは思いのほか快活でした。ですが後々、そうして非常時の環境に自分を合わせていたのだと知りました。あれから4年半のあいだ、子どもたちはどのように生きてきたのか、それは最近の相談にあらわれています。

 息子K(中3)と2人暮らしの 母親は訴えました「Kは午後になると学校で落ち着かなくなり、早退する。夕方に乱れるので、私も仕事を早退せざるを得ない。しかも私を見るとなお大暴れ。でも鎮められるのも私だけで、もう時間も体力も限界!」と。

 やがて彼女は震災と関係があるのでは、と当日のことを話し始めました。「私は職場から動けず、Kは学校に迎えに 行った伯母に背負われ、ヘドロの中を近くの避難所へ。そこで一夜を過ごし、私と会ったのは次の日でした」 と。そして「Kが最近『海を見ると変になる。夕方騒ぎたくなる』と私にしがみつく」と言うのです。彼女は他人に初めて話したとのことでしたが、私たちは「身体も心も育ち、環境にも安心した今、Kさんはやっと恐怖の体験を言葉にできたんだねぇ」と話し合いました。それから彼はゆっくりと緊張が緩み、学校でも落ち着きが増しているようです。

 また夏過ぎに「ここ最近は少し気力が出てきたけど、娘Y(小6)が学校を休んで3カ月になる。」と相談に来た母親は、家族について語りました。「夫と私の実家がある地域では、津波で隣の家まで全壊。実母は被災した近所の人々に心を痛め、2カ月後、過労で突然死。その後、実父が以前からの病で追うように亡くなり、1年後義父も持病で逝去。この間、一人娘の私は両親や義父、生活、仕事のためガレキの街を走り回った。当時の記憶はあまりなく、娘のことは時々保健室にいることを聞いた記憶があるくらいです」と。さらに自身の若い頃の体験を話しました「子どもの誕生前、ストレスで倒れた私 に、亡くなった母は『病院の薬ではなく自分が治すから、大丈夫!』と言い切った。その後私は母に包まれるように暮らし、回復した」と。彼 女は「振り返ると、震災後の娘には、現在の様子につながる点がいくつも思い当たる。学校を休んでから、母が私にしてくれたように接するの が一番と信じそうしてきた。でも時々、私自身が迷って不安になる。『これでいい』と確認するために、相談に来たのかもしれない」と言いました。震災関連死が連鎖し、次々押し寄せる衝撃から自分を守るのに懸命だった親子を思い、私は聞くだけでした。

 子どもの心身は刻々と変化します。子どもは大人に安心を求め、その関係を支えに生きていますから、震災などで大人 が困難に陥れば、自分の存在がおびやかされる危機感を抱きます。その危機感に耐え切れなくなってさまざまな表現になったとき、子どもの声 はやっと大人に届きます。Kさんの母が「震災と関係あると思う」と語ったことには、親子の間に「灯」がついたかのように互いの存在が見え、安心が生まれていくのを感じました。またYさんの母からは冬を耐えた命に呼びかける「春風」のような温かさを感じました。子どもには、大切な大人からの「灯」や「春風」のような応答が命です。また子どもの声を聞く大人も、自らの思いを誰かに聞いてもらうことで、子どもとの暮らしを たどり直すゆとりが生まれます。

 人は互いに「聴く―聴かれる」関係に支えられて生きます。その関係は被災地だけではなく、日々どこでも求められ、あふれる物や情報によらず、直接の交わりでひら拓かれるものなのではないでしょうか。あの日、宮古教会は津波のヘドロにまみれました。この4年半、大切な神 さまは私たち宮古教会の叫びやうめきを聴いてくださっていました。そして教会の移転新築と、離れた場所にあった幼稚園を認定こども園に衣替えし、教会と隣り合わせに新築する決断をも導いてくださいました。教会と子ども園がこれまで以上に一つとなり、出会う人々と「灯」を求め、「春風」の息吹に触れることを願っています。(信徒の友2015 12月号)

【February 2016 No.386】“Minorities and Mission” Theme of KCCJ  International Conference

The International Conference on Minorities and Mission sponsored by the Korean Church of Christ in Japan was held Nov. 18-21, 2015, at the Korean YMCA in Japan, located in Tokyo. The 133 participants included Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo and about 30 other members from the Kyodan.


The main theme of the conference was the discrimination experienced by Korean residents in Japan and other minorities who are in socially weak positions and who suffer from discrimination and anti-foreign sentiment—expressed especially in hate speech, in which epithets hurled at them, such as “Die!” and “Kill them,” are left unchallenged.


In his Bible study, General Chairman Kim Song-Jae showed that the “aliens” within Israel’s community and Abraham, Moses, and Israel (Jacob), who considered themselves aliens, were to become a source of blessing by transforming societal animosity into a warm reception. Lawyer Niwa Masao explained in his keynote speech that the effort to rewrite history through covering up responsibility for colonial occupation and World War II is the primary cause of hate speech.


On the second day, participants were separated into six groups to hear and discuss evidence presented on the following topics:

(1) Migrant Women and their Children: Experiences of


(2) Historical Revisionism (Aggression against Ainu


(3) Constitutional Reform and Article 9 (from the

Perspective of the Ryukyu Islands and Okinawa),

(4) The Danger of Exclusionist Nationalism,

(5) The Trauma and Shock of the Minorities (as the Target

of Discrimination and Hatred), and

(6) Can the Church become a “Community of Healing?”


On the third day, as concrete examples of churches standing up against discrimination, we heard and discussed various testimonies, such as

(1) The efforts of the World Council of Churches to

combat racial and other forms of discrimination,

(2) Future prospects from a German perspective,

(3) The efforts of American churches in dealing with

racial discrimination, and

(4) The dream of a just, democratic and symbiotic society

in South Africa.


Keeping in mind the words of Matt. 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” we passed 12 actions at the general assembly on the last day. Included was the release of a statement declaring that God works through aliens (foreigners and immigrants) to replace animosity with reconciliation, in accordance with the recommendation of the United Nations to build a road toward peace and working towards legislation to make hate speech a crime in our country as quickly as possible. With the signatures of our chairperson and other participants, every year we will insist that with “a signature for establishment of the Foreign Residents Basic Law,” we will strive even harder to make our intentions known. (Tr. WJ)

     From Kyodan Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4832・33

  —Kobashi Koichi, chair of the

Committee on Kyodan-KCCJ Cooperative Ministries

Member, National Council of Churches



 十一月十八日~二一日、在日大韓基督教会主催「マイノリィティ 問題と宣教」国際会議(教団やNCCなどが共催)が在日本韓国YMCAに133名が集まり開催された。教団からは石橋秀雄議長をはじめ約30名が参加した。




 二日目は6グループで⑴(移住女性と子供たち)、⑵歴史修正主義(アイヌへの攻撃)、⑶憲法改正・9条 (琉球・沖縄から)⑷排外的ナショナリズムの危険性、⑸差別や憎悪の標的 となっているマイノリティのトラウマと衝撃、⑹教会は「癒しの共同体」になり得るのか、などの証言に聴き入った。


 これらに基づいて協議を重ね、最終日の全体会で、「はっきり言っておく。私の兄弟であるこの最も小さい者の一人にしたのは、私にしてくれたことなのである」(マタイ25:40)の御言葉に導かれて共同声明が採択され、神が寄留者(外国人/移民)の存在を通して私たちの内なる敵意の連鎖を断ち切り和解へ至る道を示されたことが確 認され、国連の勧告に従いヘイトスピーチなどを違法化する国内法を早急に整備すること等を日本政府に求めることなど、十二項目が決議され た。まずは議長と連名で毎年呼びかけている「外国人住民基本法制定のための署名」に一層力を尽くさねばならないことを痛感させられた会議であった。 (小橋孝一在日韓国朝鮮人連帯特設委員長・NCC議長)

【February 2016 No.386】KCCJ’s International Youth Forum Convened in Tokyo

The Korean Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ) held its third international youth forum on “Minority Issues and Evangelism” at the Korean YMCA in Tokyo from Nov. 15 to 17, 2015. This event is held once every 20 years. In a situation where there seems to be no prospect of solving such problems as terrorism and the migration of refugees, or the issue of hate-speech here in Japan, young people from around the world came together in the name of Christ to consider these issues jointly and find new ways of thinking about solutions. There were participants from 52 denominations and organizations in Korea, the Philippines, Canada, and Germany, as well as from within Japan, including the KCCJ, the Kyodan, the Anglican Church, the Japan Baptist Convention, the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church, Waseda Hoshien, YMCA, the Wesley Foundation in Japan, and the Student Christian Fellowship (SCF).


On the first evening, the young people exchanged greetings in halting English and offered opening prayers of joy for these encounters. Actress Maika gave a powerful performance based on the life of Chiri Yukie, the Ainu woman who wrote The Anthology of Ainu Epic Tales. The members of the audience felt as though they themselves had walked along with Chiri during her short life, while she valued all the experiences of her 19 years in the midst of the discrimination she experienced as an Ainu, as a Christian, and as a woman.


On the second day we visited Tokyo Number 5 Korean Elementary and Middle School, where we heard from the headmaster about the issues of being a minority educational institution in Japan. We visited classes and were warmly welcomed. We played soccer with the students, and when we left they waved to us from the windows. Later, at the site where Koreans were massacred at the time of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, we recalled the smiling faces of those students as a Korean resident in Japan told us, “I am focusing my energies on making sure we do not forget the past, so that my grandchildren will not experience a similar situation.” At the site of a tanner’s workplace in a discriminated-against Buraku area, where discrimination has continued for several centuries, we could feel again the extent of human sinfulness and the greatness of equality in our Lord.


On the morning of the third day, as representatives from each country gave presentations, we shared the problems and the pain of discrimination. Themes were raised that go beyond national boundaries, such as the issues of refugees, sexual minorities (LGBT), and hate speech. In the afternoon, under the leadership of Kwak Jeoung-Hoon, a professional musician who is a KCCJ church member, we were separated into groups in which we created and performed rap songs. Although the content we were dealing with was very serious, there was also hope and cheerfulness as the young people experienced fellowship through our Lord. A young woman of Korean descent living in Japan sang, “When I was a child I hid myself; I always wanted to be ‘normal’.” There was loud applause from the audience and cries of “Amen!” as she related her experience of how she overcame that.


During morning and evening worship, which was offered in various languages, the young people played guitar and piano, used videos from Internet sites, and danced. The three days were filled with thanks to the Lord who gives us hope. The many young people who came together across denominational boundaries can feel proud and hopeful at what they accomplished. They did everything from the planning to the translation and implementation. I give thanks for the young people’s encounters and experiences and pray that the Lord will continue to bless them richly.

 (Tr. SN)

From Kyodan Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4832・33


—Noda Taku, director

Student Christian Fellowship


在日大韓基督教会第3回「マイノリティ問題と宣教」国際会議 のユースプログラムが、2015年11月15日(日)午後~17日(火)に在日大韓YMCAに於いて開催された。20年に一度の開催である。テロや難民の問題、国内のヘイトスピーチなど差別の課題が解決する見通しのない中で、世界の青年がキリストの名によって課題を共有し、解決への想いを新たにされた。韓国・フィリピン・カナダ・ドイツ、国内からは在 日大韓基督教会・日本基督教団・聖公会・日本バプテスト連盟(・日本福音ルーテル教会・早稲田奉仕園・学生YMCA・ウェスレー財団・学生キリスト教友愛会(SCF)などの各教派・団体から52が参加者した。

・15日(日)夕刻、青年達はぎこちない英語での挨拶を交わし、出会いを喜ぶ開会祈祷を捧げた。演劇家:舞香さんによる、知里幸恵(「アイヌ神謡集」を著したアイヌ女性)を題材にした力強い演技に圧倒された。アイヌの民、キリスト者、女性として受ける差 別の中で、全てを大切に生きた19年間の短い命を、参加者たちは自らの歩みと重ね合わせた。

・2日目は墨田区の「東京朝鮮第五初中級学校」に赴き、日本におけるマイノリティの教育現場での想いと課題を 校長先生からお聞きし、授業を体験した。心からの歓迎を受け、生徒達と一緒にサッカーボールを追い、別れの時には窓から手を振り続け てくれた。差別という痛みの中での豊かな営みに心打たれた。その後、1923年関東大震災時の朝鮮人虐殺の現場で、在日韓国朝鮮人の方の「自分の孫がまたあのような目に合わないように、過去を忘れないように活動している」との想いを聞き、生徒達の笑顔が浮かんだ。被差別部落地区における皮なめしの現場では、数百年続く差別の歴史の中に、人間の大いなる罪性と主に在る平等の尊さを再確認させられた。

・3日目の午前には各国の代表がプレゼンテーションし、差別の課題と痛みを分かち合った。難民問題にLGBT(セクシャル・マイノリティ)、ヘイトスピーチなど、国を越えたテーマである。午後は 在日大韓基督教会の信徒でありプロミュージシャンの郭正勲さんの導きで、グループ毎に、一つのラップ(歌詞)を作り発表した。内容は重いが、主に在る青年の交わり が持つ希望と明るさがあった。在日朝鮮・韓国人として「子どもの頃は自分を隠し、“普通”にあこがれ続けた(が今は違うと/と苦悩を)歌った女性には、会場からは大きな拍手と、「アーメン!」と声があがった。



【February 2016 No.386】Sharing our Faith with our Family through Christian Funerals:

A Special Feature of the Editorial Section of Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)


The Impact of Kirishitan* Funerals

During the Warring States Period

At the National Meeting of the All Japan Young Buddhist Association in 2003, held in Kyoto, keynote speaker Hiro Sachiya expressed the view that with the exception of the nobility or samurai class, it was very uncommon for Buddhists priests to officiate at the funerals of the common people before the Edo period. The reason why they began to carry out funerals for the common people was to suppress the Kirishitan movement in Japan. The Edo military government established a system whereby everyone had to be affiliated with a Buddhist temple as a danka (adherent), and by doing so, everyone was required to have a Buddhist funeral.


In Japan, traditionally, death was something to be loathed, and dead bodies were considered unclean. People feared being cursed by the dead, so they burned anything that had been used by the person while alive, crushed the bones, and stabbed the corpse so that it would not come back to haunt them. Finally they buried the dead person and placed a huge tombstone over the grave to prevent any remaining bitterness from breaking free.


Christianity was introduced to Japan during what is known as the Warring States Period, when such an understanding of death and the customs related to it were the norm. This period in Japanese history coincided with a time of climate change called the “Little Ice Age,” which had a devastating effect on Japanese agriculture. Crop failures occurred regularly; famine and epidemic disease became commonplace; and it is said that during this time, death was always close at hand. In addition, attempts to overthrow those with power and authority led to frequent conflict that wore away at people’s hearts, so that those who died in poverty, with no remaining family members, were simply thrown into holes or left lying in fields and mountains, as if simply thrown away.


Shortly after Christian mission work began in Japan, funerals of Kirishitan were taking place, and there is a record that indicates that more than 3,000 people attended one of these funerals. What most amazed those who were present was the singing of songs at a funeral. For the people of that time, who thought of death as something unclean, it was impossible to imagine singing songs of praise at a funeral.


There is also a famous episode concerning funerals involving the Kirishitan feudal lord Takayama Ukon. Once, a poor person died within his domain, and when Takayama heard this, he had a casket made, which he carried himself, and actually held a funeral for this person. His retainers were so moved by this that they dug the grave, and from that time on, it became the custom that the samurai retainers assisted at the funeral of anyone from their domain who died.

At the time, it was people of the lowest classes who carried the casket and who dug the grave. The class system was strictly adhered to, and it was unthinkable that a feudal lord would conduct the funeral of someone of his domain. The Jesuit missionary Luis Frois refers to this in his book The History of Japan as “an act rarely seen among the Japanese samurai, who were so proud of their status.”


At a time when the corpses of poor people without family to care for them were casually disposed of, as if they were garbage, this act of mourning the death of a commoner of the same domain must have moved people deeply.


Forty years after Francis Xavier introduced Christianity to Japan, the Christian population had reached 300,000. At the time, that was 2.45% of Japan’s total population. That is very impressive, considering that after more than150 years of Christian mission work in Japan, the Christian population now is less than 1%. Why did Christianity in this period touch the hearts of the people so deeply? I believe one reason is the Kirishitan funeral.


Whether rich or poor, the church funeral showed the same respect to all, and for those who experienced this for the first time, it was an enlightening experience that touched their hearts. There were some who chose to become Christians after experiencing a funeral. Missionaries were aware of this and gave funerals an important place in their mission. For that reason, they included traditional Japanese customs, allowed laypeople to take responsibility for planning funerals, and asked for contributions to help cover the funeral costs for those who had died in poverty.


Death was not seen as something unclean, and anyone of whatever rank would be mourned, with the soul being sent on its journey to heaven with hymns of praise. Many people must have found hope in that event. And even in today’s world, can we not say that that hope has not faded?


Funerals are to mourn those who have died. They are not evangelistic meetings. But the hope discovered in funerals when we put our whole heart into them results in the leading of some to Christianity. Is that not the same now as it was those many years ago? (Tr. RW)


Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)

November 2015 issue


*Roman Catholic Christians during Japan’s feudal period were referred to as Kirishitan.


特集 家族に信仰を伝えるキリスト教葬儀を通して


 2003年に京都で開かれた全日本仏教青年会全国大会で基調講演をしたひろさちや氏の論によると、貴 族・武士などの特権階級を除いて、江戸時代以前に僧侶が庶民の葬式を執り行うことはほとんどなかったといいます。ではなぜ行うように なったかというと、それはキリシタン弾圧のためでした。江戸幕府はキリスト教徒を排除するためにか檀家制度を創設し、すべての人に寺の檀家となって仏式葬儀を行うことを義務付けたのです。

 また、古来日本人にとって死とはうべきものであり、死体はけが穢れそのものでした。人々は死者のたたりを恐れて生前使っていたものを焼き捨て、骨 を折り、遺体を刀で刺して死人が起き上がってこないようにしました。そして大きな墓石を置いて死者の怨念を閉じ込めたのだそうです。

 このような思想的背景と慣習があった戦国時代にキリスト教が伝えられました。当時は世界的に小氷河期と も呼ばれる気候変動が起こっており、日本においても農業生産が著しく減少したころでした。不作が続き、飢饉や疫病の流行が日常的であり、人々にとっては死が極めて身近な時代だったといわれます。また、下克上とひんぱつ頻発する戦乱によって人心は荒廃し、貧しく身寄りのない者の死体は穴に投げ込まれ、野山に放置・遺棄され ることも少なくなかったといいます。


 また、キリシタン大名だった高山右近のエピソードにも葬儀に関するものがあります。あるとき、領内で貧 しい領民が亡くなりました。それを聞いた右近は彼のためにひつぎ棺を作って自ら担ぎ、葬儀を執り行ったのです。それを見た家臣たちが感激して墓穴を掘り、以後、領民の葬 儀は武士が援助するのが習慣になったといいます。

 当時、棺を担ぐのも穴を掘るのも最底辺の身分の者の仕事でした。戦国時代とはいえ身分の 違いは厳然とあり、まして領主が領民の葬儀を行うなど前代未聞のことです。宣教師ルイス・フロイスはその著『日本史』の中でこのことに触れ、「自負心の強いごうまん傲慢な日本人武士にしてはまれに見る行為である」と評しています。

 貧しく身寄りのない者の死体が平気で放置・遺棄されていた時代に、このように盛大に一介の領民を弔った ことは人々に大きな感動を呼び起こしたに違いありません。

 フランシスコ・ザビエルによって日本にキリスト教が伝えられてから40年後、キリシタン人口は30万人にのぼりました。当時の総 人口の2・45%です。宣教150年を越えていまだ1%未満の現在と比べると、極めて印象的な数字です。なぜキリスト教がこのよう に当時の人の心をとらえたのでしょうか。その一つの理由に、こうした葬儀があったと考えられています。

 貧富の別なく、いかなる人も尊敬をもって弔う教会の葬儀は、それを初めて目にした日本人の目には驚きで あり、心打たれる光景でした。葬儀を契機にキリスト教に改宗する者もいました。宣教師の側もそのことをよく理解していて、葬儀を日本宣教の中で重要なものと位置付けていたといいます。そのために部分的に日本の風習を取り入れさえしました。また葬儀のための信徒組織が整えられ、葬儀費用を賄うことができない人のための献金箱も用意されていました。


 葬儀は人を弔うために行われます。伝道のためではありません。しかし心を込めて執り行われる葬儀に現れる希望が、結果として人々をキリスト教へと導 く、それは現代においても同じなのではないでしょうか。 (編集部)

【February 2016 No.386】Death is not the End: Communicating Faith through a Christian Funeral

by Iwashita Hiroshi, member

Nagasaki Furumachi Church

My first encounter with the Christian faith came at the baptism of my mother, Iwashita Shizu. About ten years ago, she became ill and, upon going to the hospital, was diagnosed as having stage-three cancer. The attending physician advised that she only had a few months to live. Even so, my mother refused to give up hope. Even while suffering the pain of chemotherapy and two surgeries, she never gave in to despair. Even with temporary improvements, new cancers kept appearing. Nevertheless she remained positive and declared, “I’m going to get along well with this disease.” She continued to live day-to-day, valuing the life she had.


At that time, my mother met some women who were members of Furumachi Church. They invited her to attend worship services. She accepted, determined that even in such a crisis, she should value and enjoy life day by day.


A few days before my mother’s baptism, I was surprised to receive a message from her, telling me of her decision. But having seen the pain and suffering she had been through, I agreed to anything that would make her life happier. After her baptism, she attended worship services, met with other believers, helped with Sunday school and volunteered for service. She enjoyed life.


However, this happy time did not last long. Again the dread disease showed its fangs. As before, my mother fought hard to win another round with the disease, but her will was not enough. She died on Oct. 26, 2013. She was 64 years old. As a son, watching her faith as she struggled with disease and pain made me very proud of her.


The funeral was held in the sanctuary of the church, and though it was a funeral, it was warm and comforting. My desire to be baptized began the evening of the wake while I sat in the sanctuary, feeling the loss of my mother and regretting that I had not been all that I should have been to her.


Hearing the words of Pastor Fujii, “Death is not the end. Your mother is in the hands of God, so all is well,” made me want to inherit the same faith and follow it myself. After that I began attending church. Pastor Fujii and all the church members helped me. I was deeply touched by the warmth of all the members and began to experience what my mother had felt. Then, in September 2014, our whole family of four was baptized. I am full of gratitude to God who led me to this encounter. There remains much we need to know and learn, but as we continue in prayer as a family, we intend to keep moving ahead.

(Tr. GM)

     —From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)

November 2015 issue


特集 家族に信仰を伝えるキリスト教葬儀を通して



岩下拓史 いわした  ひろし/長崎古町教会員

わたしとキリスト教との出会いは、亡き母・静の洗礼式でした。母は、今から約10年前に 体調を崩し、運び込まれた病院でがんと診断されました。進行レベルはステージⅢ、主治医からの告知は数カ月の命という絶望的なものでした。

 しかし、母は決して諦めませんでした。いつも前向 きに、つらい抗がん剤治療と2度の手術にも耐え、その絶望的な状況を脱することができました。それから、数回の再発を繰り返しながらも、変わらず前向き に、「病気とうまく付き合っていくの」と言って、人生の一日一日を大切に生きていました。


 洗礼式の数日前に母からの突然の報告を受け、最初 はとても驚きました。しかし、苦しい治療を乗り越えてきた母に幸せな時間を生きてほしいという気持ちから応援することにしました。受洗後 は礼拝への出席、 教会の信者さんとの交流や教会学校の奉仕、ボランティア活動など、楽しそうに過ごしていました。

 ところが、そのような楽しい時間も長くは続きませんでした。やはりがんという病は恐ろしく、再び牙をむいた のです。母は、それまでと同じように今回も必ず乗り越えると、強い意志を貫き病気と闘いましたが、思いは届きませんでした。そして2013年10月26日、天国に旅立ちました。64歳でした。最後まで生きることを諦 めず、信仰をもって闘い抜いた母の生き方は息子として誇らしく思います。

 葬儀は教会の礼拝堂で行われました。その葬儀は、葬儀だけれども温かく、心のこもった式でした。わたしが洗礼を受けたいと思ったのは、通夜を終えた夜、教会の礼拝堂で、母を失った悲しみ や、何も親孝行し てやれなかったことを後悔していたときのことです。藤井牧師の「死は終わりではなく、お母さまは神さまの御手の中にいるのだから大丈夫」 という言葉を聞 き、母を最後に救ってくれたキリスト教の信仰を、私も受け継いで歩みたいと思ったのです。

 それから教会に通い始め、藤井牧師をはじめ、教会の皆さんに大変お世話になりました。皆さんの温かさに触れ、当 時の母の気持ちもよくわかりました。そして2014年9月、 家族4人で洗礼を受けることができました。このような出会いに導いてくださった神さまに心から感謝しています。これからも知るべきこと、学ぶべきことがたくさんありますが、家族全員で祈りつつ歩みたいと思っています。