Friends (Quaker) Ministers in Japan, c. 1920.



1920sReligious
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Quaker ministers in Japan, c. 1920.

“Young men came in considerable numbers to learn English, and to inquire about Western ways and the Western religion. They were from good families for the most part – modern people, students and officials. Their sisters came to learn knitting and English. The school girls, although still few in number, were made part of the family life of the compound. Those who attended the meetings on Sunday, organized and called themselves the ‘Shiba Friends Church’.

“They began to look for avenues to carry the message into other centers. A school for training Christian workers was established in 1890, and although it was not long-lived, yet at one time in these early days, it enrolled as many as 25 students. One of them, [Chiyomatsu] Suzuki, is still active in Friends’ work. Another was Chuzo Kaifu who continued to serve with Friends through a long life, which ended two years ago [1942].

“… One very good place to see the peace movement in Japan in its practical workings, was at the Bowles’ dinner table, at which Minnie P. Bowles presided with her inexhaustible spirit of hospitality. Gilbert Bowles at the other end of the table, would be directing the conversation into channels that made all the guests assembled there from many quarters, feel at home and enlightened.”

Quakerism in Japan, prepared by Edith F. Sharpless, 1944

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