St. Hilda’s Chapel, Tokyo, c. 1912
“The first Synod of the Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan met in Osaka in February 1887. At this meeting, instigated by Bishop Edward Bickersteth, and presided over by Bishop Williams, it was agreed to unite the various Anglican missionary efforts in Japan into one autonomous national church: the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK).
“The original Tokyo cathedral, a red brick, neo gothic structure, designed by Charles Alfred Chastel de Boinville, was dedicated on June 4th 1879. Located on elevated ground at Shiba Koen, south of the Imperial Palace, the church soon became the center of Anglican Christian worship and clergy training in Tokyo. The Cathedral, today, stands in the shadow of Tokyo Tower, next to St. Alban’s Anglican Church.
“St. Andrew’s, intended by the Rev. Alexander Croft Shaw primarily as a mission church for his Japanese congregation, was one of the first Anglican churches in Japan to have an autonomous, indigenous ministry when Rev. John Toshimichi Imai, in 1889, was ordained as the first Japanese Anglican priest. Imai was appointed Rector of the Cathedral in in 1894.
“The Diocese of Tokyo is one of eleven dioceses in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (‘The Holy Church of Japan’, as the Anglican-Episcopal Church is known in Japan). NSKK was formally established in May 1923. There are thirty three churches and some chapels in the Diocese of Tokyo, many dating back to the second half of the nineteenth century when Christianity was re-introduced to Japan after many decades of official persecution. The first recorded baptism of a Japanese convert, a Kumamoto samurai named Shōmura Sukeuemon, by the Rev. Channing Moore Williams of the Episcopal Church in the United States, was not until 1866.”