Anglican Church in Japan
|Nippon Sei Ko Kai|
|Primate||Most Reverend Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, Bishop of Hokkaido|
|Headquarters||65 Yaraicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0805, Japan|
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Japanese: 日本聖公会, Nippon Seikōkai, "Japanese Holy Catholic Church"), abbreviated as NSKK, or often referred to in English as the Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan, is the national Christian church representing the Province of Japan (日本管区, Nippon Kanku) within the Anglican Communion.
As a member of the Anglican Communion the Nippon Sei Ko Kai shares many of the historic doctrinal and liturgical practices of the Church of England, but is a fully autonomous national church governed by its own Synod and led by its own Primate. The Nippon Sei Ko Kai, in common with other churches in the Anglican Communion, considers itself to be a part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and to be both Catholic and Reformed.
With an estimated 80 million members worldwide, the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The Nippon Sei Ko Kai has approximately 60,000 members organised into eleven dioceses and found in local church congregations throughout Japan.
- 1 History
- 2 Current Activities
- 3 Dioceses and Notable Churches
- 4 Related Facilities
- 5 Notable Figures
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier together with Portuguese explorers and missionaries first brought Christianity to Japan in the 16th century. In 1587, the Christian faith and life were outlawed and Christians, Japanese and foreign, were openly persecuted. In memory of these early Japanese Christians, and in common with the Roman Catholic Church, the Nippon Sei Ko Kai commemorates the Martyrs of Japan every February 5 for their life and witness.
All foreigners were subsequently expelled in 1640 as Japan began two centuries of self-imposed isolation, and Christian communities were driven into hiding. When foreigners were eventually allowed back in Japan in the 1850s, they found thousands of Christians who had maintained their Christian faith and identity through centuries of persecution.
Early Mission Church (1859–1900)
The first ordained representatives of the Anglican Communion, the Rev. John Liggins and the Rev. Channing Moore Williams of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America arrived in Nagasaki, Japan in 1859. Due to government restrictions on the teaching of Christianity and a significant language barrier, the religious duties of Liggins and Williams were initially limited to serving as ministers to the American and British residents of the Nagasaki foreign settlement. The first recorded baptism by Williams of a Japanese convert, a Kumamoto samurai named Shiomura, was not until 1866.
Liggins and Williams were followed to Nagasaki in January 1869 by the Rev. George Ensor representing the Church Mission Society of the Church of England. After the Meiji Restoration, significant new legislation relating to the freedom of religion was introduced, facilitating in September 1873, the arrival in Tokyo of Rev. Alexander Croft Shaw and the Rev. William Ball Wright as the first missionaries sent to Japan by the Society for Propagation of the Gospel. Williams, appointed Episcopal Bishop of China and Japan in 1866, moved first to reside in Osaka in 1869, then subsequently relocated to Tokyo in December 1873.
By 1879, through cooperative work between the various Anglican missions, the largest part of the Book of Common Prayer had been translated and published in Japanese. A full version of the text being completed by 1882. On Palm Sunday 1883, Nobori Kanai and Masakazu Tai, graduates of the Tokyo theological school were ordained as the first Japanese deacons in the church. In 1888 the Anglican Church of Canada also began missionary work in Japan.
In addition to the work of ordained church ministers, much of the positive public profile enjoyed by Anglican Church in Japan during this early mission period was due to the work of lay missionaries working to establish schools, universities and medical facilities. Significant among this group were missionary women such as Ellen G. Eddy at St. Agnes School in Osaka, Florence Pitman at St. Margaret's School in Tokyo, and Hannah Riddell who established the Kaishun Hospital for leprosy sufferers in Kumamoto.
The first Synod of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai 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. The 17 European and American participants at the first Synod were outnumbered by 14 other clergy and 50 Japanese lay delegates. Total Nippon Sei Ko Kai church membership at in 1887 was estimated to be 1,300.
Continued Growth and Wartime Challenges (1900–1945)
A Japanese led and self-supporting church grew steadily from these early missionary initiatives. By 1906 the Nippon Sei Ko Kai was reported to have grown to 13,000 members, of whom 6,880 were communicants with a Japanese led ordained ministry of 42 priests and 22 deacons. The first Japanese bishops, John Yasutaro Naide, Bishop of Osaka and Sakunohin Motoda, Bishop of Tokyo, were consecrated in 1923.
During the 1930s, as overseas funding and the number of foreign Anglican missionaries in Japan declined, new challenges arose for Nippon Sei Ko Kai church leadership and laity from the increasing focus on Shinto as a state prescribed religion and the growing influence of militarism in domestic and foreign policy. Christianity was portrayed by many nationalist politicians at the time as incompatible with the loyalty of Japanese subjects.
During World War II, the majority of Protestant churches in Japan were forcibly brought together by the Japanese wartime government to form the United Church of Christ in Japan, or Kyodan. Reflecting the distinctive doctrinal character of the Anglican Communion, many individual Nippon Sei Ko Kai congregations refused to join. The cost of resistance to and non-cooperation with the government's religious policies was harassment by the military police and periods of imprisonment for church leaders such as Bishops Samuel Heaslett, Sugai Todomu and Paul Shinji Sasaki.
St. Andrew's Tokyo, now the Cathedral church for the Diocese of Tokyo, was one such congregation that resisted government pressure throughout the war years retaining its land and identity to the war’s end in 1945. However, like many urban Nippon Sei Ko Kai churches, medical and educational facilities, St. Andrew's buildings were lost in the 1945 Allied incendiary bombing.
Post War (1945–2009)
The pressure of an extended war caused damage to both internal church unity and the physical infrastructure of the of Nippon Sei Ko Kai; 71 out of a total of 246 churches had been destroyed, others were in bad repair due to neglect, requisition by the military or vandalism.
Through individual and larger communal acts of reconciliation and with the support of an Anglican commission sent out by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1946, the Nippon Sei Ko Kai was organizationally reordered in 1947, with a leadership consisting of Japanese bishops at the head of each diocese, renewing its life and mission for the Christian Gospel in Japan.
Two decades after becoming the first woman deacon, Margaret Ryoko Shibukawa was ordained the first woman priest in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai in December 1998.
The Nippon Sei Ko Kai celebrated the 150th anniversary of Anglican Christian witness in Japan in 2009. The occasion was marked with a series of church and community events and visits by both Archbishop of Canterbury Rt. Revd. Rowan Williams and the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America Rt. Revd. Katharine Jefferts Schori.
Today the Nippon Sei Ko Kai continues its traditions of ministry and Christian witness in Japan through church congregational life, hospitals, schools, social advocacy and support for non-profit organizations.
The NSKK, is active in multi-year projects promoting peace, reconciliation and youth exchange programs between East Asian nations, in 2013 co-hosting with the Anglican Church of Korea, the 2nd Worldwide Anglican Peace Conference in Okinawa.
The church, at both a national and local level, works to support disadvantaged minority communities in Japan, communities in Tohoku impacted by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear generating plant and engages in field-based mission work overseas such as in The Philippines.
Dioceses and Notable Churches
There are currently eleven dioceses in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai and over three hundred church and chapel congregations spread across the country. Comprehensive lists of churches and affiliated institutions are available on the official NSKK website (in both Japanese and English) and to a more limited extent at Anglicans Online. Notable churches from North to South to include:
The Diocese of Tokyo was established in its modern form in May 1923. There are 33 churches and 9 chapels in the Diocese, many having been first established in the second half of the nineteenth century.
- St. Andrew's Cathedral, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- St. Alban's, an English language based NSKK congregation located adjacent to St. Andrews Cathedral in Minato-ku, Tokyo
- St. Luke's Chapel, Chuo-ku, Tokyo located in the Old Building of St. Luke's International Hospital, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. One of the very few NSKK church buildings in central Tokyo to have survived the Second World War
- St. Andrew's Cathedral, Yokohama
- Christ Church, Yokohama, an English language based NSKK congregation located on the Bluff overlooking the Port of Yokohama
Nippon Sei Ko Kai affiliated educational, medical and social welfare institutions in Japan number over two hundred. Comprehensive lists of affiliated institutions are available on the official NSKK website.
- Central Theological College, Tokyo. Founded in 1908 from the amalgamation of two older Japanese Anglican seminaries. Has trained more than 600 lay and ordained graduates for work in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai.
- Williams Theological Seminary, Kyoto
Universities and Colleges
- Rikkyo University, Tokyo (立教大学 Rikkyō Daigaku), also known as St. Paul's University
- St. Margaret's Junior College, Tokyo (立教女学院短期大学 Rikkyō Jogakuin Tanki Daigaku)
- Momoyama Gakuin University, Osaka
- Heian Jogakuin University, Kyoto
- Kobe International University, Kobe
- Kobe Shoin Women's University, Kobe
- St. Luke's International Hospital, Tokyo
- St. Barnabas' Hospital, Osaka
- Channing Moore Williams, (1829-1910) Episcopal Bishop of China and Japan, Founder of Rikkyo University
- John Liggins, (1829-1912) First Protestant missionary and ordained representative of the Anglican Communion to reach Japan
- Edward Bickersteth, (1850-1897) First Bishop of South Tokyo
- John Batchelor, (1854-1944) Missionary to the Ainu communities of Hokkaido
- Alexander Croft Shaw, (1846-1902) Missionary and Archdeacon of North Japan
- Walter Weston, (1860-1940) Missionary and Japan Alpine Mountaineer
- John McKim, (1852-1936) Bishop of North Tokyo
- Yonetaro Matsui, Bishop of Tokyo
- John Yasutaro Naide, (1866-1945) Bishop of Osaka
- Sidney Catlin Partridge, First Bishop of Kyoto
- Paul Shinji Sasaki, (1885-1946) Bishop of Mid-Japan
- Hiromichi Kato, Bishop of Tohoku
- Norman Spencer Binsted, Missionary Bishop of North Tohoku
- Philip Kemball Fyson, Bishop of Hokkaido
- Charles S. Reifsnider, Bishop of North Kanto
- Kenneth Abbott Viall, Assistant Bishop of Tokyo
- Hinsuke Yashiro, Bishop of Kobe
- Paul Rusch, (1897-1979) Lay missionary, founder of Seisen Ryo (KEEP), Yamanashi Prefecture
- Anglican Communion
- Church of England
- Episcopal Church (United States)
- Book of Common Prayer
- Silence historical novel by Shusaku Endo drawn from the oral histories of the hidden Christian communities (Kakure Kirishitan and Hanare Kirishitan) that survived the 17th-century state suppression of the Catholic Church in Japan.
- Arnold, Alfreda (1905). Church Work in Japan. Harvard College Library: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
- Arnold, Church Work in Japan, p.5.
- Ion, A. Hamish (1993). The Cross and the Rising Sun (2 ed.). Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilifrid Laurier University Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-88920-218-4.
- Arnold, Church Work in Japan, p.8.
- Arnold, Church Work in Japan, p.12.
- Hobart, Margaret (1912). Japan Mission of the American Church. New York: The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. p. Part II: Training Schools.
- Arnold, Church Work in Japan, p.126.
- Bickersteth, M. H. (1908). Handbooks of English Church Expansion, Japan. Oxford: A. R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd. p. 56.
- Ion, A. Hamish (1993). The Cross and the Rising Sun (v.2 ed.). Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 0-88920-218-4.
- Bickersteth, M. H. (1908). Handbooks of English Church Expansion, Japan. Oxford: A. R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd. p. 58.
- Ion, Hamish (1993). The Cross and the Rising Sun. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilfred Laurier University Press. p. 254. ISBN 978-1-55458-216-7.
- Hemphill, Elizabeth (1969). The Road to KEEP (First ed.). New York and Tokyo: John Weatherhill Inc. p. 108.
- Official site
- Brief info from official Anglican Communion website
- Japanese Anglican liturgical resources in English and Japanese