History of movemnets - 28

Liberal Japanese—With this unique, universal aim the Japanese Mission of the American Unitarian Association did its work till 1900 A.D. When the successful superintendent Rev.Clay MacCaaley returned to America, leaving the Misson to the care of the Japa­nese Unitarians to be independently guided and control­led by capable Japanese themselves. The veteran leader is Mr. Jitsunen Saji who has advanced through Buddhism to Unitarianism. Associated with him are Messrs. Tomoyoshi Murai, Saburo Shimada, Iso Abe, Nobnta Kishimoto, Zennosnke Toyosaki (Mancheter college scholar 1901-3), Saichero Kanda and others, whose religions life was at first under the influence of orthodox Christianity; also Mr. Kinza Hirai who for years was an ardent advocate of progressive Buddh­ism together with his friend Mr. Zenshero Noguchi, and Mr. Yoshio Ogasawara who, with experience in orthodox Christianity is now carrying on a work of distinctive social and moral reform under the Unitarian name in Wakayama in central Japan. A few years later Mr. Maccauley paid a visit to Japan. The American Unitarian Association continued their pecuniary grant at the rate of three thousand dollars per year by the help of the Hayward Fund for foreign missions.

The Actual work— (1) Sunday Lectures. Only a morning service was held until the summer of 1899, when the number of voluntary workers being suddenly increased, there began to be held two services in the morning and evening. At each meeting two persons speak. Besides the seven regular speakers, the prominent members and some times outsiders are asked to stand in the pulpit. In 1903 the attendance at the Unity Hall, Tokyo, was reported to be about 300. Rev. S. Uchigasaki, lately a student at the Manches­ter College, Oxford, has now accepted the office of minister of the Unitarian Society at Tokio (1912).
(2) The Postal Mistion is an important work of the Association. In 1900 it distributed about 1,00,000. pamphlets. Many young Buddhists who much appreci­ated these phamphlets desired to study in the Unitarian school but could not do so on accoant of their pecuni­ary dependence on the
clerical system.
(3) Rikugo-Zasshi or Cosmo, is a monthly magazine, the organ of the Unitarian movement in Japan. Ex­cept in the department of lectures given at Unity Hall, Unitarianism is not preached directly. The paper is meant to be the pure organ of liberal reli­gion and free discussion. Though not commanding a large sale it is one of the most effective means of work.
(4) Thb Library in the Unity Hall contains several thousands of valuable books, magazines and papers chiefly English and is open to all.
(5) Mofussil Work—Superintendent Saji goes on tours and holds public meetings. An ethical- society at Nagoya and a Sunday Association at Ajino were the two branch associations about the year 1900. Mr. Ogasawara’s “Industrial Hall” at Wakayama whereby he means to promote a reconciliation between capital and labour and also improve public, morality is a note­worthy Unitarian endeavour. There is a great scope for social work for the Japanese Unitarians. One of them Mr.Shimada, a statesman and a reformer, isan active member of the Temperance Union and is also devoting most of his time to the Anti-prostitution movement.

In a paper read by Mr. Zennosuke Toyosaki, the Japanese representative in the international Liberal Religious Council at Amesterdam in September 1903 observed “Outside the Christian church the Buddhists have recently been displaying a new spirit. Three years ago and association was organized in Tokyo for the reformation of Buddhism. It is called “the Buddhist Puritanical Association” and the program­me acknowledges freedom of thought and inquiry, the authority of reason and conscience, the abolition of certain Buddhist rituals, and the cultivation of frater­nal relations among different religious bodies. Although started by only a small number of young Bud­dhists, I attach peculiar importance to this move­ment as it embodies a new spirit of reform amongst the advanced Buddhists. Noteworthy is the fact that this new Buddhist movement is deeply sympathe­tic with the Unitarian movement and that probably they will join hands in the near future.”

(The bulk of this article is the substance extracted from the pamphlet “The Unitarian Movement in Jap­an” received from a friend in