Uchimura Kanzo.

 
 

My name is Uchimura Kanzo. A Japanese, a son of samurai, an independent Christian; in profession, a book writer, a magazine-editor, a teacher in the Christian Bible.

I Was born in Tokyo, on the 23rd of March, 1861, according to the Gregorian calendar, eight years after Commodore Perry anchored in the Bay of Yedo. Began to study English at the age of 14; but never mastered it. Sent to the Foreign Language School, to prepare for the Kaiseigakko, now the Tokyo Imperial University but was induced to enter the Sapporo Agricultural College, then started by the Colonial Departments under the presidency of William. S. Clark, Ph.D., LL.D. of Amherst, Mass., U.S.A. Graduated from that college in 1881. Served in the Agricultural Department for 3 years. Went to America in 1884, mainly to learn methods of practical phi- lanthropy. Came under the guidance of Isaac N. Kerlin, M. D. the superintendent of the Pennsylvania Institute for Feeble- minded Children, at Elwyn, Delaware County of that state. While there, met James B. Richards, a veteran teacher of the mental defective. Was introduced to President Julius H. Seelye of Amherst College, Mass. by Mr. Joseph H. Nijima. Joined the junior year of the class of 1887, and stayed there until graduation. The great president opened my eyes to the evangelical truth in Christianity. He is my father in faith. For forty years, since then, I preached the faith taught me by that venerable teacher.

 

J

On my return to Japan in 1888, I made several attempts to put my educational ideas to practice, but always failed. Missionaries nicknamed me a “school-breaker,” because wherever I taught, troubles arose, and schools were put in jeopardy. My fortunes in Government schools were worse. My refusal to bow to the Imperial Rescript on Education, not only deprived me of my situation in the Dai Ichi Kotogakko, but sent me out into Japanese society as a vagabond, wherein for some 20 years, I had not a place where to lay my head on. But I was more successful in book writing and journalism.

During the last 30 years I wrote about 30 books, which though not “good-sellers,” were some of them, good survivors, and are still read after the expiration of the copy-right. I joined the editorial staff of the Yorodzu Choho in 1895, and there met the managing editor of this magazine, and I have kept up friendship with him till this time. After three years, I started my own paper, the Tokyo Independent, which was succeeded by the Biblical Studies in 1900, which is continued to this day. Then I did much of preaching, lecturing, and Bible-expositions, the most notable of which was a large Bible-class in the Hygienic Hall, in front of the Home Department, not far from the Imperial Castle.

I started the class in 1918, till it was interrupted by the earthquake ravage five years afterward; but now resumed in my own precinct, though on somewhat smaller scale. I am a free-lance in my religious standing; join no church, never “licensed” to preach by any ecclesiastical authority; entirely independent.

My two books which I wrote in English were translated into several European languages, enabling me to find many friends in the continental Europe. The books failed in America; Englishmen never liked them. I pass for a rabid yaso (follower of Jesus) among my countrymen, and a heretic and dangerous man among missionaries and their converts in this country. Still I seem to have not a few friends in this wide world; for my magazine, — the Bible-magazine’ written in my own language, — has quite a large circulation, and my books trans- lated into German are still being read in Europe. I on my own part, take, or try to take, all honest, sincere men and women, as my friends and allies; and though some of them may dislike me, that is no reason why I should dislike them in return. I am a Japanese by birth, and a Christian in faith; and my Christianity made me a “Buerger der Welt,” a world-citizen, a brother to humanity. With the managing editor, I am an advocate of peace. Both of us are haters of war. We take com- paratively little interest in politics. But we love God, the world, the soul. With this self-introduction, may I find favor with the readers in the wide, wide world!

March, 1926.

A book in German language:

Christ und (k)eine Kirche: konzentrieren aktualisieren by Hana Kimura-Andres

http://www.kti.jp/uchimura.html

Dear visitor, my name is Samuel Lee, I am president of Foundation University. It is my ambition to start an Uchimura Kanzo Center in Amsterdam. I am looking for collectors’ items, such as: books, personal letters written by Uchimura Kanzo, letters received by him or any other materials related to Uchimura. In that case will you please contact me via email office@foundationuniversity.com

I love two Js and no third; one is Jesus, and the other is Japan. I do not know
which I love more, Jesus or Japan. I am hated by my countrymen for Jesus’ sake
as foreign belief, and I am disliked by foreign missionaries for Japan’s sake as
national and narrow. Even if I lose all my friends, I cannot lose Jesus and Japan
. . . Jesus and Japan; my faith is not a circle with one center; it is an ellipse with
two centers. My heart and mind revolve around the two dear names. And I know
that one strengthens the other; Jesus strengthens and purifies my love for Japan;
and Japan clarifies and objectives my love for Jesus. Were it not for the two, I
would become a mere dreamer, a fanatic, an amorphous universal man.

Uchimura Kanzo, 1861–1930