Bahá'í Library Online
. . . .
.
>>   Biographies Books East Asia
> add tags

History of the Bahá'í Faith in Japan 1914-1938

by Agnes Baldwin Alexander

edited by Barbara R. Sims.
previous chapter chapter 5 start page single page chapter 7 next chapter

Chapter 6

6. THE BAHÁ'Í MESSAGE REACHES KOREA THROUGH JAPAN


While the Beloved Master was still on earth, the Message of Bahá'u'lláh reached Korea. In His Divine Plan, He remembered these people of the Hermit Kingdom, as it was called in the past, the Land of the Morning Calm, and opened the doors that they might hear the comforting Message of Bahá'u'lláh, and poured His Divine love on them.

As an instrument in the hands of the Divine Gardener, I was privileged to spend a month in Seoul, the old capital, during August and September, 1921, and to convey the Glad Tidings of the coming of the New Day to these remote people. There I witnessed that mysterious force of which ‘Abdu'l-Bahá wrote: "He (Bahá'u'lláh) has given us an irresistible power which all the nations of the world cannot withstand."


Oh Sang Sun

In Tokyo during the winter and spring of 1920, a Korean student, Oh Sang Sun often visited the little Bahá'í home. He was searching for truth and became deeply attracted to the Bahá'í Cause. He had come from Korea for study in Japan where he had graduated from a Christian Theological School, but had not found spiritual satisfaction. It seemed he was the first of his countrymen to hear the Bahá'í Message and I hoped he would take the Message to his people in Korea. One day when he came to visit us, something seemed to have clouded his bright spirit, and he went away without rejoicing. In my longing to bring back his joyous spirit, I supplicated the Beloved that I might be given the inspiration to write him words which would make him again rejoice. At night and in the morning I continued to supplicate, but the guidance to write did not come. Then suddenly, like a flash of light, a great joy filled my heart. The inspiration which came was entirely unexpected. It was that I would go to Korea and take His Message. From that moment there was awakened in me a great interest in the country and its people. In a letter I wrote March 15, 1920: "A fire is burning in my heart to go to Korea and take His Light . . . the hearts of the Korean people are hungry and they must be fed and He will open the doors. I can only trust in His guidance and leave all in His Hands. The books you sent me I can take on this trip so they will carry more Light to a new country. What a privilege that is! It is more than all my loss." On December 28, 1919, in a fire in Tokyo my Bahá'í literature had been burned.

Soon after the guidance to go to Korea had come, I was invited with Mr. Oh, as we called him, to the home of a Japanese friend of the young Koreans, Mr. M. Yanagi who was striving through the means of art to bring better understanding between these two oriental peoples. We spent the afternoon at his home in Abiko, near Tokyo, and I had the opportunity to speak of the Bahá'í Faith.

On May first Mr. Oh in company with Mr. Yanagi left Tokyo to return to his home in Korea. The time for me to go there had not yet come. When Mr. Yanagi returned from his visit to Korea I was made happy in receiving from him these words: "Your visit to Abiko gave me indeed great pleasure. Your enthusiastic talk not only directed me to the Bahá'í Revelation, but showed me the depths of your Faith. I received your kind letter and many pamphlets you sent me at Seoul. I hope you will go to Korea as soon as possible. I believe your faith in the Bahá'í Truth is fresh and vital enough for the Korean people because they are now thirsty for true religion."

At that time in Japan many of the Esperanto publications had articles about the Bahá'í Cause which were widely circulated. Thus some Korean Esperantists heard of the Cause and wrote me. In a letter on February 9, 1921 I wrote: "Another part of the Far East which is becoming illumined is Korea. Through the instrument of Esperanto three Koreans have imbibed these Teachings as far as is possible through correspondence. One of them, a literary writer has published in a Korean magazine an article about the Cause dedicated to this servant for her success. These people of Korea are hungering for spiritual food." Two of these Korean friends became subscribers to the Japanese Bahá'í monthly Star of the East.


Doors Open to Korea

After Mr. Oh's return to Korea, although I wrote and sent him Bahá'í literature, no word came from him in reply. More than a year had passed when one morning in the summer of 1921, suddenly I was aware that the time had come for me to take the Bahá'í Message to that virgin land where as yet no Bahá'í had been.

In Korea at that time everything was under strict police surveillance and there was no freedom. How was I a young woman alone to approach that country and give the Bahá'í Message? I know Bahá'u'lláh's instructions to His followers: "In every country or government where any of this community (Bahá'ís) reside, they must behave toward that government with faithfulness, trustfulness." It was necessary first that officially my mission to that country should be known, and that I should have the permission of the government to teach the Cause. Following guidance I first telephoned to a Japanese friend, Mr. Y. Bryan Yamashita who had offered to assist me. He was educated in the United States and had been in diplomatic service. When I telephone him I was going to Korea he said he would come immediately to see me. When he arrived he advised me first to see Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa and consult with him, and he kindly telephoned and made an appointment for me to meet him.

Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa was then eighty-three years old. A noble man who was widely known as a great financier and philanthropist he had started the first modern bank in Japan, and later in Korea and he was honored for his uprighteousness in business. As he was a

64



good friend of one of my cousins with whom he was associated in work for better relations between Japan and America, he had shown me courtesy and had invited me to luncheon in his garden. He had traveled extensively but did not speak English and we conversed through his secretary. We talked for several hours that day and Viscount Shibusawa expressed his sympathy toward the Bahá'í teachings, but explained that he had take as his guide in life the moral teachings of Confucius, and he was then an old man.

On the day which Mr. Yamashita had arranged for me to meet Viscount Shibusawa, I went to his office where I explained to him the purpose of my visit to Korea, and that the Bahá'ís were forbidden to meddle in political affairs. He asked many questions and we talked for an hour and a half through his secretary. I had brought with me the words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá to Miss Fanny Knobloch who went to South Africa to teach which were translated to the Viscount by his secretary. The words are: "It may be that the government of those regions will check thee. Thou shouldst say, 'I am a Bahá'í and a friend with all religions and nations. I consider all to be of one race and count them as my relatives. I have divine love and not racial and sectarian love. According to the palpable written command of Bahá'u'lláh I do not pronounce a word pertaining to politics, because we are forbidden to interfere in political affairs. We are concerned with affairs which are heavenly. We are servants unto the world of morality. We consider that religious, racial, political and national prejudices are destructive to the world of humanity. I believe that the whole of the surface of the earth constitutes one home and all mankind form one family. With all we are in the utmost sincerity and kindness.'"

Viscount Shibusawa was delighted with these words, especially that the Bahá'ís did not interfere in political affairs. To my great surprise, raising his hands he announced with a smile that he would himself give me introductions to the Governor of Korea, and others with whom he was personally acquainted. Then he expressed his admiration that I had come alone to Japan, and had stood alone and taken nothing from anyone. I felt overwhelmed for little had I dreamed of receiving introductions from him. The All-Pervading Power of God was manifest! A few days later a messenger brought me three letters of introduction from Viscount Shibusawa written with his own hand in beautiful Japanese style on long scrolls. One was to the Governor of Korea, another to the head of the Daiichi Bank of Seoul and a third to the head of the same Bank in Pusan. As I did not go to Pusan the letter to Mr. Moriichi Matsumura is still in my possession. Its translation follows:
Tokyo, August 17, 1921
To Mr. Moriichi Matsumura,
Dear Sir:
Congratulations on your good health! This American lady who takes my letter to you is Miss Agnes B. Alexander. She is a cousin of my intimate friend, Mr. Wallace Alexander, President of the Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco. She is an earnest believer of the Bahá'í religion.
As I have been interested in the teachings of this religion, I invited her to my home the other day and listened to her talk on the teachings. I know that her faith is very profound and that her life in Tokyo is very simple. She is really a lady who has a very respectable personality. She is now planning to travel to Korea and I am writing this letter of introduction to you. The Bahá'í religion has nothing to do with politics. Her trip is only for visiting so I hope you will please receive her and give her every help in her journey.
Respectfully yours
Eiichi Shibusawa

I sent word to my friend, Mr. M. Yanagi of my intended visit to Korea, but learned that he was then there. The evening before I left he returned and came immediately to see me. He gave me his card to Mr. Yamagata, the editor of the only English paper in Korea, the Seoul Press, and he advised me first to confer with him, and then to follow his advice.

In just a week from the time I announced my intention of going to Korea, I was on the train bound for the capital, Seoul. It was a day and night's journey by train to Shimonoseki where one took a steamer across the channel between Japan and the Korean peninsula. Arriving in Korea, or Chosen, as it is called in the Orient, another day's travel by train and Seoul was reached. During the journey I felt as though I were going to my family instead of to a strange country, and I was thrilled with the realization that it was virgin land where the soil was pure and ready for seed sowing. The scene was fascinating; the contour of the land, the mountains, houses and native dress were quite different from other countries. The men wore flowing white linen robes and full trousers tied in at the ankles, and the women were dressed in long plaited skirts and tight short-waisted bodices of bright Korean colors. The civilization of these people dated back before the time of Christ. Their kingdom was called the Hermit Kingdom, because they remained within themselves for hundreds of years. The inspiration for their art and literature came to them through Buddhism from China, and from Korea was taken to Japan. Its day had passed and only a few remnants remained of their former art.


Arrival in Seoul

In the evening I reached the city of Seoul surrounded by hills, and went to the Chosen hotel, the center of the life of the capital and the only hotel for foreign travelers. It was built on the grounds of the Korean Temple of Heaven, which stood behind it, a circular building of beautiful architectural design, adorned with old carvings and interior paintings. In the morning I telephoned to the editor of the Seoul Press, Mr. Yamagata, who came immediately to see me. When I told him I had introductions from Viscount Shibusawa, he asked if he might see one of them. After reading it he was ready to do anything for me and advised me to go the next morning to the government offices and present my introduction to the governor.

In the afternoon a young man, Mr. Kurita came to see me. Mr. Torii, the brother of Kyoto had telegraphed him of my coming. Although deaf he understood English and was so skilled in lip reading that I was not aware of his deafness until he asked if we might change our seats to a lighter place as he was reading my lips. Then I remembered that Mr. Torii had written me of him, that he was an eager Christian, but was attracted to the Bahá'í teachings, and was the first one among the deaf in Japan to be interested in the Cause. After finishing his studies in a school in Tokyo he came to Seoul to

65



assist in teaching the Korean mute. He offered his services to assist me and became a devoted friend. When I thanked him for his kindness he replied that he did not want it to be mentioned, that he did it for ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. This brilliant young man went later to England for study and died while there.

The next morning I called at the government offices. As the governor to whom I had an introduction from Viscount Shibusawa was away, I was presented to the Governor General, Viscount Saito, a distinguished man. After a short conversation in which I presented him with a Japanese Bahá'í booklet, his secretary and two others from the Foreign Relations Department of the government interviewed me. None of these men had ever heard of the Bahá'í Cause. To each one I gave a copy of the Japanese Bahá'í booklet and explained the Bahá'í teaching that one must respect the government of the country where he resides, and therefore I desired to do everything in harmony with the government. Two hours were spent at the government offices that memorable morning. During the time the Chief of Police was communicated with and told of me, and that I should be given freedom to teach in Korea. The power of Bahá'u'lláh was truly manifested! With a light heart free from care I returned to the hotel. Mr. Kurita came again that afternoon with some friends and together we called on the Director of the YMCA, Mr. Hara, to whom I had been given an introduction at the government offices. My one desire then was to find Mr. Oh, the Korean friend I had known in Tokyo, and I asked the aid of Mr. Hara. He said Mr. Oh was living in Seoul, but he did not know the address.

The third morning in Seoul, the Seoul Press had an item telling about my coming to Korea and the purpose of my visit. The same morning I called at the American Consulate and presented my card and mentioned the Cause, that I had the permission of the government to teach in Korea, and left a Bahá'í booklet. Next I went to the First Bank and presented my introduction from Viscount Shibusawa to the manager of the bank. He left his work and for an hour talked with me of spiritual things, and then invited me to come again and also to his home for a Japanese dinner.

When I returned at noon to the hotel, I found a reporter from a Japanese newspaper waiting to see me. He had an introduction from the Governor General's secretary and asked me to accompany him to the office of the newspaper for an interview. There a photograph was taken which appeared the next day in the paper with a picture of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, the first time that His picture was published in Korea.

In my desire to find Mr. Oh, I turned to the Center of the Covenant and supplicated His assistance. Later Mr. Kurita came with friends to go out with me. As we were riding in a street car, suddenly my hand was grasped. Looking up I saw Mr. Oh. It was a joyful meeting. Then he accompanied me to the hotel. On the way we met several of his Korean friends to whom he introduced me. Then the doors began to open. He not only helped me to open the way for his people to hear the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, but acted as my interpreter and guide. In God's plan it seemed he was destined to be the link through which the Cause reached his people. There was a wisdom why I could not find him until the government connections had been made. I was happy to learn that although he had not written me, he had received everything I sent him from Tokyo.

The next morning Mr. Oh came to accompany me to the office of the leading Korean newspaper, the Dong-a, which was published in the Korean language and script. They published a very good article about the Cause illustrated with pictures of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and the Chicago Temple. The editors of this paper endeavored to publish only true statements and nothing sensational. From that time the Cause was made known to the Korean people. Among callers that afternoon was an official from the Governor General's office, who came to learn something of the Bahá'í teachings. He had recently returned after twelve years spent in study in America.

Mr. Datte from the religious section of the government came to see me the next day. He proved to be a friend as he had lived many years in Hawaii and was acquainted with some of my relatives. We had a long talk and he offered his services to assist me in Seoul. In the afternoon Mr. Kurita gave a tea party for me. Fourteen were present, Japanese ladies, young men, and an American missionary and his wife who were broadminded and whose home I visited several times with Mr. Kurita. The International Friendship Association had a reception for me the next day, inviting me to speak on the Bahá'í Cause. Its members were officials and prominent men of Seoul. Twenty-two were present, three of whom were women who were invited especially for my sake. It was the first time for women to attend the Association. The following day both Japanese and English newspapers had notices of the meeting.

A week passed when His Plan for the opening of the Cause in that land became apparent. In His Plan the highest officials were the first to hear of the Cause, seven of whom had individual talks with me. The next were the editors of the leading newspapers, all of which had individual talks with me. The next were published articles, while the Japanese and Korean papers published the pictures of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and the Chicago Temple. The Seoul Press was small, but on three occasions published something concerning the Cause, twice giving a column to the Bahá'í Teachings. Although the word Bahá'í was new to all these editors in no instance was the least prejudice shown.

I next consulted Mr. Datte, the friend from the Religious section of the government, how I could meet the Korean people and tell them the Glad Tidings. He suggested a Korean society called Chundokyo, or Heavenly Way, as a meeting place. The founder of the society many years ago united Confucianists, Taoists, Buddhists and later Christians joined them. Through Mr. Oh it was arranged for me to meet one of the leaders of the society and after an hour's interview in which Mr. Oh acted as interpreter he said we should unite. A young Buddhist who was also present expressed his delight with the Bahá'í teachings. On September second the first public Bahá'í meeting in Korea was held in the hall of this society. It was arranged with only a day's notice which appeared in the Korean daily. When I reached the meeting place that evening to my great surprise I found it to be a large hall, where before me were hundreds of Koreans seated cross-legged on the matted floor, almost all in their white linen costumes. The men sat on one side, and the women on the other, a small part of the great audience which Mr. Oh estimated to be about nine hundred. He spoke first, and although I did not understand what he said, he seemed inspired. I spoke simply

66



showing a picture of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and emphasized the point of the Center of the Covenant to whom all could turn for comfort. Mr. Datte came and brought word to me from a member of the Foreign Relations Department that he was very glad I was going to speak and sorry he had been too busy to see more of me, though he had the Bahá'í booklet. So the way was made easy for me to speak with perfect freedom. After the meeting, a teacher of the Society came with great joy and said the Bahá'í Teachings were what he believed. Mr. Datte spoke with him that he had known my relatives in Hawaii, and as I was alone, he was helping me, and he suggested that the Bahá'í booklet should be published in the Korean language.

Several months before going to Korea, Mrs. Kunz of Urbana, Illinois, wrote me of their meeting on the steamer when on their way to Palestine, a Korean Christian who became interested in the Bahá'í teachings and met ‘Abdu'l-Bahá while in Palestine. She added that if I should ever go to Korea, she hoped I would be guided to find him, but did not mention his name. When I enquired of Mr. Oh he said he had met him in Seoul when he returned from his studies and gave me his address in the country where he was staying. I wrote to him and on September first received a reply in which he wrote: "I was glad to hear of your visit to Seoul. Your first visit to this country shall ever remain in the history of the people. The Master ‘Abdu'l-Bahá has given me the very timely message for this generation . . . I pray that you shall ever be under the Divine guidance during these days in order that the work may be started in the right method and direction. I shall call on you soon after my arrival in Seoul."

On September fifth the happy meeting with Mr. Roh took place. As I sat in the hotel lobby that evening young man entered. Without introduction we seemed to know each other. It was Mr. Roh! Almost at the same time Mr. Oh came in to see me. It was an eventful meeting of the three of us. I recognized the great capacity of Mr. Roh. He had studied first in Japan for six years, then spent six more years in study in the United States, where he graduated from Columbia University Seminary, and then Oxford University for another year. When he heard from Prof. and Mrs. Kunz of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá on the steamer to Palestine, he decided to go to Haifa to meet Him, but while at Tiberius he found that ‘Abdu'l-Bahá occupied the room next to his. There the great blessing was conferred on him of several interviews with ‘Abdu'l-Bahá who asked him about his future work and counseled him to teach only from the words of Christ as recorded in the Gospels. Mr. Roh was connected with a Christian mission and taught in a Christian college and a Theological School besides preaching. I urged the two friends to work together and translate a Bahá'í booklet into the Korean language for their people. Mr. Roh said that because of his position he could not work openly. The next day when I was sitting by the side of the Temple of Heaven Mr. Roh appeared unexpectedly and we had another talk, the last one during my first visit in Seoul. Again I urged him to work with Mr. Oh, for it was apparent that this was a Divine plan and would have results.

The manager of the First Bank whom I had met invited me the next afternoon to speak to the clerks of the bank. Although only a few understood English, some seeds were sown. After the talk I was entertained with an American lady teacher who was present, at his home where a sumptuous Japanese feast was served. When I remarked that there were nine present, the host replied that he had planned it so because nine was the Bahá'í number.

On September eighth, (the Bahá'í feast day), I had asked Mr. Oh to arrange for a meeting place where I could give a Bahá'í feast. The lunch room of the Korean YMCA was selected, and Mr. Oh invited his friends who were interested in the Cause, nine of whom came. As only a few understood English, he acted as interpreter. A wonderful spirit was present at that first Bahá'í feast held in Korea. I told those present how at the same time all over the world similar feasts were being held and thus a great world unity was being established. The conversation centered around ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, and the questions asked concerned Him, His station, His daily life and life from childhood. One of the friends asked if He were like Christ, and they appeared to have great capacity for understanding. I asked if they would like to write their sentiments and names to be sent to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá on cards which were passed around. They wrote in the Korean language which Mr. Oh afterwards translated for me. There were nine young men who wrote as follows: "The message of Truth which shines all around the universe." Oh Sang Sun. "The same origin from the first." Secretary Korean YMCA. "Newest voice of Truth." Editor Korean daily. "Long life to the Bahá'í, the fair and impartial." Teacher Christian College. "Various streams running into the same ocean." "Just now I found the brilliant light of Bahá'." "The universal supreme mountain of Truth." "Oh freedom! Oh Bahá'í."

The next evening, September ninth, the young men gave me a Korean feast. As some of those who were present the night before could not come, others took their places. It was a heavenly feast and again those present wrote their names to be sent to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and a photograph was taken. One of the young men who came that night called on me the next day. He said he had stayed up until 2 a.m. that night before reading the Japanese Bahá'í booklet and thinking it over. It was he who later moved to Tokyo where he asked me to teach Esperanto to a group of Chinese students, the result of which was far reaching. (See Chapter V).

An inspiring afternoon was spent at the school where Mr. Oh taught. The school was conducted in an old Buddhist monastery in the suburbs of Seoul, a quiet spot where there was an atmosphere of harmony. The students gathered in the temple hall, the ceiling of which was decorated with beautiful Buddhist designs in bright Korean colors. Mr. Oh introduced me to the students and then translated for me. With my first words I showed the students a picture of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. As I spoke the expressions of their faces changed, becoming more and more earnest. Was it not a sign of the times that a Western woman and Christian by birth should tell of the Message of a New Day in a Buddhist temple in that far away land! After the meeting I lingered with a few others and the inspiration came to send a greeting to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá from that spot. The students who were present wrote their greetings in Korean, which Mr. Oh translated. He and another teacher wrote in English as follows: "The college students have touched the new spirit and there burned in their hearts wonderful inspiration. This wonderful opportunity was experienced

67



through Miss Alexander's earnest message which was brought into this land of 'morning calm.'" Oh Sang Sun. "I experienced a wonderful truth and a new spirit." A teacher. "To my Master ‘Abdu'l-Bahá who is the Hero of universal peace in the world." A student. "Offering hearty thanks to our unseen Master who is in the far away land." A student. "I am most interested and offer thanks for the great Bahá'í spirit of the equality of humanity and the breaking up of all prejudice which is the common need in modern life." A student. "I have found the principle of true life in your Teachings and I promise to be a very friend with you." A student.

September tenth is the day when the Koreans remember the dead. Mr. Oh accompanied me to the Chundokyo Society which gave its hall for the public Bahá'í meeting. Then we visited one of its schools where I was invited to speak. As they had no room large enough to accommodate all the students, they stood in the open under the hot sun, while I spoke for ten minutes. Mr. Oh who translated, said he added emphasis to all I said. Afterwards a student came up to me and asked in English if he might come to see me. He came later with two friends from his home town in the North where he had seen a Japanese Bahá'í booklet. He had been educated in a mission school and was eager to procure Bahá'í books and learn more about the Cause.

The last meeting with the Korean friends was on September seventeenth, in the Korean YMCA. Mr. Oh spoke first addressing me. Then I urged the friends to meet each week and study the Teachings and left some Bahá'í literature with Mr. Oh to form the nucleus of a Bahá'í library. Mr. Oh's devotion in assisting me to give the Bahá'í Message to his people was worthy of a thousand thanks. During all those days nothing had come in our path to hinder the spread of His Cause in that land.

On September eighteenth, the last day in Seoul, it was my privilege to distribute among the poor Korean patients in the Severance hospital, nineteen bouquets of flowers. This I did in the Master's Name and the joy which came in the faces of the patients was a pleasure to witness.

The morning of September nineteenth, I left Seoul to return to Tokyo. I realized that the years spent in Japan had been the preparation for the work in Korea, for the knowledge of Japan, and the connections made while living there, opened the way to Korea. During the month in Seoul His power had been triumphant. All the doors had been opened. Japanese and Koreans, both Buddhists and Christians had heard the Bahá'í Message and were now free to search themselves. It could not be said they had been forgotten in God's great plan for the New Day.


Last Tablets From ‘Abdu'l-Bahá

In Tokyo I received a letter from Mr. Fujita written from the Tomb of the Báb on November 1921, in which he wrote: "This morning I am going to write you just a short note to thank you for the letter and supplications from the Korean friends in the Buddhist College. The Master has written a very long Tablet to the Friends in Korea which you soon will receive."

The unexpected happened and the Beloved Master left us three weeks after Mr. Fujita wrote me. On the morning of February 14, 1922, in Tokyo, two Tablets revealed by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá reached me, which were His last eternal messages to be sent to the Far East. One Tablet was to me and the other was addressed, "To the new friends of Korea," dated November 5, 1921. Fifteen names were mentioned of those who sent their message to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá when I was in their land. In reply to the Beloved Master poured out His love and compassion to these young men in words which will forever bless that land. The Tablet follows:
Through Miss Agnes Alexander, To the new friends of Korea: — Sang Sun Oh, U.U. Cuan, Kinng S. Ko, Chy Rin, Inki Hong, Pyung C. Lee, Soon Y. Lee, Wen H. Ma, Young N. Pyeur, Chan Young Kim, Agnes Alexander, Z.Y. Roe, So. Wo Kloon S.Y. Zee, Ze Kyung Sang, and S.T. Suh.
He is God!
O ye heavenly sons! Your heartfelt and sincere greetings have reached ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's ears and your message gave great spiritual pleasure.
Praise be to God that celestial light guided and led you to the Sun of Reality, bestowed everlasting life and granted heavenly illumination. Ye are like seedlings which have been planted by the hand of Bestowal in His Spiritual Rose-Garden. It is my hope that through the warmth of the Sun of Reality, the pouring down of the showers of mercy and the wafting of the breezes of bestowal, ye may progress day by day, so that each one may become a blessed tree, full of leaves and flowers and throw your shade over great multitudes.
The Graces of the Kingdom of Abhá are the rays of the Sun of Reality. It illumines the earth and heaven, makes the star a shining moon, turns the speck into a huge mountain, bestows strength to the weak, gives everlasting healing to the sick, grants heavenly treasures to the poor, confirms the oppressed ones to everlasting glory and turns the people of darkness to those of light.
O heavenly friends, the doors of heaven have been opened, the lights of God have shone forth and the heavenly Call has been raised. Summon ye all humanity to listen to this Heavenly Call and invite them to the Celestial world, so that they may find a new spirit and attain to a new life. In all conditions my heart and spirit are with you. Upon ye be the Glory of Abhá.

The other Tablet, dated November 7, 1921, addressed to me, follows:
O thou who proclaimest the Kingdom of God. Thy received and gave much joy. Praise be to God that the confirmations of the Kingdom of Abhá reached and thou becamest the cause of the guidance of the souls. It is my hope that in Korea thou wilt raise the banner of the Greatest Guidance. Convey my utmost kindness to Mr. Roh. I have utmost love for him and ask for him Heavenly blessings. Upon thee be the Glory of the Most Glorious.

In June, 1923, Mr. H.C. Waung, the Chinese student who translated the Bahá'í booklet into Chinese, went to China for a visit. He carried some Bahá'í booklets for Mr. Oh and on the way stopped in Seoul and met the Korean friends. He wrote me that they entertained him, and they had a happy time exchanging ideas concerning the present age.

68



Second visit in Seoul

After my return to Japan from Korea in 1921, no word came to me from the friends there. It was not until two years later, in October, 1923, after the great earthquake in Japan, that I stopped in Seoul on the way to join Martha Root in Peiping, and again met some of the Korean friends. My sister Miss Mary C. Alexander, was with me and we spent a few days in Seoul. It was a joy to meet again Mr. Oh, who was teaching in a small Buddhist college in the city. He arranged for me to speak to the young men of the college on October nineteenth, when a photograph was taken. I had brought with me a large framed photograph of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and a painting of the Greatest Name done by Auntie Victoria, which I left at the college with Mr. Oh. These appear in the photograph taken that day. (See Bahá'í Year Book page 122).

When Mr. Roh came to see me, I found him changed in appearance, as he had been ill. He it was who met ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in Tiberius, and to whom ‘Abdu'l-Bahá sent His "utmost love" in a Tablet addressed to me, already quoted. He realized that time was quickly passing and his desire to serve his people had not been accomplished. At the Christian College where he was teaching he had told some of his students of the Bahá'í Teachings. One of these, an ardent Esperantist came to see me. For his given name, he had taken the Esperanto word, Espero. He was most enthusiastic about the Bahá'í Teachings and later in Peiping I received an eager letter from him written on November seventh, in which he wrote: "Mi tre amas Baháismo kaj me propagandas gian ismon al mia kolegiaj sam-lernantoj. . . . Paciganta Angelino, estu ciam sanegai! Kiel eble plej tuje vi reveturu al mia lando, mi helpos vin, certe me helpos vin."


click for larger image
Seoul, Korea, September 1921. Miss Alexander is sitting at the end of the table. These young men were among those who wrote their names to be sent to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. He sent them back a Tablet — the only one addressed to Koreans.

Another Korean Esperantist also wrote me on November twelfth: "Nun mi skribas pri Baháismo titolita 'La religio do homaramo,' kaj mi kredas gi farigos pli el 50 pagoj. Kaj se mi finos gin, tuj aperigos en la jurnalo nomita "Dong-a," kiu estas la plej bona en nia lando. . . . Sajnas al mi, ke en nia lando multaj geamikoj havas kortusojn por Baháismo."

These were the last messages to come to me from that land which had received ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's great blessing. In the future a brighter day may dawn for those people, when the world conflict will have passed, and the day of Divine Justice will reign in the world.


click for larger image


Miss Martha Root is holding a picture of Mr. Torii's son. Mr. Torii is sitting next to her and Mrs. Torii is behind him. Taken in 1937.


69


previous chapter chapter 5 start page single page chapter 7 next chapter
Back to:   Biographies Books East Asia
Home Site Map Forum Links Copyright About Contact
.
. .