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Japan Will Turn Ablaze!

by Abdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi, and Universal House of Justice

compiled by Barbara R. Sims.
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Chapter 13

Letters to Individuals

Excerpts from letters to Japanese believers,

To Mr. Saichiro Fujita

After so many years of silence our beloved Guardian was very happy to receive your postcard.

He is very glad to see you are not only safe after all these terrible years of war and privation, but that you are seeking to establish a center of the Faith where you live. He assures you he will pray that your efforts may be successful, and that you may become the father of the first spiritual assembly there.

Your long services in Haifa are not forgotten, and the Guardian sends you his greetings.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(October 15, 1947)

The excellent progress the Cause is making is a delight to his (the Guardian's) heart, and he feels very close to the Japanese believers.

Now that our dear Agnes Alexander is with you again out there (in Japan), he feels still greater progress will be made. You and she, both old and tried believers, must devote particular attention to strengthening the faith of the new souls, and giving them a firm foundation in the Covenant. You are often affectionately remembered here.

(signed by "Ruhiyyih")

(October 6, 1950)

To Mrs. Kyoko Hongo

He (the Guardian) is very happy to hear that you and your husband have become declared Bahá'ís; and he will ardently pray in the Holy Shrines that each of you may become an active and devoted servant of Bahá'u'lláh, and may be assisted in bringing many souls in that land to the light of this great Faith, and carry on the work nobly started by the dear Davenports.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(March 21, 1952)


To Mr. Tameo Hongo

It brings him (the Guardian) great joy to realize that we see before our eyes the promises of Bahá'u'lláh being fulfilled, and the peoples of East and West embracing as lovers, and united in the service of God and of man.

He feels that the Japanese people, so sensitive to every form of beauty both spiritual and material, will have a deep appreciation of the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, not only because of their truth and justice, but because of the great beauty which permeates them, a beauty which will gradually, through the fulfillment of His prophecies and the practice of His Laws and Principles, permeate the life of mankind, and create a society such as has never been dreamed of before.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(April 22, 1952)

To Mr. Michitoshi Zenimoto

Your letter has been received by the beloved Guardian and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.

Bahá'u'lláh wrote, many, many years ago: "The vitality of men's belief in God is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it. The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent Revelation can cleanse and revive it?"

This is the ebb of the tide. The Bahá'ís know that the tide will turn and come in, after mankind has suffered, with mighty waves of faith and devotion. The people will enter the Cause of God in troops, and the whole condition will change. The Bahá'ís see this new condition which will take place, as one on the mountain-top sees the first glimpse of the dawn, before others are aware of it; and it is toward that that the Bahá'ís must work.

The Guardian will pray that you may be instrumental in bringing many of your fellow-youth into the Faith. He sends you his loving greetings.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(October 5, 1953)

To Miss Yoshiko Morita

The photograph of the Japanese Bahá'ís, who attended the conference recently held in Nikko, brought great joy to his (the Guardian's) heart.

Although the American and Persian friends are helping greatly the spread of the Faith in Japan, the main object of their presence in


that country is to attract Japanese people to the Cause of God. Only when the Faith is firmly rooted in the hearts of the people of that country can we feel that true progress has been made; and therefore to see there are so many Japanese believers, active and devoted in different places in Japan, has been a great comfort and joy to our Guardian.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(December 30, 1955)

To Mrs. Masao Konishi

The time is too short to spend years preparing yourself to teach by the indirect approach. The world is ready for the direct Message, and it would be much better to equip yourself to do direct Bahá'í teaching.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(September 19, 1957)

The following excerpts are from letters to
pioneers to Japan and Korea, 1948-1957

To Mr. Robert Imagire

He (the Guardian) notices in your last letter that you sound discouraged. But he feels you should look on the bright side of the work in Japan, and realize that, after so many, many years of complete inertia, the old Bahá'ís have been found — at least some of them — and contacts reestablished. You are able to serve there, new people are hearing of the Faith, and the prospects for the future work there are promising. It is a great pity that a pioneer effort, organized and financed, cannot be carried out there. But the present Seven Year Plan takes all the American Bahá'í resources, and at present Japan must depend on volunteer teachers like your dear self, who of course are not as free as a full time pioneer would be.

In regard to the various questions in your last letter; because of the difficult conditions under which you are serving there and the state of the country and immaturity of the believers you should not be too rigid. You should try and meet on the proper Feast day, but if it is not possible meet as close to the date as you can. Likewise, it would be desirable to observe the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh and the Master, etc., at the correct times, but it is not essential to do so. With such a small group of Bahá'ís who have no proper literature except the Esslemont


book, and need to deepen in the Teachings, you should be very patient and not ask them to do things before they see the wisdom of it.

Membership for Bahá'ís should be based on their understanding the station of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu'l-Bahá, the Guardian and the function of the Administrative Order. To do this it is not necessary for people to first read the Will and Testament and the Dispensation. The essentials can be explained to them, and the rest is a question of faith; if they believe, they can be accepted as Bahá'ís. It is premature now to say any "laws" of the Aqdas must be followed. But the Bahá'ís should be encouraged to keep the Fast, use an obligatory prayer, obtain the consent of parents for marriage, and live up to the Teachings in general.

He certainly feels one of your first duties is to deepen the understanding of the Faith in the minds of the believers there.

You should certainly try to make new contacts but until you have a nucleus of active believers there he feels a lot of publicity is premature.

As to translations, this is certainly very important, but he would not suggest that at present with the limited facilities at your disposal, that you translate whole books. Make selections of subjects that will interest the Japanese; some prayers, some of the chapters from "Some Answered Questions" on things of general interest rather than the purely Christian topics; some of the excerpts from "Gleanings". In other words try and get together a selection from our Teachings that covers a wide range of subjects and is representative of our beliefs, and translate these at first. Whole books can be undertaken in the future.

He feels the teaching and translating work can go hand in hand as you teach with new material translated.

Your services are very deeply valued by our beloved Guardian, and he assures you he will pray for you and all the Japanese Bahá'ís in the Holy Shrines.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(in the Guardian's handwriting)

The zeal, devotion and courage which you exhibit in your activities in the service of the Cause in Japan are truly meritorious and evoke my deepest admiration. Your mission is indeed historic, and your pioneer achievements an example to the rising generation. Persevere in your high endeavors, and rest assured that the Beloved will bless your exertions and will aid you to fulfil your heart's desire.

Your true and grateful brother, Shoghi

(January 21, 1948)


He (the Guardian) is delighted over the progress the Faith is making in Japan, and feels greatly attracted to the Japanese believers, who show a spirit of sincerity and faith which augurs well for the future development of the work there.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(in the Guardian's handwriting)

Dear and valued co-worker:

Your outstanding pioneer services are indeed worthy of the highest praise, and I am deeply grateful to you for the work you have accomplished. The firm establishment of a spiritual assembly in Japan and its consolidation, as well as the formation of small groups and isolated centers, will no doubt act as a magnet that will draw the inestimable blessings of Bahá'u'lláh. Persevere in your historic task and rest assured and be happy.

Your true and grateful brother, Shoghi

(October 16, 1948)

To Mrs. Barbara Davenport

He (the Guardian) urges you to encourage the friends (in Japan) to observe our Bahá'í laws and ordinances, deepen themselves in the administration, and realize they are followers of a Faith — not a mere movement.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(December 20, 1949)

To Mr. Robert Imagire

He (the Guardian) is so pleased to have dear Miss Alexander there. Her devotion and loyalty, her love and knowledge of the teachings will be a comfort and inspiration to the believers there (in Japan).

The Guardian was also very happy to see eight Japanese names on the Tokyo Assembly. Although the help and advice of American believers is of great importance, it is excellent that the majority are Japanese and are assuming responsibility for the affairs of the Cause in their native land.

He feels great strides forward have been made, and trusts still greater progress lies ahead. He was delighted to hear the Japanese friends and particularly the women, are actively teaching and giving lectures.

(signed by R. Rabbani)


(in the Guardian's handwriting)

Dear and valued co-worker:

The services you are rendering the Faith in Japan are indeed remarkable and unforgettable. I am filled with admiration for the spirit that animates you and for your splendid accomplishments. Persevere in your historic tasks, and rest assured that the Beloved is well pleased with you. I will continue to supplicate in your behalf the Master's richest blessings, that He may fulfill your heart's desire in His service.

Your true and grateful brother, Shoghi

(September 17, 1950)

The news of the progress being made by the Japanese Bahá'ís in teaching and in reaching people of importance, pleased him (the Guardian) greatly; and he urges you all to persevere, and never lose heart. In his visits to the Shrines, he will supplicate that Bahá'u'lláh may confirm your efforts, and enlarge the scope of your activities.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(February 27, 1951)

He (the Guardian) feels by all means you should plan to remain in Japan and buy a home, if possible. Your presence there has marked a turning point in the work in that country.

It will interest you to know that there are Bahá'ís now in Formosa and Indochina, and we hope an English believer will be able to go out to Hong Kong later. Lights are going on in Asia.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(September 21, 1951)

He (the Guardian) was most happy to hear of the progress being made in Japan, particularly in the new centers being opened to the Faith, such as Yokohama and Kofu. He was also very happy to know that Miss Alexander is now teaching in Kyoto.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(November 12, 1952)

To Mr. and Mrs. Donald Witzel

He (the Guardian) was deeply touched by the two letters by the two new believers of Korea, and the spirit of loving devotion which they portray. He wishes you to assure them of his prayers in their behalf. He hopes they will be inspired to intensify their teaching efforts, so others may be quickened by the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh, and an Assembly be formed in Korea.


He wishes you and the friends in Tokyo to keep in close touch with the friends in Korea. In fact, he wishes the Tokyo Assembly to undertake, as one of their direct responsibilities, the assistance of the work in Korea, sending if possible one or two pioneers to Korea. This will keep the Center in Korea, (and even enable it to develop into an Assembly), until such time as more American pioneers are sent to Korea.

The Guardian greatly values the services of the friends in Japan. He hopes they will now treble their efforts in the teaching field. Now that the Ten Year Crusade has been so auspiciously launched, the divine confirmations are descending; and the friends should seize this opportunity to spread the Faith to all corners of the globe. Especial opportunity devolves on the Japanese Bahá'ís and pioneers, as one of the goals of the Crusade is the establishment of a National Assembly for Japan.

The Guardian will pray for the success of the teaching efforts of the friends in Japan; also for the services and development of the Faith in Korea.

(signed by Leroy Ioas)

(May 25, 1953)

To Mr. Noureddin Momtazi

The Guardian is deeply appreciative of your devotion and sacrifices for the Faith. The gift which you have made of $3,000 toward the purchase of the Hazira in Tokyo is a further sign of the dynamic spirit which animates you in all of your services.

The Guardian attaches the utmost importance to the Hazira of Tokyo, as this is to become the Headquarters of the National Assembly when it is elected.

The Guardian feels the time is now ripe for the Faith to spread very rapidly throughout Japan, and he wishes that all of the preliminary steps be taken for the development of the Faith as it goes forward. Thus he is anxious that the Hazira be purchased this year if possible.

(signed by Leroy Ioas)

(July 10, 1954)

To Mr. William Maxwell

The Guardian has received very glowing reports of the wonderful accomplishments of the Conference* in Japan. He feels that this

* The International Teaching Conference at Nikko.


conference marked a new point of development of the Faith in Japan, as well as the entire general area. The spirit of confirmation is reaching all those who arise to serve the Faith; and he is sure divine blessings will come upon everyone who attended the Conference and took part in its deliberations, and who will now go forth to win new victories.

(signed by Leroy Ioas)

(October 19, 1955)

To Mrs. Carolyn Dary

He (the Guardian) urges you to make a special effort to visit the friends in other places where you stop, no matter how short the time, as the news of the progress of the Faith in general will encourage and hearten them. Especially in places such as Japan, the friends need to be urged to persevere with their teaching efforts, so as to have more Spiritual Assemblies in the future to support their National Body, when the time comes for its formation.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(November 23, 1955)

The recent news from Japan is most heartening — eight Assemblies in all. Even though our dear Bahá'í sister, Miss Alexander may be exhausted from years of labour, the harvest is so rich that it compensates for any inconvenience or suffering.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(May 3, 1956)

To Mr. John McHenry III

He (the Guardian) is very happy that you can arrange your affairs so as to return to Korea... The phenomenal progress the Cause has made in that area (Korea) is practically exclusively due to the services of the young American Bahá'ís who are in the Armed Forces. Indeed, it is a great victory won by Bahá'í youth.

(signed by R. Rabbani)

(March 18, 1957)

To Mr. William Maxwell

The Guardian was happy to learn that you are still in Korea and that you are able to continue in the teaching work of that important country. He knows that wherever you are you will carry forward the pressing requirements of the Faith with vigor and enthusiasm but he


feels that Korea and even Japan particularly need the help of yourself and other American pioneers at this time.

(signed by Leroy Ioas)

(August 18, 1957)

To Mr. Eugene Schreiber

The Master was most hopeful of the spread of the Faith in Japan. Now that His Promises are being fulfilled, the friends must be very happy. Likewise this happiness must translate itself into renewed devotion so that the Call of God may be raised in all parts of that important country.

The Guardian is praying for the success of the teaching work in Japan.

(signed by Leroy Ioas)

(October 18, 1957)


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