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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 3

Mr. Kanichi Yamamoto

Mr. Kanichi* Yamamoto has the distinction of being the first Japanese believer. He immigrated from Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, to Hawaii, where he worked in the home of the family of a believer. Also living there was one of the early Bahá'ís of Hawaii, Miss Elizabeth Muther.

Miss Muther wrote to a friend on September 8, 1902, "After I became a believer I felt that sometime I might tell (Mr. Yamamoto). I prayed that his heart might be prepared to receive the truth. Although it was a little difficult to give him the Message because of his imperfect knowledge of English, yet God helped me so that he understands perfectly and is rejoicing in the Knowledge of His Truth. I have just

click for larger image
Mr. Kanichi Yamamoto, the first Japanese Bahá'í with four of his sons. The three oldest boys were given Persian names by `Abdu'l-Bahá. Taken in Berkeley, California in 1920.

* In the early days sometimes spelled Kwanichi.


had a little talk with him and he told me how happy he was and that he expects to write his letter to the Master this evening."

Mr. Yamamoto rewrote his letter four times before he was satisfied. "He felt that he could not write in English, so I told him that I thought it would be all right for him to write in Japanese. I was sure the Master would understand the spirit of his letter. Mr. Yamamoto said that although his letter was written in Japanese, the Master fully answered him."

Mr. Yamamoto wrote other letters to `Abdu'l-Bahá in Japanese. At the time no one in the Holy Land could read Japanese. `Abdu'l-Bahá's secretary recorded that He said, "I will turn to Bahá'u'lláh, and He will tell me what to say." He always answered Mr. Yamamoto's questions.

Mr. Yamamoto later lived in the Berkeley-Oakland area of California. When `Abdu'l-Bahá visited Oakland in 1912, Mr. Yamamoto had the privilege of arranging a meeting for him at the Japanese Independent Church. `Abdu'l-Bahá's talk is quoted in Ch. 6.

Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá to
Mr. Kanichi Yamamoto

O thou who art attracted by the Word of God to the Kingdom of God!

Turn with the whole of thy being to God, forget aught else save God, and supplicate God to make thee a sign of guidance in the midst of people who are veiled from God; perchance they may be guided to the Orb of all horizons, enter the kingdom of harmony, drink of the cup of the love of God, rejoice at the manifestation of the Kingdom of God, taste the delight of the mention of God, and shelter themselves in the shadow of the Tree of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God.

This beseemeth the believers; this is the qualification of the sincere; this is the path of the knowers; and this is the utmost aim of the faithful.

Exert thy utmost power that thou mayest share this great bounty.


O thou who hast addressed `Abdu'l-Bahá!

Verily, I pray my Lord to teach thee a language and writing of the Kingdom which will satisfy thee, so as to dispense with all things; for that spiritual writing and instructive tongue are eloquent, clear,


laudable, legible, read by the tongue and preserved in the heart. Blessed is he who knows it in the world of man!

Know, verily, that the Ocean is waving, the Sun shining, the Stars dawning. (Understand what I say!)

The tree will grow, the earth will send forth hyacinths* and give blessings, and man will become of the heavenly angels. Feed on the light of guidance and impart light to the people. The bird will warble melodies unknown save by the birds of heaven; then tear asunder the veil and see the realities of things with the eye of God. Verily, thy Lord guideth whomsoever He willeth unto the Straight Path!

The Promised Spot will be made a racecourse for the steeds of the race of Knowledge and the lights of the Merciful will shine upon it. The dispersed ones will return to the Center of Gathering and the birds will return from the meadows of the world unto the Nest of Harmony. This is a preordained matter.

As to thee: Thou hast borne every difficulty and hardship and soon will be rewarded by God with a good reward. He will destine to thee all that is good, and choose for thee the manifestation of His mercy among the servants; that they may thus see that the Sons of the Kingdom have gone out**, while there hath come a soul from the remotest horizon who hath entered the Kingdom of God.

(January 1903)

O thou youth of God!

Thank God that thou hast found thy way to the Radiant Kingdom, torn asunder the veil of superstition and learned the reality of the mysteries.

All the people have formed a god in the world of thought, and that form of their own imagination they worship; when the fact is that the imagined form is finite and the human mind is infinite***. Surely the infinite is greater than the finite, for imagination is accidental (or non-essential) while the mind is essential; surely the essential is greater than the accidental.

Therefore consider: All the sects and peoples worship their own thought; they create a god in their own minds and acknowledge him to be the creator of all things, when that form is a superstition — thus people adore and worship imagination (or illusion).

* Hyacinth — the flower of knowledge.
** Comparing those near at hand who disobeyed the command of Bahá'u'lláh with the recipient of this Tablet, a Japanese.
*** Infinite in regard to imagination, for without the mind there would be no imagination.
[These footnotes were part of the text copied from Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá Vol. III.]

The Essence of the Divine Entity and the Unseen of the unseen is holy above imagination and is beyond thought. Consciousness doth not reach It. Within the capacity of comprehension of a produced (or created) reality that Ancient Reality cannot be contained. It is a different world; from it there is no information; arrival thereat is impossible; attainment thereto is prohibited and inaccessible. This much is known: It exists and Its existence is certain and proven — but the condition is unknown.

All the philosophers and the doctors know that It is, but they were perplexed in the comprehension of Its existence and were at last discouraged, and in great despair they left this world. For the comprehension of the condition and mysteries of that Reality of realities and Mystery of mysteries there is need for another power and another sense. That power and sense is not possessed by mankind, therefore they have not found any information. For example: If a man possess the power of hearing, the power of tasting, the power of smelling and the power of feeling but no power of seeing, he cannot see. Hence, through the powers and senses present in man the realization of the Unseen Reality, which is pure and holy above the reach of doubts, is impossible. Other powers are needed and other senses required. If those powers and senses are obtained, then information can be had; otherwise, not.

As to the question of marriage, according to the law of God; First you must select one, and then it depends upon the consent of the father and mother. Before your selection they have no right of interference.

Endeavor as much as thou canst to acquire the English language with the utmost eloquence and excellence, so that thou mayest be enabled to translate the Tablets into the Japanese tongue. This is my advice. Certainly exert thy utmost endeavor to attain this bounty.

(Date unknown)

O thou who art the single one of Japan and the unique one of the extreme Orient!

That country hath been deprived of the divine breath until this time; now, God be praised! thou art initiated in the mysteries and conscious of the secrets of the lights.

Thou hast been earthly, I hope that thou wilt become heavenly; thou hast been gloomy, I desire that thou wilt become luminous. Thou wert wandering in the wilderness, thou hast found a way to the abode of the Beloved One; thou wert a thirsty fish, thou hast attained to the endless Ocean; thou wert a roving bird, thou hast reached the divine


Rose Garden; thou wert spiritually sick and thou hast found real health!

Now is the time that thou shouldst entirely abandon the comfort, ease, enjoyment and the life of this transient world, and wholly arise to guide the people of Japan, illuminating faces, perfuming nostrils and conquering, through the heavenly hosts and divine reinforcements, the hearts of the people of that region.

Do not wonder at the favor and bounty of the Lord. By the favor of God, how often a drop hath become undulating like a sea, and an atom become shining like the sun!

The Sun of Truth hath enlightened the divine world and illumined the universe. The rays of His grace have shone upon the East and West, and His heat hath caused vegetation in all countries. So the lights and the heat of the Sun of Truth being help and assistance, what more dost thou need?

Thou must warble, like the nightingale of significances, in the rose garden so that thou mayest inspire all the birds of the meadow to chant and to sing.

(August 4, 1904)

To Miss Elizabeth Muther in Hawaii

I have written a reply to the letter of Kwanichi Yamamoto and have enclosed it with this letter. I ask God to make him a sign of guidance and to guide through him souls of his native land and of other people.

(January 25, 1903)

To Mrs. Helen S. Goodall

The Japanese youth, K. Yamamoto should act in accord with the Law of God — namely — he must first choose a companion (wife) for himself and then his father and mother must sanction. If their sanction and consent is not attained, that engagement is not completed.

He must acquire the English language well, so as to enable him to translate the Divine Tablets into the Japanese language.

(October 18, 1906)

To Mrs. J. D. Brittingham

Announce greetings on My behalf, to the two young Japanese (Yamamoto and Fujita) and say: His Imperial Majesty, Mikado, became the cause of the material progress of Japan. I hope that you may become the cause of her spiritual development. This is the principle of progress.


Unless man makes spiritual progress in the world of spirit, intellect and heart, he cannot gather universal results from material advancements. Now, you must gird up the loins of endeavor, and reflect duly, so that ye may quicken the people of Japan through the Spirit of God.

(Translated by A. Esphahani, Washington, October 6, 1907)

To Mrs. Ella Goodall Cooper

It is written in Miss Barney's book that the human fetus is not an animal fetus although it has gone through various and complex transformations and metamorphosis in the womb until it has taken to itself human form and appearance. Therefore that fetus was essentially human and the problem is solved when we realize that it has transformed from one form to another until it appears and manifests with the utmost beauty...

Concerning the marriage feast of the young Japanese, Kanichi Yamamoto. It became the cause of great joy and I hope that this marriage will be conducive to great blessings.

(Translated by A. Esphahani, March 23, 1909)

Mr. Fujita with his niece, Kinue, in his home in Yanai, Japan in 1946.


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