Previous chapter   Next chapter

68.       A Bahá'í Children's Class

click here for larger image

      This is an early children's class at the Tokyo Bahá'í Center, 1962. The teacher, Mrs. Muriel Snay (with glasses) and her helpers are in the rear.

69.       Delegates to the 1962 National Convention

click here for larger image

These were delegates present at the National Convention in Tokyo, 1962.


Although this convention also had delegates from Hong Kong and Macau, those in the photograph are from Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

      First row: Miss Mayumi Taniguchi of Tokyo; Mrs. Rezvanieh Katirai of Nishinomiya; Mrs. Ayako Ogi; Mrs. Joy Earl and Mrs. Barbara Sims of Tokyo.

      Middle row: Dr. David Earl, who, with his brilliant wife Joy, were among the very early American pioneers to Japan; Mr. Rouhollah Mumtazi, who six years later was to become the first counsellor in Japan; Mr. S.A. Suleimani, who, with his wife, were the first pioneers to Taiwan, 1954, Mr. Tadasu Miyazawa of Akashi, Mr. Masamichi Yamada and Mr. Kiyoshi Nonoda of Osaka; and Dr. Ikuo Mizuno, who served faithfully on the national spiritual assembly and was appointed to the Auxiliary Board in 1975. Next is John McHenry III, pioneer to Korea, who was the first counsellor appointed in Korea in 1969; and Mr. Hassan Naderi, early Persian pioneer to Japan who donated his house in Osaka to the national assembly in 1958 to be used as a Bahá'í Center. Back row: Mr. Mitsusaburo Kawata of Kobe; Mr. Kota Nakahama of Akashi; Mr. Yoshizo Fujisawa of Nagasaki; Mr. Masazo Odani of Kyoto, Mr. Hiroyasu Takano; Mr. William Smits of Korea and Mr. Abbas Katirai.

      Mrs. Ogi and Mrs. Akiko Schreiber (mentioned elsewhere) were the first Japanese Bahá'ís to go to Korea. Mrs. Ogi visited in the mid-1960s. Mrs. Schreiber lived there with her husband Eugene in 1966/67.

70.       At the London Congress, 1963

click here for larger image

      Many Bahá'ís from North East Asia attended the Congress. Shown

here in Albert Hall, London, the site of the Congress, are Dr. Ikuo Mizuno; Mr. Kim Cha'ang-jin, early believer of Korea; Mr. Masazo Odani and Mr. Michitoshi Zenimoto. The three Japanese were members of the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia and just a few days earlier had participated in the first International Convention in the Holy Land.

71.       The Sixth National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia

click here for larger image

      The Sixth National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of North East Asia, 1962/1963. It was the last assembly on which Hand of the Cause Miss Agnes Alexander served. The national convention in 1963 was held at the end of May instead of Ridvan, because of the International Convention in the Holy Land which took place during Ridvan. Miss Alexander was elected to the national spiritual assembly in 1963, but she immediately resigned, as the Hands of the Cause had decided in May 1963 to devote all their efforts to teaching and protection during that important period of the expansion of the Faith.

      From the right, counter clockwise: Hand of the Cause Miss Alexander, Mr. Michitoshi Zenimoto, Mr. Masazo Odani, Dr. David Earl, Mr. Hiroyasu Takano, Mr. Rouhollah Mumtazi, Mr. Ataullah Moghbel, Dr. Ikuo Mizuno and Mrs. Sims.


72.       Two Birthday Parties

click here for larger image

      Miss Alexander was born July 21, 1875. On July 21, 1963, for her eighty-eighth birthday, the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tokyo had a party in her honor. There were refreshments, and speeches of appreciation, which she graciously answered. There was even music, played on the traditional Japanese instrument, the koto. It was a happy time.

      Seated. Mrs. Konno (a friend of one of the Bahá'ís); Mrs. Yasuko Mori Irwin, daughter of Miss Alexander's old friends Mr. and Mrs. Tsuto Mori; Mrs. Michiko Mizuno and Mrs. Bashir-Elahi. Mrs. Yuri Furukawa is sitting next to Miss Alexander (middle) and to the right is Mrs. Tadako Arakawa; Mrs. Suma Mori and Mrs. Ayako Ogi. Standing from the left are Mr. Philip Marangella, Mr. Masazo Odani; Mrs. Barbara Sims; Mr. Rouhollah Mumtazi; unidentified; Mr. Bashir-Elahi; Mrs. Michiko Takano; Mr. Irwin; Mr. Hiroyasu Takano; Mr. Shibukawa the koto player; Mr. Hideyasu Takashima; Dr. Yasuyuki Hosoda; Mr. Masaaki Ushibata; Miss Fumiko Hirayama; Mrs. Akiko Schreiber; Miss Reiko Masuto, Mrs. Chiyo Suzuki; Mr. Hiroshi Yamazaki; Mrs. Mitsuko Yamazaki; Miss Masako Inoue; Miss Yoko Ishihara and Dr. Mizuno.


click here for larger image

      Within a few days of the party in Tokyo, the Bahá'ís in Kansai celebrated Miss Alexander's eighty-eighth birthday at the Osaka Center. At least two people aside from Miss Alexander attended both parties. In Japanese 88 is and it makes an ideograph which is the character for rice. Rice is the staple food and has all good connotations. Therefore when an individual reaches 88 it is time for a special celebration.

      At the Osaka party, the first piece of birthday cake goes to Miss Alexander. Mr. Zenimoto is assisting her.


73.       Dr. Mizuno Speaks at Summer Schools

click here for larger image

      Dr. Ikuo Mizuno, who lived in Yokohama, liked to use charts to accompany his talks. As he was a surgeon, he thought it fitting to explain Bahá'í administration in terms of the body (top photograph). This was


during a summer school in 1961.

      In the bottom photograph at another summer school at Takarazuka in 1963 he is explaining Bahá'u'lláh's journey from Iran to the Holy Land.

      As Dr. Mizuno had a traditional education and knew the more classical style of Japanese, he undertook to translate the "Kitab-i-Iqan" into Japanese. It took him two years, working on it every night after coming home from his professional duties at the hospital. At that time he was living alone as his wife had died. After he retired, he went to Kyoto to live with his son, who was also a doctor.

      Dr. Mizuno was a member of the national spiritual assembly for many years and was appointed as Auxiliary Board Member for Protection in 1976. He served in that capacity until his death at age ninety-one, in 1986.

74.       More Activities in the 1960s

click here for larger image

Commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Báb, at the Osaka Bahá'í Center, July 9, 1961.


click here for larger image

      This was the engagement party, in 1963, of Miss Chiyo Sato and Dr. Toshio Suzuki, two active Bahá'ís in the Tokyo area. The happy couple are standing in the middle. The photograph was taken at the home of one of the Tokyo Bahá'ís. Dr. Suzuki was a fairly new Bahá'í at that time, but he was to become the secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Japan several years later.

click here for larger image

      In 1964 Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki were living in the Bahá'í Center in Nagasaki where he was fulfilling his medical resident requirements at a nearby hospital. Mrs. Suzuki, standing at the left, conducted a Bahá'í class to which the neighborhood children were invited.


click here for larger image

      A Naw-Rúz party at the Tokyo Bahá'í Center in 1964. Miss Alexander is sitting under the framed "Greatest Name" and Dr. Muhajir is to the right. To the right of Dr. Muhajir is Mrs. Furukawa.

click here for larger image

      The Eighth Summer School, held at Atami in 1964. Miss Alexander and Dr. Mizuno are holding the framed "Greatest Name." It was the last summer school Miss Alexander attended.


click here for larger image

      A happy occasion at the Tokyo Bahá'í Center, 1968, was the marriage of Miss Ruth Walbridge and Mr. Hideya Suzuki. Soon after, they went home-front pioneering to Hokkaido and have lived there since.

      Mr. Suzuki was to become the first Japanese appointed to the Continental Board of Counsellors.

click here for larger image

      The Local Spiritual Assembly of Kyoto had extension teaching goals and one was Fukuchiyama. This photograph was taken there during a


Kyoto-sponsored public meeting, assisted by Persian pioneers, June 6, 1966. Mr. Tokujiro Torii was the speaker that day. Eighteen people in all attended the meeting including some visually handicapped. The following Bahá'ís participated: Seated: Mr. Chikara Toyoda, Mr. Gunji Fukuyama, Mr. Torii, Mrs. Koyuki Akai and Miss Fumiko Akai. Standing: Mr. Seiichiro Tsunemi, Mr. Shingo Akai, Miss Akiko Kajiwara, Mr. Saburo Deguchi, Mr. Parvis Victory, Mrs. Pouran Mumtazi, Mrs. Victory, Mrs. Rezvanieh Katirai, Mr. Toshikazu Taniguchi and Mr. Masaaki Ushibata.

      Fukuchiyama residents were the Akai family (mother, brother and sister), Mr. Fukuyama, Mr. Toyoda, Miss Kajiwara and Mr. Deguchi.

click here for larger image

      This was the first Youth Conference in Japan, May 1969, at Jogashima, an off-shore island, near Tokyo. Seated in the front row: Miss Kazuko Hayashi, Miss Elahe Vahdat, Auxiliary Board member Mr. Charles Duncan, Counsellor Mumtazi, Mrs. Sims and Dr. Suzuki representing the national spiritual assembly, and two young women friends of the Bahá'ís. In the middle row: Mr. Nobuyoshi Enomoto, Mrs. Judy Fox, Mr. Sheridan Sims, Miss Hiroko Nakajima, Miss Laily Mumtazi, Miss Noriko Yamamoto, Miss Fusako Watanabe, unidentified, Mr. Kuninori Kobayashi and Miss Vedad Mumtazi. In the back row: Mr. Farzad Katirai, the next two young men are unidentified, Mr. Foad Katirai, Mr. Zafar Moghbel, Mr. Mehraban Jam, Mr. Kenji Sato and Mr. David Higuera.


75.       Hand of the Cause Miss Alexander Spends Two Years in the Hospital in Tokyo

      Two months after the Nagoya Esperanto Congress in 1965, Miss Alexander went from her home in Kyoto to attend the 50th Esperanto Congress in Tokyo.

      A day or so before the opening of the meeting, she fell in her room at International House and broke a bone in her hip. She was taken to the Jikei Idai Hospital for treatment. As it happened she stayed there for a little over two years.

      The Bahá'ís were grateful that during that trying time Miss Alexander suffered no pain, although she could not walk.

      Hand of the Cause Dr. Muhajir and Miss Alexander, 1965, at the Jikei Idai Hospital where she was confined the last two years she was in Japan. Dr. Muhajir requested that this picture be taken. He had loved and admired Miss Alexander since, as a young man, he had read her name in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's "Tablets of the Divine Plan."


      The hospital was centrally located and her room was frequently full of visitors. Fellow Hands of the Cause visited her; Dr. Muhajir, Mr. Paul Haney and Mr. Samandari. National assembly members frequently gathered in her room after a meeting. Tokyo Bahá'ís had a party for her in her room celebrating her ninety-first birthday. At the request of Dr. Muhajir, Miss Ruth Walbridge, who was a nurse, came from the Philippines where she was pioneering, to help take care of Miss Alexander.

      During the next two years Miss Alexander increasingly longed to return to Hawaii, and also her relatives wanted her to return where they could better watch her condition. In September 1967 she left Japan in a wheel chair, accompanied by Miss Walbridge.

      In Honolulu, Hawaii, she lived her remaining years in an apartment, attended by a full-time nurse. She had numerous visitors through the years and seemed to be quite happy. On January 1,1971, Miss Alexander, Daughter of the Kingdom, quietly passed away. She was buried in the family plot in the Kawaiahao Cemetery in Honolulu.

click here for larger image

      October 1965. Eight members of the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia visit Miss Alexander after a meeting. She always welcomed such visits as she liked to hear the latest news of the progress of the Faith.


      Miss Alexander appreciates her cake on the occasion of her ninety-first birthday. Miss Walbridge is holding the cake.

click here for larger image

      Miss Alexander left Jikei Idai Hospital in early September 1967 to go to Kyoto to close up her apartment, as she was leaving Japan permanently shortly after. Of course, the friends offered to pack everything for her but she insisted on overseeing it herself. She still could not walk so she was accompanied by her practical nurse and Miss Walbridge. During the few days she spent at her apartment in Kyoto she had many visitors. The above photograph was taken September 6 in her apartment during a visit by several Bahá'ís of that area.

      In the front. unidentified, Mr. Tadashi Terashima, Mr. Tokujiro Torii, Mr. Masazo Odani and Miss Fumiko Akai. Standing: Mr. Toshikazu Taniguchi, Miss Walbridge, Mr. Masaaki Ushibata, Mrs. Torii, Miss Alexander's practical nurse Ms. Takahashi and Mr. Shingo Akai.


76.       The Ashiya Bahá'í Cemetery

click here for larger image

      Mr. Bunshiro Kajimoto and his funeral. He was the first Japanese to be buried in accordance with Bahá'í law in Japan.

      Mr. Anthony Seto, a Chinese-American Bahá'í had been buried according to Bahá'í law some years earlier in Yokohama.


      In one of his last letters to the new National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia, the Guardian gave as a goal the acquisition of a Bahá'í burial ground in Japan.

      This was accomplished in 1958 when a large plot of land six hundred twenty-three square meters was obtained within the Ashiya Cemetery.

      As it was within the already existing Ashiya Cemetery, it could not be purchased outright. A permanent lease (or "right to use") was purchased and donated to the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia by Mr. Abbas Katirai.

      The first person to be buried there was Mr. Bunshiro Kajimoto, in 1964. He had become a Bahá'í in November 1961. When he became terminally ill, he and his wife discussed the future and they both decided they wanted to be buried in the Ashiya burial ground in accordance with Bahá'í law. Mr. Kajimoto wrote this in his will.

      It was certainly a radical departure from traditional Buddhist burial in which the body is cremated and the ashes put into

click here for larger image

      This photo was taken during a visit to the Bahá'í Cemetery in Ashiiya, in February 1979. It shows Mr. David Mockon, Mrs. Sue Sloan, Miss Iwakura and Mr. James Manners. All were members of a one-year full-time travel-teaching team which was organized in Japan to actively pursue certain teaching and consolidation goals of the Five Year Plan (1974-1979.)


an urn which is usually buried.

      It was not easy to go against a centuries-old practice in such a conservative country. It attests to Mr. Kajimoto's faith and conviction that he was the first of his Bahá'í countrymen to do so.

      The second person to be buried in the Bahá'í Cemetery was Mrs. Sakineh Kazempour, in 1968. She was the mother of Mr. Abbas Kazempour and his sister Mrs. Moluke Kazempour. The elderly Mrs. Kazempour had come to Japan eight years earlier to be with her family who were pioneering.

77.       Three Japanese Bahá'ís Abroad

click here for larger image

      In 1967 several Bahá'ís from Japan attended the Intercontinental Conference of Asia in New Delhi, India. Dr. Toshio Suzuki representing Japan, along with a group of other Bahá'ís, was invited to meet the deputy Prime Minister of India, Mr. Morarji Desai. Dr. Suzuki wore the traditional Japanese "hakama" for the occasion. At the left showing his back is Hand of the Cause Mr. Ala'i. Hand of the Cause Mr. Varga is in the rear.


      Mr. Masaaki Ushibata was a Bahá'í living in Kyoto when he heard about the special relationship between Japan and Australia (see Ch. 83), from Mr. William Washington who was the first Australian pioneer to Japan.

      Mr. Ushibata had saved his money in order to attend the Palermo Conference in 1968, but he decided to go to Australia instead. He stayed there for several months.

      At the time, teaching in New Guinea (now called Papua New Guinea) was a goal of Australia so on his way back to Japan he went travel-teaching there for two months.

      In parts of New Guinea there were bitter memories of World War II, and of the Japanese. Accompanied by Australian pioneers, he travelled up into the highlands and was warmly greeted by Bahá'ís wherever he went. Most of them had never seen a Japanese before. It was a good demonstration of the oneness of mankind. Mr. Ushibata could speak to the Bahá'ís in English and some pidgin. It was the first extended travel-teaching trip out of Japan made by a Japanese Bahá'í.

      Mr. Ushibata went on to become the first Japanese to fulfill a pioneer goal for Japan abroad, in 1975, to the Eastern Caroline

click here for larger image
      Mr. Ushibata (with dark glasses) was warmly received by the Bahá'ís of Kue village in New Guinea, in 1968.

Islands, and the Western Caroline Islands. He has lived in the Western Caroline Islands since then. He was named Auxiliary Board Member for the North East Pacific in 1976 and he continues in that capacity, his area now being the Western Caroline Islands.

click here for larger image

      Present at the First Intercontinental Conference in Sydney, Australia in 1958 were three Bahá'ís from Japan, Miss Agnes Alexander, Mrs. Tahereh Kazempour and Mr. Michitoshi Zenimoto. It was the first visit to Australia of a Japanese Bahá'í . Mr. Zenimoto recalls that the Bahá'ís in Australia arranged for him to speak on the Faith to hundreds of Japanese war brides in different localities.

      Shown here is a newspaper clipping of some of the attendants to the conference. From the left, Mr. Latu Tu 'Akihekolo from Tonga, Mr. Zenimoto, Hands of the Cause Mrs. Clara Dunn and Mr. Collis Featherstone.


Previous chapter   Next chapter

Traces that Remain table of contents

History of the Bahá'í Faith in East Asia main page
Bahá'í Academics Resource Library