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Traces That Remain:
A Pictorial History of the Early Days of the Bahá'í Faith among the Japanese

by Barbara R. Sims

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Chapter 25

25. Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa


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Viscount Shibusawa's letter of introduction to the head of the Daiichi Bank in Pusan.

In explaining the Faith to Viscount Shibusawa, Miss Alexander showed him 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Words to Miss Fanny Knoblock who was to go to South Africa to teach the Faith. 'Abdu'l-Bahá advised her to say that Bahá'ís do not involve in politics and that religious, racial, political, and national prejudices are destructive to the world of humanity. Viscount Shibusawa was delighted with those words and gladly gave Miss Alexander three introductions to his good friends in Korea. The above scroll-letter (reduced in size) is addressed to Mr. Moriichi Matsumura. It says,

Dear Sir: Tokyo, August 17 ,1921

"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 close friend, Mr. Wallace Alexander, President of the Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco. She is an earnest believer of the Bahá'í religion.

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"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"

As Miss Alexander did not go to Pusan, this letter remained in her possession. The letters to the governor of Korea and to the head of the Daiichi Bank in Seoul were, of course, given to them.

Viscount Shibusawa was already an old man of eighty-three. He is photographed here with two samurai swords tucked in his belt, but his watch chain added a (then) modern note.

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