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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 38

38. The First Local Spiritual Assembly in Japan

In 1932 there were eleven Bahá'ís in Tokyo and Miss Alexander felt it was time to form the Local Spiritual Assembly of Tokyo, the first in Japan. On April 21 the assembly was officially elected. It was composed of five women and four men which Miss Alexander thought was "significant of a New Day in this Oriental country."

The Bahá'ís on that first assembly were Rev. Sempo Ito, Miss Yuri Mochizuki (later Mrs. Furukawa), Miss Otoe Murakami, Mrs. Kanae Takeshita, Mr. Keiji Sawada, Miss Alexander, Mrs. Antoinette Naganuma, Mr. Nakanishi and Mr. H. Matsuda. The assembly was formed again in 1933 with one change; Mr. Kenji Ogawa taking the place of Mr. Keiji Sawada. That year Miss Alexander left Japan to return to Hawaii for two years.

The assembly was not formed again until many years later, in 1948, by an entirely different group of Bahá'ís who were taught by Mr. Robert Imagire.

In the 1950s only Miss Alexander and Mrs. Furukawa remained of the original group. At that time Miss Alexander was in touch with Mrs. Naganuma and Mr. Sawada but they did not consider themselves as Bahá'ís. We do not know what happened to the others; some were not young even then...

Seven of the first local spiritual assembly members (Miss Alexander, Mrs. Naganuma, Mr. Ito, Mr. Sawada, Mrs. Takeshita, Mr. Matsuda, and Miss Mochizuki) can be seen in the photograph taken in Dr. Masujima's garden in 1932. A picture of Miss Murakami can be seen in Ch. 28. Pictures of Mr. Nakanishi, and Mr. Ogawa, on the 1933 assembly, were not found.

Such a pleasure it is to gaze upon the faces of those forerunners of the builders of the administration in Japan.

92

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