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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 79

79. The Continental Board of Counsellors

After the Guardian's passing there could be no more Hands of the Cause because, according to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament they could only be appointed by the Guardian. However, the Auxiliary Boards which were appointed by, and assisted the Hands of the Cause would continue to develop.

In 1968, the Universal House of Justice created a new institution, the Continental Boards of Counsellors, which would gradually take over some of the functions of the Hands of the Cause to leave the latter more free. The Auxiliary Board members were from that time on to report to the Boards of Counsellors


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In October 1969 the Continental Board of Counsellors for the area held their first conference in Tokyo with Hand of the Cause Mr. Furutan attending. He is sitting in the middle with Mr. Samaniego to the left and Mr. McHenry and Mr. Mumtazi to the right.

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in their area.

Mr. Rouhollah Mumtazi, who had lived in Japan since 1954, was appointed in 1968 in the first contingent of counsellors. At that time the two counsellors responsible for the North East Asia area were Mr. Mumtazi and Mr. Vicente Samaniego of the Philippines.

As the Faith has grown and the needs have changed, the areas of jurisdiction of the Continental Boards of Counsellors have also been changed and the number of counsellors increased.

The counsellors in Japan, Mr. Mumtazi and Mr. Hideya Suzuki who was the first Japanese counsellor, appointed from 1976 to 1985, had both been members of the Auxiliary Board in Japan and before that, members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of North East Asia.

Mr. Michitoshi Zenimoto, the second Japanese counsellor, was appointed in 1985 by the Universal House of Justice. He had also been one of the earliest Auxiliary Board Members and a member of the national spiritual assembly.


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The three members of the Continental Board of Counsellors in the area at that time (1969) are shown attending the first conference in Japan conducted by that institution. From the left, Mr. Rouhollah Mumtazi of Japan, Mr. John McHenry III of Korea and Mr. Vicente Samaniego of the Philippines.

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February 1973 at the Tokyo Bahá'í Center. The Continental Board of Counsellors sponsored a two-day symposium for pioneers and they requested Mr. Jack McCants, who was then a pioneer to Guam, to attend and act as chairman. About thirty people came. They talked about the role of the pioneer, the bounty and the responsibilities of being a pioneer and some of the problems of pioneering in a different culture. Dr. Muhajir was able to attend for one day. He can be seen standing behind the frame containing the "Greatest Name." Counsellor Mumtazi is standing second to the right of Dr. Muhajir. Mr. McCants is standing third from the left, front row.

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This photo taken in Tokyo, 1977, shows the National Spiritual Assembly of Japan with the Continental Board of Counsellors under whose jurisdiction Japan was at the time.

The four counsellors are Miss Elena Marsella from Hawaii (sitting second from the right), Mr. Hideya Suzuki (standing third from the right) and Judge Richard Benson from Guam, (standing far right), and Mr. Rouhollah Mumtazi (standing fourth from the right).

National spiritual assembly members are. (standing) Dr. Toshio Suzuki, Mr. Yuzo Yamaguchi, Mr. Abbas Katirai, Mr. Ataullah Moghbel and Mr. Matsuo Chiba standing between Mr. Suzuki and Judge Benson. Seated are Mrs. Barbara Sims, Miss Tomo Fushimi, Miss Nobuko Iwakura and Mr. Shigeyuki Hayashi.

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