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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 8

32

8. The First Photograph of a Bahá'í Meeting in Japan


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This photograph was taken in Tokyo, July 18, 1915. Miss Alexander wrote that it was the first picture of a Bahá'í meeting in Japan. It was taken on the occasion of Miss Martha Root's visit to Japan. Of course, Bahá'í meetings were being held regularly but on this occasion Miss Alexander called in a photographer to record the meeting with Miss Root. It should be remembered that in those days, personal cameras were rather rare, and the very early photographs which Miss Alexander had in her possession were usually taken by professional photographers.

In the front, far left, is Mr. Fukuta, the first person to accept the Faith in Japan, just two months before. Next to him is Miss Root. Fourth from the left is Mr. Akita. Mr. Kenichi Takao is next to him on the right. In this group, aside from Miss Alexander and Miss Root, only Mr. Fukuta became a Bahá'í although many were good friends. Miss Alexander is behind Miss Root. Standing to the left is Miss Ichi Kamichika, who helped Miss Alexander translate some pamphlets. She wrote for a newspaper at the time and had 'Abdu'l-Bahá's picture published in it, the first time His picture was published in Japan. Miss Kamichika became famous in Japanese politics many years later as one of the first women to be elected to the Japanese Diet (Parliament). She was also one of the early leaders of the women's rights movement in Japan.

Years later, in 1977, the compiler was able to meet and interview her.

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She was then eighty-eight but still possessed considerable charm. She could barely recall Miss Alexander but thought they lived in the same building. She helped Miss Alexander by translating, and Miss Alexander helped her with her English.

Miss Kamichika (right) in 1977, in the library of her home, being interviewed by Mrs. Sims.

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