History of the Bahá'í Faith in Japan 1914-1938Barbara R. Sims.
Arrival in Japan
After a voyage of nearly five weeks the Miyazaki Maru reached Kobe, the first port in Japan on November first, 1914. There I received a letter from my dear friend, Mrs. Philip H. Dodge, to whom I had written asking her to find a place for me to stay in Tokyo. She directed me to take a train from Kobe and stop at Kyoto, the old capital, on the way to Tokyo. In a letter to the friends I wrote from Tokyo on February 18, 1915: "Since arriving in Japan on November 1, the days have all been wonderful. As our steamer neared the shores of Japan, I sent a supplication to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá for His guidance, putting all my trust and care in Him. I sealed the letter but never mailed it, but He heard my prayer . . . I have not been out seeking people, but they have all seemed to be placed in my path in the most wonderful ways. Oh, the whole world is simply hungering for this Message of Truth and Love and there is joy unspeakable for all those who will arise and go forth into the 'front of the battlefield.' The first day, as we landed in Kobe, the way opened to give the Message to a shipmate, and as we traveled on the train to Kyoto, the Star of the West was being read by my companions. My good friends, Mr. and Mrs. Dodge, had written to me to stop in Kyoto and see a young lady who had once been in Honolulu. I little thought I was going to give her the Message, but so it was. And then again on the train coming from Kyoto to Tokyo I met a young Arab who devoured the Message in the few hours we were together."
The young lady I met in Kyoto, Miss Lillian Nicholson, after nearly twenty-seven years, I met again in California. It was a touching meeting. She looked at my face and said, "I see the same light in your eyes that I saw in Kyoto." She has since written me: "I do have a beautiful memory and a perfectly clear picture of a lovely glowing faced, young, blond lady as she entered our hotel dining room in Kyoto, Japan with two men who seemed so happily absorbed in what she was saying. We all turned and watched you as you entered. Really you were beautiful and a light seemed to shine right through you, more like a shining spirit. Later I had the pleasure of meeting you in one of the other rooms. I was attracted to a little ring on your finger (later I learned that it was a Bahá'í ring) and used that as an excuse to talk to you as I was keenly interested to know what it was that gave you such a radiating spirit. You happily and graciously then told me of what the ring stood for and something of the Bahá'í religion and what it had done for you, something of the wonderful change that it had made in your life . . ." I was entirely unconscious of how God was using me, for it was the power of the Center of the Covenant which was manifest, He Who had sent me forth with His great confirmations, enabling me to pass through all difficulties and reach Japan in safety.
I remained a few days in Kyoto, where I received the first mail in many weeks. Dear Mrs. Corinne True enclosed in her letter to me a clipping from a Chicago newspaper of a very fine article on the Cause by Isabel Fraser. When I left Kyoto by train for Tokyo the morning of November 6, in the compartment with me was an English couple and a dark skinned young man. In our longing to convey the Message, I took from Mrs. True's letter the newspaper clipping and passed it to the couple with the words, "Have you seen this?" They looked at it and then returned it to me unaware of its reality. My attention was then attracted to the young man who was looking intently at the paper. Then he asked me if he might see it. Soon after the English couple left the train. The young man then told me that as soon as I spoke to the couple, he had a great desire to know what it was I had. He said he did not wish to be bold, but the light he saw in my face was like that of a young girl at her first party. We spent several hours together before he left the train at Yokohama. He told me that he was an Arab, and a Muhammadan from Shanghai. I told him of the Bahá'í Faith and before we parted that night, I had given him my book of the Hidden Words and Prayers. He said for the first time in many years he would read a prayer from the book that night. We parted at Yokohama and have never met since.
Late that Friday night of November 6, I reached Tokyo where Dr. G.J. Augur, who had preceded me to Japan, and others were at the station to greet me. Mrs. Dodge had arranged for me to have a room across the street from their home, at Kudan Ue, which means, "above nine steps." Mme Bethlen had stayed while in Tokyo in this house, and also Dr. Augur when he arrived in Tokyo. Here the Cause of God was to be first established in the Empire of Japan.
Mr. and Mrs. Dodge, who were universal in their spiritual outlook, held meetings in their home on Sunday evenings, where Japanese friends joined with them. The first Sunday evening in Tokyo I attended the meeting, and after it was over found myself surrounded by three Japanese men to whom I told the Message of Bahá'u'lláh. I told them where I was living, that I had come to Japan only for the sake of the Bahá'í Cause, and that anyone was welcome to come to see me at any time.
Establishing the First Bahá'í Meeting
Dr. Augur and I had decided that we would hold a Bahá'í meeting the first Friday afternoon, even if we were the only ones present. A few days later, one of the men to whom I had spoken of the Cause on Sunday evening, came to see me and asked if we would have a meeting, so I invited him to come on the Friday afternoon. At that first Bahá'í meeting held in Japan in the sitting room of the house where I was living, five were present, among whom were two Japanese men, one the man who had called on me, and the other, Mr. Akinobu Naito, a teacher of English in a Japanese school who was instructing Dr. Augur in the Japanese language. We read from the Writings and prayers of Bahá'u'lláh and ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, and Dr. Augur recited a portion of a wonderful Tablet he had received from the Master, which follows:
O thou herald of the Kingdom of God! Thy letter was received. A thousand times bravo to thy high magnanimity and exalted aim! Trusting in
God and while turning thy face toward the Kingdom of Abhá, unfurl thou the divine Flag in Tokyo and cry at the top of thy voice: O ye people! The Sun of Reality hath appeared and flooded all the regions with its glorious light; it has upraised the Standard of the Oneness of the world of humanity and summoned all mankind to the refulgent Truth. The cloud of Mercy is pouring, the zephyr of Providence is wafting and the world of humanity is being stirred and moved. The divine Spirit is conferring eternal life, the heavenly lights are illumining the hearts, the table of the sustenance of the Kingdom is spread and adorned with all kinds of foods and victuals. O ye concourse of men! Awake! Awake! Become mindful! Become mindful! Open ye the seeing eye! Unstop the hearing ear! Hark! Hark! The soft notes of the Heavenly Music are streaming down, ravishing the ears of the people of spiritual discernment. Ere long this transcendent Light will wholly enlighten the East and the West! In short, with a resounding voice, with a miraculous power, and with the magnetism of the Love of God, teach thou the Cause of God and rest assured that the Holy Spirit shall confirm thee. Translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, August 12, 1914, Haifa, Palestine.
The letter to the friends of February 18, 1915, continues: "The first Friday after my arrival here, Dr. Augur and I with the confirmations of God inaugurated the first regular Bahá'í meeting in Japan, and with the exception of January 1, these meetings have been held every Friday since.
"On November 26, which besides being ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's Day, is my spiritual birthday, and also this year was the American Thanksgiving Day, the room in which I am now writing was consecrated to the Center of the Covenant. That day I had a joyful Bahá'í party to which the friends both Japanese and European were invited. Since that day this room has been our Bahá'í center, and I have felt it is not for me to say who shall enter it. It is His room and all are His children. This is the front door of the house and my bedroom adjoins, so it is very convenient for me, and nearly every day the Message of the Kingdom is discussed here with someone. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's picture, which Mrs. True gave me in Chicago, has a prominent place in the room. The other day when an American lady, who had heard the Message, came to see me, her eyes filled with tears as she looked upon this picture.
"The Message of the Kingdom has certainly been raised in Tokyo! Shortly after my arrival, a Japanese lady reporter, who came to see me, wrote the first article which appeared in the newspaper which is considered the best in Japan and has a very wide circulation."
The lady reporter, Miss Tanaka, had been educated in an English School and spoke English fluently. I told her from my heart of the Cause. She did not take notes. but the article she wrote for the Asahi, when translated, I found to be remarkably fine. Was it not a sign of the New Day that in that oriental country, it was a woman whom God chose to write the first article about the Divine Cause!
The letter continues: "Then Dr. Augur wrote by request an article for a theological magazine. This he afterward printed in booklet form, adding the message to the people of Tokyo which ‘Abdu'l-Bahá sent him in a Tablet. The booklet gives a very full history of the Revelation. A Japanese Buddhist paper has also taken up the subject, first reprinting the article written by the Japanese lady, and then copying Dr. Augur's article, and lastly coming to a meeting and writing it up, though the reporter who came could not speak English. Since then another Japanese lady reporter has visited me. As she was leaving, she asked to take my picture of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and the next day it appeared in her paper with another description of our meeting. The fact that I am a young lady traveling alone and teaching the Cause seems to impress the Japanese greatly. I have been twice asked for my picture for their papers. I am so happy to think, though, that for the first time, the picture of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá has appeared in a paper of this country, and that it should have been a woman who had it printed speaks of the time in which we are living . . . Not only have the Japanese papers printed articles, but the leading English paper here reprinted, at my request, a long article which was written for a Chicago paper by Isabel Fraser.
"One of my most ardent friends here is a blind Russian boy, (Vasily Eroshenko). He is the first fruits of my joining the Universal Esperanto Association. At the rooms in Geneva, I met a Russian lady Esperantist, who asked me to look this boy up in Tokyo. One evening I attended the Esperanto meeting here and got his address. At the meeting I was asked to tell a story, so I told the story of the Bahá'í Faith, which was translated into Esperanto. This Russian boy, who is twenty-four years old, comes to me twice a week in the evening. He has taken down in English Braille some of the Bahá'í teachings which I have read to him, and then he has translated them into Esperanto, and they are to be printed in a Japanese Esperanto paper. Now we are translating the Hidden Words into Esperanto. Dr. Augur's Bahá'í booklet has already been put into Braille for the blind to read. My Russian friend is studying massage in the School for the Blind here. He is a most remarkable young man and came alone to Japan from Moscow." On February 4, I wrote of him. "Today I attended a concert at the Blind Institute where he is studying massage. When I was leaving, as he heard I had a little cold and it was raining, he said to me, 'You must take care of yourself for you are a Bahá'í and Bahá'ís are rare.'" The letter of February 18 continues: "I fear this letter is already far too long and yet I have not begun to tell of the many wonderful experiences of every day here. Every Friday new faces appear in the meeting and many hearts have been touched. A young Japanese man who was one of thirty Oriental students to visit ‘Abdu'l-Bahá one night in New York, has attended our meeting and told beautifully of his experience, though he is not a Bahá'í, and does not as yet realize who ‘Abdu'l-Bahá is. On Christmas day a young man was brought to the meeting who was thirsting for Truth. I felt in my heart he was sent by ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and he told me afterwards, he felt he had received a Christmas present."
Shortly after my arrival in Tokyo, a Japanese came to see me. As he did not speak English, I asked my landlord to translate for me. He said he had read in a newspaper of the Bahá'í Revelation and he believed Bahá'u'lláh was Miroku whom the Buddhists were expecting. As I explained the Bahá'í teachings to him, the landlord became interested and remarked that he liked the Bahá'í teaching because there was no quarreling in
On January 29, 1915, I wrote a friend: "It is such a wonderful life God has permitted me to have here in Japan and how grateful I should be. As Dr. Augur said the other day if we should thank God throughout eternity it would not be too long. . . . Every Friday new souls come. My room is consecrated to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and I have asked His blessing in it, so I feel I have nothing to do about who come to the meetings. . . . One Friday a rather strange looking man came. That day Dr. Augur did not come. He said he had heard through the Buddhist paper which printed in four editions about the Revelation and at the end gave the name of this house and Friday afternoon to anyone wanting to know more. They did this entirely of their own accord. From this man the next week came a most beautiful soul to me, so we never know when a soul comes to us what will be the outcome. God surely leads me to those who need me and I don't feel that I need seek any out . . . I woke up the other morning with such joy. It was that I was independent of all on this earth."
First Meeting With Japanese Esperantists
On February 4, 1915, I wrote: "One night I attended the Esperanto meeting. I was received cordially. I took with me the Bahá'í Revelation in Esperanto. They asked me to tell them a story in English which one of their number would translate into Esperanto, so I told them the Bahá'í story. They showed great interest. One of them said he had read of me in the paper, and had wanted to meet me. They invited me to attend all their meetings as long as I was here."
God used this language, which came into the world through the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, to spread His Message in Japan. That night, two weeks after I had reached Tokyo, when I attended the first Esperanto meeting in Japan, was the beginning of my work in making the Bahá'í teachings known among the Esperantists of Japan. From the northern island of Hokkaido to Nagasaki in Kyushu, as well as Korea, the Message of Bahá'u'lláh was heard, for Esperanto was more widely spread in Japan than in any country outside of Russia.
The Japanese teacher, Mr. Naito, who attended the Bahá'í meeting, in his class one day told the students there was a lady in Tokyo who was teaching a new religion, and if any of them wished to meet her, he would introduce them. Four students then came with him to see me. One of them, Kikutaro Fukuta, told me afterwards, that when his teacher mentioned a new religion, it was a great day in his life for he immediately felt it was the truth. Another one copied the entire book, Ten Days in the Light of ‘Akká [by Julia M. Grundy, online at bahai-library.com/grundy_ten_days_akka. -J.W.] writing in a beautiful fine script in a notebook. When it was completed he had it bound and brought it to me to write on the fly leaf. It was just nineteen pages. I wrote a prayer that all his family might become illumined by the Light of the New Day. His home was in the northern island of Hokkaido where he soon after returned. The letter continues telling of these two students: "I would like to share with you some of the notes I have received from students who attend the meetings. One borrowed Ten Days in the Light of ‘Akká and a few days later came back with half the book in handwriting. He said he wished to copy it all, and as he was able, to translate it into Japanese. This is the note he sent me: 'Dear Miss Alexander, I beg you will excuse my neglect of not attending our happy meeting. I have been and am now so busy I could not attend, but if there is the least time to spare, I copy the book which I borrowed from you, and at the same time I can only see God through spirit and Truth which comes out of the lines of that religious book. I hope that I may be able to attend the next meeting and see your happy face in His room."'
First Japanese Bahá'í in Japan
"One day a young student visited me who was very shy, but by the look in his eyes I knew his heart was touched. He told me that I was the first person he had ever talked with in English outside of his school, that a few years ago his father failed and he had to be apprenticed. He found the life of an apprentice very hard, but someone told him to try and read the Bible. This he did and found some comfort, but many of the old teachings he could not accept. Now someone is giving him his education. I will copy the note he sent me after his visit as I know it will touch the hearts of my sisters. 'Dear Miss Alexander, I thank you very much for your kindness in offering me your spiritual hospitality and material ones, but my English is too poor to express to you my deep thankfulness. I am now living alone in a lodging and pray every morning and night. Whenever it may be, wherever it may be, when I feel loneliness, I pray in heart and voice. Weak as my power is yet I will do my best for Bahá'ísm. I have found truth in the words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and I believe that it must be the Manifestation of God. . .' This boy learned some of the simpler of the Bahá'í prayers . . . We are all one in the work of the Kingdom and I am only an instrument, while they who love have also a part in the work . . ."
The student Kikutaro Fukuta, or Fukuta San, as we called him, came regularly to the Friday meetings. He was the first one to come and the last to leave. Every week he would borrow a book from my Bahá'í lending library and then return it the following week and take another to read. When I remarked that he never asked questions, he replied that he found the answers to all his questions in the books he read. Out of the Empire of Japan, God chose this poor boy whom He endowed with the great gift of recognizing His Messenger. Soon I saw the light of the Kingdom in his eyes and invited him to come to see me on a Sunday. It was then I suggested that he might write to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá which he did later.
First Naw-Rúz in Japan
On April 6, 1915, I wrote: "It is my wish to tell you of the beautiful Naw-Rúz I spent in this distant land. Perhaps you know that New Year's day, January 1, is the greatest day of the year to the Japanese, the day when they give presents and visit each other, and this prompted them to make my Naw-Rúz a happy one. I told those who come to our class on Friday afternoons of the day, and invited them to come to see me on Sunday, March 21, but I little thought of anything more. The first surprise I had was in the morning when an elderly professor in the School of Science came bringing in his own hands a beautiful potted plant. This was a great surprise for I had only met the gentleman a few times at
"My blind friend comes every Wednesday night now and takes me to their meeting, for I want to use every opportunity to spread the fragrances, and I surely find opportunity among these dear people. They have been exceedingly kind to me. They have invited me to their dinners, etc. and I have always gone for the sake of the Beloved. At first I felt a little strange being the only lady, but now I never think of it, as they are all so kind. At one of these meetings I met a professor from the west of Japan (Hiroshima) where they have a fine Normal School, and he asked me to come there and give the Bahá'í Message, and I expect to do so, God willing. . .
"One of the Japanese Esperanto publications, La Orienta Azio, is going to print something from the Bahá'í teachings in each number now. The first has already appeared. Mr. Eroshenko has completed the Arabic Hidden Words and he has also translated the eleven new principles found in the Bahá'í Revelation. Then also the Honolulu Bahá'í calendar is to be printed each month."
In another letter I wrote: "One day I visited the home on the outskirts of Tokyo where the Orienta Azio is printed. It is an old grey haired man who does this work in his simple Japanese home, surrounded by a beautiful little garden. . . He said he was sorry he had no chair for me to sit in, but I told him I like sitting on the floor in the Japanese way." This man did all the work on the publication himself, which was printed and bound in artistic Japanese style. He continued to publish from the Bahá'í Writings until July 1916. Shortly after, he died and his work ended.
Several other Esperanto publications have gladly received and published translations of the Bahá'í teachings and articles about the Cause. Among these was the monthly organ of the Japanese Esperanto Association.
An earnest student, Kenichi Takao, who was attracted to the Cause, asked me one Sunday to go with him to the Unitarian church. The minister, Rev. Uchigasaki, was a liberal man. When I introduced to him he said, "We first had Shintoism. Then we united with Buddhism and later Christianity came in Japan, and we are ready to listen to every new message." Then he invited me to speak in his pulpit on the Bahá'í Revelation which he would translate into Japanese, and said he would give me part of his time. My heart sank, as I had never spoken in a church and was unprepared, but Mr. Takao said to me, "God will help you." During the service he passed me a note on a card on which he had written topics as a guide for my talk. In the note he [said] he would pray "very strongly" for me. When the minister called on me, with Divine assistance I arose and gave the Message, so that even Mr. Takao was astonished.
Soon after my arrival in Tokyo, Mrs. Dodge introduced me to friends of hers who lived in Yokohama, Mrs. Sanzo, an American, who was married to a Japanese, and her daughter, Mrs. Kathleen Eldridge. The daughter was attracted to the universality of the Bahá'í teachings and came to one of the first Bahá'í meetings, but she did not accept the Manifestation, which left her without a Center to turn to. Mrs. Sanzo told her Japanese tailor, Mr. Sanzo Misawa, a spiritually minded man, of the Bahá'í Faith and gave him an introduction to me. It was the beginning of a long friendship in which Mr. Misawa, who was very generous, did much to assist the Cause.
In April, 1915, Dr. Augur returned to join Mrs. Augur in Honolulu, expecting to come back to Japan with her in the fall.
On May 19, I wrote of the publication of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's picture in an English weekly publication edited by a Britisher, whose wife was deeply attracted to the Cause. "I am sending you a copy of the Far East, which contains the Beloved's picture. This I know will rejoice your hearts as a proof of the penetrative power of the Word of God. . . This is the second time ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's picture has appeared in the Far East. The first time it was in a Japanese paper, but in both instances it was the work of a woman, which is most interesting from the Bahá'í standpoint. . . This is the ninth Tokyo publication which has printed something concerning the Bahá'í Cause during the last six months. Is not this a proof that 'the Ideal King is with those who are in the front ranks of the army.'"
First Celebration of May Twenty-Third
In another letter I wrote: "On Sunday, May 23, I invited the friends to come to my room and inaugurate in Japan the celebration of the Declaration of the Báb. I had printed to give all the friends on this day copies of the picture of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá which appeared in the Far East. We had a most happy time together, the friends staying until 7 p.m., which I think was a proof that they were happy. Mr. Eroshenko played on the violin and we even tried to sing some of the Bahá'í songs of Mrs. Waite, and I read from Mrs. Grundy's book. Until that day Mr. Eroshenko and I had been working on the Hidden Words (translation into Esperanto). We worked all the winter, but it seemed every time I read them over we found corrections and changes to make . . . but that day I felt a confirmation that the work was finished." Then I tell of the friend of Mr. Eroshenko, a literary writer, Mr. U. Akita, to whom I gave a copy of the translation. The next day he wrote me in Esperanto, of which this is a translation: "Yesterday was very interesting to me. I wish to express my great pleasure to you. That night I spent in reading your translation of the Hidden Words. They give me entirely new strength and every word resounds more profound to me than when I read them in the English translation. I feel proud to know that this translation is finished by the patient work of our dear Eroshenko. Live Eroshenko! Kore via, U. Akita." Mr. Akita did a great deal to help spread the knowledge of the Bahá'í Cause in Japan through articles which he wrote for literary magazines. It seemed on that Holy Day of May 23, the Divine spirit of the New Day came to repose eternally in Japan.
First Letter From Japan to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá
On June 25, I wrote: "Our weekly Friday meeting is just over and I have the first letter to send from this country to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. It makes my heart rejoice. The writer is a young student of eighteen years (Kikutaro Fukuta). I have known, though he was a poor unpretending boy, that he comprehended the Bahá'í Message and the Station of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, as no one else has understood it. When I suggested that he might write to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, he asked if he might write in Japanese and I told him he could, as a letter to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá is the same as a prayer and is answered on the part of God even when the material part may not reach its destination. He told me he was translating the letter he had written into English, as well as he could, that I might know what he had written, and today he had brought it to me. The Japanese is beautifully written on a scroll and rolled in a tube. The English translation has touched my heart and though I will not tell the boy that I am copying it, I feel this simple letter has a message and will touch the heart of others, and thus this boy unconsciously will be helping in the work of the Kingdom which he so much wishes to do. He has read nearly all of my Bahá'í literature and he said to me that it was like a miracle that he could understand everything, when his English is limited, and other writings he cannot understand readily. . . More than a month ago, the man who was helping him in his education, died and he was obliged to look for work. For one month he was searching work, but could find nothing. Then it came to me that I must put this boy back in school. I found he only required five dollars and a half to keep him for a month. Now I will copy his letter just as he has written it. 'O my Master ‘Abdu'l-Bahá! How great mercy and benevolence that Thou hast descended upon us through an apostle Alexander! Though I am a base and poor youth in this world, I am being awakened and bathed in the ocean of Thy mercy, so happy that I pity the king and the prince who are wandering about in the dream of temporal variance. Accept, O Master, my deep thankfulness from the bottom of my heart. I am very sorry when I think of our fellowmen who take no thought about real happiness and do not rely upon the warm hand of Thy love. O my Lord! Water me forever with the forever with the fountain of mercy, and I will never refuse Thy command whatsoever it may be, and excuse me of my sins, and allow me to awake them.'"
Martha Root in Japan
On July 2, I wrote: "Everything seems to hold me right here in Tokyo, and I make no Plans in spite of the hot summer coming, only await His Will. I am daily expecting to hear of a Miss Root, whom I am told should be in Tokyo ere this. She is a Bahá'í sister, I am told, who is going around the world, and it will be such a great joy for me to see her, though to be truthful, never for a moment have I felt loneliness or separation from the Bahá'ís. Their spirits can reach to Japan, and I certainly felt that they do and help me."
On July 21, I wrote: "Today is my birthday and it reminds me of a year ago when I was alone in Switzerland, but today I have a Bahá'í sister with me, Miss Root. She is the first one I have met since I left New York, with the exception of my French roommate who became a Bahá'í on the voyage from Marseilles. On Friday, returning from a few days visit at the seashore, I found Miss Root in my room. I had come in to hold the last Friday meeting for the summer, as most of the students and others who attend the meetings were returning to their homes for the summer. Miss Root had arrived that morning in Yokohama and found a letter waiting for her at Thos. Cook's from me asking her to come to Tokyo. This was our first meeting, but she said she had felt at home in my Bahá'í room. I told her it was ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's room, and it was no wonder she had felt the spirit there. Already many of my student friends have gone, among them Mr. Takao and Mr. Eroshenko, but six young men came that afternoon, and there was much for Miss Root to tell them. Then we arranged for an extra meeting on Sunday morning, when fourteen were present and we had a photograph taken. And again Sunday evening I invited other friends to meet her. On Sunday morning one of my dear Japanese lady friends, who is a reporter on a daily paper, gave Miss Root a write up in her paper. She said she was the first one in Japan to publish the picture of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. It was not difficult to persuade Miss Root to stay until July 31, or that there were endless opportunities in Tokyo for Bahá'í work, so here she is staying in a room in this house and we are so happy to be together, and are learning from each other many things. I know that she has brought a special inspiration to me, and it is about writing for the Cause. She says it is a lesson to her to how God guides me, and that she has never seen anyone more happy. I am happy that she feels so, and she feels the wonderful openings here. It continues for every few days I meet new people who are hungering for the 'Water of Life.' On Monday night an Indian friend brought a new young man to us, and he came again last night. He said he was hungering for knowledge, that he cared for nothing else in the world. He was delighted with our teachings, and he said he liked our belief so much, he would do anything in his power for us, such as translating. He said this in such a beautiful way, I feel some day he will become a Bahá'í. There is so much that I could tell you, that I don't know where to begin.
"A few Sundays past, I went with my young Bahá'í brother, Mr. Fukuta, to his humble lodging. He had asked me if I would not some day go to see it, and when I proposed that afternoon that I would go with him, he could hardly wait for me to go, he was so happy. He told me it was in the poor quarter of the city, and that his pets were the little street urchins, who called him brother and uncle, and so we went. When I entered his room, I saw in the Japanese place of honor (the alcove in the room called 'tokonoma') ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's picture, then my eye caught written on his sliding door, the word, 'Allah-u-Abhá.' He said to me, 'I have no material hospitality, but only spiritual to offer you.' We had a little reading and prayer together. When he passed me his book of Hidden Words to read, I opened it, and there before my eyes were the words, 'Let not poverty trouble thee, nor rest assured in wealth' . . . When I came to go home, the little urchins followed us to the car and were an interesting sight. Mr. Fukuta has now gone to stay in his father's home for the summer. He told me he wished to go home and tell his friends of the Bahá'í Cause, and I was so happy to have him go. He had all the Bahá'í papers I had copied for him and given to him put carefully together to take with him. When he came to say good-by on Monday night, I suggested to Miss Root that we return with him and give him a surprise.
"Last night Miss Root was asked to speak before the English Speaking Society of the YMCA, and she gave a rousing talk. Many showed interest and this evening we expect some of them. I had already invited some of the Esperantists to meet her. . . Miss Root expects to sail for Honolulu on July 31. I wish I might keep her here to travel around Japan and give the Message with me, but it must be as God wills as He knows best. P.S. July 23. . . This morning I have received a letter written by the brother Mr. Fukuta. He had just reached home traveling by night train. . . He says: 'In the train I had been for a long time obliged to keep standing, as there was no seat for me, but fortunately I could enjoy the sunrise. Mysterious! Nothing can prevent the rising sun, weakening darkness, enlightening everything, even clouds have no power to defy the light of the sun. Have you ever seen the sun rise carefully? How wonderful it is! The boundlessness, the immortal and I! Thank God that I know of immortality!'"
In the same letter I wrote: "Last week, before returning to his home, Mr. Takao gave a little party in his room. He had gone to great trouble to get chairs for my comfort. There were nine present and he asked me to speak of Bahá'í to some of his friends. On his wall was placed a large crayon drawing of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, which one of his friends had copied from a newspaper picture, and also the smaller picture of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, which I had given out on May 23. I am sure ‘Abdu'l-Bahá was pleased with this little feast."
In a letter of August 25, I wrote that after dear Martha Root left me, I spent three weeks by the seashore, where I could write and read, and had the privilege of receiving many beautiful letters from my Japanese student friends. From his home Fukuta San wrote me: "I am teaching my friends, but when I told them about Bahá'í at first they were surprised and asked, 'What, new religion in this country? Renewed? It is the same. How is the founder and has he done a miracle as Christ did?' I explained and taught as well as I could, but some said nothing and others laughed at it and one friend said frankly that I would be ridiculed if I spoke about Bahá'í more. I pity them whatever they may say. I should awaken them. A few friends listened to my remarks and as they wished to know of this Cause, I have read them a book and the copies. I should awaken them; God will help me. I am very happy even though I am opposed by my friends. Nothing can steal away my spiritual happiness."
In a postscript to the letter of August 25, I wrote: "I have not told the friends how I am missing my sister. Miss Root, since I returned to Tokyo. She left me on July 31, and on August 2, I went to the shore. She left a bright spot behind her and certainly sowed many seeds for the Cause."
Dr. and Mrs. Augur Arrive in Tokyo
On October 12, with the return of Dr. G. J. Augur accompanied by dear Mrs. Augur to Tokyo a blessing came to Japan. In a letter dated October 28, I wrote: "Dr. and Mrs. Augur are both here now, having arrived on the 12th. Dr. Augur felt very strongly the call to return to Japan and dear Mrs. Augur would not put anything in his way and came with him, and now come these words from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá as a confirmation of the step they have taken." The words from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá were in a letter from His secretary dated August 8, 1915, addressed to Dr. Augur in Honolulu. As Dr. and Mrs. Augur had already left for Japan, the letter was forwarded to Tokyo. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's secretary wrote: "Your beautiful petition, redolent with the spirit of humility and devotion and diffusing the Fragrances of love and affection was read this morning to the Beloved of our hearts as He was walking to and fro in the parlor of the Pilgrim Home. His face beamed with a heavenly smile as He heard your name and the signs of satisfaction and pleasure appeared from His Godlike Countenance. As I read your simple and direct words He listened to them attentively thus grasping your sincerity and faithfulness in this glorious Cause and your zeal and enthusiasm to teach those who are yet uninformed with these heavenly principles. Then breaking His silence He said: 'Write to Dr. Augur to return to Japan as soon as the first opportunity offers itself to him. Great blessings will descend upon the soul who teaches the Cause in that country. Its people are endowed with great capability. On the other hand . . . are not so receptive. The seed of this quality must be first planted in the ground of their hearts, but the Japanese are already endowed with this quality. Should five or six of them be thoroughly grounded in the teachings of this Cause and attracted with its fire, great results will be forthcoming.'"
My letter continued: "So now here in Tokyo we are four strong. The Word and Power of God is truly increasing here, though it may be in a very quiet way. 'Nothing can prevent the rising Sun. Weakening darkness, enlightening everything. Even clouds have no power to defy the light of the sun.' These words of Fukata San which he wrote to me after seeing the rising sun on his homeward way last summer, seem to ring in my ears with a powerful truth. Oh, these are wonderful, wonderful days though the world knows it not. His Kingdom is coming with power and great glory! Dr. Augur has told me that before their coming, in Honolulu a dear friend of theirs was trying to persuade him that it was a mistake for him to think of returning to Japan at this time. He took up the Hidden Words and opened them in order to get light, and these were the words which came before his eyes: O MY SERVANT! Free thyself from the worldly bond, and escape from the prison of self. Appreciate the value of time for thou shalt never see it again, nor shalt thou find a like opportunity. These words left no doubt in Dr. Augur's mind about coming. He and Mrs. Augur are living in a Japanese Inn among the people."
Mrs. Augur furnished her little room in the Inn with some furniture she had brought from Honolulu, but Dr.
The letter of October 28 continued: "Today we were nine in the meeting. Two were new. Nearly every week some new ones come in to hear the Message. It surely is the greatest privilege in the world to live and work among these people. Last week Fukuta San with great joy brought a schoolmate of his to the meeting, and today the schoolmate brought two others, and so the Message is continually being spread. The other day I received a letter which touched me deeply. It was from a young boy who came to the meetings. In the summer he returned to his home in the country and was not able to come back again to school. He had been working his way as a servant boy. For several weeks he was absent, and then he came and told me that his master would not permit him to come, as he was a Buddhist. He said to me, 'I am like ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, I am a prisoner.' At first he wrote very bravely about not being able to return to Tokyo, then an appealing letter came begging me to take him as my servant and relieve his anguish. I replied saying he must put his trust in God. Then he wrote again with renewed bravery that before he had become 'pessimistic through disappointment' but now he would trust in God. This is his last letter: 'Accept my best thanks for your letter. I have read the prayer that you sent me and I have prayed to God. I am struck by [the notion that] God is greater than anything in the world and I fear only God in this world. I wish to know our God through ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and I long to touch the love of God by the love of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. Please guide me to the Heavenly Kingdom. I will be so glad always to help. I hope to see you again.' I am expecting now to take a trip to Kyoto, where the coronation of the Emperor takes place this month, and also go farther on to Hiroshima, where I have been asked to give the Bahá'í Message by some Esperantists. I have intended to do this since last spring, but there was never a time when I felt I could leave Tokyo . . . I find it hard, though, to leave Tokyo. My life is so full and happy here."
I wrote: "Hiroshima, Dec. 15, 1915. Dear friends, perhaps some of you remember that last spring at an Esperanto meeting in Tokyo I met a professor from the western part of Japan who invited me to come to his city and give the Bahá'í Message in the Normal School where he is a teacher. This Normal School stands second in Japan and is a very interesting institution. At the time I felt it was a direct call and said I would surely come, God willing. Now through the power and confirmations of the Center of the Covenant, it has all been realized. When the right time came all the doors opened. It is indeed wonderful and a privilege that cannot be compared to anything else to come and give the Message in a place where it has never been heard before. As the Bahá'í friends know, I have never been a speaker, and have only once before spoken in public on the Bahá'í Revelation . . . On December 9, I spoke in the Normal School to about sixty students and teachers. It is really very wonderful that I was asked to speak there on a religion, for religion is forbidden in all the public schools of Japan . . . I had tried to think before the lecture what I would say, but when I stood before the eager faces of the students, it was by inspiration I spoke. After the hour was over, my Esperanto friend, Mr. Takahashi, came up to me and said, 'You said you were not a lecturer, but you spoke eloquently like a trained lecturer.' I passed around among the students the Bahá'í edition of the Palo Alto paper (when ‘Abdu'l-Bahá was there) and also distributed a package of booklets sent me by Roy Wilhelm. I made a special point of Esperanto and read what ‘Abdu'l-Bahá has said in regard to the language. I am staying here in a Methodist Mission School, but I know that it is by the Will of God that I am here, for I did not seek it for myself. There are no foreigners here, with the exception of two teachers in the Normal School, except the missionaries, and no place for a foreigner to stay, so I went alone to a Japanese Inn. It was rather difficult and unpleasant for me being alone, but I kept saying to myself the words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá to me, 'the Ideal King is with those who are in the front Tanks of the battlefield,' and most truly are these words true. The next morning Mr. Takahashi came and took me out, and I told him I should like to visit a kindergarten which has become famous through the book The Lady of the Decoration by Frances Little. The moment I met the kindergartner, I felt I must give her the Message. We were asked to stay to lunch, and then, when they found where I was staying alone, they asked me to come and occupy their guest chamber. I felt a difference between the kindergartner and the others, I mean in a broad sense, and it seems she is not a missionary, only paid to teach the training school. She is from Teacher's College, New York. She has become very much interested in Esperanto and has asked me to talk to her training girls about it. The Esperantists invited her with me the other evening to a dinner they had, and we had a lovely time. One of the Japanese papers here has written a very good summary of my talk in the Normal School. It made me very happy to have one of the students (Mr. Maedo) come to see me and tell me that all the students had said I had been an inspiration to them. Could I ask anything more in the world!"
Return to Tokyo
On my return to Tokyo I wrote: "31 Nichome, Fujimicho, Kudan Ue, Tokyo, Japan, January 21, 1916. I am back in Tokyo again, though why I am here I cannot say, only that it must be God's will. I had intended staying in Kyoto until some Bahá'í work was accomplished. I was looking for the right place to stay, but found nothing when suddenly a great inspiration came to me to return to Tokyo, and the overwhelming feeling of joy which came to me is beyond anything I have felt in my life before. It has seemed to me that something very wonderful must be happening in the Bahá'í world. I feel certain it is time when this Message is spreading with rapidity through the world. Spiritually we are all united and I feel I could not feel such great inspiration if it did not come from all the hearts. My return has been such a happy one. The night I arrived four of my best friends were at the station to greet me, blind Mr. Eroshenko Fukuta San, Mr. Takao and my lady friend of the newspaper. I had only written Fukuta San when I was coming, and so it was a great surprise . . . I realize the Cause of God has taken root in Japan when I can return and attend a meeting conducted by others in a
On February 15, 1916, I wrote: "Dr. and Mrs. Augur have taken a little Japanese house near the sea coast at a place called Zushi. It is about an hour and a half on the train from here. We do not know why they have gone, but God's ways are not our ways and as Dr. Augur said, not to follow guidance would be committing spiritual suicide and he would prefer to commit material suicide, so there must be a divine reason for their going. They plan to come in on Friday afternoons to attend the meetings. Last Friday there were fifteen who came, the largest number I have had here at a Bahá'í meeting, but I care nothing for numbers . . . I have been asked sometimes how many converts I have made since I have been Japan, and I have always answered that I was not making converts, but just sowing seeds, one here, who has come to truly know ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, was not taught of me, but of God."
On March 10, I wrote: "Our weekly Friday Bahá'í meeting has just closed. Every week new souls come and hear the Message. One of those who came today said he had heard of the Bahá'í once before, through a journalist lady who spoke in the YMCA. I told him it was our Martha Root, and then read from a letter received this week from her, so we never know when the seed will spring up. There is a rich vineyard to work in here in Japan and many, many workers might be laboring in it. I do not seek the people out but they continually come to me. Four university students who cannot come on Friday afternoon, are coming on their only free afternoon, that is Saturday. As I am to be in Yokohama at an Esperanto meeting this Saturday, they came instead last night. Such earnest, nice young men and so eager to learn the Truth. Mr. Remey has sent us some of his books to place in libraries. Fukuta San placed two in a library near where he lives. The librarian became much interested and thanked Fukuta San warmly, but he suggested placing them in a larger library, where they would find more English readers, which was done. Last night Mr. Eroshenko told me that a Japanese had come to him with one of these books which he had found in the library and was deeply interested. A magazine here called, New Tide has reproduced the picture of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá which appeared in the December number of Everywoman with an article on Bahá'í, containing a translation into Japanese of the twelve Bahá'í principles. Each principle is first given in Esperanto, and then in Japanese. The author is a well known literary writer (Mr. U. Akita) and this is the third article he has written on the Bahá'í Cause. In each article he has combined Esperanto with Japanese. He first became interested in Esperanto through meeting Mr. Eroshenko. He said when he found Mr. Eroshenko who was blind doing three different things, he resolved that he would study Esperanto for three hours every day, and very soon after, Mr. Eroshenko's astonishment, he began to write in Esperanto." Then I tell of the Esperanto public meeting in Yokohama, which a banker of the city, who was an ardent Esperantist, arranged for and paid all the expenses. It was advertised with street placards. I wrote: "This afternoon I go to Yokohama to speak in an Esperanto meeting which is a public meeting for propagating Esperanto. With Mr. Eroshenko's help, I have translated some of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's words concerning Esperanto which I am going to read. Many Esperantists are going from Tokyo and we all go together. Of course I shall be the only lady, and perhaps foreigner, but I go for His sake. Mr. Eroshenko is going to speak on Universal Love from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's words in the Paris Talks. All the talks will be translated into Japanese."
Later that year another Esperanto propaganda meeting was held in Tokyo to which I was invited to speak on the Universal Principles as taught by Bahá'u'lláh. In this way they gave me the opportunity to explain the Bahá'í Revelation before a large audience. My talk was principally made from translations of the words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and Bahá'u'lláh into Esperanto, which one of the Esperantists translated into Japanese for the benefit of those who did not know Esperanto. I wrote, "It has been through the Esperantists that the great work of sowing Bahá'í seeds has been given me here in Japan."
Contribution to the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár
In a letter of April 29, I wrote: "The mail has brought me so many lovely letters that my heart is rejoicing. Mr. Remey's letter tells of the work for the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, and though far separated from you here in Japan, I have felt all these things. Is not this a proof of the strength of the Bahá'í unity and what wonderful things can be accomplished through perfect unity. A few weeks ago it came to me very strongly that Japan should have a share in the building of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár. I told my thought to the students and said that though I knew not one of them had a cent more than they needed in getting their education, yet through God all things were possible, and if in our hearts we desired to help the way would open for us. Shortly after this Fukuta San came to me and said that he liked the idea of giving to the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár and that he had one dollar which he had saved from text books which he wished to give to the fund. This touched me deeply, for as you know, Fukuta San has nothing of his own, but receives a small monthly allowance for his schooling. The second to offer a contribution was Mr. Eroshenko. Last spring he gave a talk on Russian music with musical illustrations. He had hoped to make some money from this to help himself, but after the expenses were paid, there was neither profit or loss. Last week he went to another city and gave the same lecture in Japanese, hoping to make a financial success this time, but he returned with but 50 cents profit, and he told me that he wished to give this to the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár fund. So
The letter continues: "On March 21, we celebrated the second Naw-Rúz feast in Japan. On that day I had printed the New Year greeting from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in both Esperanto and English which was sent out. It is interesting to know that day is a national holiday in Japan (from the Buddhist religion). I remarked at the gathering that there were four nationalities represented in the room; a Russian, Indian, American and Japanese. One of those present replied, 'No, there are five nationalities.' This puzzled me, then he explained that he meant that ‘Abdu'l-Bahá was present. I thought it was a beautiful thought. Nineteen friends visited me that afternoon and evening, the largest number I have had before in one day. . . . Last week I was invited to speak at the YMCA to the English Speaking Society, the same at which Martha Root spoke last July. Afterwards many young men gathered around to ask questions. They are so ready and eager to learn something new in religion."
Meeting Daiun Inouye
In the spring of 1916 I received a letter from Miss Dorothy Hodgson, a dear English young woman who was with ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris, and with whom I had corresponded. She wrote she was coming to Japan with some French friends and would land in Kobe. My dear friend, Mme Gordon told me of a Buddhist festival which was to be held near Kobe and urged me to meet these friends and take them to the festival. It was the Hand of God which guided, for a joyous inspiration came to me to go although I was not aware of the reason for it. At the festival the only person who could speak English was a young Buddhist priest, Daiun Inouye. After the festival was over he accompanied us to Mt. Rokko. I gave him the only Bahá'í publication in Japanese which we had at that time, the pamphlet which Dr. Augur wrote. As he read it his face lighted up with delight, and he said "This is what I believe!"
After my return to Tokyo, I corresponded with Mr. Inouye. He began to translate from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's talks regarding peace, which were published in a Buddhist paper Chugai Nippo and later printed in pamphlet form. He wrote me that he would like to come out boldly for the Bahá'í Cause. He wrote: "Though it would be glorious for my religious life as a child of truth, yet I fear for my family's distress." In Tablets which were received later from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, He mentioned this pure soul.
On the way to Tokyo I stopped with the travelers in Kyoto. There on May 23, Tenko Nishida, the founder of a society to serve mankind, entertained us at a simple Japanese feast. When I told him the significance of the day, he asked me to bring ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's picture, which he placed in the Japanese place of honor in the room, and at the table a seat was left vacant. It was a spiritual feast and the Master was surely present with us.
The friends from . . . came to stay in Tokyo. They did not, however, strengthen the Cause of God. One day I was guided to the words which ‘Abdu'l-Bahá sent through Miss Hodgson, when in Paris, addressed to the Honolulu friends, which were in part: "If ever anyone desires secretly to shake their faith in the Covenant and Testament, they must remain firm and know of a certainly that that person has evil intentions. They must listen to the words of whomsoever calls the people to the Covenant, and they must know that if anyone desires to shake their faith, that he is a stranger to Bahá'u'lláh, because such a person thinks of sowing seeds of division in the Cause of God, aiming to scatter the Bahá'í unity so that meanwhile he may propagate his own selfish desires." And in a Tablet which I received from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in February, 1917, He wrote: "Convey on my behalf the utmost longing and greeting to the friends residing in Tokyo as well as the recently arrived travelers and say to them: All the individuals of humanity are farmers. Every soul sows a certain kind of seed, but at the season of the harvest there will be gathered no result except the seeds which are sown by the believers of God. That alone will obtain heavenly blessings. Reflect that His holiness Christ and His Holiness Muhammad scattered such holy seeds the fruits of which are being gathered until now, but all the other farmers were finally doomed to regret and disappointment."
Through the meeting in the Esperanto rooms in Geneva in September, 1914, of Miss Anna Sharapov, a friend of Vasily Eroshenko, a new world of joyous service came into my life. It was Mr. Eroshenko who assisted me to translate the Bahá'í teaching into Esperanto. It was he who helped me to learn English and Esperanto Braille, bringing me in close touch with the blind of Japan. It was through his effort that I had the joy of sharing the Bahá'í Message with Tokujiro Torii and through him with the blind of Japan. It was he who introduced me to the writer, U. Akita, who was sympathetic to the Cause, and wrote magazine articles through which the first Japanese young woman accepted the Bahá'í Message.
Mr. Eroshenko was also the door by which a new world was opened to the Japanese blind through the Esperanto language. He said that if Esperanto had done nothing else in the world, it had already united the blind. They had an International Association which published a year book giving the addresses of blind Esperantists throughout the world, thus enabling them to correspond and exchange ideas with the blind in other countries.
In the summer of 1916, Mr. Eroshenko left Tokyo to go to Siam. I had read him the book Some Answered Questions and he was very enthusiastic about it and asked to take the book with him on his travels. As he sailed from Japan many prayers were said for this brave young man. Mr. W. H. Randall of Boston wrote me: "At the next meeting of the friends here and at Green Acre we will have special prayers for Mr. Eroshenko, our blind brother on his way to Siam. You say he goes alone,
From Bangkok, Siam, I received a letter from Mr. Eroshenko who had passed through some trying experiences on his way, but was assisted by the Unseen Hand. He wrote: "Among the Russians are many Hebrews. I often visit one of these families. Two girls are interested in religion. I told them of the Bahá'í. They listened with great interest excitedly and wholly unexpectedly asked me, "Tell me is Christ on this earth?" I replied, 'Bahá'ís say that he is.' 'But you personally, do you believe?' I felt that she wished Christ might be here, but I replied, 'I study the question.' Now she is reading Some Answered Questions."
Through Mr. Eroshenko this girl wrote to me: "I am a Jewish by creed, and have tried my utmost to get into a more deep investigation of the creeds of the world but how I regret that I cannot succeed as there are so many. I have studied with careful scrutiny the Buddhist religion, but was not satisfied until Mr. Eroshenko lent me a book called Some Answered Questions, which has made an impression by its simple and true creed. I shall not go farther, but would ask you to forward me any periodicals and an edition of Some Answered Questions, and I shall try to help you in teaching in this part of the sphere . . . I am only 17 years and one month . . . I regret to be unable to help Mr. Eroshenko in his efforts, for I do not hold any power. But I admire his noble effort to educate the blind here . . . I am sure his efforts would be greatly cherished by the One Above as his would be success . . ."
I wrote this dear young sister and sent her a prayer from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. In reply I received a beautiful letter from her. She had experienced great help through the prayer, but her mother opposed the Cause and destroyed all her Bahá'í literature.
In Rangoon, Burma, some of the dear Bahá'ís welcomed Mr. Eroshenko. There he told students in the school for the blind of the Bahá'í teachings, and shared with them the book Some Answered Questions which they greatly appreciated. They were delighted with the teachings, especially because the Bahá'í Faith did not condemn the Buddhist religion, which was the faith of their forefathers, and into which they were born.
Mr. Eroshenko had many significant dreams in which ‘Abdu'l-Bahá appeared to instruct him. Although he had love for the Bahá'í teachings, he did not experience the great joy which comes through acknowledging and turning to the Center of the Manifest Light. In later years he joined the Communists and lost the inspiration he received through the Bahá'í teachings
Mr. Ujaku Akita, the kind friend of Mr. Eroshenko, came in July to ask me to write an article on the Bahá'í teachings in regard to the woman question, for a Japanese woman's magazine which had over 15,000 subscribers, and was read by the Empress. With great joy I wrote, addressing the article "To my dear sisters of Japan." Mr. Akita translated it into Japanese, the first part, though, he left in the English, as he said it was so beautiful. When it was published, I received many kind letters from Japanese women, expressing their appreciation and heartfelt thanks. At that time in Japan, most of the work I had been able to do was among the young women students. As I wrote to the Children of the Kingdom magazine, almost all were young people, for the older people had not awakened from the winter sleep. The young, though, were wide awake.
Because Mr. Akita had written many magazine articles about the Cause, one of the Japanese papers published a cartoon of him in which the word "Bahá" was coming out of his mouth. The Cause of God was thus given wide publicity in Japan.
I went to Matsushima that summer, remaining there for nineteen days. A happy incident of the visit was the following: One morning the lady who occupied the room next to mine in the hotel was ill. Suddenly the guidance came to me to take my photograph of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and show it to her. When I entered her room with the photograph, to my great surprise she said, "It is ‘Abdu'l-Bahá." Then she told me that her father and also her husband were Persian. Her husband, she said, was a Muhammadan, and as her mother was French, she had attended a convent, and in religion she and her husband could not agree. She had come from her home in Shanghai for a visit to Japan. We had a happy visit and I had the privilege of explaining to her that through the Bahá'í Revelation all could unite. Soon after I left her she wrote her husband telling him what had happened.
While in Matsushima I received a letter from a young man who lived in another city, enquiring about the Bahá'í Cause. He had read something about it in a newspaper and found my address. I wrote and sent him a few booklets. He replied: "I offer you a thousand thanks for the letter and booklets you sent me. I read them immediately and was very much pleased. I think as though I am standing before the gate of the Kingdom of Truth with the key in my hand . . ."
In the far west of Japan, an Englishman, who was a teacher, heard of the Bahá'í Cause through reading the weekly publication Far East, which had published several articles about the Bahá'í Faith. He wrote to me and asked some questions which I was happy to answer. In his home on Sunday mornings he held a service. One day in July, 1916, a letter came to me from the first Japanese to whom I had earnestly talked of the Bahá'í Cause when I was a young Bahá'í in Green Acre, Maine, in the summer of 1901. He was then studying at a Theological school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Afterwards I corresponded with him for a while, until it became clear his mind was closed to the Light of the New Day. He wrote: "I wonder if you ever remember a little Japanese whom you met at Green Acre, Maine, about a dozen years ago. After the service this morning, Mr. . . . my colleague, mentioned how interesting were the teachings of Bahá and this at once reminded me of you, so I told him I used to hear the teaching of that great prophet through a lady in America, whose name is Miss Agnes Alexander. Then he produced your letter to my surprise and my delight. I am very glad to hear you are now in Japan . . ." A few years later we met in Tokyo. The Call of the Divine Message had come to his attention for the second time, through the bounty of God, but he did not awaken to the Voice.
In Tokyo I had met Tokujiro Torii, who was a student at the Government School for the Blind. There he came to know Mr. Eroshenko and was the first of the
Mr. Torii had asked me if I would come to Ejiri the last week in August, as Mr. Nakamura, a blind teacher who had spent two years in a school in England, was going to be there then and would interpret for us. On August 22, while in Matsushima, I wrote: "In a few days I will be with some blind friends who have asked me to visit them. The friend of Mr. Eroshenko's (Mr. Torii) writes me that he is sorry he is only a poor young man and cannot give me the right reception, but, he says, 'I will receive the eternal riches from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and await you with spiritual joy.' At his request I have written about the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár, which will be printed in Braille in the Journal for the Blind."
In order to go to Ejiri, I returned to Tokyo. It was exceedingly hot and I became ill. It seemed as though I could not be of help to anyone and even dear Mrs. Augur said she thought ‘Abdu'l-Bahá would not want me to go. Perhaps it was God's purpose to empty me of everything that He might use me. When the morning came to go, putting some Bahá'í literature in my suitcase, I went to the train. After a ride of five hours, Mr. and Mrs. Torii and Mr. Nakamura met me at Ejiri and guided me to a Japanese Inn. As Ejiri was a town where no foreigners lived, it was the only place for me to stay. We had a visit and then they left me. Throughout that night there was geisha music and noise in the Inn and I spent a sleepless night. In the morning when the dear friends came I read them from the book Ten Days in the Light of ‘Akká and other Bahá'í writings. Mr. Nakamura was then teaching in a Christian school for the blind in Tokyo, and was the editor of the only religious journal for the blind in Japan. He asked me if I would write about the Bahá'í Revelation for the blind women of Japan. He said I might be unlimited in the length of my article as nothing had yet been done for the blind women, whom he said had double darkness, that is, of spirit and body. He was devoting his time to try and better the condition of the blind in his land.
When I left Ejiri after a few days spent in reading and explaining the Bahá'í teachings, Mr. Torii told me that he wished to write to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, but he waited for the inspiration to come. On September 7, in the quiet hours of the night the inspiration came. What joy was mine when I received from him a beautiful letter addressed to the Beloved Master, written in Esperanto Braille! He wrote me that after I left, he walked with his Japanese wife in the fields and a great light and happiness came to him. His letter, which was the second letter to be sent from Japan to the Master from a Japanese follows:
Ejiri, Shizuoka, Japan
In an article published in the Bahá'í World Vol. IV, Mr. Torii wrote of his spiritual experience thus: "It was a day in August, 1916, that I found the Eternal Light which I had sought and sought with a longing heart for a long time . . . At that time I was living in a town by the seashore . . . There came a messenger of the Kingdom of Abhá and lifted up the veil of my soul. . . . Since that bright morning of my spirit, everything in the world has changed for me."
For the sake of God, I went to Ejiri and He used me for His purpose. Of all the trips I have taken in Japan that one brought the greatest blessing and joy which extended and increased throughout the years spent in that country. It was the door which opened to the blind of Japan Cause of God, bringing them Eternal Life.
Tokujiro Torii was twenty-three years old, and like Mr. Eroshenko, lost his sight when he was three years old from fever. His soul was so ripe that it only needed a touch to set it aflame. In a letter of September 12, 1916 I wrote: "Mr. Torii is ready to do anything he can for the Cause and is already translating from
In Tokyo I wrote for Mr. Nakamura the article, in the form of a letter, to the blind women, telling them of the hope and joy they would find in the Bahá'í Message. Mr. Nakamura translated it into Japanese Braille, and published and sent it out from his school. He said that usually the letters from the blind young women were very dull, but after they had read of the Bahá'í Message they became full of life. Several young women wrote of the light and consolation they received from the Bahá'í teachings. Mr. Nakamura kindly translated their letters to me. One of the young women especially found great inspiration and for a time we corresponded. This Braille booklet was not only the first of the Bahá'í teachings to be circulated among the blind in Japan but also the first pamphlet to be published in the Japanese language.
I wrote, "So the spiritual Dawn is surely drawing near for those people."
President Naruse and the Japan Women's College
One day in September, 1916, I went to the Japan Women's College and presented an introduction which had been given me to President Jinzo Naruse. He had met ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in London in 1912. When I mentioned the Bahá'í Cause to him, he invited me to come the following Saturday afternoon and speak in the chapel to all the students who would assemble. The school was nondenominational. President Naruse showed me a room which he had reserved for the study of religions of the world. The girls were free to study there any of the world religions. President Naruse was pleased to accept from me some Bahá'í books and a photograph of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá to be placed in the room. The following Saturday, September 23, I spoke in the chapel on the Bahá'í teachings, especially concerning women, which a lady teacher who had been educated in the United States, translated into Japanese. President Naruse had the book, The Reconciliation of Race and Religions by Prof. T.K. Cheyne of Oxford. As I had not seen it, he kindly let me take it to read. I found in reading it many marks which expressed the depth of his spiritual understanding. He died not long afterwards, but his memory is cherished in the school to which he gave his life.
A Bahá'í Home in Tokyo
On October 1, I moved into a Japanese house which I had been guided to find, not far from where I lived. At that same time the help which Fukuta San had been receiving for his education was withdrawn, and it seemed God's providence that he should have a room in the house, where he could assist in the Bahá'í work and continue in his school. As it was a Japanese house, it required little furniture, and I engaged a woman to keep house, which was necessary in Japan. As Mrs. Augur is leaving for Honolulu early in October, Dr. and Mrs. Augur moved from Zushi, where they had been living, to Tokyo. Dr. Augur took a room in the Inn where they had lived before going to Zushi, and Mrs. Augur came and spent the nights with me until she sailed for Honolulu.
At the first meeting in the Bahá'í home on Friday, October 6, 1916, nine were present, among whom were three of the students from Waseda University who had faithfully come on Saturday afternoons during the spring months to study the Bahá'í teachings, also the writer, Mr. Akita.
During October, Mr. Kenzo Torikai, a Japanese Bahá'í from Seattle came on a visit to his native land after an absence of twelve years. He brought a fragrance with him and we were happy to welcome him in Tokyo, and had a photograph taken of some of the friends for him. (See Star of the West Vol. VIII, page 35). In the photograph, Mr. Fukuta and I hold the Greatest Name, beneath which is Dr. Augur in Japanese costume. The four students from Waseda University, Mr. Akita and Yoshio Tanaka made the nine who were present that day. Mr. Torikai remained in Japan until March 1, 1917. Most of his time was spent in the western province where his relatives lived. Although religious teaching was forbidden in the government schools of Japan, he said he was able to speak in many of the schools in his home province, as he did not call it religion, but teachings, and in this way he gave the Bahá'í principles. He was the first Japanese Bahá'í to return to Japan from America and give the Bahá'í Message. While visiting his home, he wrote an article giving Bahá'í teachings, entitled New Civilization which we had published in pamphlet form after his return to Tokyo.
On November 10, I wrote: "The last two meetings have been conducted in Japanese by Fukuta San. It shows growth. Tomorrow they will meet here to consult together about translation." The young men students who attended the Bahá'í meetings and Mr. Akita, formed a group to work together to translate the Bahá'í teachings into Japanese, and met together one afternoon a week for the purpose. I left it to them to be guided in selecting the Bahá'í literature to be translated and did not attend any of their meetings. One day I asked Fukuta San if they prayed before beginning their work, and he replied that they did which made me happy.
In the fall of 1916, Fukuta San went to his home in Toyohashi for a few days, and on his return to Tokyo stopped at Ejiri and met his Bahá'í brother Tokujiro Torii. The love and unity which was ignited between these spiritual brothers continued through the years, for they both were awakened by the love of their Lord, and were aware of His Station.
Through the bounty of God, I made two visits that fall to Ejiri, where I spent a few days sharing the Words of Life with the blind brother. On November 24, I wrote from Tokyo: "This morning my heart is filled with thankfulness to God for His loving kindness and mercy to me. My heart is filled with peace and contentment in this home which He has given me, ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's home! A few days ago I spent two days with the dear blind brother and his wife in Ejiri. From being with him and his wife, my heart was filled with great love and peace and it is still with me. In two more days we will celebrate in this house ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's Day. It will also be my sixteenth birthday in the Kingdom. So many
On November 26, we celebrated for the third time the Day of the Center of the Covenant in Tokyo. It was a very happy occasion. Twelve of the friends came and as we sat on the matted floor around a low table, each one in turn said a few words.
Mr. Torii worked continually transposing the Bahá'í literature into Braille. There was no one in Ejiri to read English to him, and only through the help of his devoted wife, who spelled the English words for him, was he able to accomplish his work. From the English transcriptions he made selections for a Braille book for the blind of Japan. Again with the help of his wife in the use of the dictionary, he translated the words into Japanese. It was a work of pure love through which the Bahá'í Message was widely spread among the blind of Japan.
Through a Bahá'í lady in England, Mr. Torii wrote a beautiful letter to a young English soldier who had lost his sight at the front in the great war. (See Star of the West Vol. III, page 34). He wrote in part: "I do not know how to admire that you had been fighting so bravely that you lost your sight, but I cannot be sorry for your distress, for I knew that the physical blindness is nothing for you, and that soon you will be able to have the Inner Sight more clearly than ever, so surely God will help you if you beseech Him. So, dear friend, be cheerful, praise God and keep your hope and spiritual light firmly. . . . I believe that it is the Heavenly Command for us, the blind of this century, to work for bringing happiness, peace, love, joy and hope to this world of humanity, because for this great work no one need any sight of the body, and there should not be a handicap between the blind and the sighted. Knowing this, I think we, the blind must unite universally, and it is much easier for the blind to unite universally than the seeing, because of their same fate, and the only instrument for this purpose is the Esperanto language, so I hope that you will learn this language and have great joy by corresponding with many friends in the whole world. Forget your blindness and turn your face to the bright side! This is the only way with which you can change darkness into light. Really physical blindness is nothing, nothing for us!" In the letter Mr. Torii quoted from the Words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, whom he referred to as, "our teacher and guide today," and Bahá'u'lláh, as "the fountain of Light and Hope and Love."
Mr. Torii wrote that since he had found the Light, "every prejudice in my heart is forgotten. Truly, there is no country, no nation, no race in my heart, everything is equal in the presence of the Almighty, indeed, 'the heart is the real country.'"
The first spring in Tokyo, in 1915, I met a charming young woman, Miss Ichi Kamichika, who had graduated from Miss Tsuda's Japanese English School and was writing for a newspaper. It was she who had ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's picture first published in a Japanese newspaper in Japan. When Martha Root visited me that summer, she wrote an article about her for the newspaper. For a Japanese woman at that time, she was advanced in her independence and came to some of the Bahá'í meetings, although the only Japanese lady. She was among those in the first photograph taken with Martha Root in my room. In the fall of 1916, a tragedy came in her life, and she was confined in a prison in Yokohama waiting for a trial. I wrote to her then and sent her the booklet From the Greatest Prisoner to His Prison Friends by Zoraya Chamberlain. When I spoke of going to see her, a friend said I would not be allowed to visit with her except for a few minutes through a small opening, which was the custom in such cases. I went, nevertheless, to the prison and gave the officer in charge my card, and asked if I might see Miss Kamichika. To my surprise he replied, "I know you, I have read your letters to Miss Kamichika and every word of the booklet From the Greatest Prisoner to His Prison Friends which you sent to her. You may see her at any time." She was permitted to come to an office room where I visited with her in the presence of an officer. I had been writing an article about the Bahá'í teachings for the women of Japan, and asked if she could translate it into Japanese in the prison. The permission was granted and later the manuscript was published in pamphlet form entitled A Message of Love to the Women of Japan, which was distributed among Japanese women. This was the second publication of the Bahá'í teachings in Japan.
Before visiting Miss Kamichika in the prison, I had received several letters from her written from the prison. In one of them on November twenty-fourth, she wrote: "Much obliged I am for your kind letter as well as for your love which does not change even for my horrible condition. Thanks to sympathy of all the friends, I am passing my prison days well and comfortably, please do not worry yourself imagining I am miserable and distressed. . . I am so grateful for your friendship shown these days and for what I owe you I am intending to do my best even in here." In another letter of December sixth, she wrote: ". . . today I had a happy chance to talk to the head officer of this prison and asked for the permission to do your translation and was allowed. I feel so happy, because you helped me in so many ways but I did nothing to please you, but now I can do it even though that is a small work and you really mean, not for yourself, but for me. Freedom and comforts of life seem so precious when one thinks of them in a prison. But I also know very well that this place was the best place for me. Prison will make me very meditative and thoughtful and will work a great deal for my growth."
The year 1917 opened full of joyful Bahá'í activities. Dr. Augur wrote, "The work is making great progress here in Japan. . . . The meetings are sometimes carried on by the Japanese young men in their own language."
During the New Year holidays, Mr. and Mrs. Torii came to Tokyo for a visit. I wrote, "I have just had a most happy visit from the blind brother and his wife. It was a great joy for me to have him with Fukuta San in this home." In another letter I wrote, "One Friday we had three blind young men present in our meeting. Truly the blind of Japan are coming to this Light. God certainly heard and answered the prayer of our dear blind brother, Mr. Torii." With their finger tips, at the
On January 18, I wrote: "Our blind Bahá'í brother, Mr. Torii, sent the Kasitaj Vortoj to the blind Esperantists of the world. He now has received a letter from a blind Danish Esperantist young lady who writes that she was greatly interested in the Hidden Words in Esperanto and wishes more copies. Mr. Torii writes me in Esperanto which I will translate, 'The Bahá'í Movement is becoming spread more and more, not only among the blind Japanese, but among the Europeans of the same fate.' Mr. Torii asks me to write to this Danish young lady and give her the address of some Bahá'í who is near to her. I will have to reply that I know of no Bahá'ís in that part of the world, but I hope she will be the first one in her country . . . Mr. Torii said he felt the blind people can understand the spirit better than the sighted. When more Bahá'í literature is translated into Esperanto, then it can be printed in Braille for the blind, and in this way the blind people all over the world can be reached with the Message. . . . One reason Mr. Torii says the blind can unite easier than the sighted is because they all have the same writing, that is Braille . . . . For the New Year we have published here the first book of the Bahá'í Teachings in Japanese. A Bahá'í brother in the United States made this possible by giving us a most generous contribution for work here. This book has the portrait of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá on the cover, also in Esperanto the words of Bahá'u'lláh. 'O people of the world, ye are all the fruits of one Tree and the leases of one Branch.' On the first page in English are printed the words of Bahá'u'lláh. 'Let not a man glory in this that he loves his country, let him rather glory in this that he loves his kind.' This book is entirely the work of the young men who united together to accomplish it. It contains only the words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in translation."
A dear friend in Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Rufus W. Powell, whose wife gave me my first Esperanto study book, kept me informed during those days, on all matters concerning Esperanto and the Bahá'í work.
Tablets From ‘Abdu'l-Bahá Reach Japan
On February 9, I wrote of the joyful news which had come to us in Japan: "On the evening of the seventh great joy came to this home and I hasten to tell you of it that you may all rejoice with us. A wonderful spirit had uplifted me all that day and I felt that when I returned home in the evening, I would find a Message from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. I looked for the mail the first thing on entering the home, and there it was enclosed in a letter from our brother, Mr. Joseph Hannen of Washington D.C. There was a letter for Fukuta San from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's secretary and one for me, each embodying in them Tablets from our Beloved. I cannot tell you of the wonderful peace and joy that has overflowed in my heart ever since. This is the first time since receiving word from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá to come to Japan, that any message from Him has reached here, and Fukuta San is blessed by being the first Japanese in his own land to receive words, 'from that Pen whose greatness, glory and splendour will shine down the ages long after we have passed away from this earth and the traces of our service in His mighty Cause have appeared in dazzling brightness.' These wonderful words were written by a sister (May Maxwell) many years ago." The Tablet from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá to Mr. Kikutaro Fukuta follows:
O thou who are guided by the Light of Guidance! Thy first and second letter was received. Praise be to God that the light of guidance shone forth, the glass of the heart became illumined and the darkness of ignorance dispelled. The Most Great Guidance is a crown the brilliant gems of which will shine upon all the future ages and cycles. If it is placed on the head of a servant, he will become the object of the envy of Kings, for this is an imperishable crown and an everlasting sovereignty. God says in the great Qur'an, He particularizes with His Mercy whomsoever He desireth. Praise be to God that thou hast become especialized with divine Favor and Bounty. Thou didst become awake, beheld the lights and harkened unto the Melody of the Supreme Concourse. In the glorious Gospel it is said, 'Freely ye have received, freely give.' That is, you have found this bestowal, you have paid nothing for it, therefore give it to others without any exchange. Now with a heavenly power, with a lordly gift, with spiritual morals, with Godlike deeds, and with supreme Glad Tidings be thou engaged in the promotion of the teachings of God in Japan. The confirmations of the Kingdom shall encompass and the cohorts of the Realm of Might will triumph. Upon thee be greeting and praise.Translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Haifa, Syria, October 28, 1916.
In my Tablet from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, He wrote
O thou heavenly daughter! Thy letter through Mr. Hannen was received from Japan; likewise the letters of Mr. Fukuta. The contents of both letters imparted exceeding joy, for each word was an eloquent tongue explaining the wonders of the Love of God and elucidating the story of the attraction of the heart with the Breaths of the Holy Spirit.Translated by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Haifa, Syria, October 27, 1916.
The letter of February 9, continues: "At this time the Cause is certainly spreading with great bounds in this land. Our brother, Mr. Kenzo Torikai, who is visiting his native home after an absence of twelve years, has been awake giving the Message wherever he goes. During the past week several Tokyo papers have had
After receiving the precious Tablets, a week passed when again the same great joy filled my heart, only this time it lasted for three days, and then the blessed Table reached me from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá on February seventeenth It had come, like the others, in the contents of a letter from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's secretary. The Tablet follows:
O thou daughter of the Kingdom! Thy letter dated July 15, 1916 was received. Its contents indicated that thou hast organized a meeting in Japan. Consider thou what a great favor God has bestowed that such spiritual meetings are being held in Tokyo and such heavenly gifts are being distributed.
On February sixteenth, I wrote to Marquis Shigenobu Okuma, the founder of Waseda University, which the four students who assisted in the Bahá'í translating attended, and sent him some Bahá'í literature for the University library. Several years later I was privileged to meet him and have a happy interview when he told me he was glad I was in his country teaching the Bahá'í Cause.
Although I lived very humbly among the people, receiving in my simple Japanese home any poor student who wished to come, the Cause of God was given wide publicity through the press in Japan. The American owned paper Japan Advertiser had published many letters I had sent them pertaining to the Bahá'í teachings, as well as other Tokyo publications. One day I felt the urge to take something I had written for the Bahá'í Anniversary Day, May twenty-third, of the history of the Cause, to the editor of the Japan Advertiser. By nature I was extremely timid and I often told the friends it was a proof of the power in the Bahá'í Cause that I come alone to Japan and live and stand alone. Because of an experience I had once had, it took courage for to go to see the editor. This undoubtedly was a test to make me braver. As I ascended the stairs to the office I repeated the Greatest Name. To my great surprise when I met the editor he arose from his chair and said, "I know you." Afterwards I realized he must have sympathized with the letters I had sent to the paper with my card. Without any hesitation he accepted my article and we had a friendly talk about spiritual things. In obeying His guidance I witnessed His confirmations!
On March thirty-first, I wrote of the happy Naw-Rúz gathering we had, the third one to be celebrated in Japan. Twelve young men came and we held the feast around a table made by using one of the Japanese sliding doors. I wrote. "Now that the young men are established in the Cause, the 'other wing' must be developed before the bird can fly. Until this is done, farther progress cannot be great in this land . . . Dr. Augur lives two hours on the train from Tokyo at the beach of Zushi, but every Friday he comes to the meeting and is a great help, as his knowledge of the Teachings is so great. In answer to almost any question, he can quote the exact words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá or Bahá'u'lláh. Last night a young Japanese girl addressed and sent out to the women's journals of Japan copies of Message of Love to the Women of Japan so we hope soon the bird will be taking flight with two strong wings."
At that time I was corresponding with a girl who was "hungering for the Water of Life." She had read a magazine article about the Bahá'í Cause by Mr. Akita and wrote me wishing to know more. As she did not know English, with Fukuta San's help in translating, we began corresponding. I sent her the few Bahá'í publications we had in the Japanese language, among which was Message of Love to the Women of Japan. She wrote me that she had left the home of her adopted parents and was striving to care for herself by writing. Then one day a letter came asking if she might come to be with me, that she was willing to do any humble work in order to live a noble life. I replied inviting her to come to my home. Someone said to me, "You do not know her," but I said, "She is God's child." A day in July she arrived, a pretty girl of about sixteen years, Yuri Mochizuki. We could not talk to each other, but putting my arms around her we conversed in the language of love. She began then to study English. A short time passed, when I received an urgent cable to return to Honolulu. It was God's plan, I feel, which came in that form. I felt there must be a plan for my little girl, but everything I thought of failed. Then I wrote to Mr. Torii about her. A beautiful letter came in reply in which he wrote that he and his wife would take "God's child." Just before I sailed for Honolulu, Mr. Torii came from Ejiri to see me. Dr. Augur and I had agreed to pay the rent of a Japanese house where Mr. Torii and his wife could live in Tokyo and keep the Bahá'í meetings. I promised to provide the means for the girl that she might go to school, until the time when I would return to Japan, and then she could come to be with me. The day I sailed from Yokohama, July twenty-seventh, the Braille
First Young Woman Bahá'í of the Far East
While Yuri Mochizuki was with me, I asked her if she would she would not like to write to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. She wrote her letter in Japanese which Fukuta San translated into English. The following is the first letter to be sent from a Japanese girl to the Master! "To the Holy Servant of God! O the Inexhaustible Fountain of Love and Mercy! O the Teacher who gives new life and strength to the weak lambs in the world! I feel very happy and honored having been born in a secluded village in a corner of the Orient, Japan, to be able to write a letter to the Divine Teacher. May you be the Light which illumines and consoles the troubles of my heart for ever and ever! I pray you that I may be filled with your teachings so thoroughly that even a little motion of my poor flesh and spirit will constantly praise your name.
"My thought is your teaching; my beauty is your teaching; my courage is your teaching and my love is your teaching.
"Miss Alexander, who came here and worked for the first time in this Cause, is now going back to her country. We little Japanese Bahá'ís feel ourselves just like stray sheep that have lost their shepherd who fondled them so tenderly, but we accept it without any complaint at all if it is His Will. When we are left alone we must work in the teaching of God, praying for His help, so that He may give us great strength. Even here in Japan there are many who are thirsting, and we will let them know of you, so that they can be refreshed and regain their lives from the Sweet Fountain of the Truth.
"I am studying under the care of our Bahá'í mother, Miss Alexander, having your Name and picture upon my writing desk, whose merciful eyes are watching over me, and I can gain from them always life and strength.
"Oh my Teacher! Let me cry in thanks, you are my whole life!"
When we parted at the steamer in Yokohama, Yuri San, as we called her, wept. She went from there to Ejiri to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Torii until they moved to Tokyo where she entered a Japanese Girls' High School. This child of God had the distinction of being the first of her sex in the Far East to come under the shelter of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's tender love.
Before I sailed for Honolulu, Mrs. Augur had returned to Japan. She and Dr. Augur were living in Zushi, where they remained until December 29, 1917, when they returned to their home in Honolulu, but came again to Japan in the fall of 1918, and remained until the spring of 1919.
When I left Japan we had in the Japanese language the following Bahá'í publications: The Religion of Love, consisting of the teachings of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá translated by a group of young men; A Message of Love to the Women of Japan, which I wrote and Miss Ichi Kamichika translated into Japanese; The New Civilization, written in Japanese by Mr. Kenzo Torikai; ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's Teachings about Peace, translated by Mr. Daiun Inouye; A Message of Light consisting of Words of Bahá'u'lláh and ‘Abdu'l-Bahá translated and transcribed into Braille by Tokujiro Torii. All of these publications were printed through the generous donation of our dear Bahá'í brother, Mr. W.H. Randall, of Boston, Massachusetts.
November Twelfth Celebration in Tokyo
Mrs. Augur wrote me the following account of the celebration of Bahá'u'lláh's birthday at the little Bahá'í home in Tokyo on November 12, 1917: "I must tell you of the beautiful meeting at the Bahá'í home. It was a perfect day and all the sliding doors were open. A long table, Japanese style, was in the room large enough for all to sit around. Two large baskets of fruit and three bouquets of flowers were on the table. First Mr. Torii spoke to the young men in Japanese — his dear face was illumined. After he spoke we all read from the Hidden Words and then silent prayer. George (Dr. Augur) opened the meeting by telling of the significance of the day . . . and then Dorothy Hodgins spoke very lovely of her meeting with ‘Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris and of two beautiful talks He gave. Then Mr. Torii spoke to the young men in Japanese about the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár . . . and then Dorothy read from Mrs. Goodall's book when she was in '‘Akká about the Feast to the Jews when the three women were guests. Then George had the young men read the Tablet on Peace and Bahá'u'lláh's sufferings and the meeting closed with Mr. Torii reading extracts from Bahá'u'lláh's Writings and a young Japanese played on the violin very nicely, then tea and refreshments were served. It was a beautiful spiritual Feast in every way. There were twenty-five of us in all. Mr. Torii read us the letter he wrote to the Chicago and American friends, which was very touching and beautiful. I felt the spirit so greatly in that little room. As Mr. Torii read the extracts from Bahá'u'lláh's writings with the sun shining on his dear blind eyes, I could hardly keep the tears back. His face is so spiritual. I feel he will do a blessed work in Tokyo. There were five blind young men at the meeting."
Bahá'ís of Japan Stand Alone
In 1918 the Light of the New Day was kept burning in Tokyo in the little home of Mr. and Mrs. Torii, where the Bahá'í meetings continued to be held for two years, until I returned again to Japan and established another little home.
Mrs. Ella Cooper, of San Francisco, and I had sent the record of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's Voice to the Bahá'í home in Tokyo. On January ninth, Mr. Torii wrote me: "The voice record of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá has just arrived today and a thousand thanks to you and Mrs. Cooper, but, alas, dear sister, it has been broken into just two pieces! O what a sorrow to my heart! I will try to have it mended, but I don't know that it can be done. By this matter, however, I have been taught a good lesson that it is a great error for a man to try to seek the spiritual among the material. We can't find the Eternal in the transitory. Indeed, I have realized myself that I can, I must hear His Voice with my spiritual ears, not my physical ears; and I must see Him with my spiritual eyes, not material sight . . . But please give my utmost thanks to Mrs. Cooper who sent it to me so kindly. Esperanto is spreading among the students of Waseda University, so much
On January fourteenth, Mr. Torii wrote: "Yesterday we had a blessed meeting of this New Year. Thank God the record has been almost mended and we could hear ‘Abdu'l-Bahá's Voice yesterday, whose sound made our hearts full of love and peace. Indeed, it makes me very peaceful and gives me profound joy to hear it. Thousand thanks to you and Mrs. Cooper for such kindness to send it to us. I feel that we are all coming nearer and nearer so that we may be one chain of love at last. I am very glad to tell you that yesterday we had a deaf friend present at our meeting. He is twenty-one years old and became deaf when he was twelve. He can read our lips and answer very well. He graduated from the Middle School. He is an eager Christian, but he is much interested in the Bahá'í teachings. He is the first one among the deaf to be interested in the Message. He understands English very well. Is it not wonderful that he is guided to ‘Abdu'l-Bahá!" This young man, Mr. Kurita, I met in 1922 in Seoul, Korea.
On February fourteenth, Mr. Torii wrote: "On the evening of the twenty-fourth of January we had a meeting of the blind Bahá'ís for the first time, and though we were only six in number, it was the most spiritual meeting we have ever had. Some sighted Bahá'ís came and spoke for us the blind. I am sending a picture of that meeting as I think it will please you very much."
On March eleventh, a babe was born in the Torii home. The mother saw a shining light at the time of its birth, and he was named Akira meaning "shining light." When I heard of the child, I wrote ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. Later in a Tablet addressed to Mr. Torii, He wrote: "Convey to thy respected wife my greetings and my message and the same to thy young babe, Akira, whose name may be ever blessed for it is quite an appropriate one." The story of this dear boy is recounted in another chapter. On April twenty-fourth Mr. Torii wrote me: "My beloved sister in the Covenant, spring rains are softly falling through the night and my dreams fly away far beyond the sea and perch upon the hearts of my friends known or unknown. Calmness and peacefulness are reigning in my midnight home. The newcomer is soundly asleep and all the family are in dreams, but soon they will awake again as well as mankind. I feel such a peaceful love towards all the world that I have never experienced since the little baby has come to this world, and I think this is the favor that he brought to me from the other world. Indeed, here we can find and touch true humanity."
I received letters also from Yuri Mochizuki. In one she wrote: "I had a dream the night of January first (1918) which I am going to tell you. There was a large green field and there stood a man whom I did not know well, but I was standing before him with sadness. After a while we walked together toward the edge of the field taking each other's hands. At last we came to a hill and climbed it. The hill was covered with something grey and the atmosphere was filled with melancholy. Then suddenly a light appeared from the top of the hill and it came nearer to us. Then out of that light appeared the Prophet of Love ‘Abdu'l-Bahá and guided us to go with Him to the field again. The field was bright and more luminous than before, and in the midst of it we found little fountain. The Prophet of Love was praying for a while standing by the fountain. His white beard was blown by the breezes against His black gown. O, how majestic He looked supporting Himself on a cane! While we were wistfully looking at Him a crowd of people came around the spring. It seemed to me they were all Japanese. Then I awoke."
After my return to Honolulu, I remained a month, and here after sixteen years I met Louise who had married John Bosch. The love which was ignited between us in Green Acre in 1901, was renewed and I was privileged to spend many days in spiritual refreshment in their home in Geyserville. They came to love the Bahá'í children of Japan, and through correspondence Louise made a unity with them. Before I left Japan she had commenced corresponding with an eager student, T. Tachibana, with whom she exchanged many deeply spiritual letters, answering his questions and explaining the Teachings of God. Their correspondence extended over a period from 1917 to August, 1923. In a letter from Geyserville, I wrote March 24, 1918: "May I ask the especial prayers of the friends for a young Japanese who is eagerly seeking true religion, T. Tachibana. When he heard of my departure from Japan he wrote a beseeching letter ending, 'Oh how I long for the jewel which you will send me before my tiny but bright little light goes out.' In his last letter he writes, 'My elder sister, please pray for me and assist me to touch the Holy Spirit in which you being guided.' The letter ends, 'From your poor, thirsting for true religion and feeling loneliness friend.' . . . When it is His Time I expect to return to Japan and with the little sister Yuri Mochizuki, to work especially for the women, for without the two wings, the bird cannot fly. Some of the friends already know of this sister whom God guided to me before I left Japan. At that time she could not speak or understand a word of English, but her heart was touched by the New Spirit which is pervading the world. In the little Bahá'í home in Tokyo, the flower of her soul has blossomed forth, and through His Divine aid, she can now write a beautiful English letter, and if God so wills, she may become the spiritual mother to the women of Japan. She is an orphan in the world, but ‘Abdu'l-Bahá has consoled her heart and brought her peace."
For the first time in 1918 I was privileged to attend the Bahá'í Convention in Chicago. There I was asked to tell of the Japanese Bahá'ís in Japan. That summer the Esperanto Association of North America invited me to be a guest at their Congress in Green Acre and speak of the Esperantists of Japan. This gave me a wonderful opportunity, not only in making a better understanding between the Esperantists of the two countries, but in bringing to their attention the Bahá'í teachings and words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá concerning a universal language. When I quoted the words of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, they were received with great applause.
Mr. Torii wrote me at that time: "I feel that God
Last Visit of Dr. and Mrs. Augur to Japan
In the fall of 1918, Dr. and Mrs. Augur returned to Japan and remained there until the spring of 1919. They rented a little furnished Japanese house in Tokyo, where they assisted in the Bahá'í work. After their return to Honolulu, they were recipients of a beautiful Table from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. Dr. Augur told me the following in regard to it. "I wrote ‘Abdu'l-Bahá a detailed letter in which I said the question was asked me, 'Well, what did you accomplish over there in Japan?' I replied, 'There is only one person in the world who can answer that question and He is not a person.'" The Tablet addressed to Dr. and Mrs. Augur follows:
O ye the two doves nestling in the garden of the Love of God! Your detailed letter was received. Your services at this spot are recognized and appreciated, particularly (your service) in Tokyo. Praise be to God that in that region ye have been assisted in diffusing the musk-scented perfume, and this in future is pregnant with remarkable results. These few seeds of corn that ye have sown in that soil shall lead to luxuriant crops, this limited number of souls will converted into great cohorts, nay rather into an imposing spiritual army, and that seed, under the Divine Direction, shall yield abundant and heavy clusters.
After their return from Japan, Dr. and Mrs. Augur remained in their house in Honolulu, which was the Center for the Bahá'ís until 1927, when they moved to the beach at Waikiki. One day in speaking of the beach, Dr. Augur said to me, "It is not as beautiful as Zushi." They have both passed to their reward. Dr. Augur died at the beach on September 14, 1927, and Mrs. Augur in Oakland, California, on April 21, 1936.
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Mr. Fukuta, the first Japanese to become a Bahá'í in Japan, and Miss Alexander hold the Greatest Name. Dr. Augur is in the kimono; Mr. Tanaka (far left); Mr. Akita, a writer, (second from right) and four Waseda students make up this picture which was taken in Tokyo, October 1916.