Atsuko HIKI, General Secretary of NCCJ Division of Christian Education
It has been two and a half years since the Peace Education Resource Center was established, and this year has marked the 113th year since the establishment of the Nippon Sunday School Association (NSSA). Churches, seminaries, and organizations of different denominations and religions had visited the center continuously, and also we have had visitors from Korea, Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Europe.
There are frequently asked questions both at home and abroad. “Why did the whole country including political and business establishments and the Imperial household ministry support ‘the 8th World Sunday School Contest’ held in 1920 (Taisho 9) despite the prohibition of Christianity for many years?” Also, “why did Asian countries invaded by Japan participate in the 14th Christian Education World Congress held in 1958 (Show 33)? Did Japan apologize for the invasion? “etc. These questions have a point, don’t they?
Furthermore, there is the fact that was war cooperation under the system of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association between the two rallies. I’m just impressed by how they were able to hold a large-scale world rally when there were no personal computers or the Internet. But it seems that after both rallies, Japan got qualified for powers or advanced countries.
Naturally, there was no participation of Christians from the Korean Peninsula or China in the 8th Conference under colonial rule, and it was only in 1967 that the United Church of Christ in Japan confessed its war responsibility.
Various problems emerge from the history of church education 50 or 100 years ago. Both glorious rallies, filled with religious and evangelistic ardor were held ignoring the Christians’ voices in neighboring countries or taking into account their responsibilities for war. Unbelievably, they invited Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, a suspect of war crimes, who got a large sum of money from the Imperial Household as a guest. Behind both rallies praised as the manifestation of faith and hope, existed Asian people who had suffers and pains.
When I wonder if what we are currently working on will be able to withstand the verification in 50 years and 100 years from now, I become sober.
Jesus’ word cited above sounds like “Examine your thoughts, actions, and assertions, and be aware that you are a member of Asia.” …to live in peace together.