Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Reading List


Books about or by Jesus otaku in Japan!

Here are some books that I've read, some that I recommend, some that I am still reading, and some books I want to read. The first two I highly recommend to any Christian, and especially to Japanese Christians and missionaries:


"Sensei: The Life Story of Irene Webster-Smith"
by Russell Hitt

I highly recommend this story of a missionary who gave her life to the Japanese. The stories of how God cared for her and the orphans He gave her to care for made me smile, cry, and look at the children I teach differently. God is great and He is so faithful!

"Shiokari Pass"
by Ayako Miura ("Shiokari touge" in Japanese)
This is a touching story by the popular Japanese novelist Ayako Miura, who was Christian, about a boy's journey from hating Christianity to giving his life for Christ. The story is partially based on an event that happened in Hokkaido, and partially based on Ayako Miura's own experiences. It gives a great portrayal of the old traditional reaction to Christians in Japan. I recommend this book to all Japanese Christians and missionaries in Japan, and anyone interested in how Jesus touches Japan.

"Remembering the Years"
by Violet McGrath
The story of a missionary who was a contemporary of Irene Webster-Smith (mentioned above in "Sensei"). Her story doesn't have as much detail as "Sensei", and in that way it kind of reminds me of the book of Acts -- giving basic outlines but focusing on the words of the Lord. After reading this I had an appreciation of His precious words and how He guides out lives with them.

"The Life and Thought of Kanzo Uchimura"
by Hiroshi Miura
A readable, well-researched book about Christian Kanzo Uchimura, a contemporary and friend of Inazo Nitobe, who believed in a church that was truly Japanese and not based on Western ideas and forms. Uchimura, a man ahead of his time, saw that "church" did not mean a building or a required necessity for salvation or sustained faith, but was where two or three gathered with Christ in their midst. He defined the "Mukyokai-shugi" (non-church movement).

"The Common People's Gospel" **
by Gunpei Yamamuro
A hundred years ago Gunpei Yamamuro was spearheading the Salvation Army movement of evangelism and caring for the poor in Japan. His passion was to speak the gospel to common people in ways that they could understand. His simple book about the gospel became popular and speaks the gospel in a truly Japanese style. I have a copy in English that I'm reading now, but would like to find a copy of the original in Japanese. If you know where I can find one, please leave a comment or email me. I haven't checked at the Salvation Army yet...

"Bushido: The Soul of Japan"
by Inazo Nitobe
Inazo Nitobe, a Quaker Christian who found faith with the Sapporo Band (which included Kanzo Uchimura), became famed for his diplomatic work and for this exposition on the Bushido code of traditional Japanese and samurai ethics, which he wrote for the western reader to help promote understanding between cultures.

"A History of Christianity in Japan"
by Otis Cary
A very thorough telling of the history of Christianity in Japan, described below in "sources" for this page. Apparently it's pretty expensive and rare to find.

"Japan On The Upward Trail"
by William Axling
Also described below in "sources", Axling gives an optimistic early 20th century description of the progress of Christianity in Japan up to that point (1923).

"The Golden Country"
by Shusaku Endo
One of Japan's most famous novelists, Endo wrote often about the heavy persecution of Christians in Japan's history. This book could be considered a companion piece to his most famous work ("Silence"), having a similar story line, except written in the format of a dramatic play. The conclusion may also be less defined than "Silence", and that struggle reflects better Biblical theology, I believe.

"Jizo vs. Jesus in Japan"
by Kenny Joseph
The compliation of Kenny Joseph's challenging research, theories, and overhead projector covers from his lectures about Nestorian missionaries who visited Japan long before Francis Xavier arrived with the Jesuits.

"The Bells of Nagasaki"
by Takashi Nagai
Dr. Takashi Nagai experienced the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and helped the sick and dying. "The Bells of Nagasaki", which he wrote while dying of leukemia, is the account of his experience and prayer for peace. Most Christians are unaware that the atomic bomb fell directly on top of Nagasaki's 400-year-old persecuted Christian community, killing 8,000 Christians instantly and countless more in the following days & years. One of Nagai's poems was about girls at the Christian Junshin school, and how a nun was leading them in reciting psalms when the bomb fell:

Virgins like lilies white
Disappeared burning red
In the flames of the holocaust
Chanting psalms
To the Lord

Nagai spent the rest of his short years crying out for peace, that we would love one another as we love ourselves, as Jesus implored us to from His heart.

"The Smile of a Ragpicker"
by Paul Glynn
The story of Satoko, a Japanese woman from a wealthy family who abandoned everything to live and work with Tokyo's destitute dustbin sifters. Published by the Marist Brothers.

"How I Became a Christian: Out of My Diary" **
by Kanzo Uchimura
Uchimura published this autobiography in 1895 "to explain how, and not why" he became a Christian, mainly to answer the questions of missionaries. It was well received in Europe but only 500 copies were made in America, and no one wanted to print it in Britain. I would really like to read it! Do you know where I could find a copy or look at it? Or copy a copy? Please let me know! Email me or leave a comment below. Thanks!

"From Sunrise Land: Letters from Japan" **
by Amy Carmichael
I would really like to read this out-of-print book by missionary Amy Carmichael. She became famous for her devotional literature and poems, as well as for her mission work in India rescuing girls from temple prostitution. However, before she began that mission she was a missionary in Japan for a short time. This is one of her first books. Irene Webster-Smith (from "Sensei" above) was inspired by Amy's book and became a friend by correspondance with Amy. Please leave a comment or email me if you know where I could obtain a copy, or if you know where I could at least get a xerox copy to read.

"Kazue's Diary" **
by Kazue Miki
(Mentioned in "Sensei" above)
Kazue Miki was a friend of "Sensei" Irene Webster-Smith. Kazue eagerly led her whole family to Jesus before getting married and falling onto hard times. She kept a diary and after she died, Sensei and her friends published the diary to encourage others and let them know about Jesus who loved Kazue so much. I would very much like to read this book, even though I am sure it's in Japanese only and no English version likely exists. I am sure it's very rare, and hope to check with the JEB or JCL later about maybe getting a xerox copy of it. A portion of the diary is printed in appendix of the Japanese edition of "Sensei". Please email me or leave a comment if you know where I could look at "Kazue's Diary".

I pray you're blessed by God's loving heart for you and for Japan! Please do leave any comments or feelings you have about any of these, or any other books or recommendations! Thanks!

In Christ and in Japan,
Ramone Romero

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