I am a member of Purchase Monthly Meeting in New York. My wife Hiromi and I have been blessed to worship with Tokyo Monthly Meeting Friends three times in recent years during visits to Hiromi's family. Our family and friends are much affected by the tragic events in Japan. Hiromi called some Friends in Japan on Thursday morning, March 23.  Hiromi's report can be read below. We hope to keep Friends updated on conditions facing Japanese Friends.

 

Dear Friends, 

I was able to talk with two Friends in Japan.   

First I called Mrs. Kazuko Kagami, a Tokyo Monthly Meeting member and whom I met years ago, when Brian and I attended the meeting for worship. 

Here is the summary of what I learned from her: 

Mito Monthly Meeting (North Ibaraki Prefecture, just south of Fukushima) 
Meetinghouse and a kindergarten run by them are severely damaged, that they can no longer use or go inside. 
However, they are holding meetings elsewhere and trying to organize themselves as a group to help themselves and others to cope with the devastation. 

Tokyo Monthly Meeting 
Meetinghouse was damaged, windows broken and walls partly fallen, but she said the damages were minor, compared to Tohoku Area.  (I guess everything is relative....)  The other building they have was also damaged, the building called "Friends Center", which I believe is used as an accommodation for out of town guests and for hosting events.   

What struck me most was how Mrs. Kagami's daily life is still nothing close to normal.  She lives in her 8th floor apartment, in which everything was turned upside down by the earthquake.  Her computer was broken and she cannot connect to the Internet since she couldn't remember the password to log in to her account.  The papers which contain that information are under the piles of fallen stuff that she hasn't been able to dig and sort out. 

Tokyo Monthly Meeting is rather small, and under current situation, every member is doing all s/he can to get their life back to somewhat normal.  It seemed clear to me, that organizing fundraising and operating/managing the fund is too much to ask them at this point.  ( I feel this is where we can offer our help with logistics, even from overseas.) 

We hear about people who lost their loved ones.  We also hear about desperate situations the evacuees face.  But what we cannot forget is that people just south of the worst hit area, including Friends of Mito Meeting and Mrs. Kagami and others in Tokyo, are also suffering.  They are persevering and striving in this difficult times, because they know, no matter how difficult it seems, people in Tohoku are suffering much more, and they owe it to the Tohoku people, to work hard to rebuild the country. 

Mrs. Kagami gave me another contact, Mrs, Yukiko Backes, a member of Osaka Monthly Meeting.  She will be attending the FWCC Asia, West Pacific Section meeting from April 1 to 7, in Manila, Philippines, as a representative of Japan Yearly Meeting.   She will be a good contact, since she is far enough from the affected area, and she is on the international committee of the Japan Yearly Meeting.   

Mrs. Backes told me that Japan Yearly Meeting has set up an bank account and is now accepting donations: 

Mitsui Sumitomo Bank 
Mita Dori Branch 
Branch Code 623 
Savings account Number : 6385819 
Name of the account holder: Kirist Yukai Nihon Nenkai 

(Kirist Yukai means Christ Friends Meeting, or Religious Society of Friends, and Nihon Nenkai means Japan Yearly Meeting) 

With the fund, they plan to rebuilt and fix Mito and Tokyo Meetinghouses.  They also plan to host evacuees from Tohoku after fixing the damages of the Tokyo building.  Both Mrs. Kagami and Mrs. Backes finished the phone conversations by thanking me for calling and extending our concerns from Purchase and New York Friends.  They told me that they were grateful for our concerns and they keep praying to God for assistance.  With their faith, I trust that they will find the best use with the funds.   

I will be more than happy to serve as a liaison and translator.   

In friendship, 
Hiromi Niwa Doherty 

Views: 1220

Comment by Pat Pope on 3rd mo. 24, 2011 at 6:39pm
Brian, is this the complete mailing address listed above for the bank?  Also, is there a way to give electronically?
Comment by Brian Doherty on 3rd mo. 24, 2011 at 7:48pm
Yes, that should be the complete mailing address. I do not think there is a way to give electronically at this time. It might be wise for meetings to act collectively and send funds together to minimize wire fees. Hiromi felt strongly that Japanese Friends need letters of support from Quaker meetings. Funds can always come later if way opens. Hiromi will be calling soon to get mailing addresses for Japanese meetings (especially Mito MM). I will post any new information here.
Comment by Pat Pope on 3rd mo. 24, 2011 at 8:05pm
Thanks for the information.
Comment by QuakerQuaker on 3rd mo. 24, 2011 at 8:09pm
FYI, Friends World Committee for Consultation is set up for electronic donations and there's a write-up on the situation on Japan on their Europe and Middle East ...
Comment by Brian Doherty on 3rd mo. 25, 2011 at 9:25am
Friends,
Hiromi spoke briefly with Yukiko Backes (Osaka MM, Japan YM) again this morning 3/25). Her report is below.
Brian

Tsuchiura MM and Shimozuma MM in Ibaraki Prefecture had no damage.
 
Mito MM
As I reported earlier, both their meetinghouse and the school building has collapsed completely.  Friends are holding meetings and they are working hard to secure (find a rental) a space to re-open their kindergarten in April (the start of a new school year in Japan).  I pay utmost respect to them for their effort.
 
Rebuilding their Meetinghouse is important, of course, but they can meet elsewhere for a while, as they are doing already.  As a mother of a pre-schooler and a educator, I feel strongly that we urgently need to assist the kindergarten first.  Going back to school is the best way for children to feel normal again.  They can play with friends.  They can be children there.  It is essential for their well being.  
 
Additionally, I imagine that some (not many, I hope) of the members of the Mito MM and families of the kindergarteners also suffered damage to their residences and need assistance.
 
http://shoyuu.com/index.html
This is the Shoyuu Kindergarten homepage.  It is so sad that his beautiful school is no longer standing.  I can tell (you know I am a pro) this is a good place.
 
http://shoyuu.com/day.html
They worship everyday at 9am.
 
http://shoyuu.com/rekishi.html
The school history:
Founded in 1917 by Edes Sharples (1883-1956, pictured), an American teacher/missionary.  Her father was the President of Haverford College.  Came to Japan in 1910 as an English teacher at Friends School (I think this is the one in Tokyo still).  Then she came to Ibaraki (Mito and Shimozuma cities ) and devoted her life to early childhood education.  She placed importance in the quality of education, not quantity.  In the early years, the kindergarten had only 20 children.  She always said (taught ) "strive to be better and more certain."
 
Comment by Brian Doherty on 3rd mo. 25, 2011 at 1:27pm

Friends,

 

Please see below a moving message from Mito Monthly Meeting. Hiromi's translation is in red.

 

Brian

 

 バッケス幸子さま

 

近藤精一さんから転送された標記に関する一会員としてのメッセージです。

 

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis--the catastrophe that we face today reminds me of the terror and devastation of World War II.  We are grateful for Friends from all over the world for sending us messages of support.  

 

このたび、東日本一帯を襲った巨大地震、巨大津波、巨大原発事故の惨状は、まさに太平洋戦争のもたらした惨状を私の脳裏によみがえらせた恐れであった。これに寄せられた、世界各国のフレンドの方々の励ましに御礼申し上げたい。

 

Mito Meetinghouse was burned down by air raids, only to leave parts of the brick walls as remains.  Later, using those bricks that withstood the fire, the Meetinghouse was rebuilt.  Now, again, it is severely damaged by the tremendous power of the earthquake.

 

 水戸月会会堂は戦火によりレンガの外壁だけを残して焼失したが、その後、その戦火を潜り抜けたレンガを使い再建された。だが、それもまた、今回の巨大地震により大きな被災を蒙ってしまった。

 

However, God do not give us trials that we cannot persevere.  With the trial, he will also provide us the way of escape.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)  We will not stop even if we are plagued from all four corners, we will not lose hope even at the bottom of the disappointment.  We will not be destroyed even when devastated. (2 Corinthians 2:8,9)  With our faith, We will rebuild, once again, with the bricks---of the same red color as the bricks of the Seoul Meetinghouse in Korea and the Jordan Meetinghouse in England that suffered the fire. We will live our faith as led in James 2:14-17.

 

Mito Monthly Meeting

Mitsuo Otsu   

 

This is the draft to be delivered at the AWPS meeting.

 

Message 

 

  The disaster in northern Japan was the worst in Japanese history. However, it is miraculous it see the remarkable and unanimous cooperation of all rescue people under the danger of sacrificing even their lives. 

  I hope you at AWPS gathering can make a long-term plan of international system of cooperation in Asia to exchange their experiences and study and building up of the international system of quick and efficient rescue work. to prepare for the coming natural disasters created by global climate change.

 

Seiichi Kondo

 

 

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