Dear friends and members of the Unitarian Fellowship,
I trust your summer was good despite the terrible heat and humidity for most of the time here in Tokyo.
Personally I am looking forward to having a lot more energy in a cooler September.
Please bring a friend or encourage an acquaintance to come this Fall.
Date: Sunday September 9
International House of Japan
(see their website for bilingual directions/ free parking available/near Roppongi or Azabu Juban stations)
3:00 to 5:00
(Please join some of us if you can for a light dinner in the International House cafe to continue the discussion afterwards)
Our speaker will be Kate Wildman Nakai, professor emerita long at Jochi/Sophia University, and specializing in Japanese intellectual history especially of the Edo and modern periods.
She will focus on the big confrontation in 1932 between the government and Sophia University over the Church's prohibition of Catholics participating in shinto events especially at Yasukuni (Yasukuni sanpai). Her topic grows out of her research on different stages in the interaction of Catholic institutions (often in background and agenda unlike that of Protestant missionaries with Anglophone "progressive" ideas) and the Japanese state and society after the mid 19th century Meiji restoration. The evolving catholic response to shinto provides a different perspective on the nature of "State Shinto" which is usually examined thru government policy and promulgation imposed from above rather than its reception and people's response.
Yasukuni shrine is as ever in the news, recently about politicians non-attendance at ceremonies and the Heisei Emperor's comments marking the August end of WWII. Yasukuni should prove stimulating for discussion.
How have people in the recent past aligned their religious and ethical beliefs to the legal and group demands of their community? Where do each of us stand on important issues today?
Please join us and spread the word to others who might be interested.
Peggy Kanada, moderator
As our October 14 UFT speaker we have invited the Rev. Tet Gallardo, from the only Unitarian church in the capital Manila of the Philippines. Your moderator met this young and energetic woman at the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists conference in Kathmandu in February.
In a conservative (even repressive) society what happens to Unitarian progressive ideas? How do Unitarian values offer something to people when the religious environment was traditionally Catholic but is increasingly fundamentalist evangelical -- especially values about human dignity and rights for all, including women and those of different sexual orientations?