In 1920, on the Anniversary of the Declaration of the Báb, these girls who were in Miss Alexander's Bahá'í class, wrote a message to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. They wrote in Japanese which Mr. Fujita, who was serving in
38'Abdu'l-Bahá's home in Haifa, could translate. 'Abdu'l-Bahá lovingly responded, "...Through the Bounties of the Supreme Lord, do I hope that these daughters of the Kingdom will, day by day, progress so that they may, like unto a magnet, attract the Divine Confirmations."
A photographer took this picture of the girls with their Tablet placed on the table. The photograph was then sent to 'Abdu'l-Bahá and He replied with another Tablet calling them daughters of the Kingdom and He expressed the hope that ". . . each one of you will shine like unto a brilliant star from the horizon of the supreme Guidance, thus proving to be the cause of guidance unto others, giving sight unto their eyes, hearing power unto their ears and quickening unto their hearts."
Miss Mochizuki (far right) remained an active Bahá'í through the succeeding years. Miss Otoe Murakami (far left), assisted Miss Alexander in 1923 caring for the earthquake orphans. She is also mentioned as being on the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Tokyo in 1932. Miss Haruko Mori (standing right), wrote a supplication in Japanese to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He answered, "Praised be unto God, that through the Guidance of Miss Alexander thou couldst hear the Call of God. Then strive as far as thou art able to spread the Divine Teachings, so that thou mayest become distinguished with this great Bestowal among the women of the world." She was one of three Japanese women to receive a personal Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
Miss Mori and Miss Murakami were among those who spoke at the memorial of the Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in December 1921. There were thirty-six people present, only six of them women. In those days for women to speak up publicly before men was rare. Miss Alexander wrote
that their speeches touched the hearts.
Miss Mori (Mrs. Shibaya) was located sixty years later in Tokyo. She said she recalled those early days very well and enjoyed the meetings. But Miss Alexander left Japan and the meetings were discontinued. She said she was then married and raised a family, and she lost contact with the others. She recalled that Miss Alexander visited her in the 1930s when she came back to Japan. Miss Mori's Tablet was among her personal possessions which were lost during the war.
This was a Bahá'í meeting in a coffee shop in Kobe in 1920. It was arranged by Mr. Sanzo Misawa, one of the early believers, on the occasion of a visit from a friend, the writer Ujaku Akita. Fourteen people came in all, including a newsman who wrote it up for his newspaper. The paper hanging from the table says, "Bahá'í gathering, enter." Notice the picture of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on the table.
Shortly before Christmas Miss Alexander had an inspiration to invite the children of the shopkeepers on the street where she lived to a party. Mrs. Finch also attended. The blind Bahá'ís Mr. Tomonaga Noto and Mr. Kenjiro Ono sang for the children, and Miss Mochizuki told them Bahá'í stories. Fifty-eight children attended. The next year at the Christmas party there were seventy-seven and in 1922 more than ninety, including some mothers. The year after, 1923, Miss Alexander was in China on Christmas Day. She wrote that a wave of homesickness came over her to be with the children again.
Mrs. Finch and Miss Alexander are at the top, left corner. Mr. Noto (with glasses) is near them. At the top, second right from the tree is Miss Mochizuki. Next to her is Mr. Futakami. In the right corner is Mrs. Futakami. Behind her, almost obscured is Mr. Ono.
Some of the Japanese doll family, dressed by the Tokyo Bahá'ís and sent for sale to the American Bahá'í community. The proceeds went to the American Mashriqu'l-Adhkar fund.
A page on Japan from one of the early publications, the "Mashriqu'l-Adhkar." The date of this issue was about 1928.
Miss Alexander and Vasily Eroshenko, a blind Russian Esperantist, who lived for a time in Tokyo. He did the first translation of the "Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh" (Arabic section), into Esperanto in 1916. He helped Miss Alexander learn both English and Esperanto Braille, and he introduced her to many people, including Mr. Torii. Mr. Eroshenko was greatly attracted to the Faith at the time. Later he left Japan and returned to Russia, and, according to Miss Alexander, he lost the inspiration he had received through the Bahá'í Teachings. This photograph was taken in 1915.
Miss Alexander and Mr. Kenjiro Ono. He was the first blind man to study in a university in Japan (1914). He was greatly attracted to the Faith, and he helped Miss Mochizuki start the first Bahá'í magazine in Japanese, "Higashi no Hoshi," but he did not commit himself to the Faith.
'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote to him, "Verily, verily thou hast suffered much in thy life time. Praise be unto God, that thy insight is keen. Do not thou lament over thy poverty, for the Treasury of the Kingdom is thine...".
'Abdu'l-Bahá offered him great confirmations, "Rest assured that thou wilt be confirmed to give sight to the blind and hearing power to the deaf and even thou wilt give life to the dead!"
However, Mr. Ono soon left Japan to join Eroshenko in China and Russia, and he died abroad. The man on the right is thought to be Mr. Sanzo Misawa, one of the early Bahá'ís. This photograph was taken about 1916.
This photograph was dated March 31, 1915. Miss Alexander is sitting at the far right, and Mr. Eroshenko next to her. It is apparently an Esperanto group.
Mr. Keiji Sawada, who was blind, is shown being greeted by Miss Helen Keller when she came to Japan in 1937. Mr. Sawada was listed as being on the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Tokyo in 1932. He and his wife were close friends of Miss Alexander, and he associated with Bahá'ís when he went to the United States for study. He did not identify himself as a Bahá'í in later years although he and his wife can be seen in photographs taken at Bahá'í activities in the years after the war.
Mr. Torii is speaking before the Blind Association, on the occasion of Miss Keller's visit to Japan. She is sitting second from the right. Miss Keller was well aware of the Faith and wrote appreciatively of it.
Miss Keller was born blind and deaf. Her life, overcoming all difficulties and rising to eminence in the world, has been an inspiration to all, not only similarly affected people. She was given much publicity when she came to Japan. The first time happened to be during one of Martha Root's trips, but apparently they did not meet. Miss Root, always the journalist, circulated to the Japanese newspapers Miss Keller's words about the Bahá'í Faith, "The philosophy of Bahá'u'lláh deserves the best thought we can give it ... what nobler theme than the 'good of the world and the happiness of the nations' can occupy our lives? ..." Miss Keller came again to Japan in 1955 and met Mr. Torii and Mr. Sawada at the schools for the blind where they were teaching.
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