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22.       Mr. Daiun Inouye and Mr. Sensui Saiki

      In 1916 Miss Alexander attended a Buddhist festival in Kobe. There she met Mr. Daiun Inouye, a young Buddhist priest who could speak English. He was immediately attracted to the Faith and delved deeply into it. When he read the only Bahá'í pamphlet in Japanese, he said, "This is what I believe."

      He did much service in those early days as he began translating Bahá'í publications into Japanese. His most notable service was some years later, in 1932, when he translated "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era" into Japanese as a memorial to his daughter,


who had passed away at age fifteen. The book was printed the following year. The Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, wrote his congratulations on the achievement and ordered one hundred copies to be sent to the Holy Land. The Guardian wrote that when the books arrived he would place them side by side with fourteen other translated editions which he had. They can still be seen in the Holy Land.

      Mr. Inouye spent some time with Martha Root when she visited Japan in 1937. He resigned from the priesthood and wrote that he would be free to spend his time propagating the Faith.

      Not long after, World War II broke out and the Bahá'í community was scattered with no activity for several years.

      The first American Bahá'ís to come to Japan after the war, in the late 1940s, located some of the Bahá'ís, including Mr. Inouye but unfortunately he did not arise to his former activity.

      'Abdu'l-Bahá had mentioned the names of Mr. Inouye and Mr. Saiki together, in 1918 and in 1920. He told Miss Alexander to convey His love to them.

      Mr. Inouye's name was on the list of confirmed Bahá'ís Miss Alexander sent to the Guardian in 1922. However, there is no record that Mr. Saiki was considered as a Bahá'í. At one time he had been a Christian evangelist. He was a writer and mentioned the Faith in one of his books. Apparently he wrote to

      We do not have photographs of Mr. Inouye or Mr. Saiki in the early years. This was taken in 1948. It shows Mr. Robert Imagire, American pioneer to Japan, Mr. Torii and Mr. Inouye. The man behind is unidentified.


'Abdu'l-Bahá that he had invented a new Japanese writing.

      'Abdu'l-Bahá answered, praising his efforts, but He advised Mr. Saiki to concentrate all his energy in spreading the Faith.

23.       Mrs. Ida Finch

      Mrs. Finch was a sweet motherly Bahá'í from Seattle, Washington, U.S., who spent almost four years in Japan between 1919 and 1923. She was sponsored by Mr. Roy Wilhelm. Mrs. Finch had a love for the Japanese and had a great effect on the teaching efforts in those early years.

      This photograph taken in 1923, shows Mrs. Finch with Miss Mikae Komatsu (later Mrs. Tadako Arakawa), who was one of three Japanese women to receive a Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Miss Komatsu married and moved to Kobe. Miss Alexander kept in touch with her until 1937, when, due to the rise of the militarists Miss Alexander was advised to leave Japan.

      Mrs. Arakawa was located again in Tokyo in the 1960s and she became an active member of the community and can be seen in group pictures in that later era. She gave this photograph to the compiler in the late 1970s.


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      This photograph was found among Miss Alexander's effects. Nothing indicated the occasion, but it was probably taken about 1922. Mrs. Finch is in the middle and Miss Alexander to the right of her. Mr. Futakami is behind them. Mrs. Takeshita, who was a close friend of Mrs. Finch, is sitting second from the left. Miss Tanaka is sitting second from the right.

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      This was taken in April 1923 at the home of one of the early Bahá'ís, Mrs. Kanae Takeshita, during Miss Martha Root's second visit to Japan. Top, Mrs. Finch, Miss Alexander and Mr. Kenkichi Futakami. Bottom, Miss Root and Mrs. Takeshita. Mr. Futakami had been a student/helper of Mrs. Finch. 'Abdu'l-Bahá addressed two Tablets to him in 1921, advising him to "rise above worldly attachments and restricted thought to the realm of the Kingdom..." Mr. Futakami married Miss Hide Tanaka one of the girls who actively attended Bahá'í meetings of that era and helped with the homeless children at the time of the earthquake.


24.       The Faith Reaches Korea from Japan in 1921

      Miss Alexander wrote, "While the Beloved Master was still on earth, the Message of Bahá'u'lláh reached Korea."

      In Tokyo Miss Alexander had become acquainted with some Korean students, especially Mr. Oh Sang Sun. After Mr. Oh returned to his native Korea, she felt it was time to take the Faith to that land, that had not yet had a Bahá'í visit. At the time Korea was under Japanese rule. There was police surveillance

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      The first Bahá'í Feast in Korea. This photograph was taken September 9, 1921. Miss Alexander and Mr. Oh are at the end of the table.


and limited freedom.

      To prepare for the trip she first visited Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa, who was a friend of her cousin. He was then eighty-three years old, a great financier and philanthropist. He had started the first modern bank in Japan and later in Korea.

      Viscount Shibusawa was friendly and sympathetic to the Bahá'í

      This photograph was taken at the Chosen Hotel in Seoul at the request of Mr. Kurita, top right. He was a young Christian Japanese who was teaching the Korean mute. He had been born deaf but could do lip reading in English. Miss Alexander wrote that he was so skillful that she was not aware of his deafness until he once asked her if they might change their seats to a place with more light as he was reading her lips. Mr. Kurita had heard of the Faith in Japan but had not yet met Miss Alexander. Mr. Torii cabled him of Miss Alexander's coming to Korea. Mr. Kurita greatly assisted Miss Alexander while she was there. She wrote that he was the first among the deaf in Japan to become interested in the Faith. She considered him a remarkable young man. He later went to England to study and died while there. The other two young men in the photo were friends of Mr. Kurita.


Teachings and he gave Miss Alexander three letters of introduction; to the governor of Korea Viscount Saito, and to the heads of the Daiichi Bank in Seoul and Pusan. Dr. Soetsu Yanagi, the famous folk-craft artist gave her an introduction to the editor of the English language newspaper, the Seoul Press. From the government offices the chief of police was communicated with and told that Miss Alexander should be given freedom to teach the Faith in Korea. By way of introductions, the highest officials of the land heard about the Faith first. Their approval made possible many meetings and newspaper articles.

      When she arrived in Korea she was eager to locate her old friend Mr. Oh, but had no address for him. One day she was riding a streetcar with Mr. Kurita and his friends when her hand was suddenly grasped. She looked up and saw it was Mr. Oh. She wrote, "It was a joyful meeting." Mr. Oh was a great help to her, taking her around and translating for her.

      On September 1, 1921, the first Bahá'í public meeting was held in Seoul. It was announced in the newspaper with only a day's notice. When Miss Alexander arrived at the hall that night, to her great surprise she saw about nine hundred Korean men

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      Buddhist college students who attended a Bahá'í talk given by Miss Alexander, in Seoul, 1923, during her second trip to Korea. It was at a school in the suburbs of Seoul at which Mr. Oh taught. Miss Alexander wrote that she left at the college a framed photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and a painting of the "Greatest Name" done by Auntie Victoria.


sitting cross-legged on the matted floor, almost all in their white linen costumes. There were also some women sitting separately. Miss Alexander said she showed a photograph of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and spoke of the Center of the Covenant and of the Teachings.

      Miss Alexander wanted to have a Bahá'í Feast on September 8, the Feast day. Mr. Oh arranged a meeting at the YMCA and invited some of his friends. The next night some of the men reciprocated and they had another Feast. Miss Alexander had the young men write messages to 'Abdu'l-Bahá on cards that were passed around. Three weeks before His Ascension, 'Abdu'l-Bahá answered with the only Tablet addressed to Koreans. He wrote in part: "Praise be to God, that celestial light guided and led you to the Sun of Reality, bestowed everlasting life and granted heavenly illumination. Ye are like seedlings which have been planted by the hand of bestowal in His Spiritual Rose-Garden. It is my hope that through the warmth of the Sun of Reality, the pouring down of the showers of mercy and the wafting of the breezes of bestowal, ye may progress day by day, so that each one may become a blessed tree, full of leaves and flowers

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Mr. Oh Sang Sun (right) first became interested in the Faith in Japan.


and throw your shade over great multitudes . . . In all conditions my heart and spirit are with you."

      Miss Alexander later wrote of her trip to Korea, "Was it not a sign of the times that a western woman and Christian by birth, should tell of the Message for a new day to Buddhist students in an old Buddhist temple in that far away land!"

      There was no contact with Mr. Oh for many years, then in 1954 he was located by pioneers to Korea. By that time he had become an eminent poet, famous in Korea. He considered himself a Bahá'í and he and Miss Alexander had a joyful reunion in 1955 when she went there on a visit.

25.       Viscount Eiichi Shibusawa

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      Viscount Shibusawa's letter of introduction to the head of the Daiichi Bank in Pusan.

      In explaining the Faith to Viscount Shibusawa, Miss Alexander showed him 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Words to Miss Fanny Knoblock who was to go to South Africa to teach the Faith. 'Abdu'l-Bahá advised her to say that Bahá'ís do not involve in politics and that religious, racial, political, and national prejudices are destructive to the world of humanity. Viscount Shibusawa was delighted with those words and gladly gave Miss Alexander three introductions to his good friends in Korea. The above scroll-letter (reduced in size) is addressed to Mr. Moriichi Matsumura. It says,

      Dear Sir:                   Tokyo, August 17 ,1921

      "Congratulations on your good health! This American lady who takes my letter to you is Miss Agnes B. Alexander. She is a cousin of my close friend, Mr. Wallace Alexander, President of the Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco. She is an earnest believer of the Bahá'í religion.


      "As I have been interested in the teachings of this religion, I invited her to my home the other day and listened to her talk on the teachings. I know that her faith is very profound and that her life in Tokyo is very simple. She is really a lady who has a very respectable personality. She is now planning to travel to Korea and I am writing this letter of introduction to you. The Bahá'í religion has nothing to do with politics. Her trip is only for visiting so I hope you will please receive her and give her every help in her journey.

                        Respectfully yours, Eiichi Shibusawa"

      As Miss Alexander did not go to Pusan, this letter remained in her possession. The letters to the governor of Korea and to the head of the Daiichi Bank in Seoul were, of course, given to them.

      Viscount Shibusawa was already an old man of eighty-three. He is photographed here with two samurai swords tucked in his belt, but his watch chain added a (then) modern note.


26.       Confirmed Bahá'ís, 1922

      In 1922 the Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi, in his first letter to the Bahá'ís of Japan asked for more information about that community. Miss Alexander sent him the following list of "confirmed Bahá'ís." Nineteen people were listed including herself and Mrs. Finch, Mr. Kenji Fukuda (who edited the "Star of the East" for one year in 1921/22), Miss Mikae Komatsu (later Mrs. Tadako Arakawa), Misses Otoe Murakami, Kimiko Hagiwara, Kazuko Fukusawa, Haruko Mori, Yuki Takao (who was only ten), Yuri Mochizuki (later Mrs. Furukawa), Mr. Tokujiro Torii, Mr. Kikutaro Fukuta, Mrs. Kazu Higashi, Mr. Daiun Inouye, Mr. Sanzo Misawa, Mr. H. Takayanagi, Mr. Yoshio Tanaka, Mr. Junichi Ota and Mr. T. Hamada.

      Miss Alexander listed the following four as being friends of the Faith, Mr. Handa (a student), Miss Hide Tanaka, (Mrs. Futakami), Mr. Kobayashi ("a boy of twelve who loves 'Abdu'l-Bahá"), and Mr. Yoshida, a young business man.

      She mentioned others such as Mr. Sensui Saiki, Mr. Tomonaga Noto, Mr. Kenjiro Ono, Mr. Jiso Iwami, Mr. Kenkichi Futakami and Mr. Nasu, who had all received communications from 'Abdu'l-Bahá, either personal Tablets or in Tablets of a general nature.

      Miss Alexander carefully copied the Tablets of the first five people mentioned above as they were sent through her, but the originals were given to the recipients. The other Tablets addressed to Bahá'ís were also copied by her. She had all of them printed a few years later, with the help of Mr. Horace Holley. In much later years a search for original Tablets to the Japanese located only those addressed to Mr. Torii, and the prayer written by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the note book of Mr. Naruse, president of Japan Women's College.

      In those days enrollment as a member of the Bahá'í Faith did not have the specific procedure it did in later years. Apparently Noto and Ono had been considered as Bahá'ís in earlier years but not in 1922.

      Miss Alexander's friends, (and the Bahá'ís) were from a variety of backgrounds. They were teachers, businessmen, schoolgirls, men students, writers, a Christian minister and even one Buddhist priest.

      Of the Japanese friends mentioned above, Miss Alexander stayed in touch with Mr. Torii and Miss Mochizuki throughout the years. She sometimes saw Mrs. Arakawa, Mr. Tanaka, and Mr. Fukuta. As to the others, some were lost track of, and perhaps some died, but all had a part, even though perhaps a small part, in establishing the Faith in Japan in those very early times.

27.       Mr. Susumu Aibara

      Mr. Aibara was the first Esperantist at Keio University where he was a student. One day in 1922 he visited Miss Alexander. He had heard that she could speak Esperanto so he invited her to speak at a university Esperanto meeting. He became interested in the Faith and used it as a subject for his graduation thesis. Both Shoghi Effendi and Dr. Esslemont sent him Bahá'í literature. His thesis was in Japanese, with the exception of the last

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      Mr. Aibara, second from the left, the young Bahá'í whose brilliant career was cut short at age thirty-two. He is seen here with Miss Alexander (rear). Mrs. Takeshita is standing next to Mr. Aibara. This photograph was taken at an Esperanto meeting in 1929.


nine pages which were in Esperanto explaining the Bahá'í Faith. He had the thesis bound as a book and through this means professors and students of the university became acquainted with the Faith.

      After this young man's graduation he went to work for the Tokyo Branch of the League of Nations, where he showed leadership qualities.

      Mr. Aibara died suddenly a few years later, leaving a wife and baby girl. Miss Alexander was shocked at the sudden passing of her good friend, but was consoled when the Guardian wrote (through his secretary) that Mr. Aibara was now "in a higher spiritual realm enjoying a blissful being far beyond our powers to appreciate."

      Many years later Mrs. Aibara accidentally came into contact with a Bahá'í. She was so happy to meet Bahá'ís again that she quickly enrolled as a member of the Japan Bahá'í community.

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      This photograph was taken near Yasukuni Shrine in 1929. It shows Miss Alexander, Mr. Aibara and two friends of theirs, twin sisters, ardent Esperantists. Miss Alexander sent the picture to be published in the American Star of the West, as an example of young Japanese women. They were among the first women in Japan to enter a medical school.


28.       The Kanto Earthquake

      The great Kanto earthquake of September 1, 1923 devastated parts of Japan, especially Tokyo and Yokohama. What the earthquake didn't shake down, the fires, which raged for three days, burned down.

      Miss Alexander and Mrs. Finch were in their little house when it happened. They managed to get outside in time to see the front wall of the house fall out. However, they could still use the house.

      Many survivors were left homeless; especially pitiful were the lost children. The small group of Bahá'ís started an orphanage and joined with others to care for the children. Mrs. Finch, who had left Tokyo for her home in Seattle shortly after the earthquake, started to collect clothing and money from the Americans which she sent to Miss Alexander for the children. The Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, and other members of the Holy

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These were among Miss Alexander's photographs of the Kanto earthquake.


Household contributed funds to be used to alleviated the situation.

      Besides the efforts made by Miss Alexander and Mrs. Finch, worthy of note were those made by three other Bahá'í women, Miss Murakami, Mrs. Takeshita, and Miss Hide Tanaka.

      Miss Murakami and Mrs. Takeshita are mentioned again in 1932 and 1933 as being members of the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Tokyo.

      Miss Alexander wrote an account of the great Kanto earthquake to the Bahá'ís of India. She often wrote to Bahá'ís of other countries because the Guardian had encouraged such communication. This letter, printed in the Bahá'í News of India, is perhaps more revealing about that dear soul, Miss Alexander.

Most beloved friends of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, September 26, 1923

      Many days have passed since the great catastrophe of September 1st. That day our beloved Lord protected His servants in these parts. A week before, Mrs. Ida Finch had come from Peking on her way to America and was with this servant in the little Bahá'í home. When the earth began suddenly to shake, we two were sitting in the parlour, which His Love had blessed so many times and where peace can be found. The little house is back from the street in Ukyomachi. This servant had been

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Miss Alexander with Miss Murakami and Miss Hide Tanaka shortly after the earthquake.


warned when coming to Japan, that in case of a great earthquake, it was best to escape to an open place to avoid falling objects. When the house began to quake and rock, she immediately rushed to the street, but Mrs. Finch did not get farther than the garden. On the street this servant met a delivery man passing. He grasped her hand and kept her standing. The earth shook and quaked, tiles rolled from the neighboring houses, and then a fierce gust of wind swept darkening the atmosphere with the dust it carried. Through it all, this servant repeated aloud the Greatest Name. Her first apprehension was that Tokyo would be consumed by fires. At her request the delivery man went to meet Mrs. Finch and by the hand brought her to the street. Then this servant rushed back into the home to get her Tablets, her money, etc., for safety. The walls of the little house had been shaken and broken and everything was scattered on the floor. She grasped 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablet for Protection, and each successive time the earth shook, she read it aloud on the little street. Three more times the earth shook with terror, but as the Tablet was read it calmed and His Power was felt. The frightened people came from their houses and gathered on the street. We little knew then, the terrible things which were happening not only in Tokyo, but the destruction of Yokohama, the sea port, an hour's train ride from Tokyo, and the destruction of many places

Miss Murakami and some of the children the Bahá'ís took care of.


along the coast.

      Evening came and we laid ourselves down to rest in the little parlour to escape, if necessary. Beside His portrait this servant found a place to rest. During the night we were called to escape, as the fire was drawing near, but it proved not to be necessary. The next two days we remained by the house, as safety was not assured when the earth continued to shake. On the morning of the third, the fire had ceased to burn. The glare no longer was seen in the sky. For days after the great quake and fire, masses of humanity passed along the broad roadway into which Ukyomachi leads, coming from the burned districts where they had been driven out by fire. Oh, that mass of humanity!

      When this servant went to the street, she was dazed, it was too overwhelming to comprehend. Along the roadway there was scarcely anything to be found. Everything had suddenly come to a standstill, but with tremendous energy the government took hold and food was brought in from outer provinces. From the moment of the earthquake everything had stopped. The trains and trams were stopped, similarly gas, electric lights, telephones, etc. On the fourth day, with the help of a kind student friend, I found my way to what had been the American Embassy, but only a few pillars remained. The only center remaining in Tokyo was the new Imperial Hotel. It seemed to be the only place to

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Miss Alexander surrounded by the homeless children.


get news for foreigners, and there the different embassies were holding their quarters, but all was confusion and everything changed in a moment.

      On the tenth Mrs. Finch left Tokyo to be taken by the U.S. government on a steamer going to Seattle ... The afternoon of her departure, the way opened for me to have a boy and his mother who had lost everything in the fire, come to stay with me. They are very happy to find a home.

      In the district of Fukagawa, one of our Bahá'í brothers had his home and also a dear young sister, Otoe Murakami, worked there in an office, but they were protected by His Love. Miss Murakami escaped with two young friends dodging the fire, here and there, seeing the terrible sights until she reached her home in the suburbs. Mr. Tanaka, our dear brother had started that morning with his little boy of nine years to travel. He said he thought to spread the Bahá'í spirit that way, but they were caught

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      Miss Alexander sent this photograph to be published in the "Star of the West." It is seen here with the original caption [typed in because font on card too small to scan. -J.W.]. It was taken in front of Mrs. Takeshita's house. She is in the last row holding the baby.


before reaching their destination and obliged to walk back to the city. They slept by the roadside during the night. In the morning when they reached their home nothing was left, only ashes and those who had fallen by the flames of the fire, or were smothered by its fierceness. Mr. Tanaka lost his wife suddenly in March last. It was a week after the quake before he knew that his mother-in-law was saved and that she had preserved his bank book, for all the banks and post offices in the district were burned. He does not know English well, but through some articles in the newspapers learned of the Great Cause.

      Many little children have lost their parents and families in the catastrophe. This servant has sought out these little ones which are being cared for by kind people. In one group there are 110.

      To all the friends of God, this servant sends her heart's love, and now she trusts in His Guidance and knows prayers are being uttered on her behalf that she may serve as He wills.

In His Love,            

Agnes B. Alexander            

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