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29.       China

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      This photograph was taken in Tokyo, May 1922, at a dinner given by a Japanese newspaper for nineteen Chinese women from Peking Women's


Teachers College. They were the first Chinese women to be sent to Japan to inspect the school system. When Miss Alexander read that they were to be honored that evening she went to the newspaper and asked if she might attend the dinner. Of course, she received an invitation. One of the women invited Miss Alexander to speak at her school if she should come to China. She did this a year and a half later.

      Shown here are the nineteen Chinese women, their Japanese hosts and Miss Alexander (far right in striped dress).

      In the early 1920s a group of Chinese newspaper men and several groups of Chinese students visited Japan. Most of the students were training to become teachers. Miss Alexander sought out all groups of Chinese when she read that they had come to Tokyo, becoming friendly with them and telling them of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh. She subsequently corresponded with several of them after they returned to China. These connections had far-reaching results. One of the newsmen published in Chinese the Words of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in twenty-five editions of the widely circulated "Canton Times."

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      1923. A school for army officers' children. Every child was given a Bahá'í pamphlet in Chinese to take home. Miss Root's hat can be seen near the top right.


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Miss Alexander and Miss Root with Esperantists in Peking in 1923.

The first Bahá'í pamphlet in Chinese, "9"

      When Miss Alexander was in Korea in 1921 she met a young man of Korean parentage who was born in China. Later he moved to Tokyo and asked Miss Alexander if she would teach Esperanto conversation to a group of Chinese students. She happily did so. Their text book was in Japanese, which they could not understand, so one of the students, Mr. H.C. Waung, acted as interpreter. He and another student became attracted to the Faith.

      Before her trip to China Miss Root wrote to Miss Alexander asking if she could have a Bahá'í booklet called "9" translated into Chinese. Miss Alexander asked Mr. Waung to do it. When Miss Root and Miss Alexander visited China in 1923 they were invited to speak at many schools partly because of Miss Alexander's earlier connections with the teachers, and they now had the new pamphlet in Chinese to give out. This pamphlet was reprinted in several editions and thousands of copies were distributed throughout China.


30.       Miss Martha Root and Mrs. Keith Ransom-Kehler

      In a book such as this it would be impossible to do justice to the vast and varied activities and services of the two great Hands of the Cause, Miss Root and Mrs. Ransom-Kehler. At the time of their travels, their station as Hands of the Cause was unknown. The impact of their teaching and proclamation services in various countries, along with that of Miss Alexander, could hardly be properly assessed.

      They were among the first women to cast off the limitations of their time and circumstances, to step forth boldly to proclaim the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in many parts of the world. They were cultured, educated, and received the respect of the people they talked to.

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      This photograph was taken in Kyoto during Miss Root's final visit to Japan in 1937. Mr. Torii is sitting next to her. Behind them are Mr. Kikutaro Fukuta, who was visiting the Toriis, Miss Adachi (Mrs. Torii's sister) and Mrs. Torii.


      But it took courage, persistence, patience and perhaps above all, complete certitude.

      There have been the questions, "What remains of the efforts of these great Bahá'ís? Where is the sprouting of the seeds that were sown?"

      Future historians will no doubt recognize that the travels and teaching in the early days of women such as the above three mentioned went far beyond the service of the time, because during their travels they helped shape and influence the thinking of countless people, young and old, who were eager to listen to such women, coming from so far, with such new ideas.

      In those days the audiences in Japan, which often were extremely large, were mostly composed of what we now call leaders, or future leaders of thought. There were news media people, representatives of various aspects of the government, academics, people eminent in many different types of professions. There were many thousands of them, as well as countless and numberless students, citizens of the future.

      The picture Miss Root is holding (previous page), is that of Akira Torii and Miss Sumi Kinukawa, the fifteen-year-old daughter of a friend of the Toriis. Both young people died within a few months of each other. The two had not met but they both liked music and had similar tastes so the parents decided to make a composite picture of them.

      Miss Alexander took this photograph to Haifa when she made her pilgrimage in 1937. Knowing it would make him happy, she wrote to Mr. Torii that when she showed the picture to the Guardian he asked to keep it saying he did not have many photographs of Japanese.


      What that generation heard, and read, the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, were startlingly different and often made a deep and lasting impression, put entirely new ideas into their heads, new concepts that only a Manifestation can create, and undoubtedly contributed greatly toward the then unknown and largely unthought of concept of true internationalism — one world. As has happened before in other situations, and other countries, the Manifestation of God was not credited, but His Teachings were taken in the form of new ideas.

      Posterity will continue to pay homage to these remarkable women. Here we can only refer to isolated incidents in their lives.

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      Miss Alexander had not met Miss Root or Mrs. Ransom-Kehler before they came to Japan. From the time of their visits she bore a great love for both of them, a love which is no doubt continuing in the Eternal Realm.

      Miss Root visited Japan four times, staying from two weeks to two months. The first visit, of two weeks, was in 1915. Miss Alexander had not been in Japan long herself but she had started activities. She arranged as many meetings as she could and introduced Miss Root to a newspaper reporter resulting in a long article about Miss Root's travels, and about the Faith.

      Mrs. Ransom-Kehler spoke on the Faith at a Buddhist Temple, 1931. She is on the left and Miss Alexander on the right. Standing on the right is the Buddhist priest Mr. Morii.


      Besides being an excellent speaker, Miss Root was a writer of quality, and quantity. Even letters to her friends were pages long. She loved Japan and the Japanese, especially Mr. Torii, and wrote him many letters after she left Japan for the last time.

      During her first visit she encouraged Miss Alexander to write for the Faith. Miss Alexander started writing and continued all her life. For a person who did not consider herself a writer, Miss Alexander left a considerable amount of written material, articles, many of which were published and written talks which she could hand out for proper translation as she had seen Martha do. She wrote for Bahá'í magazines, sending her letters around the world. She also wrote short memorials when some of her friends passed away, Mr. Fukuta, Mrs. Maxwell and Mrs. Lua Getsinger. At the encouragement of Shoghi Effendi she wrote two books, one on the history of the Faith in Hawaii and the other a history of the Faith in Japan.

      Miss Alexander felt she owed a great deal to Miss Root. She wrote of her friend, "Martha, who never sought rest, was continually my inspiration."

      Miss Root's second and third visits were even more productive than her first. Miss Alexander had been living in Japan longer and had many contacts. Her second visit of two weeks

      Miss Alexander and Mrs. Ransom-Kehler. Miss Alexander liked to take her friends to nearby Kudan Shrine as a background for photographs.


was full from the day she arrived. She spoke at various organizations, English clubs, the YMCA, Esperanto societies and informal groups at Miss Alexander's home.

      Her third visit of two months was in 1930. At this time she attempted to meet the Emperor. This was not permitted. However, she was able to send some gifts along with a cable from Shoghi Effendi (see Ch. 31).

      The high point of Miss Root's third visit was the first mention of the Faith on radio. Her subject was "The progress of the Faith on five continents." She read her talk in English and it was translated into Japanese. Later it was published in the daily newspaper, The Japan Times.

      It was during this visit that she met Mr. Torii for the first time. When she left she gave him a small wooden and silver-inlaid box which had been given her by relatives of the Báb in Shiraz, Persia. He greatly treasured the box. Some fifty years

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      Keio University law student K. Sudo asked Miss Alexander and Mrs. Ransom-Kehler to pose for this photograph. Miss Alexander and Miss Root had both spoken to the students so Miss Alexander was happy to have their efforts reinforced. She sent a copy of this to the Guardian. It was also published in a "Star of the West" volume.


later Mrs. Torii gave the box to the National Archives in Tokyo.

      Miss Root's fourth and final visit to Japan was in 1937. She was the last Bahá'í to visit Japan for many years. This time she could not see her friend, Miss Alexander, who was on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Miss Root stayed three weeks during this visit, speaking in various cities, meeting Esperantists and other groups. She made an effort to meet all the Bahá'ís in Japan and had one last photograph taken with the Bahá'ís in Kyoto.

      During her four visits Miss Root reached thousands of people, meeting many of them personally, speaking to large groups, by a radio broadcast and having articles published.

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      Mrs. Keith Ransom-Kehler visited Japan for six weeks in 1931. Miss Alexander arranged for her to speak before many groups, including a talk at the chapel at Japan Women's College. Miss Alexander considered the most important talks were the two given at Buddhist gatherings, one at the Buddhist Temple where she herself had spoken previously, and one at a Buddhist summer lecture conference.

      Mrs. Ransom-Kehler was a teacher of Bahá'í administration and she did much to deepen the group of Bahá'ís.

      From Japan, Mrs. Ransom-Kehler went on to visit other countries. She was sent to Persia (Iran) by Shoghi Effendi to accomplish an important mission, but while she was there she was suddenly taken ill with small pox and passed away. The Guardian designated her as the first American martyr in his cable November 1933:

      "Keith's precious life offered up in sacrifice to beloved Cause in Bahá'u'lláh's native land. On Persian soil for Persia's sake she encountered, challenged and fought the forces of darkness with high distinction, indomitable will, unswerving loyalty ... American believers grateful and proud of memory of their first and distinguished martyr ..."

      Shortly before she became ill she wrote to Miss Alexander, "I still like Japan better than any country that I have visited and I often think with love and longing of the precious friends there ..."

      Miss Alexander summed up her feelings about Keith when she wrote, "I am grateful to God that she came into my life."


31.       The Emperor of Japan

      Emperor Hirohito of Japan received two communications from Shoghi Effendi. On both occasions presentation was made possible by Dr. R. Masujima, who was indeed a good friend of the Bahá'ís.

      At the time of the Emperor's coronation in 1928 seven specially bound volumes of Bahá'í books were prepared to be presented to the Emperor as a gift from some American Bahá'ís. Shoghi Effendi was asked to write something to accompany the books. He wrote:

      "May the perusal of Bahá'í literature enable Your Imperial Majesty to appreciate the sublimity and penetrative power of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation and inspire you on this auspicious occasion to arise for its worldwide recognition and triumph."

      The books arrived after the coronation ceremonies so the presentation was delayed. On May 22, the following year, Dr. Masujima received a letter from the Minister of the Imperial

Emperor Hirohito of Japan about the time of his coronation, 1928.


Household stating that the seven books, which were named, had been presented to the Emperor that day. Dr. Masujima wrote later, "The Bahá'í publications now form part of His Majesty's library ..."

      In November 1930 the great Bahá'í teacher Miss Martha Root applied for an appointment to offer the Emperor a memento accompanied by a good-will message from Shoghi Effendi. The Imperial Household did not permit an interview but did accept the gifts which were presented to the Emperor, a small Persian rug and some Holy Writings in Persian script in the form of a beautiful bird. Accompanying the gifts was a cable from Shoghi Effendi:

      "Martha Root care American Embassy Tokyo. Kindly transmit His Imperial Majesty, Tokyo, Japan, on behalf of myself and Bahá'ís world over, expression of our deepest love as well as assurance of heartfelt prayers for his well-being and prosperity of his ancient realm."

      Japan, after recovery from the devastation of World War II, shows exactly that — great prosperity, and the Emperor, active and healthy until his final year had the longest reign (December 25, 1926 to January 7,1989) of any sovereign in Japan.

32.       Japan Religious Conference

      The Japan Religious Conference was held in June 1928 in commemoration of the Enthronement Ceremonies of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. About 1500 delegates attended, Buddhists, Christians, Shintoists and others. Three foreigners were invited to speak, including Miss Alexander who was the Bahá'í representative.

      Greetings were sent from the conference to religious associations throughout the world. In reply to his greeting, Shoghi Effendi expressed his keen interest in the work of the Association and the assurance of his hope for its success.

      The presiding officer, Rev. Kozaki spoke of the Parliament of Religions which he had attended in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893. It was at that Parliament of Religions that the Bahá'í Faith was


first mentioned publicly in America.

      After the conference, the organizers printed a book with all the speeches. A search in later years found one of the organizers, Rev. Nobuichiro Imaoka, a gentleman of over one hundred years, who remembered Miss Alexander quite well, and who provided copies of the book for the Japan Bahá'í archives. Unfortunately the letter from the Guardian, along with other material, was not preserved.

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Delegates to the Japan Religious Conference, 1928.


33.       A Meeting at a Buddhist Temple

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      In 1931 Miss Alexander was asked to represent the Bahá'í Faith in a meeting at a Buddhist Temple. At the left is Buddhist priest Mr. J. Mori, and at the right is Rev. Sempo Ito who represented the Christians.

      Miss Alexander wrote that Rev. Ito accepted the Faith and he is listed as being a member of the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Tokyo in 1932.

      Mrs. Keith Ransom-Kehler spoke at the same Temple.

34.       Beatrice Erskine Lane Suzuki

      Miss Lane was the daughter of Mrs. Emma Erskine Hahn, one of the early Bahá'ís on the East Coast of the United States. Miss Lane met the famous Zen Buddhist scholar Daisetz Suzuki when he went to the United States in the early 1900s for study and lecturing.


      In 1911 she came to Japan and they were married in Yokohama. Through the years Dr. Suzuki produced over one hundred translations and works in both English and Japanese on Buddhism. He did much to introduce Zen Buddhism to the West. His wife Beatrice was also credited with being somewhat of an authority on certain aspects of Buddhism. She died in 1939 and he many years later.

      Although there are scarcely any records of Mrs. Suzuki in the early days of the Faith in Japan, we know that she and Miss Alexander were acquainted. Dr. Suzuki in later years mentioned to his good friend, the famous British potter Mr. Bernard Leach, that his wife was a Bahá'í.

      Dr. Daisetz Suzuki and his Bahá'í wife Beatrice, with their adopted son Victor. This photograph was taken about 1925.

35.       Two Persian Bahá'ís Visit Japan

      Miss Alexander wrote that in November 1932, the Bahá'ís of Tokyo were visited by Mr. H. Touty, a Bahá'í business man living in Shanghai. He was the first Persian to be greeted by the Bahá'í community in Japan. He brought a spiritual fragrance with him and told stories of his visit to Akka during the time


of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

      During the fall of 1935 Mr. Husayn Uskuli also from Shanghai, visited Japan and attended several Bahá'í gatherings.

      Mr. Uskuli's daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. S.A. Suleimani, were also living in Shanghai. Conditions worsened considerably in China after World War II so in 1953 Mr. and Mrs. Suleimani pioneered to Taiwan and established the Faith there. Mr. Uskuli remained in Shanghai, the only known Bahá'í in China at that time. He died in Shanghai in 1956.

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Miss Alexander with Mr. H. Touty at Kamakura in 1932.


      Three years later Miss Alexander accompanied Mr. Husayn Uskuli to see the Daibutsu in Kamakura.

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      This photograph was not explained by Miss Alexander. She and Mr. Uskuli can be seen in the background. Apparently they joined a tour group that day. Not so different from modern times except for the more traditional clothing. The young woman kneeling is probably the tour guide.


36.       Miss Alexander Introduces the Faith in Hokkaido

      In the summer of 1932 Miss Alexander was invited to the northern island of Hokkaido by Mr. Tadashi Watanabe, an ardent Esperantist who lived in Tomakomai. Mr. Watanabe had heard of the Faith while on a trip to the United States. He had gone to an Esperanto meeting in Seattle and met some Bahá'ís, among whom was Mrs. Ida Finch. When he returned to Japan he looked up Miss Alexander.

      He started two mimeographed monthly papers in Esperanto. In one of them, his personal publication, he introduced material from "Paris Talks of 'Abdu'l-Bahá".

      At the welcome meeting in Tomakomai Miss Alexander spoke about the Faith in Esperanto, which Mr. Watanabe translated into Japanese.

      From Tomakomai Miss Alexander and Mr. Watanabe attended an Esperanto Congress in Yamabe. At that meeting she spoke of the Bahá'í Teachings and Esperanto. They visited two newspapers in Asahigawa, and then went on to Sapporo. The editor of the Hokkai Times was about to print an article about

      The first mention of the Faith in Hokkaido, 1932. Miss Alexander is speaking at an Esperanto meeting in Tomakomai.


the Esperanto Congress and he added something on the Bahá'í Teachings.

      In Hakodate the editor of the Hakodate Shimbun (newspaper) arranged a public talk in the Town Hall for Miss Alexander.

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      Mr. Watanabe, who organized the meeting is in the first row, far left. The mayor of Tomakomai is sitting left of Miss Alexander.

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      Esperanto Congress in Yamabe, Hokkaido. Miss Alexander can be seen standing in the middle right.


There were several articles in newspapers about the Faith and Miss Alexander. One had pictures of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Bahá'í Temple in the United States.

      Miss Alexander wrote that she felt the introduction of the Faith in Hokkaido was accomplished through the Bahá'í principle of having an auxiliary language.

37.       Dr. Rokuichiro Masujima

      Dr. Masujima, a friend of the Bahá'ís, was a well-known international lawyer, and founder of Chuo University in Tokyo.

      For three years in the early 1930s, the Bahá'í Naw-Rúz party was held in his garden. Although he never actually became a Bahá'í, he thought the Faith would interest the Japanese and that it would penetrate the Japanese race. He assisted the Bahá'ís in various ways.

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      Naw-Rúz party in Dr. Masujima's garden, 1931. He is in the center and Miss Alexander is to his left. Mrs. Takeshita, an early Bahá'í, is to the left of Miss Alexander.


Dr. Rokuichiro Masujima

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      Naw-Rúz party in Dr. Masujima's garden, 1932. He is in the middle with Miss Alexander to his right. Miss Mochizuki is seated second from the far right. To the left of Dr. Masujima are Mrs. Naganuma and her daughter, then Mrs. Kanae Takeshita. Standing, from the left, Mr. Keiji Sawada; Mr. Sempo Ito; Mr. Fujisawa, an Esperantist; Mr. Moriiuchi, an Esperantist; Mr. Sugimoto, an Esperantist who had associated with Bahá'ís in the United States; Mr. Yamaguchi; Mr. Hidehiko Matsuda; Mr. Ayabe and Mr. Miyamoto, both Buddhists.


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