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5.       The First Public Meeting In Japan

      The first Bahá'í public meeting in Japan was held in 1909 at the Tokyo YMCA building, one of the largest buildings in Tokyo at that time. Mr. Howard Struven and Mr. C.M. Remey were on their round-the-world teaching trip and Japan was their first stop after Hawaii. About seventy-five people came to the meeting, Japanese, Hindus, Americans and an English lady.

      After traveling through and teaching in several countries the two men eventually arrived in the Holy Land, and in the Presence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Some years later Mr. Struven wrote


to a friend in Japan, "How well I remember sitting in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's bedroom, with Him gazing out of the window, when He turned and said, 'You did not know how 'Abdu'l-Bahá was watching

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      The invitation to the first Bahá'í meeting in Japan. The year was not printed and Miss Alexander wrote it in later in this copy, the only one we know of in existence.

The original YMCA building in Tokyo.


over you while you traveled and met the hardships to spread the Cause.'"

      The original YMCA building was destroyed during the 1923 Kanto earthquake. Until that time many Bahá'í meetings had been held there. Another building was constructed on the same site in 1928 and continued to be used periodically for Bahá'í meetings. Dr. Augur, Miss Martha Root and Mrs. Keith Ransom-Kehler all spoke at the "Y." Miss Alexander had English classes there during which she taught the Faith. She wrote of those times, "So many opportunities were given to me to speak of the Cause until I felt the stones of the building must vibrate with God's Message."

6.       Miss Agnes B. Alexander, Daughter of the Kingdom

      The single person who has had the most profound influence upon the spiritual destiny of the Japanese people has been Miss

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      Miss Alexander with her mother and father in their comfortable home in Hawaii in the early 1900s.


Agnes Alexander. The Guardian wrote to her (1933), "Your name will forever remain associated with the rise of the Faith and its establishment in Japan and the record of your incessant and splendid endeavors will shed on its annals a lustre that time can never dim."

      Miss Alexander was raised in the late 1800s in Hawaii in a prosperous family. Her grandfather was one of the first Christian missionaries to Hawaii and she was a devout Christian in those early years.

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Hand of the Cause Miss Agnes B. Alexander, 1875-1971.

      Miss Alexander as she looked in 1900 about the time she accepted the Faith. She received over a dozen Tablets from 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He called her the Herald of Truth in Japan and said she would be confirmed, assisted and exalted. He wrote, "...the doors of the Kingdom of God are open..." "...In such a time patience and tranquility are not allowable."


Miss Alexander enjoys the garden of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, 1919. In the Japanese kimono.

In the front room of her house in Sakura, Tokyo, Christmas 1930.


Daughter of the Kingdom! Miss Alexander liked cats.

      In 1900, when she was twenty-five years old she heard of the Faith in Italy, where she had gone to visit a relative. She went to Paris afterward and stayed several months studying the newly accepted Faith with some of the very early Bahá'ís, among them Miss May Bolles (later Mrs. Maxwell.)

      Miss Alexander then returned to her home in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was the first Bahá'í in the Pacific area. She taught her friends, and a firm foundation was soon laid for the Faith in that land.

      Miss Alexander said even in those days she had an interest in Japan. In the early 1900s she attended a lecture in Honolulu given by Mrs. Ume Tsuda, founder of Tsuda College in Tokyo, a famous private school for women. She took notes on the interesting lecture and from then on wanted to visit far-off Japan.

      After she became a Bahá'í, Miss Alexander wrote occasionally to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He favored her with several Tablets. In two of them He suggested that she go to Japan but wrote that she was free to decide. She had such deep faith that she felt she must do as 'Abdu'l-Bahá wished. It was in 1914 that she finally


set sail for Japan. She went first to Europe and then took a ship which sailed through the Indian Ocean. It was a dangerous voyage as it was in the early stages of World War I and a German cruiser was lurking in the Indian Ocean. She arrived safely in Kobe, November 1, 1914. From Kobe she went to Kyoto for a few days and then on to Tokyo.

      Another American Bahá'í had arrived in Tokyo a few months before, Dr. George Augur. He and Miss Alexander started discussion groups. Their efforts were to have far-reaching effects. As Miss Alexander gradually made Japanese friends, she would encourage those who were attracted to the Faith to write to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He always answered. It is a blessing forever for the Japanese people that because of Miss Alexander's efforts we have copies of eighteen Tablets from 'Abdu'l-Bahá written to the Japanese, and one to Koreans. Korea was under Japanese rule at that time.

7.       Dr. George Jacob Augur

      Dr. Augur was a homeopathic physician who accepted the Faith while living in Hawaii. He was favored with six Tablets from 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He had visited Japan and had become so attracted to the country that he wished to return to teach the Faith. When he wrote of his desire, 'Abdu'l-Bahá answered ".... Travel thou to Japan and lay there the foundation of the Cause

Disciple of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Dr. George Jacob Augur


Dr. Augur and his wife Ruth.

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      Tokyo, October 1916. At the top left is Mr. Kikutaro Fukuta, the first Japanese living in Japan to declare his Faith. Next is Miss Alexander, then Mr. Ishida. Bottom row: Mr. Yoshio Tanaka, who became a Bahá'í, and Mr. Masaru Mizutani, Dr. Augur, Mr. Yuzuru Kawai, then the famous writer Mr. Ujaku Akita and Mr. Morishita. Morishita, Ishida and Kawai were Waseda University students who were friends of Akita. All attended Bahá'í meetings held by Miss Alexander and Dr. Augur.

      Mr. Tanaka recalls that he met Dr. Augur in a public bath. Dr. Augur was already wearing the Japanese dress, the kimono. Although they didn't have much communication at that time, Dr. Augur recommended that Mr. Tanaka visit Miss Alexander.


of God ... summon the people to the Kingdom of God. Japan has great capacity but there needs be a teacher who will speak by the confirmations of the Holy Spirit." And in another Tablet, "...Unfurl thou the divine Flag in Tokyo and cry at the top of thy voice: '0 ye people! The Sun of Reality hath appeared...' With a resounding voice, and a miraculous power, and with the magnetism of the Love of God, teach thou the Cause of God, and rest assured that the Holy Spirit shall confirm thee."

      In 1914, a few months before Miss Alexander arrived, Dr. Augur came to Tokyo to stay. He wrote one of the early pamphlets in Japan quoting part of one of his Tablets from 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

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      This photograph from Mr. Torii's album was designated as a farewell party for the Augurs. It was probably taken in 1919.

      In the front row is Miss Mochizuki, Mrs. Torii, Mr. Torii and Dr. Augur. In the second row is Mrs. Augur. Sitting next to her is thought to be a friend, Mrs. Hodgson. Some of the others in the photo were attracted to the Faith and continued to come to meetings. Among those, Mr. Akita (with mustache under the inset), did much service for the Faith as he translated and wrote articles about the Faith which were published. However, in later years he became politically motivated and lost his connection with the Faith.


8.       The First Photograph of a Bahá'í Meeting in Japan

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      This photograph was taken in Tokyo, July 18, 1915. Miss Alexander wrote that it was the first picture of a Bahá'í meeting in Japan. It was taken on the occasion of Miss Martha Root's visit to Japan. Of course, Bahá'í meetings were being held regularly but on this occasion Miss Alexander called in a photographer to record the meeting with Miss Root. It should be remembered that in those days, personal cameras were rather rare, and the very early photographs which Miss Alexander had in her possession were usually taken by professional photographers.

      In the front, far left, is Mr. Fukuta, the first person to accept the Faith in Japan, just two months before. Next to him is Miss Root. Fourth from the left is Mr. Akita. Mr. Kenichi Takao is next to him on the right. In this group, aside from Miss Alexander and Miss Root, only Mr. Fukuta became a Bahá'í although many were good friends. Miss Alexander is behind Miss Root. Standing to the left is Miss Ichi Kamichika, who helped Miss Alexander translate some pamphlets. She wrote for a newspaper at the time and had 'Abdu'l-Bahá's picture published in it, the first time His picture was published in Japan. Miss Kamichika became famous in Japanese politics many years later as one of the first women to be elected to the Japanese Diet (Parliament). She was also one of the early leaders of the women's rights movement in Japan.

      Years later, in 1977, the compiler was able to meet and interview her.


She was then eighty-eight but still possessed considerable charm. She could barely recall Miss Alexander but thought they lived in the same building. She helped Miss Alexander by translating, and Miss Alexander helped her with her English.

      Miss Kamichika (right) in 1977, in the library of her home, being interviewed by Mrs. Sims.

9.       A Garden Party

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      Miss Alexander received an invitation to a cherry-blossom viewing party given by the Emperor on April 23, 1915.


10.       A Gathering to Meet Tagore of India

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      The Indian poet, educator, dramatist and Nobel Prize Winner, Rabindranath Tagore visited Japan three times. He is in the middle, first row. Miss Alexander is sitting between two women, who were identified by Mrs. Furukawa as being teachers of Japan Women's College. She also thought the picture was taken in Dr. Masujima's garden. Professor Nakagiri of Waseda University is sitting to the right of Tagore. Miss Alexander's friend, Ujaku Akita, is sitting second from the right. This photograph was undated but was probably taken in 1916 during Tagore's first visit. Tagore was aware of the Faith. He had met 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Chicago, and when he met Miss Root in Hong Kong in 1924 he asked her how the Faith was progressing.

11.       Mr. Kikutaro Fukuta

      In 1915 a Japanese schoolteacher in Tokyo, Mr. Naito, was instructing Dr. Augur in the Japanese language. Mr. Naito told his students that there was an American lady in Tokyo who was teaching a new religion. Four students came with him to see Miss Alexander, among them, Mr. Fukuta, who was eighteen years old. Mr. Fukuta said later he immediately felt that what Miss


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      There is no date for this damaged, but interesting photograph. it was probably taken about 1916. It shows the first three Japanese to become Bahá'ís in Japan. Miss Yuri Mochizuki (later Mrs. Furukawa), right, sitting, Mr. Tokujiro Torii is sitting in the middle. Mr. Fukuta is behind him. Mrs. Torii, who became a Bahá'í in later years is standing. Mr. Torii's brother is standing on the left. Miss Asa Kosugi, who was a friend, is sitting on the left. Miss Kosugi, like Mr. Torii, was blind. She was the first blind woman to attend a university, and later became a prominent educator.

      This charming photo of Mr. Fukuta and Mr. Torii was taken in Kyoto in 1917. Mr. Fukuta was twenty and Mr. Torii twenty-three. Mr. Torii is dressed in the Western style; Mr. Fukuta is wearing the Japanese kimono with a modern touch, a Western-style hat.

      These two, the first men in Japan to embrace the Faith, brought together by the Faith, remained close friends all their lives.


Alexander said was the truth. Not long afterward he became the first Japanese in Japan to accept Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation for this day. He wrote a touching letter of his belief to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. 'Abdu'l-Bahá answered him. It was the first Tablet to a Japanese in Japan. 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote, "...Praise be to God that the light of Guidance shone forth, the glass of the heart became illumined and the darkness of ignorance dispelled. The most Great Guidance is a crown the brilliant gems of which will shine upon all the future ages and cycles. If it is placed on the head of a servant, he will become the object of the envy of Kings, for this is an imperishable crown and everlasting sovereignty."

12.       Miss Yuri (Yuriko) Mochizuki

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      Miss Mochizuki as a lovely girl of seventeen. It was taken in a professional photographer's studio at Ejiri.


      Miss Mochizuki was the first Japanese woman to become a Bahá'í. She was a pretty, highly intelligent girl of almost seventeen when she came to live with Miss Alexander in Tokyo, July 1917. She finished her education and, as she had a talent for writing, went to work for a Japanese newspaper.

      Miss Alexander wrote that each morning before Miss Mochizuki went to work they read a verse from "The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh" so that she could understand the meaning. In this way she translated the small book into Japanese. She has updated the style somewhat but her basic translation is still being used.

      'Abdu'l-Bahá favored this young woman with three Tablets. He wrote to her, "Japan is like unto a farm whose soil is untouched. Such a soil as this has great capacity. One seed produces a hundredfold."

      In 1920 Miss Mochizuki and Miss Alexander decided to publish a Bahá'í journal, which they called the "Star of the East" (Higashi no Hoshi). The first issue was dated October 19, 1920.

      It was edited by Miss Mochizuki with the help of Mr. Ono. As Tablets from 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the Japanese were received, they were put into the journal.

      When 'Abdu'l-Bahá was notified of the journal He wrote to Miss Mochizuki, "At present thou has started a journal. It is my hope that this journal will shine as a Star of the East." He wrote a long Tablet advising Miss Mochizuki what to put in the journal. (See "Japan Will Turn Ablaze!" for the complete Tablet.)

      After editing, proofreading and sending out the "Star of the East" for one year, Miss Mochizuki left Japan to go to France. Mr. Kenji Fukuda, who had been a Christian minister before he found the Faith offered to edit the magazine. With the assistance of Miss Mikae Komatsu it continued for one more year.

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