Center for Labor Education & Research, University of Hawaii - West Oahu: Honolulu Record Digitization Project

Honolulu Record, Volume 10 No. 48, Thursday, June 26, 1958 p. 8


A Japanese Christian's Views


Dr. Masao Takenaka, professor of Christian ethics and labor problems at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, was a guest at the 136th annual convention of Hawaii's Congregationalists held last week at Kamehameha Schools.

During his short stay here, the slender, "youthful professor participated in picketing the Federal building, protesting the jailing of the Golden Rule crew and the continued U.S. testing of nuclear weapons in the Pacific.

He quickly participated with the Quakers and others in protesting against the nuclear weapons tests as though it were his mission to do so.

Universal Feeling

When I was introduced to him last weekend, I asked him if his deep feelings against the tests were universal in Japan.

"Yes," he replied. "Prime Minister Kishi himself finds that it is smart politics that it is necessary for him to oppose nuclear arming and testing in order to survive in politics."
The prime minister is forced to take such a position, even if it means antagonizing the United States, Dr. Takenaka said, because the vast majority of the Japanese people "feel a special mission or task exists for them to express their testimony on this issue."

Nearly A Crime

He said publicly protesting against the tests in the U.S. is nearly a crime and certainly extremely unpopular with government authorities, it is the opposite in Japan.
Why is it so in Japan? I asked him.

The reasons, he explained, are:

1. The Japanese were the victims of the horrible experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because of the experiences, they feel they must take the vanguard in speaking out for humanity's peace and security.

2. Twenty three Japanese fishermen were afflicted when showered by radioactive fallout during the 1954 Bikini tests conducted by the U.S. One of them, Kuboyama, died.
Protest is the only sane reaction for people, he said, as scientists of all countries, including Japan and the U.S., have warned about the hereditary effect of radioactive contamination.

3. The Soviet Union since last October has repeatedly said it will stop the test, "yet the United States is silent. In March this year it stopped nuclear weapons tests and called on U.S. and Britain to do likewise.

"We are not criticizing as the Communist Party does, criticizing only the West. We Japanese are saying, 'Why doesn't the United. States agree to stop the tests too. It is a worthwhile thing to try out.'"

Was A Soldier

Dr. Takenaka, who is a crusader of peace, was a soldier in northern Japan during the last war. He was 22 when war ended.

"I was born in Peiping, China, in 1925," he said. "It is now a dangerous place to be born," he added with a smile, obviously referring to U.S. attitude toward the Peking government.

He was raised in Japan after spending his first 10 years in Manchuria. He attended Yale University from 1950-54, and won a doctor's degree in Christian ethics. He is connected with the United Church of Christ in Japan.. In Japan there are no extensive separate movements of Methodists, Baptists, etc., since most of the Protestant churches were united in 1941.

He said he tells labor unionists they must also cooperate in, like manner and form one federation to further workers' interests.

Views On The Left

While commenting on labor activities, he said the Japanese Communist Party was extremely influential after World War II. At one time it had numerous representatives in the upper and lower houses Of the Diet. Today it has only one member in the Diet.
He explained that the terrorism of the Soviet forces in Hungary contributed tremendously in weakening the Japanese Communist Party which was making a comeback. 'Long prior to, that the "violent practices of the Japanese . Communists" had turned the Japanese away from them.

Dr. Takenaka recalled that Sanzo Nosaka had stated several years ago that socialism can be achieved in Japan peacefully, by democratic processes. Nosaka stated also that the Japanese Communist Party must be an organization that is loved by the people.
But Nosaka lost prestige and power after he was severely criticized for his position by the Cominform and the Soviet Union leaders, Dr. Takenaka said. After that the Japanese Communists resorted to more "violent activities" and lost following.
Dr. Takenaka said any government or organization, in order to sustain and grow, must be loved by the people.

Views U.S. Policy

He next turned to the U.S., declaring that U.S. policy is losing friends. Just as Soviet, mistakes injure the Japanese Communist movement, U.S. foreign policy and mistakes weaken the position of U.S. supporters in other countries. "The United States has a tremendous opportunity but lacks leadership," he said. He declared it is "awful if Little Rock, nuclear tests, military bases in foreign countries" continue and the U.S. government does not support land reform and independence movements of people.

p /> I do not say that at odd hours a patient must be given the regular hot dinner or supper. Few people would expect this.
But what is so complicated about opening and heating a can of soup, making some toast, or preparing instant coffee or tea? Why cannot a night nurse do these simple things after the kitchen to closed? Is it just too much trouble?

It is only common humanity to feed the hungry. If our hospitals are too big, too complex, too impersonal to do these small kindnesses for the sick, something is very wrong.