Japanese Christians in Chicago

Many Japanese who came to the United States were originally Buddhists. However, Buddhism was not a popular belief among Japanese in Chicago; many of them were Christians. This series will explore the unique background of Japanese Christians in Chicago and shed light on the diversity of Japanese immigrants.

Read from Chapter 1 >>

community en

Chapter 4: Misaki Shimazu and The JYMCI at 747 E. 36th Street

In 1917, Shimazu visited the New York Japanese community to secure funding to purchase the property.1 It was variously reported that Shimazu raised $11,0002 or $18,0003, but these donations came mainly in small amounts from friends of the Central YMCA of Chicago.4 Notably, William J. Parker, the General Secretary of the Central YMCA, donated $4,000 to the JYMCI in May 1918. Parker agreed “to deed the property to such corporation as might be formed or selected by the JYMCI, whenever the note secured by the trust deed had been paid.”5 The option to purchase …

lea más

community en

Chapter 3: Misaki Shimazu and the JYMCI

The Japanese YMCA that Shimazu had taken over in 1908 had yet to realize its mission, which was to better the lives of the Japanese immigrants scattered around Chicago, in the spirit of Christianity.1 For the next thirty years, the Japanese YMCA endured many twists and turns, changing its location and name several times, but it eventually became one of the main foundations of Chicago's Japanese community.

The Japanese YMCA's thirty year history can be divided into six periods. The first period was from 1908 to 1911, when Shimazu was struggling alone in his mission work. By supporting himself …

lea más

community en

Chapter 2: Misaki Shimazu — Birth of the Japanese Christian Community in Chicago

According to Misaki Shimazu, there were four stages of activity among the Japanese Christians in Chicago: the Fujita era, the Baptist days, the Confusion period, and the Separation and Independence era.1 The first period, the Fujita era, was from July 1899 to April 1903, when Toshiro Fujita was the Japanese Consul in Chicago. A few Japanese met at Consul Fujita’s home twice a month to study Christianity. Consul Fujita was a Christian2 and he managed all of the correspondence of these Japanese Christians.

Shimazu named the second period the Baptist days after the founding of the Japanese Baptist …

lea más

community en

Chapter 1: Introduction

It is well known that prewar Chicago had no “Japan town.” Was it simply because the Japanese population before 1940 was too small? Or was there a specific reason that Chicago did not establish a center for Japanese immigrants?

Jesse F. Steiner spent seven years (1905-1912) as a teacher at North Japan College in Sendai.1 He was subsequently trained under Robert Park and lectured in sociology at the University of Chicago in 1915 and 1916.2 In his thesis, The Japanese Invasion: A Study in the Psychology of Interracial Contacts, Steiner wrote:

An individual alone is not the same …

lea más