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The young, especially, need example as well as precept,
to help them to a full appreciation of the value of
Christianity as a cleansing and vitalizing power in the
life of the nation. The best example they can have o[
its worth is that of an active propaganda in which they
can take a part, and which transforms people in every
station of life. The best laboratory in the world for a
study of the power of the Gospel is city missions. The
need for reinforcements to enter this very poorly devel-
oped field of effort, is becoming better appreciated on
the part of the missions, according to statements made
in some of the year books gotten out lately in Japan.
Large self-supporting churches are fortunately becoming
more common, and they give a tone to the church life
of the student that he can get in no other way, but one
of the great needs is that of strong men, missionaries
and Japanese, who will lead in a great, earnest, long and
sustained evangelistic campaign for the masses in and
around our cities, large and small. Nothing short of
this will begin to meet the obligation the church abroad
owes the church in Japan. The best men to be found
are none too good for this work, and when they are
sent, or given this task, no backing the church can give
will be too strong. City evangelism, on a par with our
schools in men and material equipment, is not too big
a demand for city missions.

In the Japanese game of chess a pawn may become


a king and is then called a "narikin." The nouveaitx
riche are narikin in Japanese parlance, and these are
among the most conspicuous products of the war. They,
however, are but the by-products of the wonderful in-
dustrial and shipping expansion which affected the nation
as a whole. It is the interests of commerce, rather than
those of militarism, that will, we expect, shape Japan's
future. This change will surely produce a new set of
problems, but not of the kind, we trust, to hinder the
progress of the Gospel. The new industrialism is already
resulting in a great congestion of population in the
commercial and industrial centers. Indeed, in some cities
the housing problem has become so acute that munici-
palities are putting up block after block of tenement
houses to relieve the overcrowding. Land, in the large
cities, is selling at fabulous prices. Large office build-
ings are going up where formerly stood many little
two story shops and residences combined. Suburban
electric and steam cars carry multitudes of commuters
to their homes in the nearby towns. These suburban
towns near the great cities, present wonderful possibili-
ties for those that can find men and women to open

These changing industrial and commercial conditions
bring young men and women to the cities by the tens
of thousands, making the city and the country work,
in their interdependence, all the more urgent, because
of the new opportunities offered for getting hold of the
young life in its plastic state. If the young people have
been influenced by the church in the country, there is
ten times the chance for the city church to save them
from the snares and pitfalls awaiting them on all sides
in the city. Perhaps the strongest Christian formative
influence in Japan today is the Sunday-school. There
is no limit to the number of these Bible schools that
might be opened, come they Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,
or any other day, for they are held every day in the
week by those who realize their importance and can
find time to conduct them. In this kind of work there
is no difference in city and country districts, for the


children come anywhere you open a school. The fact
of having attended a Sunday-school, even a few times,
gives a point of contact that at once means confidence
in the -Christian teacher, and makes faith easy and

Internationalism has real beginning in Japan, though her
foreign diplomacy may not always show it. The World
War has started social and political reforms here as
surely it has worked revolutions in industrial life. Abound-
ing life must show itself in growth and expansion.
Will the Christian brethren of the West unite with their
Christian brethren of Japan in supplying the spiritual
need of the New Day? Shall the rising generation
know of '' a more excellent way " than their fathers
knew ? Japan has an awakening social conscience. It
used to be considered bad form to talk about one's
rights. Indeed, it was quite impolitic to mention the
word ** rights " very often. It is not so today. The
common, ordinary man has a value unknown in the old
days. He wants a vote and the politiciam with his ear
to the ground, is trying to get it for him. The new
spirit of freedom and a desire for equality are every-
where present. No one considers present conditions
stable, and only the ultraconservative fears the changes
coming. The rising value of a man must bring about
a state of affairs that will give a readier hearing to the
Christian message with its teaching of the brotherhood
of man. In Japan, the day of the missionary it not in
the past, but in the future, with more open doors than
ever before.

This has been a year of large planning, by nearly
all the missions, for better equipment of the work
already started, and of large askings for expansion. It
was the Semi-Centennial year of the American Board
Mission in Japan. The year book of that mission for
19 19, and that of the Northern Baptist Mission for the
same year, are both distinct contributions towards the
study of present-day conditions in this country. The
Kamakura meeting of the Japanese Methodists for the
purpose of considering plans for a Forward Movement,


bids fair to make 19 19 a notable year for that denomi-
nation. The year will be remembered by all the
denominations cooperating in the big plans made by the
Inter Church World Movement for Japan. Some of the
above mentioned interests, together with studies con-
cerning the distribution of missionary forces in Japan^.
will be treated in an appendix.



By Mrs. George P. Pierson

" Never put pen to paper until you have come to a
definite confusion on a subject," as the sententious school-
girl observed. And though pages enough to fill a good-
sized book, have been penned, during the past ten years,
on this subject, is there not still some confusion in
our minds as to exactly what we mean by " Village
Work " ?

What is a Japanese village ? If it were a question of
the European village, which is inhabited almost exclusive-
ly by peasants, that would of course, constitute a type
altogether different from the town or city. But the
Japanese village, like the American, seems to correspond
exactly to the dictionary definition : "A small assem-
blage of houses, less than a town or city, and greater
than a hamlet." This is evidently a purely arithmetical
distinction, a matter of size and number of inhabitants,
and not a difference of type, or character. That the
Japanese village really is an embryo town, experience
abundantly proves. When the writer came to this place
(Nokkeushi), five years ago, it was a village, now it is
a town. But it had no peasant inhabitants then, and
it has none now. Dr. Norman, in the Christian Move-
ment for 1 9 19, p. 44, speaks of a silk- weaving village,
in the Riso valley, ** that is jumping into city-hood,
without passing through the intermediate state of being
a town." Sixty-one years ago Yokohama began to
emerge from the ** insignificant fishing-village of Hom-
mura." Tokyo, as we all know, is a conglomeration of
small villages.


Now, is it not true, when we speak of " Village-work,"
wrongly or rightly, we usually think of work done
among the farming population, or chiefly so, which
certainly is a type by itself

But if, as shown above, the village differs not at all
in kind, but only in degree, from the town, or city,
then it is fair to conclude that work done for the
village, does not essentially differ from work done for
the town or city. • s

That, however, a special farming class does exist, the
farmers and peasants who live in outlying districts on
their own farms (as is mainly the case in Hokkaido),
or else clustered in tiny, remote hamlets (as is chiefly
the case in Japan generally), and that for them a special
work with specially adapted methods, should be done —
no one could deny. But does this class constitute the
classical ** 809^ " (Mr. Binford has reduced it to ys^o
in Christian Movement for 19 19, p. 89), said to be
"untouched by Christian work"? Exact Japanese
official statistics concerning the scattered farming popula-
tion, or the number of peasant hamlets, do not seem to
be extant, but that these make up Soo/o of the total
population, is incredible. Nor, indeed, does this seem
to be the idea in the minds of the writers on this
subject, for they constantly reiterate the statement that
the ** 80^ inhabit the smaller towns and villages," and
that these, as distinguished from the large cities, have
been, as yet, practically untouched.

It vs^ould then appear that there are two distinct
fields before as, both neglected, both needing prompt
and zealous attention, but not to be confounded with
each other :

1. The farmers.

2. The people in the smaller towns and villages.

A three fold advantage inheres in this distinction :

1. It sharpens the outlines of the task before us
and brings it more nearly within the range of

2. It relieves the mind from the intolerable burden



of discouragement and depression concerning

our work.
3. It removes the false impression that a very

large proportion of the missionaries in Japan

are dwelling at ease in over-manned city-stations.
For here, I think, a mischievous misunderstanding has
crept in. Apart from the grouping of large numbers
of educational missionaries at the great centers — of which
more anon— it is held up for reproach that, for instance,
in 1910, "of 762 missionaries in Japan, 656 were
massed in ten cities " (Christian Movement for 19 10,
p. in). By 19 19 the situation had so far improved
that Dr. Noss observes (Christian Movement for 19 19,
p. 39 and 40)1 that, whereas in 1899, of the 62 mission-
aries in Tohoku, 43 lived in Sendai, in 19 19, of the
82, only 36 are in Sendai. What is the general situa-
tion today ? According to the latest statistics, " Table
I, for the year 191 8 " of the Christian Movement for
19 1 9, the total Protestant missionaries at work in Japan,
exclusive of Formosa and Korea, is 1089. Adding to
these the 103 Roman and Greek missionaries, whose
names and stations are recorded on " The List by
Towns " for 1919, but leaving out the nuns, whose
residence is not indicated, there would seem to be 1,192,
or, roughly speaking, 1,200 missionaries at work in
Japan today. Where are these located ? According to
the List by Towns, 392, or nearly 1/3, are in Tokyo
and Yokohama ; 379, again, nearly 1/3, are in the nine
great cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima, Sendai,
Hakodate, Sapporo, Nagoya and Nagasaki. But 425,
or well over 1/3, are in the remaining (103) smaller
cities or towns, recorded on the list.

Now, concerning these so-called " cities " where
missionaries are stationed, which include such places as
Yokkaichi, Tsu, Takaoka, Wakamatsu, Matsue, or such
" towns " as Kusatsu, the leper colony, of which we
have heard so much of late, or little Hagi, in Yama-
guchi Ken — exactly what do we mean by a city— apart
from the regulation 50,000, or more, inhabitants ?
When we think of a city in the abstract, or say of


some particular city like Rome, Dresden, Zurich, Geneva,
or any of the other smaller cities of Europe, what is
the idea that unconsciously rises in our minds ? Is it
not a mellow combination of culture, good music, art,
books, great public interests, wide opportunities and
education, large political problems, contact with wide-
awake, intellectual people, the attractions of a univer-
sity centre, interesting philanthropic and social enterprises.
But do such " cities " as Yokkaichi and Tsu conjure
up such pictures ? or such ** towns " as Hagi, or Kusa-
tsu ? In this "town" of Nokkeushi, of 10,000 inhabit-
ants, there is no school above the primary, not one
book-store, not a single florist, it boasts one piano, but
unfortunately that does not belong to the missionary !
When, therefore, it is said that 1/3 of the missionaries
in Japan are massed in the great cities, and another 1/3
are distributed over only 100 of the smaller "cities"
and towns, it should not be inferred that they are
luxuriating in centers of ease and culture. A distinguished
Roman Catholic abbe, recently come from Italy, whom
the writer met on a country-trip, exactly expressed the
situation, when he said with an honest sigh : " J'expie a
Iwamizawa mes annees de joie a Rome." I expiate in
Iwamizawa my years of joy in Rome."

Now Iwamizawa is a good-sized Hokkaido town. i3ut
to return to our muttons.

How large a proportion of the popu-
The Farmers lation they constitute does not seem to
be definitely known. But since Japan
has, for centuries, been an agricultural country, it must
be very large, though with the modern enormous deve-
lopment in industry, shipping, and commerce, it is
evidently a good deal smaller than it used to be. JMr.
Iglehart writes, in his General Review of the Year,
Christian Movement, 1919 : "Japan is becoming more
cind more a manufacturing nation and her life will depend
upon commerce."

But, few or many, the bulk of them has not yet
been reached, and reached it must be. As to the
problem of how to reach -the farmers, so much has


'been written on this subject, and so will-written (though
under the ambiguous term of "villagers," or "country-
people "), in the Japan Evangelist and the Christian
Movement, during the past two years, by such experts
as Dr. J. B. Hail, Mr. Vories, Mr. Gundert, Dr.
Norman, Mr. Binford, Captain Bickel, Dr. Brokaw, Dr.
Duniop, that little remains to be said, except perhaps
to record the difference in conditions, and hence some-
what in methods, between the Hokkaido situation and
that of Japan proper.

Thus, in speaking of the difficulty of understanding
the people, Mr. Gundert says : " Our whole way of
feeling and thinking is so entirely different from that of
the Japanese rural population that it seems almost im-
possible to understand each other." And he asks :
" How is it that when we come into contact with simple,
Japanese country people, their hearts and ours fail to
resound in one accord, in spite of our best intentions? "
This sounds passing-strange to the ears of a Hokkaido
missionary. It is quite true that, in general, it is hard
to get to the bottom of the peoples' hearts, and even
our Christians are sometimes cryptic. But if there is
any one class of people in Japan whose hearts do
respond to ours it is surely those of the country-farmers.
What jolly Gargantuan feasts we have had together !
What heart to heart talks on the long, cold sleigh
rides, or walking through the fragrant mint-fields ! What
endless shimbokkais we have shirnbd d through together !
What fun comparing notes over our potato-crops and
oats, and even our hens ! What glorious days winnow-
ing the yellow grain together, on airy upland fields,
under a sky of Brittanic blue ! What jokes we have
cracked ! What warm, fervent prayer-meetings we have
held together ! What sacred confessions have been made
to us !

Then, again, Mr. Gundert accounts for the " contrast
between their mode of living and ours," by the " hard-
ships and relative unprofitableness of Japanese agricultural
labor." That, too, is the exact reverse of the case in
Hokkaido ; especially, during the last four years. Farm-


ing is so lucrative that teachers, and even tradespeople,
turn farmers. Many farmers have made fortunes on
beans and potato-starch. The " Dempun narikin " is a
well known figure here. A few years ago there were
cases of farmers going insane with joy, over tlieir fabul-
ous gains. We know nothing here of " the deepseated

aversion of the farmers to their own occupation," of
which Mr. Gundert speaks. As to the contrast be-
tween their mode of life and ours, one of our intimate
Christian farmer friends, after a keen survey of our
small farm, wanted to know *' how much we lost a year
on our farm." He had evidently not been unduly
impressed by our superior prosperity.

And, yet, even in Mr. Gundert's exceedingly difficult
field, even there, he finds that the villagers (whom he
defines as the agricultural class) are ** still easier to
reach than the traders and artisans in the towns," and
for reasons which he most aptly enumerates as follows :
'* There is more retirement, more time for rest, and
more steadiness ; the simplicity of affairs, the greater
stability of the population, and the sameness of the
common agricultural work gives to the individual house,
more security and weight ; and these differences offer
advantages for the cultivation of an inner life."

As for methods for reaching the farmers, next to the
time-honored evangelistic trips on foot, wherever possible,
and involving " an intensified group-contact for a suf-
ficient number of days in succession, to create a lasting
impression," and the holding of children's meetings and
Sunday-schools, and systematic Bible-classes, there are
the special points of contact to be made with the school
teachers and the " Seinendan," there is Mr. Binford's
splendid tent-work plan (see Christian Movement, 19 19,
pp. 9092), there is Dr. Pieters' Newspaper Evangelism,

there is the Timothy Training Plan (see Japan Evange-
list, Aug.-Sept., 1 9 19, p. 302), and, above all, there is
Mr. Vories " Nerve-Center plan," and his Still-hunt and
Training of Native Leaders (See " The Evangelization of
Rural Japan," by W. M. Vories), every word of which


ought to be pondered by every country missionary
in Japan.

2. Finally, as to the people in the smaller towns and
villages — the bulk of the 809^ still unreached, though
differing in no wise in kind from their more polished
kin in the large cities, the way to reach them is to go
to them. " The way to resume specie payment is to
resume." Any one that can do " city " work, can do
this work. What is wanted here, is not highl}/ differ-
entiated methods or conspicuous talent, but Diore people y
missionaries as well as Japanese workers, glad and willing
to go out and live in the country. These should be
largely new reci'uits, unless we are ready to make drastic
reductions in our teaching forces.

But in a country like Japan, and at its present stage
of development. Christian schools would seem to be a
vital necessity. And if our schools were all of the
Alexander Duff type, centers of evangelistic effort,
producing strong, positive Christian characters and
Christian workers, eager, on graduation, to take up de-
finite Christian work as teachers or preachers — what an
\ advance might not be made on that redoubtable 809^ !

Is it possible we are '* doing the work of the Lord
deceitfully," i. e., negligently ? Was it not the boldness
of Peter and John that made their judges " take know-
ledge that they had been with Jesus ? " Truly, as Dr.
Robinson says, " Boldness is the outstanding characteristic
of Jesus and His teaching." God help us so to *^ do
His Will " and *' to finish His Work."




By Wm. Merrell Vories

A Specialist in rural church work in America, who
recently made a tour of inspection of similar work in
Japan, reported that nine-tenths of the rural evangelism
he had seen here appeared to be about as effective as
" pouring water into a rathole." Even though this may-
be an over-severe criticism, I shall take it for my text
in the discussion of this theme, which the Editor has
asked me to prepare for the present issue of the Chris-
tian Movement, since we may profit by seeing how our
efforts appear to a sympathetic visitor who knows from
experience, successful work of this type. We must
admit that something ought to be done to improve our
rural mission methods.

If we glance at actual conditions, we shall find any
number of cases of mission work in small towns and
villages, where beginnings were made twenty or thirty
years ago, and where little advance, and sometimes
measurable decline, is evident after all these years of
effort and expense. In numerous cases " churches "
exist in a sort of half-dead condition, which show fewer
adherents and less enthusiasm than they did years ago.
Such conditions do not appear to be confined to any
one denomination or district. Something must be the
matter with the methods, the workers, or the religion
involved. We feel sure it is not the fault of the Faith
which we have offered our lives to propagate. We
hope it is not the unfitness of ourselves. It is, there-
fore, up to us to prove the methods heretofore employed
to be responsible for the unsatisfactory results of rural
evangelization in Japan.


If we begin to analyze the situation, we find, first, of
all, that there is very little rural mission work worthy
of the name. There are comparatively few missionaries
who take up their abode in rural communities, and
devote themselves to intensive efforts for the villagers.
The commonest practice seems to be for a missionary
living in a central city — and often engaged partly in
city work, educational work, or some such local enter-
prise—to make preaching tours to a circuit of villages,
in each of which there m.ay be stationed a Japanese
evangelist, imported from elsewhere, and with no special-
ized preparation for village work.

This state of affairs is what justifies the recent visiting
specialist in calling our rural efforts ** water poured into
a rat-hole." I should prefer to call this condition not
true rural evangelism, but scrambled inissions ; because
I feel confident that, with an adequate attack upon the
rural problem, we could not only make a creditable
shov/ing, but even should discover this work to be the
source of our most fundamental results — the means of
establishing the Faith in the very heart of the nation,
and of enlisting the spiritual leadership material, which
is the chief need of the whole Christian church in Japan.

As to how we may make our rural efforts more
efficient, much might be done. It is, first of all, neces-
sary tc realize that rural evangelism is a distinct phase
of our work, and requires specialized methods, and
specially qualified workers. The ideal way to go at it,
seems to me to be something like the suggestions made
in 191 5, in \kiQ Japati Evangelist, and later published as
a pamphlet (** Rural Evangelization in Japan " — Kyobun-
kwan). yThis method calls for the worker's concentra-
tion, for a period of years, upon one village, in which
he lives and becomes a part of the community, until
he has effected a reconstruction. This is slow, unspecta-
cular, expensive, for a time, and difficult for any but
the true specialist. But it is surely the thorough and
effective way, and, in the end, would justify itself, even
to a constituency impatient for quick " reports."

But even for the handicapped workers, who cannot

36 ' JAPAN

lindertake such a thorough program, there are some
definite ways of improving our country work.

Under the existing village system, it is almost im-
possible for a single convert — unless he be a landowner
farmer, independent of local favor or opposition — to
continue in his home town and adhere to a vigorous
Christian standard of faith and practice. The evangelistic
method of merely touring rural districts and securing a
single convert here and there, has been called " snatch-
ing brands from the burning.'' But, unless each convert
be actually taken out of Jiis home and given employment
in some favorable surroundings, it is really not that ;
but often becomes only turning tJie brand over, — which
may only cause the burning to increase.

If the puUing-out-of-native-town method is employed,,
it is, in reality, personal evangelism of individuals who
chance to live in rural communities, but it cannot be
called rural evangelism with any accuracy. What is
needed is the putting out of the fire, rather than the
snatching of brands from it.

For pioneering in rural work one of the most effective
measures is that of newspaper evangelism. By this
method, the Gospel can be put into the most remote

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