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Japan Will Turn Ablaze!

  • Author:
  • Various

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Japan, 1992 revised edition
  • Pages:
  • 113
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Pages 103-105

The following excerpts are from letters to pioneers to Japan and Korea, 1948–1957

[Letter of January 21, 1948]

To Mr. Robert Imagire
He (the Guardian) notices in your last letter that you sound discouraged. But he feels you should look on the bright side of the work in Japan, and realize that, after so many, many years of complete inertia, the old Bahá’ís have been found—at least some of them—and contacts reestablished. You are able to serve there, new people are hearing of the Faith, and the prospects for the future work there are promising. It is a great pity that a pioneer effort, organized and financed, cannot be carried out there. But the present Seven Year Plan takes all the American Bahá’í resources, and at present Japan must depend on volunteer teachers like your dear self, who of course are not as free as a full time pioneer would be.
In regard to the various questions in your last letter; because of the difficult conditions under which you are serving there and the state of the country and immaturity of the believers you should not be too rigid. You should try and meet on the proper Feast day, but if it is not possible meet as close to the date as you can. Likewise, it would be desirable to observe the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh and the Master, etc., at the correct times, but it is not essential to do so. With such a small group of Bahá’ís who have no proper literature except the Esslemont 104 book, and need to deepen in the Teachings, you should be very patient and not ask them to do things before they see the wisdom of it.
Membership for Bahá’ís should be based on their understanding the station of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Guardian and the function of the Administrative Order. To do this it is not necessary for people to first read the Will and Testament and the Dispensation. The essentials can be explained to them, and the rest is a question of faith; if they believe, they can be accepted as Bahá’ís. It is premature now to say any “laws” of the Aqdas must be followed. But the Bahá’ís should be encouraged to keep the Fast, use an obligatory prayer, obtain the consent of parents for marriage, and live up to the Teachings in general.
He certainly feels one of your first duties is to deepen the understanding of the Faith in the minds of the believers there.
You should certainly try to make new contacts but until you have a nucleus of active believers there he feels a lot of publicity is premature.
As to translations, this is certainly very important, but he would not suggest that at present with the limited facilities at your disposal, that you translate whole books. Make selections of subjects that will interest the Japanese; some prayers, some of the chapters from “Some Answered Questions” on things of general interest rather than the purely Christian topics; some of the excerpts from “Gleanings”. In other words try and get together a selection from our Teachings that covers a wide range of subjects and is representative of our beliefs, and translate these at first. Whole books can be undertaken in the future.
He feels the teaching and translating work can go hand in hand as you teach with new material translated.
Your services are very deeply valued by our beloved Guardian, and he assures you he will pray for you and all the Japanese Bahá’ís in the Holy Shrines.
(signed by R. Rabbani)
(in the Guardian’s handwriting)
The zeal, devotion and courage which you exhibit in your activities in the service of the Cause in Japan are truly meritorious and evoke my deepest admiration. Your mission is indeed historic, and your pioneer achievements an example to the rising generation. Persevere in your high endeavors, and rest assured that the Beloved will bless your exertions and will aid you to fulfil your heart’s desire.
Your true and grateful brother, Shoghi
(January 21, 1948) 105