- Uchimura Kanzo
- (1861-1930)prominent Japanese evangelistUchimura Kanzo was born in Tokyo on March 23, 1861. While studying at the Sapporo Agricultural School, he became a Christian and was baptized in 1878 by Methodist missionary Merriman Colbert Harris (1846-1921). Following his graduation in 1881, he took a government job. As a Christian layman, he helped found the Sapporo Independent Church and the Sapporo Y.M.C.A. (see Young Men's Christian Association).In 1884, Uchimura went to the United States. He had an intense religious experience while studying at Amherst College and entered Hartford seminary, where he studied for a year. Upon his return to Japan, he taught school for several years. He became well known in the 1890s for his Japanese books, such as Comfort for the Christian Believer and Spirit of Mission Work, and articles, especially "Why I Became a Christian" (later translated into English).In 1897, he moved to Tokyo. Uchimura held to a conservative Evangelical faith, but remained intensely independent. He advocated his own brand of Christianity called Mukyokai (nonchurch movement), and for many years led a weekly Bible study class in his home. With two colleagues, Nakata Juji and Kimura Seimatsu, he founded the second Coming of Christ movement in 1919. In 1922, he founded World Missionary Cooperation, which sent evangelists to China, Taiwan, and the south sea islands.In 1926, he started an English-language periodical, The Japan Christian Intelligencer, which widened his already broad influence in religious circles in Japan. Two years after his death on March 28, 1930, a set of his collected works began to appear. His epitaph is often quoted, "I for Japan; Japan for the World; The World for Christ; And All for God."Further reading:■ Hiroshi Miara, The Life and Thought of Kanzo Uchimura (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1997)■ Kanzo Uchimura, The Complete Works of Kanzo Uchimura, vol. 7, Essays and Editorials (Tokyo: Kyobunkwan, 1973), text in Japanese and English; , The Diary of a Japanese Convert (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1895).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.