Japan...So Far Away (1947-1952)
"The General Chapter with a free consent of all the Provinces establishes
that our Order offers herself to the Holy See to accept missionary activities Ad Gentes according to the spirit of our Founder"
Japan was the first mission place chosen, in view of the fact that
after her defeat in the Second World War was opening herself to the western community. The first two missionaries, Fr. Feliciano
Perez and Fr. Pedro Luis Perea arrived to Japan on the 3rd day of October 1950. They stayed in Rome for several
days and were received and blessed by the Pope Pius XII.
In Japan, the Ordinary of Yokohama, Bishop Thomas Wakida, received
and encouraged them as missionaries in Japan. The Bishop sent them to Yokosuka, where they started their first studies of
the Japanese Language and at the same time learning and experiencing the culture in the new country.
For Fr. Perea, it was too hard to endure the hardship of the first
winter in Japan. Consequently he became sick, and after half a year of studies in Yokosuka he was sent back to Spain for his
health recovery. In the meantime, Fr. Feliciano, through the kind help of the Bishop of Yokohama, found a good chance to start
his missionary activities in the Diocese of Yokohama in a new house built by the diocese. It was during the year 1952 that
he got a Church, a house and the permission from his province to open the new community with the new missionaries sent from
The new missionaries, four priests and a brother arrived to Japan
on September 1952. On this same day, the new community was established in the Church of Tobe (Yokohama). The young missionaries
started the study of Japanese Language, which lasted for two years. Simultaneously, all of them were able to help in different
churches for Sunday masses, since the liturgy was in Latin.
Menawhile, Fr. Feliciano was looking for the future of the mission,
thinking about how to begin some educational activities. The Lord helped him when the Apostolic Nuncio offered him a school
in the Province of Mie, in Yokkaichi City. The school was run by the SVD (Society of the Divine Word) missionaries, in-charge
of the Nanzan University in Nagoya. Since the SVD Fathers wanted to concentrate themselves in the Diocese of Nagoya, they
decided of passing their Yokkaichi School to other Religious Institutions.
On 1955, Fr. Feliciano visited Yokkaichi opening a new religious
house with Fr. Rivero and two more priests. The school we received was a private high school with a small number of boys.
Since the Catholic Church of Yokkaichi was under the protection of Mary Star of the Sea, our school too was put under the
same heavenly Star, Mary. So it was called Stella Maris (Kaisei).
III. Smoothly Growing
Since the Order took charge of Kaisei School, it started growing
smoothly. At the beginning of the school year 1958-1959, there were 450 students. But this number grew higher and higher with
the passing years. At the same time, the numbers of religious teachers, as well as the lay teachers, grew too.
Since the number of the religious in Japan was increasing, the mission
became a Provincial Delegation, dependent on the Vasconia Province in Spain. This is why a Local Chapter took place in our
mission. In 1965, the first general visitation took place. Fr. Laureano Suarez, assistant General, visited our houses in Yokohama
and Yokkaichi. During this visitation, a general meeting of all the members of the mission took place in Yokohama. Among the
many themes studied, the Novitiate Program, Vocation and Economic status were given priority. In addition to that, after the
visitation the mission opened the House of Tokyo with the purpose of vocational activities and formation of new candidates
for our Order. The house of Tokyo was opened in 1966.
IV. Maturity Crises
A new convent close to Kaisei School was blessed
in 1968. However, some personal difficulties were appearing with the missionary religious; like crises of health and spiritual
maturity together with the activities as missionaries. This took place during the post-second Vatican Council. Kaisei School
too experienced troubles in teachers and its disciplinary way of life and studies. But in spite of these insecurities and
fears, the number of students was visibly growing. At the beginning of the school year 1972-1973, Kaisei reached the totaled
number of 1,000 students. At this time, one more unanticipated event took place in Yokkaichi when the Maryknoll Fathers transferred
the Parish Church of Yokkaichi to our Order. It was in 1972. The Parish had 750 Christians and two Kindergartens with a number
of around 300 children. On 1956, the Provincial Superior of Vasconia came to Japan for a Provincial Visitation. Fr. Ciaurriz,
a man of hope with a missionary heart, with his words and actions encouraged all the members of the mission to continue their
activities. It was on this new visitation that a new Church of Tobe in Yokohama was blessed.
V. Decline with
In spite of the small number of missionaries in Japan, most of them
tried to work hoping against hope. This is why their special local chapter studied the themes about life of faith, pastoral
work, vocation and permanent formation. The missionaries took with interest to their best in order to improve their situation
in all activities, especially the formation house of Tokyo and the pastoral line of our parishes and of the kindergartens.
During this period, in 1986 Fr. General visited the mission. His visit was followed by a General Meeting of the members of
Japan stressing the necessity of a deeper, religious Calasanzian life and activity. Also the idea of lay people-cooperators
was studied. The importance of practical ways to attract some aspirants to the Order was also tackled.
Fr. Lecea (present Father
General) in 1988 insisted on the importance of community life according to our constitutions. Now the year 1994 was a starting
point. Fr. Jose Maria Balcells visited the mission for the second time. He came with a bright and beautiful dream about a
new General Delegation of Japan-Philippines. It was formally established on 1996. The General Congregation with this New General
Delegation has started its ideal of expanding the order in Asia and for the Asians, with Asian Piarists.
nb: To read the complete details of this Piarist History in Japan please link to its History in the navigation bar.