Toyohiko Kagawa—The Japanese Christian Hero

Toyohiko Kagawa—The Japanese Christian Hero

"And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God."—Luke 12:8

Since God made the various colors of human skin—white, yellow, red, and brown—it is only natural that he would love all people of all colors. God hates nobody. He loves everybody. People with yellow skins come mainly from three countries—China, Korea, and Japan. China alone has over 650,000,000 persons. One person out of four on the earth is a Chinese.

Very few out of all the millions of yellow men, women, boys, and girls in Asia are actually Christian, for only comparatively recently have our Christian missionaries gone there to tell of Christ. But those few Christians who are there have great influence for their numbers. Many of them become Christian at the risk of their lives, giving up even the love of their families, who tell them they are forsaking their old family gods.

One such brave person, a truly great Christian hero, is Toyohiko Kagawa, born in 1888. His parents were people of wealth. He had a great future as a brilliant young man.

But something, or rather somebody, upset his life of com­fort, ease, and luxury. That somebody was Jesus Christ. Kagawa heard of Christ, the Son of God, who came to earth, suffered, and died for us and for him, Toyohiko Kagawa. Such a great love impressed the young Kagawa. Here was the answer to great questions that had been in his mind.

Furthermore, he was terribly troubled by the slums in his country. How could he sleep nights when human beings lived under such conditions? Whole families in one room without windows. Small children working long hours.

The young Kagawa had compassion on the slum dwellers, even as his Master, Jesus Christ, had compassion on the multi­tudes nearly two thousand years ago.

When he announced that he was going to move into a small room in the slums and help all who came his way, his family said No. Furthermore, they opposed his becoming a Christian.

Just how Kagawa stood firmly against his parents' opposition, how he rented a room and gradually built up a settlement house in the slums, how he organized workingmen's clubs to buy their food cheaper, how he organized workers to secure better pay—all these are just a few of the thrilling achievements in one man's life.

He caught a dreaded eye disease in the slums. He was never strong physically, and when I heard him speak here in America once, I was impressed with his smallness and frailty. I wondered, How can such a small and weak-looking man do so much for God?

But when he began to speak, I knew the answer. For here was a man dedicated completely to Christ and to God. He has not the slightest selfishness to hinder his working for others. Furthermore, he likes to laugh and make others laugh.

During World War II Kagawa spent years in jail for opposing the Japanese military policy which oppressed helpless people and that finally brought the United States into the war and defeated the Japanese. Kagawa pointed out how war settles nothing and how his whole nation would suffer because of its cruel acts.

After the war he was released immediately and was one of the greatest forces in bringing friendship back between America and Japan. He came to America and was warmly greeted wherever he went.

To look at Kagawa one cannot help but wonder: How can such a tiny, weak-looking little man do so much?

The answer is: God can use any of us to do his will if we but let him. This little yellow-skinned man, Toyohiko Kagawa, the most loved man in Japan, is proof of that.

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