A Precious Legacy: Christian Science Comes to Japan
Abiko, Emi. A Precious Legacy: Christian Science Comes to Japan. Boston: E. D. Abbott Company, 1978.
Abiko’s book is a personal account of the introduction of Christian Science into Japan and its development through her first-hand experiences as the eldest daughter of one of the pioneers. This is not a primer on Christian Science, nor does Abiko write as a historian; rather she draws from deep resources of memory, feeling, and a life of loving and living Christian Science. Her bilingual and bicultural background informs her with authoritative insight into the particular challenges faced when a new way of thinking is being accepted into a country deeply entrenched in centuries-old traditions. In 1976 a translation of Science and Health into Japanese was completed. The last chapter of Abiko’s book, “Fifty Years Later,” explores the reasons why the translation of Science and Health was a “long, hard, uphill” (103) battle of 11 years to accomplish, what specific linguistic and cultural hurdles the translation committee faced, and how the gradual process led to its completion. The narration unfolds against a backdrop of three imperial reigns: Meiji, Taisho and Showa, 1912-1978, the date of publication. The chapter “World War II” is important because we learn of the tremendous courage and tenacity the Christian Scientists in Japan required to continue practicing their religion and what it took to survive.
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