100 YEARS AGO
Sunday, April 2, 1910
Missionaries play mixed role in Korea
According to the Residency General of Korea, that country’s native population was 9,781,671 at the end of 1908, and that of foreigners 10,797, excluding Japanese, whose number is given as 126,168.
Of foreigners other than Japanese, 757 were Western nationals. A remarkable fact is that 237 of these were missionaries directly engaged in evangelization or teaching. At the end of 1907 there were 121 such missionaries, which means that in the course of 1908 they were reinforced by 116 new arrivals from Europe and America. It seems likely that 1909 saw progress in a similar direction at a greater rate, so at present it seems probable that between 400 and 500 foreign Christian workers are now in Korea. That is at the rate of about one missionary per 22,000 Koreans.
In contrast, there were 101 missionaries in Japan at the end of 1908 against a population of over 49.5 million. This works out as roughly one missionary per 62,700 persons in Japan, a ratio which is true today, we believe. In other words, proportionately, there are three times as many missionaries in Korea as there are in Japan.
If there was a time we entertained misgivings about Christian missionaries in Korea, these suspicions have long since vanished. We know today that most of them are willingly disposed to make their teaching and system conform to the system of national education put into force by the Residency General, and otherwise to strictly confine their activity to spiritual work. They will find us among the last, therefore, to accuse them of meddling with political affairs in Korea.
But the fact remains that they are very influential among the young and rising generation of Koreans. And power and influence are those things which their possessors are apt to abuse in spite of themselves and often unwittingly too, being made the instruments of others. It is also a fact that dissatisfied and aggressive Koreans who are constantly conspiring against the protectorate regime are largely those who have come under missionary influence. Hence arise the circumstances that missionaries, their churches and schools in Korea are made rallying points for malcontents causing considerable mischief in the friendly relations between Japan and Korea.
Here then is a very troublesome problem which we are facing. We are very favourably disposed towards missionaries and their religious work. On the other hand, the large amount of money they are disbursing in their work has the result that they are indirectly rearing up traitors to the true interests of Korea.
How we are to proceed about the solution of the problems thus thrust upon us is the question. It is a question that is of equal moment and interest to the missionaries as to Japan. We also believe it is a question which will never be satisfactorily solved by each side taking its own course of action. There should be cooperation between the Residency General and the missionaries. We conclude by asking for such cooperation.
50 YEARS AGO
Thursday, April 14, 1960
Huge sum set to modernize JNR
Some ¥95,000 million has been set aside for renovation projects in fiscal 1960, the Japan National Railway Corporation announced yesterday. Under the current JNR five-year plan, facilities have been modernized during the past three years, but only 65 percent of the projects planned have been completed.
During the new fiscal year, modernization will include better commuter transportation, more double tracks, and a change from steam locomotives to electric or diesel engines.
By June, the special express trains “Tsubame” and “Hato” will be powered by streamlined electric engines similar to the business express “Kodama.”
In Tokyo, seven JNR stations — including Shinjuku and Ikebukuro, the two major stations on the Yamate loopline — will be expanded to relieve congestion during rush hours.
During the coming fiscal year, 12 electric engines, 40 diesel engines, 306 electric cars, 350 diesel cars, 49 passenger coaches and 6,520 freight cars are to be built or remodeled.
25 YEARS AGO
Sunday, April 7, 1985
Call for a halt to Imperial cig-giving
Representatives of a group campaigning against smoking in public Saturday visited the Imperial Household Agency and asked it to stop giving cigarettes as Imperial gifts to guests and people who volunteer to work for the Emperor from time to time, group sources said.
The written request was presented to Tomohiko Tomita, grand steward of the Imperial household.
It called on the Emperor to reconsider the cigarette gifts on the occasion of the privatization of the Japan Tobacco & Salt Public Corp. in view of his concern for the health and happiness of his people.
An agency spokesman issued a statement in which he said the agency accepted the request as one view and that he had nothing to say immediately.
The Emperor and most other members of the Imperial family do not smoke. Therefore, most of the tobacco products used by the household are for entertaining guests, agency sources said. These products have Imperial chrysanthemum designs on them. Imperial cigarette gifts were first presented by the Meiji Emperor to wounded soldiers of the Imperial Army who fought in the Satsuma Rebellion conflict of 1877.
A record 28 million cigarettes were presented in 1944, during World War II.
In this feature, which appears in Timeout on the third Sunday of each month along with our regular Week 3 stories, we delve into The Japan Times’ 114-year-old archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity.