Thank you for running Setsuko Kamiya’s Nov. 19 article, “Demons still haunt Christian soldier.” The story of Ryozo Watabe is important. I was moved to read his words of personal struggle against what he knew to be immoral, and I am thankful for his desire to share his experiences with others.
Watabe spoke of the Japanese church obeying the government during the time, and yet there are examples of churches that refused to obey the government, such as the Mino Mission church in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture, in 1933. This church stood against “kokutai” (state structure) and Shinto militarism, and was persecuted because of it. It was a conflict between the principles of “Don’t resist that which is more powerful” and “We must obey God rather than man.”
Watabe’s Christian faith served him as a guide for what was moral or immoral, whereas those around him gave their allegiance to whatever power was winning at the time. Another example of resistance is found in the founder of the Mukyoukai in Japan, Uchimura Kanzo. Watabe is right when he says we must learn to resist following immoral leadership.