Toyohiko Kagawa: Working for Peace


Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma continue the life of Toyohiko Kagawa. His ideas of peace changed the country of Japan.

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I'm Robin Basselin.

Voice 2

And I'm Ryan Geertsma. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

This is our second programme about a man named Toyohiko Kagawa. Kagawa lived through a difficult time in Japanese history. It was the first half of the twentieth century. Many things in Japan changed during Kagawa's lifetime. And Kagawa was often involved in these changes. In the first programme we looked at how Kagawa helped to improve the lives of the poorest people in Japan. Today, we will look at the work he did to oppose war and violence in his country.

Voice 2

Toyohiko Kagawa was a pacifist. He believed that people should be peaceful and not use violence. However, he also disagreed with the authorities on a number of issues. He protested against the unfair treatment of the poorest people. Remaining peaceful during these protests was often difficult. One example of this was in 1921. Kagawa was protesting with some factory workers. They wanted more rights for themselves. But then the authorities put him in prison. When he came out of prison he found some people in the group had started to act violently. Kagawa explained what happened next:

Voice 3

‘The next day thousands of workers with stones and bars walked towards the factory. Police and guards surrounded the factory with guns and swords. They waited for the attack. I did not know what to do. So, I went to a bridge where the group had to cross. I stood there and prayed. When that big group of men came up to me I was too sad to speak. So I just stood there praying. "God let there be peace". Then a miracle happened. They all stopped. Then they turned and went away!'

Voice 1

Later in Kagawa's life violence became a much bigger issue. In 1937, Japan went to war with China. And Kagawa believed that Japan would soon go to war with the United States as well. So, Kagawa travelled to the United States for a meeting with Christians in that country. When he returned he had not given up hope of peace. He wanted to tell the Japanese government about what he had learned in the United States. Kagawa said,

Voice 3

‘I went to the parliament and urged them to be peaceful and not go to war. I told them that I had just come from America. I said I knew that the American people wanted peace - and so did the Japanese people. But it did not do any good. On December 7th, 1941 I felt like all the lights had gone out. My heart was broken.'

Voice 2

On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor - an American Navy Base in Hawaii. This marked the beginning of Japan's involvement in World War Two. Kagawa continued to speak about the need for peace. But people started to think that he was wrong to talk this way. Japan was fighting in a major war. The government needed the people's support. People said that Kagawa was betraying his country. Kagawa said,

Voice 3

‘During the war the government asked me to keep quiet. They asked me to resign from all my activities. I could only take small services in my own church. By this time, I had written 113 books. All of these books, except my poems, were banned.'

Voice 1

Later, Japan started to lose the war. This made life particularly difficult for Kagawa. Magazine writers started to attack Kagawa again in their writing. Kagawa said,

Voice 3

‘They wrote as if I was betraying my country. People started to imagine what would happen if Japan lost the war. They said that the country would lose its leader - the emperor. They said that the new president would be me. Then Nagasaki was destroyed by the atom bomb. After that, one of the government officials warned me that the army wanted to kill me. He said I should leave Tokyo immediately. I ran away into the forests. I lived there for four or five months. It was about 150 kilometres north of the city.'

Voice 2

World War Two ended in 1945. After the war Japan became a very different country. The ruler of Japan, the Emperor, lost many of his powers. People also now thought very differently about the Emperor. Before this time, people believed the Emperor was a living god. But after the war the Emperor had to admit he was just a man. Then the Emperor invited Toyohiko Kagawa to visit him. He wanted Kagawa to help him serve his people better. Kagawa said,

Voice 3

‘I talked for almost two hours. I told the Emperor that he must get close to the people and fill them with the desire for democracy and justice. I told him that a man or nation can only bring peace to the people through serving. About a week later the Emperor appeared in public for the first time. He visited me at a settlement I had established in Tokyo. It served 20,000 war refugees. This settlement was similar to others that I had helped establish. These were in many of the larger cities and country areas of Japan.'

Voice 1

After the war Japan created a new constitution. This was based around the idea of peace and non-violence. The constitution makes it illegal for the country to declare war on another country. This has helped Japan to change a lot. The country has become one of the most peaceful and richest countries in the world.

Voice 2

Toyohiko Kagawa died in 1960. He was 71. During his life he saw his country change. It was once divided and at war. But Kagawa helped it to become a country that believes in non-violence and peace. Kagawa said that such ideas of peace are very important for everyone.

Voice 3

‘When you use violence you may force an enemy to admit defeat. But he does so against his will. After using violence you must destroy the enemy. Or you must continue to make the enemy believe you will use violence again - and you must make sure that the enemy will not attack you back. A better way is to win the enemy through love. Love is the only way to defeat greed and self-interest. When these feelings are defeated you achieve the path for understanding. Then there is no need for violence.'

Voice 1

The writer and producer of this programme was Steve Myersco. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. Computer users can find more Spotlight programmes on our website at http://www.Radio.English.net. This programme is called "Toyohiko Kagawa: Working for Peace". Thank you for listening. Goodbye.

Comments


namcuahiem's avatar
namcuahiem
said on July 10, 2010

———————————————————————————
——————————Word-List————————————-
———————————————————————————
1.“urge” /??rd?/ (v): strongly suggest, encourage
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2.“come up to”: come near, approach
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3.“resign” /ri’zain/ (v): quit, give up, quietly accept, submit to
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4.“democracy” /d??m?kr?si/ (v): a system in which everyone is equal and has the right to vote, make decisions,... 
———————————————————————————
5.“justice” /?d??st?s/ (n): equality, rightness, fairness
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6.“constitution” /k?nst??tju???n/ (n): law, rule, set of governing principles
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7.“greed” /gri:d/ (n): strong desire for more money, power, possessions, food,... than you need
———————————————————————————
8.“self-interest” /‘self’intrist/ (n) selfishness, when you only care about what is best for you and do not care about what is best for other people
————————————End—————————————-

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Nebi69
said on April 07, 2011

Thank you so much namcuahiem, for providing us that the exact meaning of the words which i figured out in this Kagawa’s story.Keep it up.