Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion Holds Forum on Mission in Africa

Tenri University’s Oyasato Institute for the Study of Religion held the fifth Mission Forum on March 25. This forum provides opportunities to reflect on the history of the overseas mission and to think about how Tenrikyo should conduct its activities if they are to be sustainable into the future. Entitled “Tenrikyo Activities in Africa,” the latest session focused on the Africa region because next year marks the 50th year since Tenrikyo came to this region for the first time in 1960. In the forum, presentations were given by four individuals who have been involved with various activities and research in Africa.

Nyahururu Mission Station Head Yoji Sato first took the podium for his presentation entitled “Non-Governmental Organization Activities in Kenya.” He has engaged in salvation work and support activities in Kenya since 1998, when he visited there after his graduation from college. He spoke about the achievements of the support activities he has been involved with as the head of an NGO called “ECHO.”

The next speaker, Mr. Ikuo Kajimoto, a staff member of Tenrikyo Overseas Department, spoke on the topic of “The Fife and Drum Band Activities of Congo Brazzaville Church.” After tracing the history of the fife and drum band this church formed in 1977, he went on to introduce various activities of the Congo Brazzaville Chapter of the Boys and Girls Association, which was established three years ago.

The next presentation, entitled “Reminiscing about Congo Brazzaville Ikoi-no-Ie Medical Clinic,” was given by Dr. Akira Sano, head of the Department of Radiology at Osaka Prefectural Saiseikai Izumio Hospital. He talked about the achievements of Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital’s medical corps that had been dispatched 13 times during an 11-year period from 1966 to 1977. The corps provided medical care for people in the Congo as part of the overseas mission. He also spoke about his own experience in working as a member of the 13th corps.

Finally, based on the theme of “Attitude toward Exchange between Japan and Africa–Learning from Africa and Living with Africa,” Dr. Haruka Wazaki, professor of anthropology at Graduate School of Letters, Nagoya University, provided an academic insight into the significance of cross-cultural exchange.

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